I want you to promise me that you’ll stop comparing yourself to everyone else.’
‘What?’ I broke off the hug, not understanding.
‘You. Evelyn. You’re always like, ‘I wish I coulld be like this’ or ‘I wish I could be more like so-and-so’. You’re obsessed with being normal, but that’s well boring, and you’re extraordinary, Evie. Promise me you’ll stop trying to stop stop being you’.

Charles Francis Adams was singular for mental poise – absence of self-assertion or self-consciousness – the faculty of standing apart without seeming aware that he was alone – a balance of mind and temper that neither challenged nor avoided notice, nor admitted question of superiority or inferiority, of jealousy, of personal motives, from any source, even under great pressure.

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