Not many people have the gift of feeling comfortable in their own skin. For years I didn't feel comfortable with the way I looked. As a child, I had long hair and wore clothes that I didn't always want to wear. Sometimes I had the freedom of wearing basketball shorts and a t-shirt, but on the other hand I was also told I looked like a boy and needed to dress more like a girl. I'm nineteen now and this is still something I hear a few times a year.

In eighth grade I cut my hair short after years of wanting to cut it all off. After begging my mom, I had finally convinced her to let me get my hair cut like Sainthood era Sara Quin. My hair was long on one side and short on the other with some weird shit going on in the back. Unfortunately, I was in eighth grade and had only worn my hair in a ponytail up to that point so I didn't really style my hair much then so it was kind of a disaster looking back. Having my haircut was the best feeling ever, I finally felt free for the first time in my life. I knew at that time that if I got my Sara Quin haircut that eventually my mom would let me get it cut shorter; I just had to compromise in the meantime.

Sometime in high school, I got the rest of my hair cut off. Still, even now, it's not as short as I would like it to be because of "good 'ol family values" but that's another story for another day. I haven't become truly comfortable with myself until the past year and a half. I turned 18 and started getting tattoos. Tattoos were something that I have wanted for years and once I was old enough to get them, I haven't stopped getting them. In a little over a year, I have gotten 13 tattoos.

Clothes, hair, and tattoos are all an important part of the way I present myself. They are my identity through and through. I've always been told that my identity is who I am on the inside, the person I create and show to people and that it is not the physical representation that I show people. Honestly, I totally disagree with this. The first thing people see is the physical representation of me and my body so why not make it an awesome first impression?

I still have a few things left to do to be completely comfortable with myself and my body but I'm on the right track. I have come a long way in my life and I am so proud of the fact that I am actually happy with the way I look now. Obviously, I still want shorter hair, more tattoos, and a few other things done in order to be fully happy with myself. When I look in the mirror now, I see someone that is living their life, someone who is doing things. I no longer see a blank canvas or one that needs to be painted; I see a canvas that is almost a fully complete work of art. My body is a work of art and it is one that will never be done but I am so happy that I get to create this piece of art.