Content Warning: This piece contains references to self-harm, which may be triggering to some.
When I was little, I dressed in cute dresses. I wore pink skirts and purple shirts. I wore bows in my hair and high ponytails. I looked like any other little girl. I grew up, still wearing cute clothes, but now changing my style to be a little different. I would wear more pants and long sleeve shirts. As I grew older, my style consistently changed. I changed a lot; long hair to short hair. I let it grow, then cut it off again. I tried to look like everyone else, just another face in the crowd of people in the school hallways.
I changed my wardrobe multiple times, from frilly clothes to more t-shirts, and lots of black. Longer sleeves was all I would wear for a little bit. I tried to hide the scars I created myself. My legs would be covered by pants year round, hoping that no one would give me a second glance because there were scratches there too. I tried to hide it, I really did, but eventually I could not anymore. My sleeves fell and everyone could see. The little scratches on my wrists that one would only assume from a quick glance were from a cat. But they had to sit and stare, talking about how much of an attention seeker I must be.
They did not know how much I have to deal with, all of the stuff going on in my head. I try to fit in, I try to love myself, but I just can not. I was told from a young age that I am a girl, I am someone who is supposed to be saved or even that I am supposed to let my feelings out, or I am just seeking attention. But I can’t do that. I am not a girl. I have tried to be, I have tried to show everyone that I can wear the pink dresses, I can have the long hair, that I can be pretty, that someone needs to save me.
I am done being the one that needs to be saved, I am done being the girl wearing pink all the time when I just want to walk around in black all year round. I have tried to fit in, but I guess I was never meant to. If I was meant to blend in, why do I try and not succeed? I am sick and tired of everyone around me telling me I can not be who I want to be. I will show everyone that I am not a damsel in distress, but really a warrior ready for battle, being the first one to march forward to my own drum. I will be what everyone thought I was to scared to be, myself. I will change myself for the better and try to come up with my own way of loving myself.
But now when I look in the mirror, all I see is a little girl who does not quite know what to do. She does not know quite how to feel. I see a broken doll that was once her mother’s play toy, dressing her up and showing her off, telling everyone how pretty she was. But at home she would yell and scream and neglect her daughter. She tried to tell herself that her mom loved her, that this was how she showed it, but it got worse. She started to show her sisters more and more affection than her. She tried to be good, she tried to do all the things her mom asked of her, but everyday was the same. She got yelled at, smacked when she tried to explain herself, and given no food when she did not complete her tasks.
Now when I look in the mirror, I see a broken doll, with glazed over eyes that have cried so much that it seems that’s all she did. This time the doll is a bit bigger now, it shows the shorter hair I have. It shows the cuts on her wrists and thick crimson liquid running down her hands. It shows a girl that used to hide in her room when her parents were in the living room screaming at the top of their lungs. It shows a girl who despite all the loving people around her, she still did not have anyone to talk to. It shows a girl who despite the loving aunt and cousins she had, the only way to feel better was to cut. She used to lock herself in the bathroom, she used to dig into her skin with that little silver blade. That was the only way she could ever feel better. Despite a loving boyfriend that told her she could tell him anything, she decided to chain herself to doing the only thing she thought would make her feel better.
When I look in the mirror, I now see a boy who loves himself. I see a boy that is not afraid to tell someone how he feels. I see a boy that has a small group of really close friends that, despite his past, they stay with him. I see a boy with a loving girlfriend that has stuck with him throughout his transition. I see a boy with bright eyes and a big smile. I see a boy who, despite the light scars, wears short sleeves and shorts.
When I look in the mirror, I want to see that boy staring back at me. When I look into the mirror, I want to be able to tell myself “hey, I did it. I was able to overcome what I did, I was able to find people who loved me for me. I was able to find someone that despite all of my mistakes is willing to stay right by my side. I finally found the key to loving myself, and even if no one else accepts me, I always will because I finally found the me inside me.”