My Differences By Max Hakimian (Age 9)

At first sight, I am a regular, brown haired, brown eyed 9-year-old boy. But I have a secret to tell. It is the thing that makes me different and makes me, me. I have a built-in mood meter and thermometer. On my right leg, from hip to toe, I have a birthmark called a port wine stain. The more I move around and the hotter I get, the redder my birthmark becomes. When I am cool and relaxed, it looks much lighter. It makes me unique because I don’t know anyone else with a port wine stain. You might not notice it all the time, but it will always be with me.

My difference affects my life in different ways. I must be a good explainer to be able to tell others about my port wine stain. When I was in Pre-K my teacher nervously called my mom to tell her about a ‘rash’ that was spreading all over my leg. It was really just my birthmark that was getting redder and redder the more we danced around the classroom. After that day, my mom made sure I could always tell anyone that asked “That’s the way I came. It’s just a birthmark”. Now that I am older, I have learned much more about my birthmark and am a much better explainer. My birthmark helps others know how I am feeling. My family can tell if I am happy or angry, hot or cold just by looking at the color of my leg. When I am cool and happy, my birthmark is almost invisible. When I am relaxing, reading my favorite book, you might hardly notice it. When I am hot or angry, it becomes much darker. My birthmark becomes redder and darker the faster and harder I pedal my bicycle.

I also have another special feature. My right leg is longer than my left leg. I use special devices in my shoes to help even out my legs. Without these devices, I would have a big backache, from having a crooked spine. But these secret devices make me taller than I really am. When I go to the amusement park, I can go on rides that are for kids that are taller than me. Those few extra centimeters hiding in my shoes let me on rides I may not be tall enough for if I were barefoot.

I celebrate my difference by being proud of my body. I do not hide my birthmark and am glad to show and tell about it to anyone who asks. I love to run, play sports and ride my bike just like any other 9-year-old. I don’t let it stop me from doing anything. It is important for my readers to remember, that even though I may look a little different, and sometimes I may even limp a little, I can do everything just like any other 9-year-old kid. I don’t want or need to be treated differently than anyone else. I am uniquely me!

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