A dark, hunched figure creeps through the pitch black and lonely streets at night. It hides its face from the cruel sleepless crowds that stay forever awake in his mind, taunting, and laughing at the creature, whose hopes and dreams have been forgotten in its hopelessness and humiliation. This monster hides in fear of the unforgiving judgment of a society who can only accept the strange if it is beautiful, but this figure that crawls through the streets in quiet fear and desperation—whose only desire is to remain unseen—is ugly, down to the bone. His looks have no poetry, no romantic words will ever be used to describe his gaunt and sallow face, he is lonely in his malice, for he is not good, he can never—he shall never—be loved. He cowers in fear when faced with this cold, cold world. He caves in on his shame, he is merely an observer to the spectacle of life, and he can neither appreciate it nor join in the colorful side, for he is gray, worn, and bitter. I call him Shame, and I walk with him every day, he is always there when people stare curiously, as if they are laughing at me. Is there something on my face? Why are you laughing? Shame made me feel uncomfortable in my own skin, and I let it define me, so now I’m left bitter because of all the sadness and anger, and I’m scared of going out in the world because I’m ashamed of myself.

—By Carolina A., 17, Brazil