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Feb 2015
I didn't learn about being beautiful from supermodels walking down the runway. I didn't learn about being beautiful from glamorous movie stars or musicians. I didn't even learn about being beautiful from the pretty girls at my school. No. I learned about beauty from my best friends and the freckles on their cheeks. I learned about beauty from the scars and imperfections they hated. I learned about beauty by watching them believe they aren’t.

I didn't learn about being intelligent in school. I didn't learn about being intelligent from some documentary I watched or book I read. I didn’t learn about being intelligent from studying day and night. No. I learned about being smart from my brother. I learned about being intelligent when I watched him stress for four years about college. I learned about being intelligent by helping him cram for tons of tests and quizzes and celebrating his success. I learned about being intelligent listening to his sobs when he received a full ride to his dream college.

I didn’t learn about being kind from some after-school special. I didn’t learn about being kind from watching my parents help being at the supermarket. I didn’t even learn about being kind from being treated so unkindly. No. I learned about being kind from my band director. I learned about being kind when I sat in her office with tears permanently stained on my cheeks and she just accepted my tears. I learned about being kind when she let me sleep on her shoulder for two hours on a bus. I learned about being kind when she gave me the coat off her back because I didn’t have one.

I didn’t learn about being courageous from daredevils on the news. I didn’t learn about being courageous from gutsy characters in books or on television. I didn’t learn about being courageous from teens who thought yelling at a teacher for no reason meant courage. No. I learned about being courageous from the people I saw stand up for themselves and for others no matter where it may be. I learned about being courageous from the people who risked their lives to save somebody they didn’t know. I learned about being courageous from the men and women who defended our country everyday, sometimes with nothing to show for it.

I've learned about beauty, intelligence, kindness, and courage throughout the years. From my best friends, my brother, band director, or perfect strangers. I didn’t learn about those things through mainstream ways that you find crammed down your throat.

You don't have to learn how to be you through people you don't know. Take a step back and look at those you do, because I'm sure it'll mean more to you when you start seeing those qualities in yourself.
Ah yes, the true story of me learning to find what I want to be in the people I love.
Paralyzed traveler
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Paralyzed traveler
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   Little Bird
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