The Pyramid Theory

Hannah - Wellesley, Massachusetts
Entered on March 8, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

“You know when they do those human pyramids? That’s the model I’m looking at for living now.” (About a Boy, page 304)

About a Boy is a good book. But there aren’t many people who use it as the fundamental basis for their ideas about relationships. But I do. I believe in About a Boy, and I believe in the pyramid theory.

Coming from a family of divorce has taught me how to be resourceful about the people I surround myself with. Some people collect bottle caps or matchbooks…. I collect relationships. I’ve learned to surround myself with people who will be there for me when my own immediate family is unstable, no matter how unconventional my connection to them is: Grandparents, camp counselors, a sophomore in my French class, my best friend’s mom. I used to worry a lot about who I trusted, and thought that there was a certain type of person with whom I should be friends. But I’ve learned that it’s not really important who you trust, or who you associate with, as long as they’re going to be there for you when it matters the most.

The pyramid theory looks to a human pyramid as a model for relationships: The kind of pyramids that cheerleaders do, or that people are always making on the beach. In one of those structures, it doesn’t really matter who’s underneath you, as long as you know they’re not going to let you fall. People think that they need traditional relationships to be stable. But it really isn’t practical to rely on your parents all the time if your mom or dad is just going to walk out from under you.

I love people. I love my friends, and I’m so grateful that I’ve learned to reach out and let so many support me in my pyramid. In knowing this… in knowing that I have a million numbers to call when I’m having a bad day, or a hundred people to hug me when I’m crying, I know that I’ll never really be alone.

There’s a saying that goes “There are no strangers, only friends that I haven’t met yet” This idea makes me optimistic about life. One of the most beautiful things in the world is the love and respect that people extend to strangers. Like the lady who let me and my friends into the school play for free last night because we didn’t have enough money to pay for tickets, or the time I walked into a studio in Rockport and an artist I had never met gave me a picture because my mom told him it was my birthday. It doesn’t matter who you meet, or how you meet them… love is love, support is support. And I think that however you can get it, whether it be from girlfriends, boyfriends, single parents or a girl you met on a ski lift, love is the same, and it’s what keeps you going.