Surprise yourself

Melissa Dilley

I was crying as I paced the driveway in my purple button-down shirt and orange Keds. I wouldn’t even look at my mom when she told me the black 1997 Chevy Cavalier was ours for good.

I wanted a purple car, and I was determined to make her take it back. It was my mom’s first new car and I was ruining the moment for her, but I didn’t care.

That was more than 12 years ago.

There are moments, people and beliefs in life you think you will never accept and that, at the time, seem like you will never get over.

I’m going to be completely honest when I label myself the classic brat. I think I’m always right, and no one’s happy unless I get what I want. I’m the person who you can’t get to budge on a belief or stance in a debate. Or at least I thought I was — until I came to Kent State.

The change I went through came my freshman year when I was making a documentary about the death penalty in the United States. I come from a family with very conservative political beliefs and who always believed we should put in an express lane for murderers. But as I learned more about capital punishment, I came to realize my beliefs were completely off-base. I met people whose son or daughter had been murdered, and on the flip side, I heard stories of people who were on death row.

That’s when I realized you should let yourself explore new ideas.

I had always been conservative — and don’t get me wrong, I’m still a registered Republican — but I learned that beliefs can be changed, and, more importantly, that it’s OK.

I’ve changed my views about a lot of things since my first year at Kent State. I became best friends with someone I didn’t get along with at first, watched my boyfriend leave for the Air Force against my will and gave up some of my favorite foods to become vegetarian.

I always thought it was hypocritical to change your beliefs, especially if they’ve been long held or you’ve taken a strong stance on them, but I’ve learned it’s just a part of growing up and learning about yourself.

You can call me confused or simply indecisive, and that’s fine, because I’m sure I won’t have the same outlook on things next year.

Next year at this time, I won’t be in college — I’ll be in Columbus. My friends won’t give me a guilt trip for not going out on a Thursday night because we’ll have to work the next day and that black car will be out of my life for good.

I don’t want any of those things right now, but who is to say I won’t be happy with them down the road?

Last semester, in my black sweater and black flats, I sat in the Honda showroom, tearing up as the salesman told me he could only give me $200 for my used car.

I needed a new one, but I couldn’t bring myself to give up the one that had been passed down to me when I turned 16; the one that had been in my life since I was in elementary school, the black car that if I didn’t get rid of, my life would surely be over.

Melissa Dilley is a senior newspaper journalism major and guest columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.