Accepting Myself Was Worth The Pain

Fighting To Be Comfortable With Who I Really Am Was Worth The Pain

Gender identity is a highly debated topic: are gender and sex the same thing? In my eyes, they aren't. I was born female, yet my gender identity is fluid.

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For a majority of my life, I've struggled with my gender identity. It's a long story of uncertainty and fear — eventually came happiness and a sense of pride.

My story begins in the eighth grade: the first time I ever learned the word about the term "transgender" was on Tumblr. I found some people on the site who identified as such, watched their YouTube videos, and came to the conclusion: I was trans.

I grew up fearful of what people would say — that I was a freak, or going to Hell. I was scared to come out to my parents: would they kick me out and shun me, as other kids had experienced?

The rest of high school is hazy — I was forced to live with my given name and the pronouns I didn't choose. I struggled to fit in. I dressed in a lot of black, my hair was shaggy and hid my face.

Somewhere along my junior year, I mustered the courage to tell a few friends about my new name and asked to go by he/him pronouns. I eventually told my mom how I felt, but she was resistant at first. She didn't understand what any of it meant — and although I was willing to educate her, she didn't go for it.

Online, people were calling me by the name I picked, I even introduced myself as such, and people were using the pronouns I wanted. They were small, yet successful, steps. I went through another "crisis" a few months later; I suddenly hated being called by masculine pronouns and I couldn't stand being called the name I chose.

I began questioning everything I was once certain of. I was so set on my name, and un-coming out to the few friends I made online was awkward, and I didn't mind the few friends who still called me by the name I picked. Yet I was facing this new anxiety of not having an identity.

I found exactly what I was looking for when I wasn't looking for it. I wasn't researching or watching videos on YouTube -- I wasn't trying to define who I was. I just let it happen. Why should I try to label myself, especially when I wasn't sure of who or what I was?

When I was a senior in high school, I came out as "gender-fluid", which essentially means that my identity is on a spectrum: some days I am more masculine, other days I am more feminine, and occasionally I am neither.

I was proud of my identity, and that I was finally living truthfully.

I grew to learn that clothes have no gender; tee-shirts are tee-shirts, jeans are jeans -- why does it matter if the jeans I buy are from the men's section? They're comfier and have better pockets! Men's tee-shirts are broader across the shoulders and fit me better!

I started wearing whatever was comfortable for me in whatever fashion I wanted. I got a proper binder to conceal my chest; I kept getting my hair cut short because that's how I like it. Sometimes I get referred to as "sir", other times "ma'am", and I don't mind it anymore. It made my heart race and made me feel awkward, but now both are equally as comfortable for me.

I struggled with my identity for a better part of my life. I was fearful of being judged and rejected by my family and by my schoolmates. When I finally took the leap and came out, I was surprised by the love and support I was given by my friends. My parents were just happy I was happy.

When I started being honest with myself, I became happier too.

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20 Rules Of A Southern Belle

It is more than just biscuits and grits.
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These unwritten rules separate the people that move to the South and were born and raised in the South. If you were born and raised in a small southern town, you either are a southern belle or hope you get to marry one. Their southern charm is hard to dislike and impossible to be taught.

1. Adults are to be answered with "Yes ma’am" and "Yes sir."

Whether it’s your parents, grandparents, or the person that checks you out at the grocery store, always say yes ma’am.

2. Always write a thank you note.

For any and everything. No gesture is too small.

3. Expect a gentleman to hold the door open and pull out your chair.

Chivalry is not dead; you just need to find the right guy.

4. All tea is sweet.

Below the Mason-Dixon Line, tea is made no other way.

5. Don’t be afraid to cook with butter.

I’ve never met a good cook that didn’t giggle a little.

6. “Coke” refers to all sodas.

Here in the south, this means all types of sodas.

7. Pearls go with anything — literally anything

And every southern belle is bound to have at least one good set.

8. "If it’s not moving, monogram it."

9. Pastels are always in fashion.

And they look good on almost everyone.

10. And so is Lilly Pulitzer.

11. Curls, curls and more curls.

The bigger the hair, the closer to Jesus.

12. If you are wearing sandals, your toenails should be done.

13. Never ever ever wear white shoes, pants, dresses, or purses after Labor Day or before Easter.

Brides are the only exception. Yes we actually do follow this rule.

14. Never leave the house without lipstick.

A little mascara and lipstick can work miracles.

15. Always wear white when you walk down the aisle.

Weddings are taken very seriously here in the South, and they should be nothing but traditional.

16. Southern weddings should always be big.

The more bridesmaids the better.

17. Saturdays in the fall are reserved for college football.

Whether you spend it tailgating in that college town or watching the big game from your living room. You can guarantee that all southerner’s eyes will be glued to the game.

18. Sunday is for Jesus and resting.

19. Learn how to take compliments curiously.

20. Have class, always.

Cover Image Credit: Daily Mail

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It's 2019, And I Can Confirm One Size Does Not Fit All, At All

I'll take feeling good over meeting your standards. Thank you.

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We live in a society where being yourself and expressing who you truly are is something that is becoming more and more accepted and is actually trendy. Left and right, people are coming forward and declaring who they are and want to be in life and there is a crowd of people there to cheer them on.

There is also always that small percent sitting in the corner, ready to throw derogatory comments and taint the self-love, respect, and acceptance that's flowing.

Every single time this happens, the internet breaks and feuds form in the comment sections. How many times does this fight have to be had before people just mind their own business? How someone looks is frankly none of your concern. Whether you think the person is too fat, too skinny, too girly, too rough, too whatever, it's none of your business.

I'm a firm believer that one should focus on their own life instead of living to tear others down. You should be more concerned with feeling good in your own body than wasting your energy trying to make people ashamed of theirs. It's not your place to comment on someone's appearance.

We should work on building up confidence and feeling good in our skin. Exercising, working on your mental health, and surrounding yourself with good energy will improve your life exponentially. DO NOT do this to achieve an aesthetic or try to look like an Instagram model. Only do it to feel good about yourself internally. What you look like on the outside should only matter to you.

I would be lying if I said I didn't fall victim to countless beautiful women who post their swimsuit photos looking like they stepped out of Vogue magazine. I would be lying if I said I didn't struggle with my own body image and have to remind myself daily that it's okay to not fit their mold. I won't lie to you. We live in a world that feels the need to comment on every inch of our skin rather than focus on more important issues. Shut off the noise and ignore the words that are given in hate. You have better things to do than focus on their negativity.

Make your own mold.

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