When we are young we don’t tend to censor what we say to others. Our opinions flow out of our mouths like waterfalls and we can’t control it. People always say that kids can be so mean, but I think it’s just because they are brutally honest. When we are young we don’t know how our words can really hurt someone, but as we get older we learn how to control what we say.

In elementary and middle school a lot of people always made comments about my hair and body. Everything they said, they thought were compliments or jokes, but I didn’t really feel the same way about them.

“You’re so skinny” or “You’re hair looks so poofy” is the comments they would make. Everything they would point out would be characteristics that I couldn’t change about myself.

At the beginning of middle school I wore my hair natural, but then people would talk about it. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my hair or in what I looked like, so when people talked about it my self-confidence would go down. I ultimately started to wear my hair natural again when I got to high school because I realized I shouldn’t care what other people think about me.

When I was younger I would try to do anything to fit in so people wouldn’t bring up my differences. Eventually I figured out that I should only do what I want to do, and I should continue to just be myself. I used to think being different was bad. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that if people don’t like me for myself then they aren’t really my friend.

We need people in our lives to help us embrace who we are. We need supporters who will make us feel better about ourselves when we’re down. But we also have to remember that we are our own number one fans. We need to focus on ourselves and how being different is a positive and not a negative.

If we don’t love ourselves for who we are then no one else will love us. If we don’t embrace our own differences then no one else will either. We need to know our differences are what make us special and that if other people judge us for them then they shouldn’t be apart of our lives. Nobody should be scared to be who they truly are just because they think they aren’t going to be accepted. I believe we need to embrace our differences and not judge other people for theirs either.

Embracing Our Differences


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Youth Voices is an open publishing platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.

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