My life has been shaped by one question: what’s wrong with me? Because of this, my thoughts often dance between what should have been and what ought to be — who I am and who I want to be.

You see, I have been under attack for as long as I can remember. Carefully crafted attacks aimed at keeping me from seeing who I really am.

But before I get too far into all that, I want to start from the beginning — before I realized that I was being attacked, and even before that when I simply wanted to play.

I can’t remember a time that I was free from the bitter curses of this world. I close my eyes, and they are there. Their words have not lost their power. Their probing questions still unanswered. Their ability to hurt me, remains.

I tried in vain to fix who I was. When they made fun of the way I walked, I tried to walk differently. When they mocked the way I talked, I tried to deepen my voice, whispering to myself, “More chest, less nose!”

When they called me faggot, I would retaliate, and after growing weary of the battle, I would simply ignore them.

I longed to be someone else. To not have to carry the burden of different. It was so heavy.

I soon began to pursue perfection. Not because I wanted to, but because it was demanded of me. In my perfection, I would no longer be an embarrassment to my family. In my perfection, no one would make fun of me.

But perfection lied.

Perfection doesn’t exist.

What exists is the pain of pursuing the impossible.

What exists beyond that? The grace of God.

It was by the grace of God that I found a community. Our stories were different but the same. Little by little, God began to reveal the truths about myself. Though hard to accept, I know that who I am is okay. That I am okay. Much of this transformation in my identity is still taking place.

Knowing something is not the same as believing it.

But this is my exodus, and my shoes haven’t worn out yet.

What good things do you like about yourself?

* Photo courtesy kryshen, Creative Commons.