Just another face in the crowd

Published 4:41 pm Wednesday, May 26, 2010

When you walk down the hallways of your school, who do you see? I see my best friends. I see my competition. I see people who are trying to live up to others’ expectations. But I also see that one person who decides to go against the crowd. You know the person I’m talking about. The one everyone thinks is “weird;” the one everyone makes fun of for being different. But when I see this person, I don’t see them negatively; I see them as someone so courageous as to be different, to do the things that others are afraid to do.

Our differences are things we should appreciate. They set us apart and make us who we are. Why do we want to live in a world of “sameness” when we can be praised for those things that make us unique? Yet, society would have us all be alike. To set oneself apart is to be condemned because no one wants to take the time to truly understand who the person is.

Rosa Parks would be an example of someone who was not afraid to stand out. On her famous bus ride in Montgomery, she was not afraid to stand up for what she believed in. Thomas Edison was widely criticized for some of his ideas, but he never gave up. Who knows what we can accomplish when we refuse to sacrifice who and what we are?

Sometimes I look around and imagine what people could do if they really lived up to who they are and weren’t afraid of not fitting in. I know that all around me are potential best-selling novelists, disease-curing researchers, and problem-solving inventors. Reaching our full potential is one of the most fulfilling things we can do. But when we choose to judge ourselves and others by the same standards and are scared to be what we can be, we run the risk of minimizing our own potential.

We best serve ourselves and each other when we are brave enough to be who we are.

We need to remember that our differences are our strengths—not our weaknesses.

Perhaps Oscar Wilde says it best when he reminds us, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”