This I Believe

Stephanie - Orlando, Florida
Entered on January 25, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: courage

I believe in doing and saying what you want. You will never regret being truthful with your feelings, but you will regret never saying them.

I wrote that statement over a year ago. It was in response to a break up a friend of mine had with her long standing boyfriend of two years. It was only then that she realized why I had told her that tidbit of information: I had been in such a similar situation, a break up. I had spent countless hours in her room crying till my eyes were bloodshot, ramble on the same topic over and over, and trying to find logic in the whole mess that had transpired in front of me. Here I was watching the same thing happen and giving her advice that I wish someone had said to me.

It took awhile for me to understand that those words were not just applicable to ending a simple relationship. My life revolved around an insurmountable amount of missed opportunities because I was too afraid to speak up. My own departure from my other half was a long time coming. Feelings weren’t being reciprocated and I spent more time trying to fix something that was broken, without breathing a word to him. Work was stressful since I didn’t bother to ask for a raise that I felt I greatly deserved. My housing situation was overwhelming financially, but due to the lack of communication, I stuck with it. My unhappiness was greatly exceeding my personal satisfactions, simply because I didn’t feel comfortable expressing how I felt. When asked how I was doing, my habitual response was “I’m good.”

When everything finally came to a disastrous end, I realized a lot of mistakes were on my own accord. It was only then that the proverbial light bulb came on. Things needed to change. If I had a problem, a question, or an opinion that crawled under my skin, it was time for me to make my voice loud and clear. Many of my acquaintances, even some of my close friends, had a horrendous misunderstanding of my personal character, which I felt could be vastly approved upon by just speaking my mind. Only then did I leave my job to attain a new one, with a positive environment that I didn’t even know I had been lacking. I lost friends, but made new ones that could identify with the “real” me. I actually had a personality to express rather than sitting back quietly and letting things pass me by.

So as I sat quietly across the room as one of my best friends poured her heart about all the things she thought she did wrong, how she could fix them, and why she shouldn’t, I took her by the hands and explained to her, as if the obvious answer was right in front of her face. “Do and say what you want. You don’t want to live your life in what ifs and could have beens.”