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Face Painting This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Insecurityis part of life. We worry about our looks and intelligence, our mannerisms andour skills. More important, we worry about what others think. Often, I findmyself more insecure than I would like to be. Recently, however, children lessthan half my age gave me a lesson in self-confidence.

I showed up at thelocal fair early on a suffocating August morning. As I strolled through thegates, I anticipated a long, grueling day. I had promised my volunteerorganization I would help for 12 hours. Our mission was to raise money for drugprevention by painting children's faces.

My artistic skills are almostnon-existent, and I figured I would stay behind the scenes and help supply thematerials. When I arrived at the booth, however, I quickly learned that thiswould not be the case. Because the line was stretching down the midway, I wasthrown into a chair, given a set of paints, and instructed to start paintingwhatever these children's hearts desired.

I was sure once the otherswitnessed my lack of skill, they would allow me to vacate the artist's chair.Again, I was mistaken. Before I could say anything, a charming little girl wassitting beside me asking me to paint a heart. Relieved, I sighed and began totalk with her. I knew I could paint a pink heart on her cheek. After a few quickstrokes and a lot of glitter, I was finished. I held up a small mirror so shecould see my masterpiece. Smiling widely, she threw her arms around me and toldme it was beautiful.

Touched, I decided I would give it another shot. Mynext youngster, however, was not as easily satisfied. A rugged boy of seven madehimself comfortable in the small chair. With his eyes wide open, he promptlyexplained it was necessary that I paint him a horse for good luck since his horsewas participating in the fair. Scared, I told him I wasn't sure I could fulfillhis request.

Without hesitating, he smiled, "Sure ya can. It's just ahorse. Even I can draw them." His confidence in me made me even lessconfident. Despite my fears, I began to paint a horse on his small cheek.Disappointed with the final result, I quickly told him that I was more thanwilling to paint something else on his other cheek. He grabbed the mirror,inspected my work, and reassured me that it looked just like his horse. He waspleased, and I was surprised.

My day continued just like this, and I neverleft my chair for more than a few minutes. Every child who sat in front of meseemed to give me a little more confidence. Never have I painted so many heartsand rainbows, balloons and footballs.

By the time we needed to clean upand call it a day, I didn't want to go home. I probably would have stayed foranother 12 hours painting and getting to know some of the kindest people in ourworld.

Leaving the fair, I realized that although I had planned to docommunity service and help out, a community of kindergarteners and preschoolershad helped me out. They had taught me a lesson in both confidence and kindness.In a world full of criticism,I had spent a day with children who both appreciatedand praised my simple gesture.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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