I keep my paint brush with me
Whereever I may go,
In case I need to cover up
So the real me doesn't show.
Afraid of what you'll do-that
You might laugh or say mean things.
I'm afraid I might lose you.
I'd like to remove all my paint coats
To show you the real, true ,me,
But I want you to try and understand,
I need you to accept what you see.
So if you'll be patient and close your eyes,
I'll strip off all my coats real slow.
Please understand how much it hurts
To let the real me show.
Now my coats are all stripped off.
I feel naked, bare and cold,
And if you still love me with all that you see,
You are my friend, pure as gold.
I need to save my paintbrush, though,
And hold it in my hand,
I want to keep it handy
In case someone doesn't understand.
So please protect me, my dear friend
And thanks for loving me true,
But please let me keep my paint brush with me
Until I love me, too.
By Bettie B. Youngs
From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul
Life! What a precious gift from God. What a blessing to be
alive in a wonderful, vibrant world of unlimited possibilities.
Then, adversity strikes, and this "gift" feels more like a curse.
"Why? Why me?" we ask. Yet we never get an answer, or do we?
After contracting Hodgkin's disease at age seven and being given
six months to live, I triumphed over the odds. Call it luck,
hope, faith or courage, there are thousands of survivors! Winners
like us know the answer - "Why not us? We can handle it!" I'm not
dying of cancer. I'm living with cancer. God doesn't make junk,
regardless of what comes our way, and I don't have to be afraid
In my sophomore year of high school, the class was scheduled
to run the mile. I will always remember that day because due to
the swelling and scars from surgery on my leg, for two solid
years I had not worn shorts. I was afraid of the teasing. So, for
two years I lived in fear. Yet that day, it didn't matter. I was
ready - shorts, heart and mind. I no sooner got to the starting
line before I heard the loud whispers. "Gross!" "How fat!" "How
ugly!" I blocked it out.
Then the coach yelled, "Ready. Set. Go!" I jetted out of
there like an airplane, faster than anyone for the first 20 feet.
I didn't know much about pacing then, but it was okay because I
was determined to finish first. As we came around the first of
four laps, there were students all over the track. By the end of
the second lap, many of the students had already quit. They had
given up and were on the ground gasping for air. As I started the
third lap, only a few of my classmates were left on the track,
and I began limping. By the time I hit the fourth lap, I was
alone. Then it hit me. I realized that nobody had given up.
Instead, everyone had already finished. As I ran that last lap, I
cried. I realized that every boy and girl in my class had beat
me, and 12 minutes, 42 seconds after starting, I crossed the
finish line. I fell to the ground and shed oceans. I was so
Suddenly my coach ran up to me and picked me up, yelling,
"You did it. Manuel! Manuel, you finished, son. You finished!" He
looked me straight in the eye waving a piece of paper in his
hand. It was my goal for the day, which I had forgotten. I had
given it to him before class. He read it aloud to everyone. It
simply said, "I Manuel Diotte, will finish the mile run tomorrow,
come what may. No pain or frustration will stop me. For I am more
than capable of finishing, and with God as my strength, I will
finish." Signed, Manuel Diotte - with a little smiling face
inside the D, as I always sign my name. My heart lifted. My tears
went away, and I had a smile on my face as if I had eaten a
banana sideways. My classmates applauded and gave me my first
standing ovation. It was then I realized winning isn't always
finishing first. Sometimes winning is just finishing.
By Manuel Diotte
from Chicken Soup for the Surviving Soul