Ispent most of my life searching for something to make me feel better. First it was television, books and boys -- then, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs, which made me feel even more isolated. I was hiding inside myself. So I got sober, and learned to face my fears, talk to people, love myself. I worked hard, became responsible, met a kind man, got married, had a baby. One day, as I held my newborn, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. I finally understood what life is about, and it isn't about me.

Kirsten Lee Hawkins

Silver Spring

Fashion went on without me. My father said "No!" too many times to my pleas for the latest Converse shoes. A defeated boy, I wore those same old cheap, no-name shoes until the holes in the soles cried for me. With no jury, he stoically vetoed my requests for Lee jeans, too!

Who cares? God smiled, and the kids laughed and called me "same-pants-Lloyd." I laughed back through camouflaged tears and put one foot forward. I proudly alternated my two pairs of pants, and lined the insides of my shoes with cardboard; I made my own fashion statement.

Lloyd J. Flood

Springfield

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