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My Song: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bob Marley gave me the strength to overcome life's struggles

Joined: 7/5/2012
Posts: 1
It happened last year – my sophomore year in high school. My parents had gone through my Facebook messages, and they’d “accidentally” found the message in which I’d come out to one of my closest friends. They’d discovered my most closely-guarded secret; they knew I was gay. Though I’d worked, though I’d tried, though I’d done everything in my power to keep it a secret, they'd still found out. They confronted me and told me that homosexuality is a perversion of nature, and I needed to shut it out of my life. They said that the devil was tempting me into sin. They don’t understand. They can’t understand.
I was in a state of despair; my life made no sense. I was circling around in a vortex of confusion and nothing I did was able stop it. Then I heard Bob Marley. I was sitting in my friend’s car, crying and stressing and longing for deliverance. My parents didn’t love me; they’d told me that something was wrong with me. My heart had been beaten to a pulp, and my soul was like a pile of shattered glass. My friend was trying to comfort me, but I was inconsolable. I wanted to drown out the world, so I turned on the radio, and I heard him. Bob Marley’s calming, carefree voice washed over me like the smooth ocean tide. I was entranced. I was elated. I can still remember it; he was talking to me.
“Don’t worry, be happy.
Don't worry, don't worry, don't do it.
Be happy, put a smile on your face.”
I’ll never forget the impact that those words had on me. The joy and passion and love in those lyrics moved me. Bob Marley saved me that night. During those few moments, he taught me that I should free myself from my worries and find the joy in life. I finally began to realize that the past is unchangeable. I could allow my parents to destroy who I was, or I could stop worrying, start being happy, and begin living in a way that was true to me. The choice was easy. I would be myself.
Now, that song wasn’t able to cure my family’s intolerance or suddenly fix all of my problems, but it helped. It was light, and my life had been darkness. It was order, and my life had been chaos. It was beauty, and my life had been ugly. It changed me. I was fragile and pathetic before my parents found out I was gay, and now, I am strong. I’ve discovered a love for my family, and I do my best to respect their beliefs. I do as they ask, but I am my own person. This song helped me find this balance, and it still helps me; whenever I get depressed or lonely, I sing softly to myself, “Don’t worry, be happy,” and I know everything’s going to be alright.
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Comment by yiyijessicali

Joined: 8/22/2011
Posts: 53
this is one of the most powerful writing pieces I've read. I love your portrayal of the emotions that you were going through, the syntax really serves to intensity your experience. You cleverly played off a lot of VERY good literary techniques, which makes this highly captivating. We should all be proud of who we are and cherish our identities. Best of luck to you!
Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 4:26:21 AM
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Comment by bugcandy

Joined: 11/5/2008
Posts: 286
Congratulations - your essay above has been named a semi-finalist in the July and August writing contest (where we asked people to share a story about how music played an important role during a unique time in their life).

We had over 9,500 people from around the world visit the writing contest page during the summer and nearly 200 submitted qualifying essays.

43 essays were named finalists (one of which is yours).

To read a recap of the writing contest, see links to the qualifying essays, and find out who the runners-up and winner are (announced after September 15th, 2012) visit this page:

Our 26 Editors are now reviewing the finalists. We'll make an announcement on our Facebook page ( and via email when the winner is selected.

Thanks again for sharing your story on Stage of Life. Please share the news of being named a finalist with your friends, family and via Facebook / Twitter.

Great essay above, and best of luck!

Stay tuned!


P.S. If you haven't checked out the current writing contest, you can get to it from here:
Posted: Thursday, September 6, 2012 7:37:31 PM
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Comment by etiquetteguy

Joined: 6/22/2009
Posts: 52
Your bravery is commendable. Living with intolerance is painful, exhausting, and unnecessary. Thanks for shining a light for others to a way into a more civil, accepting and respectful world.
Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2012 3:34:59 PM
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