"A Bad Case of Stripes" is a true piece of literature coming to you straight from the 90's, and will make you feel so nostalgic it hurts. David Shannon is a well-known children's author who embeds real life issues into classic, lighthearted stories. If you’ve never heard of the children’s story “A Bad Case of Stripes,” please enjoy Lord of the Rings actor Sean Austin reading it. For those of you who have had the pleasure of reading such an amazing piece of literature, please continue.

Essentially, the story is about a girl named Camilla Cream who refused to eat lima beans – even though she loves them – because she doesn’t want to be picked on. This led to a rainbow of stripes covering her skin. Eventually young Camilla learns that eating lima beans is the only cure so she gives into temptation.

“A Bad Case of Stripes” changed my life. As a young child, I assumed that the moral of the story was to eat lima beans. So naturally I ate all the beans I could get my hands on to cover all of my bases. If lima beans saved Camilla, then this magical fruit would save my sorry butt. I never refused to eat beans with any meal and with any food. It was my very own secret sauce, until one day I realized that the moral of the story had nothing to do with what types of beans you ate or how many of them you could eat. It was all a metaphor.

It didn’t happen all at once, but at some point I finally realized what “A Bad Case of Stripes” was trying to teach me. It was trying to teach us that it’s okay to be different. Being different is what makes us who we are. I personally always struggled with fitting in. I was always taller and curvier than the other girls in my class, which made me feel ugly. It didn’t help that the guys gave me the nickname “thunder thighs” (which I now fully accept with wide, open arms). That’s not the case now.

Of course, I still struggle with body image and image in general. But whenever I’m feeling down, I just remember this story. I remind myself that it’s okay to be different; that I should embrace my differences. We should all embrace our differences. Just because someone does something different from you or does something you don’t agree with, doesn’t make them stupid. Society has made it the norm to downplay individualism, and it is about time we take it back.

"A Bad Case of Stripes" paved the way for doing you and saying f***k the haters. Just remember that everyone is different. I’m tall, curvy, loud, independent and insanely stubborn. These are qualities that I once tried to alter. Now, I embrace them fully. Qualities that I once cringed at are the qualities that make me the most beautiful. I am me, and you are you. Never forget that we are all different, and that’s what makes us all so beautiful.