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Following is the winning entry in the 9th annual Fountain Hills Coalition Essay Contest. The winning essay is from Fountain Hills High School senior Andrew Miller II. The prompt Miller selected is, “Name a song that you relate to and write about how it has affected your life or the way you think.”

Have you ever felt alone? Alone to wander this world with no purpose to serve and no one who cares? For some, this feeling is overwhelming and it slowly consumes them until there is nothing left of the person who was there before.

“Beautiful,” a song by the alternative metal band P.O.D., encapsulates this general feeling while also sending a message that whoever feels this is not actually alone, and that their beauty and the beauty of life outshine the loneliness, and are a metaphor for how ending one’s life isn’t the proper way to deal with the loneliness of this world.

A combination of the powerful lyrics and melodies in the composition of the music make this song strong and meaningful. This song’s inner meaning helped me in my time of trouble, when I was faced with utter darkness and loneliness and on the brink of suicide. Now knowing that “Life is Beautiful,” I am able to stand and face my demons and share love with the “Whole Wide World” because that is what life is about.

“You stand with a gun in your hand, staring at the wall with a look so sad and, thinking about who really cares, will they even notice if I just disappeared, now…”

The song opens with a piece of terrifying imagery. A girl, fed up with life and lonely to the point where she questions her even being visible as a person to anybody. She stands on the edge of pulling a trigger and ending it all. Tortured by herself, and not really understanding if she matters, she struggles with desiring to even be alive anymore.

But when she pulls the trigger and misses, it only worsens her depressive disposition, and she becomes lost with one question – “Why?”

When I first heard this song, I thought nothing of how it describes the problem of a girl, I instantly related to it. On the edge of madness and deep in lonesomeness, thoughts become clouded with negativity and ultimately can take over.

“No matter what the people say, it’s all gonna be okay. You’re beautiful to me – You’re beautiful, you’re beautiful – and it’s all gonna end someday, it’s all gonna fade away, You’re beautiful to me!”

Years ago, this song came to me, and as it would seem, at a chance time. Considering suicide and feeling lonely even among my family, this song spoke to me in ways that I never imagined possible. With a big move across the country and starting high school in a foreign place all by myself, life was dull and lonely. I elected to have nothing to do with anyone. I sat by myself at school, slept in the attic of our house, and absolutely ignored everyone. Those actions had plenty of reasons behind them, giving me justification for acting this way.

At home, I was bullied by those who I thought would love me most. The only girl I ever loved dumped me and never spoke to me again. I was also a foreign entity among kids who had known each other for years. I felt utterly ostracized and thoughts to the effect of suicide filled my mind space.

The point of this powerful song, though, is that the feeling of overwhelming loneliness is something that many people feel, and therefore, I cannot be alone. That realization brought me to the understanding that this life will throw blocks at you, but through love all things are beautiful, and the most beautiful aspect of life is life itself.

“Share a little love with the whole wide world,” the words in the chorus became a sort of life motto. My life has entirely changed meaning since. I listen to the song whenever I can to remind myself of the power of holding love rather than disdain. The message has allowed me to change my perspective on this world and its various tribulations. Seeing events, places and individuals as beautiful, though they may not seem that way initially, is what drives love to overpower even the most troublesome issues this life may throw your way.

I now envision my future holding love for this world and everyone in it. As God’s great creation, our world is meant to be lived in, and when we show our love and spread it to all, life becomes better to a degree which can’t be calculated by sensical means. Life is Beautiful, and so are you, and so am I, and everyone and thing as well.