"In kindergarten, my teacher gave me a picture of an apple and two oranges and asked me to pick out the one that did not belong. The first thing they taught me was that being different is wrong. It's really not." - Unknown
When asked what matters to me, I will say the square peg in the round hole. The licorice jellybean in the rainbow assortment. The orange in the group of apples.
Different. I just love being different. Call me unique, or call me crazy, I sing to my own tune and dance to my own rhythm.
I find my happiness not within the material things I buy, but within the memories that materialize from my life. I do not have to wear a certain brand because the label does not define me, nor does the price of my shoes. I wear what I like, and I like what I wear. Everyone always says that true beauty comes from within, so why do we all find ourselves spending our paychecks on expensive skirts and fake nails? You cannot clothe yourself into beauty, nor can you buy yourself into perfection.
I've always been an off-y, an original, one of a kind. I love to dance. I've always wanted to fly.
And I eat my Reese's Peanut Butter Cups just the way I like. I smile at the sunset, and laugh at the clouds. It's not that I don't want to fit in, but what kind of place would the world be if, when we looked in the mirror, the reflections staring back at us were all the same. I do not have to dye my hair the color of cotton candy for you to notice me. I do not have to scream, and I certainly do not have to fight.
When I speak, you will listen. For I am myself. I cry. I feel. I am. What matters to me is seeing things differently. Glorify or vilify me, you will not bring me down. I will always have an opinion, and I will not hide my beliefs under the blanket of society. I see things, and I change things. I make a difference. So when asked what matters to me, I will tell you ... it's being me. .
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.