I don't think I've ever realized how long it took me to fully be OK with myself.
I always knew I wasn't like the rest of my family and friends.
While they preferred to go outside and play, I preferred to stay inside and read a good book or two.
Everyone else made fun of me because I wanted to be a Chef while my cousins wanted to be Princesses when they grew up. Even now, my career choice still seems bizarre to them.
Forensic Anthropology? What is that? Why would she want to study that? Do something else. It's gross.
For a long time, I really did try to study something else, but everything I thought of would get shot down immediately.
I could never fit into the mold that my family had made for all of us, I was the black sheep of the family and I hated every second of it.
I hated being different and being made fun of. I despised the way the extended family would spit words of disappointment at my face while they praised everyone else.
Not only did I start to hate my career choice, but I started to hate myself.
After all, if you can't beat them, join them right?
Everything changed Christmas night, the day my entire family was over for dinner, and I was sitting in the living room, wearing a dress with a full face of makeup and curled hair.
My aunt came up to me and told me that I finally looked like I belonged in this family, and even though her words were kind, they held a double meaning to them.
I spent the entire dinner feeling awkward and out of place even though I technically fit in.
That was the day I realized that I would much rather be in jeans and a nice shirt than be in a sparkly dress while trying to make everyone else happy, except for me.
That was the day I realized that I'm OK with being the Black Sheep of the Family.
I'm OK with having different goals and expectations, none of that makes me less of a person than anyone else.
I'm OK with not following the norm and being able to march to the beat of my own drum. I love my career, no matter how difficult it may be, including all of the different opportunities I'll have because of it.
I wouldn't dream of changing who I am for anything in the world.
It's taken me a long time to finally mold myself into something I love, and when you love something, you cherish it forever.