B E E N  T H E R E:  D O I N G   I T   M Y   W A Y

Keshia Hall

"Everyone deserves and needs love."

Teen Editorial Board member interviews herself!

May 1999

Keshia believes "150%" that everyone is equal. That doesn't mean we're all the same, but our differences shouldn't keep us apart. The problem, as she sees it, is that people judge others too much by outside appearances. Keshia lives her believes by the way she treats other. She knows we need not only to tolerate, but to accept. Only then can the world be a better place for everyone in it.

Which Is Which?

What if everyone did what was right for them,

Instead of following the crowd?

Or is it better to keep your thoughts to yourself,

Rather than be thought of as different?

What if you were liked for being who you are?

Or is it better to be like everyone else?

What if there were no labels,

such as "weird" or "cool"?

And who decides which is which?

What if no one stepped out and risked being different?

Would the Earth still be flat?

Were Einstein and Harriet Tubman "normal"?

Or is it the abnormal who do abnormally great things?

Was Hitler "normal" for extinguishing the different?

Or was Hitler cruel for wanting everyone the same?

What if we all became doctors?

Who would fix the plumbing?

Is one athletic brand right or wrong?

Or is it a matter of preference?

So is it "cool" to be "normal"?

Or "cool" to be "weird"?

And who decides which is which?

by Keshia Hall

The InSite: Where did your strong sense of right and wrong come from?

Keshia: I would have to say that it came from my parents and growing up in church.

TI: Do you have someone who is your role model?

Keshia: I don't really have any one person as a role model. It's more of the standard of right and wrong that I have been brought up with that I try to live up to. I stand up for what I believe is right.

TI: And other people must see that, so that makes you a role model!

Keshia: [I guess.] It is a great feeling to know that you are making a difference in other peoples' lives as well as your own.

TI: Can you give us an example of what it means to stand up for what you believe in and what's happened when you've done that?

I stick up for someone who people are being cruel to.

Keshia: I stick up for someone who people are being cruel to. Or when I have been shopping with a friend and he or she slipped something into their pocket without paying for it. I'll usually just tell them to stop it, or that I won't be around them while they are doing these things. At first it really annoyed my friends. They called me 'Little Miss Morality.' But now they are pretty used to the fact that this is who I am. On a few occasions, I have had to stop hanging out with some of the people because they wouldn't stop trying to get me to go against my morals. But it was no big loss. I have made better friends as a result.

TI: Friends who share your moral values?

Keshia: Right!

TI: Sounds like the kids who were shoplifting weren't listening to their Inner Voices. What advice would you give other teens who have that problem?

Keshia: Sometimes it is hard to hear your Inner Voice. There isn't always a straight black and white answer, sometimes there are shades of gray. [I'd say you should] use your better judgment to figure out what is right, and then run with that. If you go with what you know to be right, other people might not appreciate it, but that's because you are making them feel guilty for what they are doing. You will gain much more self-respect [if you do what you know is right.] And even though they might not like the stand you're taking, others will respect you much more, too.

TI: But there are times when a kid knows that the stuff they're being asked to do is wrong, but the peer pressure is very strong to do it anyway. How have you avoided peer pressure to go against what you know is right?

I simply tell him or her that I won't do it.
And then I walk away.

Keshia: By just walking away. When I am with someone who wants to do something that I know isn't right, I simply tell him or her that I won't do it. And then I walk away.

TI: How have you been able to affect the lives of others by being who you are?

Keshia: There was this girl at my church whom everyone considered a freak because of her make-up and the way she dressed. No one even gave her a chance. I wanted to dig deeper because I was sure there was a person [worth knowing] in there somewhere. It turns out she was a really great person with a lot of problems. Her parents were divorced and her mom was making her raise her little sister on her own. Around the time when we met, her mom was threatening to kick her out. She was on the verge of suicide and I was the first sympathetic shoulder she had found. She is doing a lot better [now.] We're very close friends. She's a really lovable person . . . with questionable taste in make-up. (Just kidding!)

TI: What do you want to do with your life?

Keshia: My goal is to reach people in what ever way I can. If each person reaches someone and they help someone else, then I am absolutely sure that we can change the world!

My goal is to reach people in whatever way I can. If each person reaches someone and they help someone else, than I am absolutely sure that we can change the world! 

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