be unique

‘You will never become anything,’ my doctor said. I was going stone-cold deaf. ‘What now?’: Woman loses hearing to infection, vows ‘deafness will not define me’

“As a young girl, there were signs. I literally danced to my own beat, mispronounced words. I spent years humiliated, called to stand up in front of classmates and speak the language I couldn’t hear. On one test in particular, I completely bombed the oral exam, tears streaming down. ‘I thought you didn’t want to be labeled as different,’ my teacher said. That was the final straw.”

‘It’s not how you look, it’s how you FEEL!’: 8-year-old rocks red ball gown in school pictures, mom can’t argue with her confidence

“‘Click, click, swoosh, swoosh’ was all I heard as my 8-year-old daughter emerged from her bedroom. It was just after 7:30 a.m. – she was wearing silver high heels and a floor-length, red, jeweled, ball gown. My initial thought was, ‘She must think it’s Saturday.’ It was indeed a school-day. Not only that, it was the all-important, everlasting PICTURE DAY! Oh, she knew.”

‘Please, when I wake up, change me into a boy.’ I’d make deals with God and wake up excited. Nothing changed.’: Transgender man finally ‘at peace,’ loves who he sees ‘looking back in the mirror’

“Growing up, there was this football field behind my house. I’d go there and lie down in the middle of the it, looking up at the sky and begging God to strike me with a lightning bolt. And just change me. Change my body. Every day I did this, and woke up sobbing. I didn’t have a word for how I felt. I knew I was attracted to women. But I also knew I felt like a boy trapped in a girl’s body.”

‘How can your mom kiss you with that face?!’ My cysts were so bad they’d literally explode at any time.’: Young woman with Acne Conglobata embraces skin, gave her ‘confidence, resilience’

“I’ve had acne since I was 7. My skin would literally stretch to the point where it would break and stain my clothes, desk, and exams with blood and pus. People treat me like I’m unworthy as a human being. I know now it wasn’t ME that needed to change, it was my environment. My skin condition doesn’t have a cure, but I no longer think it needs one. My acne has made me resilient. And I’m proud of it.”

‘You look like a snake. You’ll never get a boyfriend.’ I made up my mind the whole human race was beautiful, and I was ugly.’: Woman survives 4th degree burns after ‘hide and seek’ game gone wrong, learns to embrace unique beauty

“My friend invited me to a local nightclub. Before I knew it, I was dancing with someone and their hands were rubbing up and down my back. He whispered in my ear, ‘Are you wearing a corset?’ That scared the absolute life out of me. It was my scars, once a gaping hole through my back, and he could feel them through my clothing.”

‘Mom, I’m gay.’ I was crying so loudly. ‘So what? You’re my son. Nothing is going to change.’: Man loses mother to heart attack, wishes he ‘thanked her for her words’

“It was Christmas time. I’d just finished getting my tree and laid down when my brother called. ‘Mom passed.’ Time stopped. Silence. I instantly threw up. The next day, I drove home. The first thing I saw was her pile of presents. She’d wrapped them and when she finished, she sat down and never got up again. I wish I could’ve thanked her, told her how much her words meant to me. I thought I had more time but, out of nowhere, time ran out.”

‘The weird looks. Names. Disgust. Laughter. Violence. I just couldn’t fit in.’: Woman with Congenital Melanocytic Nevus claims ‘beauty is diversity,’ learns to love her ‘endless birthmarks’

“Before I could prove myself, they already knew what they thought of me. Judgement straight away. To be honest, nothing feels more discouraging than not even getting a chance. Over the years, teachers just accepted the bullying. I can’t even remember how many times my parents spoke to the principal, but I’ll always remember him saying, ‘We don’t care.’ I was alone, scared, broken. It was my son that got me through the worst. When everyone else left me alone, he always offered a home to my soul.”

‘You need your husband’s permission.’ I begged. I didn’t feel maternal. I was told I’d ‘change my mind.’: Woman refused sterilization procedure multiple times, ‘they made me feel dirty’

“Every year during my annual exam, I asked to have my ‘tubes tied.’ My doctor always quickly refused. As I aged, I still didn’t want kids and neither did my partner. This time around, I was about to lose my health insurance. I was told the procedure was ‘reserved for women in their 30s or 40s who had at least 2 children.’ As an adult woman, I needed my husband’s blessing to make decisions about MY body. I was stunned.”

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