When I was a kid (and even still actually) I’ve been told to love my body. I grew up in a somewhat religious house and constantly heard the phrase “god made you perfect.” I never thought much of it….until I got to middle school. Middle school was the time of finding yourself and your own style. It’s when we were big enough to pick our own clothing and style….and my style was definitely changing. I had always been a bit of a tomboy but in between seventh and eighth grade I went all out. I took a pair of scizzors to my hair and started dressing in my dads old T-shirts. My mother hated it but me? I loved it. I looked boyish and a bit dorky but cool. I strutted into school feeling like a new person….little did I know not everyone is so friendly about sudden changes in personal expession, especially in middle school. I was imidiatly nick-named ‘gender-not-specified.’ It bothered me a bit. I knew I was a girl. My mother called me her daughter, my family called me she….why would I ever question it? My strut quickly turned into a nervous slouch as people teased and laughed. I became outcasted and ended up a forgotten joke. After a summer of severe depression and an awkward freshman year I was more stable. In order to keep myself on the right path I dressed femaninly. I wore makeup and was very shy which mad everyone me an easy target for manipulative guys. Luckily I only had one bad relationship before learning my lesson. I had to learn to stand up for myself. Sophomore year I started finding myself. I began to dress more masculine again and nervously started voicing my own opinions. It was a great year and I felt that life was finally starting to calm down and run smoothly…..until the end of that summer. Less than a month before school began we took a family trip to England. Unfortunately the combination of jet lag and cigarette smoke made me sick the whole time but it was still an incredible experience with new adventures almost every day. It was the second to last day in England that I took my first shot with my sister (don’t worry it’s legal there) and I was pretty trashed. We went outside and she started talking about her confusing relationship with her boyfriend. I ended up drunkenly admitting I was in love with my best friend…who was a girl, and also that for some reason I wanted to have my breasts surgically removed. Surprisingly my sister wasn’t in he least disgusted by this confession and it gave me the courage to tell my mother about it. (after I sent my best friend a sloppy text asking her to go out with me. She said yes.) My mother was concerned about my strange desire to have a flat chest and sent me to a gender therapist and that’s when I discovered I was transgender. Slowly I realized I didn’t just want a flat chest and a boyish style, I actually wanted to be a man. The puzzle pieces all began to fit together. The more I dressed and acted like a man, the more comfortable and happy I felt with myself. I’m still transitioning, still building my body to be the way I want and it’s paying off. To anyone reading this, don’t take other people’s word for things. They told me I shouldn’t change my body, they told me I’m a girl and that I can’t change that, they told me that I’d regret transitioning into a boy, but don’t take their word for it because they were wrong. God did make me perfect. He put me in a challenging situation to see if I could find the courage to change it, even when others tried to bring me down. Your body is a sculpture, don’t let them sculpt you, you are your own artist, you choose the way you want to be shaped.