May 28, 2008
By Rachel Rasmussen, Hartland, WI

We all do it, but we all get upset when other people do it to us. Stereotyping. What’s with it? Why is it when we find out what other people think about us, we get so naive about and deny everything we are? Why do people have to push you to the edge and try and turn you into one of them? Why hide who you are? Everyone in the world can’t be friends, so why force it? Are you going to change the way you are because someone thinks of you as ‘different’?

What is ‘different’? If someone isn’t like you, do you think they are different? Just because I have blond hair doesn’t mean I am a completely different person than you. I want to be myself; I want to believe in the religion of my choice. I want to wear the clothes I like. I want to hang out with the people I pick. I want to go places I select. I want to be me. I want to be able to come to school in sweatpants with my hair in a ponytail and still be me. I don’t want to change who I am just to make someone else like me.

When I am walking through the hallways at school, I have the people I know and the people I don’t. If I don’t know someone, I will make a first impression. If you look at the ground as you pass me, I would think you are shy. If you look at me don’t have any expression on your face, I am going to think you are too good to make an effort. If you give me a dirty look, I am going to think you are stuck up. If you smile at me I am going to think that you are nice. I have a tendency to smile at everyone in the hallways and it is weird to get nothing back from some people. I haven’t ever done anything for you not to like me, so why must we start the name calling and the dirty looks?

I am a farmer and I am not going to change that just because the girl across the room has a Chanel purse and Gucci shoes. Let me be me and you be you. If you have a problem with the way I am, forget I exist. Don’t ignore me, but don’t invite me to your party out of pity. The reason there are so many different styles in the world is so we can all be whoever we want. I am not identical to anyone. I am myself and I am not changing.
I was raised to be proud of what I am and what I do. I am not going to deny what I am just to make someone else happy. I make a judgment based on first impression. That doesn’t mean you should change who you are to make me happy. Either I am going to like you or I am not. I might need time to get used to you, but it all depends on your behavior with me. If you need to change your behavior depending on who you are hanging around, you are hiding your true self. Even when it comes to your parents and your true friends, you should be able to be yourself no matter where you are. Especially around your parents. They love you for you, not for who you are trying to be.
Ultimately be who you are, and don’t be afraid to speak your voice. Think of how your voice might affect them. Don’t try and change someone because you think it might be cool to hang out with them. Don’t hide who you are. Have pride and joy being the person you are, even if that means being the Goth or the Prep, the Jock or the Book Worm. After all, you are who you are and you should be proud of that, and if your not maybe you are not being yourself. Maybe you are being like that just to be accepted. Don’t let others accept you. Be the acceptor.

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