Taylor S.

Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

I believe in the power of words. Words conquer all aspects of emotions by entertaining, informing, persuading, or expressing. Words demand a reaction and words control the response.

Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson brought a nation together using the power of words. Through words, they persuaded the American colonists to declare independence from Great Britain. Through words, Edward Murrow gave a nation facing the Cold War crisis a chance to express their beliefs through the series, This I Believe. After reading This I Believe, a modern compilation of personal essays based on the 1950s series, I realized I could make an impact. Through words, I brought an entire high school to tears by describing the day my father committed suicide.

After my father died, my emotions burrowed to the bottom of my heart. I shut my friends and family out by refusing to talk about how his death affected me. My emotions hibernated for two years before they were willing to wake from their slumber. They felt hunger; they wanted to let people in.

I decided to satisfy their hunger by writing a narrative article in my school's newspaper. The words came to me faster than I could write. I remembered my expression of shock when my counselor told me she had to drive me and my little brother home due to a family emergency. I remembered the saltiness of the single tear I cried that day. I remembered the confusion I felt when people rushed to hug me. Most of all, I remembered feeling anger towards my father for causing me to grow up faster. My emotions couldn't stop feeding on words, but finally they had their fill. I looked down at the article my emotions had written and I felt something I hadn't felt in two years—relief.

Words empowered me; I refused to be a victim. I became an advocate for the family members of suicide victims in my community.

The day the article came out, both students and teachers cried. Many told me that they felt a connection to me. Others told me I should feel proud for being so open about a situation like this. One student told me my article made him want to reconnect with his father whom he had lost touch with a few years ago.

Words gave me the power to feel forgiveness towards my father. After writing this article, I was able to let go of my anger and resentment.

I believe that my words allowed my family to heal their wounds by giving them the chance to reconnect with me so that we could all move on.

With the help of This I Believe, I learned the impact of my voice; I made a difference in my community. I plan to continue to make a difference by pursuing a pharmaceutical career to develop safer drugs and educate consumers about the risks and benefits of prescriptions. I believe that my voice will be heard because I use my words.