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B E E N  T H E R E:  S P I R I T U A L I T Y

Kendra Lauren Congdon

"Finding Your Own Path"

A Teen Editorial Board member interviews herself!

October 1998 

When I first discovered The InSite's section on Spirituality I loved it because it wasn't Christian or Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist. It was about finding and freeing the inner soul. The information helped to answer some of the little nagging questions we all ask. When I took on this writing assignment, I wanted to remain anonymous for personal reasons. However, when I looked over what I had written, I changed my mind. If I had told everyone else to "be themselves" while I remained anonymous, I would be giving the impression that I'm not even confident enough to share my real name with you. I won't use my pen name, because this article is finding myself and being truthful. I'm me, you're you, and if everyone knew themselves perfectly, then this world would be a lot simpler.

  

The InSite: Spirituality isn't something many teens in America have much interest in. Did you get in touch with your spiritual side because of any specific major problems you had?

Kendra: I never had any big problems, I still haven't. I guess you could say I was blessed because I've never had the troubles that many people have. I feel that everyone's life has their own "scale" of problems. Some people's problems get national attention; others never (even) get the attention of close friends. My life is part of the second group. I'm the typical "prep" that some people love to hate and vise versa.

Kendra: When I was little I used to think that people had a "good time" and a "bad time" in their life, and once you used up the "good time," you were cursed to a "bad" life. I had my "bad time" and now I've vowed to never run out of "good times."

TI: When did your "bad time" happen?

Kendra: It was throughout 6th grade and during the following summer. I had trouble with my friends and didn't know where to turn. Your environments and people can help a lot, but when you get right down to it, it has to be you who helps yourself. Life's a huge buffet. Dig in! But remember some desserts have to be earned to be deserved. 

...but when you get right down to it, it has to be you who helps yourself.

TI: Are you saying your friends were creating a negative environment for you?

Kendra: (Yes!) ...my group's ideals were awful. We told lies and rumors for no reason, and revenge ran rampant. It was downright depressing to see best of friends back stabbing each other because "someone said" something. Our values were shallow, but to tell you the truth, I wouldn't trade a day of it.

TI: Why is that?

Kendra: (The experience taught me so much about myself.) I was seeing the worst in my friends, while they thought it was survival. I finally stepped back from the picture and took time to reevaluate everything. I learned how to put myself in everyone's shoes, and by doing that, I found myself. I really owe them a lot, because by seeing human downfalls, trials and tribulations; I discovered human triumphs. I had hidden myself by becoming my friends, but I know who I am more and more each day now. I've found that I like being that person too. I know what confidence is and it comes from relaying on yourself. No one knows who you are and what you are, more than you. Ten percent of the time, I still don't know who I am. I don't mind though - I've still got plenty of time to find out.

I had hidden myself by becoming my friends...

TI: What made you choose the path you did?

Kendra: In a way, I still haven't chosen one path. I try to think of life as a constant path, and now I can be in control of where I want it to go. There are some things I want to dive right into, some things I want to steer clear of, and some things I end up running circles around. I once heard a saying like "You can believe everything, or believe nothing. It's the easiest way to live." Life today isn't choosing everything or nothing, it's finding a happy medium. I take every situation and think about it, and pick which direction to go. I let my heart lead because it knows the way.

TI: Where did you find a source of help and support?

Kendra: I found a lot of support in my parents and my church. I didn't tell my parents everything, but when I did, they were really great at (helping me) sort my feelings out. I also became a lot more religious and I found comfort in believing in something. I developed hope and faith in tomorrow and made a conscience effort to be optimistic. Learning how to make a rainy day look brighter takes work, but it's so incredibly helpful.

I let my heart lead because it knows the way.

TI: What do you think teens could gain from hearing about your experiences?

Kendra: ...to always put themselves in other people's shoes. (Also)...bad things go away or blow over or are forgotten. Mistakes are what make life interesting, so I've come to appreciate the good and bad in life. Everyone seems to look for a perfect world, a Utopia, so to speak. But I don't think any of us could handle a problem-free world. Therefore, I believe it's in human nature to make mistakes. Learning and loving from them is all we can do, so accept them. Just remember: Every day is a new day. The sun will rise, and with it are opportunities for tomorrow. Decide with your feet on the ground, and your head and hands up reached to the sky. When the sun drops in west, remember the day and what happened. Love the good, learn from the bad, and accept it all.

I learned how to put myself in everyone's shoes, and by doing that, I found myself...Mistakes are what make life interesting, so I've come to appreciate the good and bad in life...Love the good, learn from the bad, and accept it all.
Email Kendra at:

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