I'll let that sink in...

I'm young (nothing but a child of 15), but I'm not naive. And yes, I know that no one ever thinks they're naive, but please, hear me out.

Now most (read: luckily not all)of my friends are innocent, god-fearing, just-say-no-to-drugs, ooh-i-love-n'sync!, sheltered people. They're going to marry doctors and lawyers and have fairytale weddings. They're going to go to college, and get wonderful high-paying jobs that they will love. They think any music made before they were alive is horrible, and any book written before then is boring and pointless. They accept the religion their parents teach them without question, and are sheltered from any conflicting ideas (one girl I know thought an atheist was someone who worshipped the devil). They think drug users are dishonest, unintelligent people who deserve to go to jail for the simply hideous crime of smoking a joint once in a while. The epitome of naive.

But you see, I'm not like them. I don't watch MTV like them, and I don't shop at Abercrombie and Fitch like them. I don't care about my "image" (I'll dress however I damn well please to). I'll never marry a man for his money, and the last thing I want is to spend thousands of dollars on a big fluffy white dress I'll wear once (or maybe not at all).

I'll admit that I still have a lot to learn, but I don't think that neccessarily makes me naive.

Contrary to popular opinion, cynicism, pessimism and sarcasm do not disqualify anyone from being naive. In fact people who posess these traits are just as likely to be as naive as the next person. Naivete stems from a misunderstanding of the way the world works. The stereotypical naive person is considered to be innocent in their thinking and as a result easily taken advantage of. But just as the innocent is sometimes misguided in their understanding of the way the world works so is the pessimist and the cynic. They don't believe in dreams; they think the world is out to get them. They see ulterior motives that don't exist, they see dangers that don't exist and as a result they are also easily taken advantage of and led astray.

Just as youth doesn't coincide with naivete, neither does religion, taste in clothing, taste in music and dreams of the future. Just as some people believe that dreams are a way of setting yourself up for disaster, others believe (and know) that not dreaming is even worse. Dreams and goals are the map of our lives. Without them we'd be lost.

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