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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wells chapter.

I was a kid that enjoyed playing with Barbie dolls and dinosaur toys very often. I wasn’t much of a person who liked the color pink, but rather the color blue. I never really knew why there was such a big deal with what colors kids wore or the toys they played with; at least until I got older. Throughout the beginning of middle school, I was drawn to simply wear what other girls wore, which consisted of skirts, tank tops, t-shirts, blouses, and so on. Younger me thought nothing of it, until the obsession to be like the other girls began to affect how I viewed myself.

I started bleaching my hair at the age of ten, simply because I saw my parents doing it. I thought my hair looked cool being a yellowish blonde color, and again, thought nothing of it. Then came the chemical straighteners. These chemicals totally destroyed my curls and made them dry and brittle; the thing was that I thought that was a good result at the time. Being at a predominantly white school made me think that my curls were ugly, because the prettiest girls had straight hair. And so, one of the solutions was to make my hair straight like everyone else. When that didn’t work, I shut down.

 I shaved the sides of my head (which looked absolutely horrendous,) and started wearing whatever I wanted. If I was invisible to other people, then it would make no sense to abide by standard societal rules. What also came around was the fact that I avoided anything remotely feminine for years. I didn’t want to be seen as any of the ‘girly girls’, because that was an image I thought I could never fit into. I continued to spiral down this path of thinking I would never look good enough for anyone. I avoided showing my body. For the remainder of middle school and the beginning of highschool, I wore sweatshirts, pants, maybe even a loose fitting t-shirt if I was lucky. I didn’t take care of my hair; I just put it in a ponytail that would sometimes stay up for days until it created dreads that my stepfather had to comb out. I didn’t admit it at the time, but my self esteem was below the ground.

Although in my senior year I began to experiment with my appearance, college was when I really started to change. I finally brought myself to wear feminine things again, along with a more masculine attire on some days. During quarantine, I shaved the sides of my head again after growing it out since sophomore year in high school. I finally put all that makeup I got from years of Christmas presents to good use. Hell, I even bought myself a binder and did drag! For the first time in my life, I felt comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t want to follow any rules for how to present myself, I just wanted to do my own thing. Little by little, I found a little bit more confidence in looking at myself in a mirror. Sometimes I look back at when I was in middle school, and I feel sad. I hated that I was so worried about gaining the approval from other people that I hid myself from the world to avoid being noticed for being different compared to the general crowd.

I still have my body image issues, but I try not to let that control me. I’ve accepted the fact that not everyone will agree with how I choose to look, but I also know that how I look is none of their damn business.

I’m currently a Junior working towards a Visual Arts degree! I enjoy creating things that are eerie; whether it comes in the form of writing or an art piece. I also like to research things, particularly about some sort of history, theory, practice, or health science on some occasions.