Charlie. Brown University '16

When I turned eight, my grandma purchased my favorite book: “You Are Special”. At the time, it didn’t really seem like anything great or noteworthy, so I didn’t read it. I was having a hard time in school, Netflix didn’t exist yet, and I didn’t have any friends. During times like those, my mom always tried to help me be more sociable or talk to me about solutions, but I never felt comfortable. Every time she tried, I would run to a tree in my backyard until she gave up trying to help. I needed some time to myself and she understood that. It wasn’t until one day that I grabbed “You are Special” and took it with me to the tree that I realized how important the book was to me.

I decided to give it a chance and read it. Inside, there was the usual artwork and font… but here there was this intricate character that did not see how special he was or what he was capable of doing. People in his town misunderstood him and judged him, which only made him feel worse. It felt strange to identify with Punchinello - the character - but, eventually, he realized that he was indeed worthwhile and not someone to be wasted. I carried a lot of that book’s images and words with me through school and, more importantly, to this day.

I would normally feel strange on a day like this, but I don’t for some reason. I often feel like I’m not worth much to the people around me, and at times, it’s more glaring than others. But today, I did not feel that way. I found some higher level of self-worth today that I didn’t expect, and it made me feel like I was finally special for some reason. And then I read that book again. Sometimes you just can’t help other people as badly as you want to, and they just need to figure out whatever makes them happy by themselves. People need to figure out how special they are on their own, and us telling them that they are just won’t do anything. Maybe you aren’t what they need or what they want. Whether you’re meant to be in their life at some point or not, you need to hold yourself above all else to preserve your health. People may not come around, so it’s better you value yourself and realize how special and valuable you are instead.