When I was 16 years old, I was having a very difficult time in my life. I was kicked out of my house and had to live with "friends". I dropped out of school so that I could work enough to buy food. I was being abused verbally, physically, and emotionally by several people in my life. I started counting days, then weeks, and then months since someone had said something nice to me. I would have given anything to hear a complement. Pretty soon, I started believing all of the crappy things that were being said to me and about me. There were two people in my life at this time that asked me every day why I didn't just kill myself. I started wondering the same thing. I started to think about how I would kill myself. I didn't want to do anything that would leave a mess or make anyone else hate me. I wished that I could afford a beautiful dress that I could wear when I died. That way, when I was found, people would say something nice about me. I finally decided that I would just swim as far as I could out into the ocean at night. As I was getting ready to carry out this plan, I felt like I was at the mercy of the world. I lost all hope. I couldn't feel joy. I didn't have any emotions. One night, I was waiting the table of a middle-aged woman. She ordered a coffee, but didn't say anything else to me. Even without conversation, I felt some sort of connection to her. When I looked into her eyes, I didn't feel like I needed to immediately look away. I didn't feel judged. When she left, I went to clean up her table. She left me a note written on a napkin that read, "I can tell that you are a special person. Thank you for being a part of my life." Before I even finished reading this note, I was sobbing uncontrollably. All I needed was for someone to appreciate some part of me. I just needed to hear something positive about myself. It was like I had won the lottery.