The Importance of Being Yourself – Joe

Looking back at my past, there are many things I wish I could have rewritten or done better. But the one thing I always regret not doing was simply being who I truly am. Being in middle school and in the phase where your changing, dealing with boys of my peers, hormones, school etc. made life seem hard.

Looking back I laugh knowing I’ve come along way to be where I am today and all that sweat, tears and falls were worth it. 2006 was the worst year of my life. My baby brother passed away after 30days battle with what doctors diagnosed as typhoid malaria. He passed the day before we were to return to school after break. I returned to school 2 days later. That day everyone had heard, so I was treated differently. People that never talked to me paid attention to me, suddenly began talking to me as if they were helping me, even those who had hurt me. It wasn’t normal that day though I felt fine. I felt that was the only time that I seemed important. But I was dying inside but I didn’t acknowledge it.

Time went by and everything was okay. Home felt empty, though he passed in palliative care. My family was quiet, no laughter, only sorrow. I tried to get back to normal and as selfish as it sounds I seemed to not care. But about 3 months of keeping silent, letting my “friends” control me, and trying to fit in, I broke. I was tired, frustrated and sad. I felt I had hit rock bottom. So I built this invisible cage where I smiled and acted normal, but I was alone where no one could hurt me. I distanced myself and went silent. I always wanted to be one of the popular. I thought to have the most friends on Facebook, having a girlfriend, wearing all the name brand, and listening to popular music would make me a “normal” person. I hated being criticized, judged or insulted. I naturally was kind to others and let people take advantage of me because I was gentle.

But it took me a long time to figure out that’s not who I am or who I want to be. Once I started making my own decisions, doing things on my own, staying away from negative influences, and focusing on school life was simpler, easier. I have realized before success, accomplishment, friendship or love comes yourself. It starts with you. Confidence, and self- belief is key to good character. Without your unique personality and character, you will always just be a part of society.

Your voice and character have to stand out. People will not love or befriend you because of what you wear or who you talk to. Some will do. But at some point, people will not care how much you have. People will care how much you are, how much you’re capable of and how genuine you are. You are different, by all means, not because you look different, but on how much you possess. How much good is in you. If you stay true to yourself others will find good in you, others will turn to you. If you always try to be someone else, I mean going behind people’s backs, gossiping, starting problems and not prioritizing what’s important you will be headed to nowhere. Know that it’s okay to do well in school, to have good grades, to enjoy reading books or simply doing your homework. Knowledge is key. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is a success. A good person is someone with knowledge and heart.


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