Lit Magazine

This I Believe

In these personal essays, students consider the core values that guide their daily lives.

“The Power of Ambiguity”

By Abby Rapuano

I believe in nurture over nature. 

I believe in taking bugs out of the house in glasses.

I believe in dysfunction.

I believe in superstition.

I believe in love.

I believe that it’s okay to not know the answer. 

My entire life I’ve felt like I needed to know everything. Calculate everything. Prepare for anything. I was/am terrified of change, of messing up, of being judged. I don’t raise my hand unless I’m 100% certain that my answer is correct. This belief has led to some questionable participation grades, but I’d take a lower grade over the hot sting of public humiliation. My apprehension toward being confused, or, specifically, appearing confused inhibits my ability to grow as a person.

So many people (myself included) fear the unknown– what the future holds, where we may end up. But I know that this, while it may not be fully irrational, is not healthy for us mentally or emotionally. Me scrolling through college acceptance rates at three in the morning and then immediately googling “career ideas for people with no social skills” is not too good for me in the short term. But all of reality exists in the present. The short term. And though I will eventually need to find out what I want to do with my life, 3 am on a Tuesday morning is not the time. As I get older I need to learn to accept that there are things I will come to understand in time, and that not everything has to be fully understood.

I’ve been forced, in a way, to familiarize myself with the unknown this year when I met my current boyfriend. He’s good for me, cares about me, and is one of the best people I’ve ever met. But despite only being two months older, he leaves for college this summer, a year before I do. I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen with us and the distance, but he gives me hope that we can and will figure it out. No matter the outcome, I have no way of knowing what it will be before I’m meant to, so there’s no logical reason to worry about it prematurely. I don’t know what the future holds for us, but I have no choice but to face it head on.

I am notoriously terrible at making decisions. Choosing what to eat, which colleges I’m interested in, or what to write about for an essay topic are all struggles of mine (I literally wrote an entire different essay before ultimately choosing a different topic). I’m a peacekeeper by nature so I not only have a hard time choosing sides in arguments, but also figuring out what I want and/or need. I don’t understand enough about myself yet to be able to make the hefty decision of a career right now, but that isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. All it means is that right now I have the freedom to explore whatever I want. I can join the physics club. Or audition for the spring musical. Or take a million different art classes to figure out what I love doing. I can go through every opportunity available to me, free of consequence or regret, knowing that it truly doesn’t matter the outcome as long as I’m learning more about myself in the process. Not knowing the answer only means that I have options, and time on my hands to explore them. 

Not everything about life has to be predetermined. We can screw up, try again, and keep going as many times as we need to in order to determine who we want to be. We can shout out the wrong answer in class confidently, and we can try out a million different things before we decide on what we truly want. A mistake I’ve made in the past has been overthinking my options and trying to figure them out logically, rather than immersing myself and experiencing them hands on. It’s okay to be confused. It’s okay to be conflicted. And it’s okay to not know who you are before your time.

“No One Changes”

By Spencer Thron

 I believe that no one truly changes.

While a pessimistic outlook no doubt, I have met many people throughout my life that I consider to have plateaued in their moral ideologies. I will not act as if people can not change, but there is a point at which people are still the same even after changing so drastically. Your innate ability to hold on to something that you identify with, along with your upbringing, prevent you from truly transforming who you are.

There is a point at which humans adapt to fit their environment, but deep down they are still the same person. I used to know a girl who I dated for a long time– several years unfortunately– and she would constantly take her anger out on me and blame me (along with other people) for her problems. I kept telling her, “If you keep getting angry at me for no other reason than your day wasn’t so great, we can’t be together.” Yet, even after she had consistently done this, I tried my hardest to cling onto her. Which, ironically, is the moment I realized I never change. I was afraid to change, and she was too stubborn to do so either. In the end, she ended the relationship. She said that it was my fault she didn’t ‘believe in love,’ completely disregarding her contribution to the destructive relationship. I won’t say I was a saint, but I will say she clearly hasn’t let go of her entitlement. She never took responsibility for the problems she created, always took her day out on the ones she cared about, and fell victim to human nature. We don’t want to change, and most of us never will. 

My problem is that I forgive people too easily and I don’t cut off something or someone from my life that is plaguing it with its stench. And even after stating my problem and recognizing that it’s there, I can’t bring myself to fix it in any way. The sad part about this idea is that most people will disagree with me, as they have “had friends” or “their own” changes in life. Of course you can change, but you will always be the same person deep inside, and most of your ideals will never be altered in any way. To reassert my claim, ask yourself this question: “If there was nobody around to impress or to alter my ideologies in any way, would I still be the same person?” Whether it’s subconscious or not, we try our best to impress certain people, and some of them even change the way we are.

For instance, I used to wear a certain hat until my ex-girlfriend told me it looked dumb. Would I have ever taken it off if it had not been for her? We only change to fit in around who we have associated with. We only change when it becomes necessary for us to do so. We only change to mask our true feelings to feel welcomed or because we feel the need, but we never truly let go of the way we are.

I believe that no one truly changes, we just adapt.

“Treat Yourself”

By Gabrielle Dittmer

I believe in buying myself whatever I want, whenever I want. I work in retail and absolutely despise my job, but there is one thing that makes it all worth it. My weekly paycheck. Every Friday morning is like Christmas which is actually really funny because this coming Friday is Christmas Day! I go on my online banking app and suddenly I am a couple hundred dollars richer making me forget about all of the trauma of dealing with rude customers for the past week, well that is until I have to go in for another shift and let me tell you they’re pretty miserable. Because of this I have become a big fan of a little retail therapy. Over the years I have racked up quite the designer perfume collection which has drastically increased my serotonin levels. The feeling is absolutely incredible. I am able to see things I want and then take them home with me! I’m a firm believer that when you have fifty year old women screaming in  your face all day, then a little Chanel perfume is sure to turn that frown upside down. Seriously, try it. There’s something so rewarding about buying the things that you really want for yourself. Do not get me wrong I love receiving gifts just as much as the next gal, but gifts from me to me are one of the best forms of self care. I live by that.

Over the course of quarantine I have really upped the ante on treating myself, mostly because as the months continue to go on, my customers tend to get crazier. I have bought myself ten designer bags, five new pairs of shoes, seven rings, and twelve new designer perfumes. Is that a bit excessive? Maybe, but my room decor is looking pretty flawless as of lately and I am not mad about it. Whoever said money can’t buy happiness totally lied. The truth is that I have never felt more empowered and proud of myself for all of the hard work that I put in on a daily basis. Especially considering I am breaking the tired, old, societal standards of expecting men to ‘take care of me’ or buy me things, gross. No thank you.  Now I’m not saying you have to go as crazy as I have over the past couple of months, but if you’re debating on getting yourself a little somethin’ somethin’ and it is not  totally over your budget then girl, (or guy) what are you waiting for? I mean come on, as they say ‘you only live once’ so you might as well treat yourself every once in a while! I know what you’re thinking,  “Gab, do you ever save any money?” The answer to that question is a big YES, I do prioritize ensuring that a certain percentage of my paycheck finds its way into my savings. However, I am not afraid to throw a little dough at something that will make me happy. Mental health really is the priority here. Overall, the best form of self care is treating yourself like a princess and I am a firm believer in being your own fairy godmother and buying yourself whatever you want, whenever you want it. 

Categories: Lit Magazine