"UGLY!"

"STUPID!"

"MONKEY!"

"RETARDED!"

"DUMB!"

"IGNORANT!"

"UGLY!"

These are the majority of names I've been called by family, classmates, and strangers my whole life.

Though the sting of constantly being called these names always affects me, during Pride Month is when this affects me the most.

When I want to prove my worth to the LGBTPQA+ community and to the future wife and husband I hope to have. I look in the mirror and see everything that everyone else sees that's wrong with me.

I recall all the times I'm ignorant or have said something stupid. I see how ugly I am. I see how much I look like a monkey. And I cry because I see how my life will be lived alone and unrecognized.

It's not just physical ugliness that plagues my body -- from my hair (my real hair), to my face, to my skin, to my stomach, to my ass, to my thighs, to my feet. But the emotional ugliness that I carry -- my shyness, my introversion, my sensitivity, my clinginess, my bisexuality, my demisexuality, my cynicism. I feel like my purpose was to be a black spot on the world; a reminder to others that no matter how bad or how fucked up your life is; cheer up. You could be ME. You could have to have this face and this body -- listen to people snicker at you as you walk by or endure countless cold shoulders of those you cared about.

I'm hard on myself because I have to be. Because I'm the one sentenced to a life of living with myself and looking at myself every morning when I get up. I can't escape myself. So I have to be hard on myself to turn into someone else. I don't want people to know its me. I want to be completely different. Different look; different attitude; different take on life. Not so I can be LIKED - but so I can be ACCEPTED.

I wish that Pride Month could be a time for me to embrace the parts of me that brings joy.

Instead, its a time for me to agonize over things I wish were different about me.

I'm sure the story of The Ugly Duckling is familiar. A swan ended up being born to a family of ducks. It took him looking at his reflection and seeing that he was the same as the other swans that he figured out where he belonged. Thats how we in the LGBTPQA+ community came about. Born from straight parents then finding each other and showing pride together. Pride shows off everyone's beauty but mine. One day I hope to find my beauty within where I'm supposed to belong as well.