As a teenager，I felt I was always letting people down. I was rebellious1 out－side，but I wanted to be liked inside.
Once I left home to hitch-hike2 to California with my friend Penelope. The trip wasn’t easy，and there were many times I didn’t feel safe. One situation in particular kept me grateful to still be alive. When I returned home，I was different，not so outwardly sure of myself.
I was happy to be home. But then I noticed that Penelope，who was staying with us，was wearing my clothes. And my family seemed to like her better than me. I wondered if I would be missed if I weren’t there. I told my mom，and she explained that though Penelope was a lovely girl，no one could replace me. I pointed out，“She is more patient and is neater than I have ever been.” My mom said these were wonderful qualities，but I was the only person who could fill my role. She made me realize that even with my faults—and there were many－I was a loved member of the family who couldn’t be replaced.
I became a searcher，wanting to find out who I was and what made me unique. My view of myself was changing. I wanted a solid base to start from. I started to resist3 pressure to act in ways that I didn’t like any more，and I was delighted by who I really was. I came to feel much more sure that no one can ever take my place.
Each of us holds a unique place in the world. You are special，no matter what others say or what you may think. So forget about being replaced. You can’t be.