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God Made You Perfect Just as You Are

bent palm tree

Growing up I wanted to be a beautiful, popular person. Pretty girls and handsome boys got more attention, had more friends, were invited to more parties, and had more fun. It seemed those who were born good-looking were more important. That is what society, television, and movies led me to believe. But I was not pretty.

To make matters worse, it was tough growing up and not fitting into the mold of how I was supposed to dress as a girl. All my life I shied away from wearing dresses and skirts and girly shoes. Ribbons, bows, lace, and frill did not feel right on me. I did not want to be Miss America or have my hair curled.

Until graduate school, I was a below-average student in a world where getting A’s was valued so highly. Reading was not easy for me. Studying was not enjoyable. Mathematics beyond the basics was as confusing as a foreign language. I had no comprehension of chemistry or physics, and spelling, grammar, and writing were some of my worst subjects. The thought of taking an exam or having to dissect a poor little frog, much less a cat, made me cringe.

I was not attracted to boys, and I did not want a house with a white picket fence. I felt uncomfortable being programmed to value finding a husband, having kids, being a good wife, and doing what I was told. Who I was supposed to be, according to society, religion, and my peers, did not come close to who I really was.

How was I going to survive in a world where I stuck out so much?

I was not beautiful. But I did take a dying chrysanthemum from my aunt’s porch and replant it next to her driveway, where it thrived for many years. While on vacation with my family, rather than poke around a roadside trinket shop, I spent time giving water to a donkey tied up in the hot sun.

I was not a girly girl waiting to meet Prince Charming. But as a little girl I asked my mom to buy shoes for a shoeless classmate, and I asked my dad for baseball equipment for the children at the orphanage.

I was not a super brain. But I loved animals, flowers, the outdoors, and sports. Endless fantasies of being a superhero, defending the planet from evil villains bent on world domination, came more naturally to me. As a superhero, I would bring an extra sandwich to school for a friend who did not bring a lunch, rescue earthworms from the hot sun, take moths out of spider webs, and dry off little birds after they were caught in torrential thunderstorms.

Today I acknowledge growing up I did not stick out at all. Born an average-looking, conventional, learning-challenged, jeans-wearing, gay tomboy, I was only uncomfortable being me, as billions of us are. I too was brainwashed into believing I was not good enough unless I lived up to other people’s ideals and values.

Regardless of how hard I tried to fit the idea other people had for me, I failed—until one day I realized I am not meant to live another person’s life. I am only meant to live mine. That is the day I became free to simply be me.

You were made to simply be you too. You are intended to be different than anyone else ever born before or ever again. You are alive to offer something unique that only you can.

I promise there is no feeling you will ever have that is as satisfying as the self-love and self-respect you receive from embracing your individuality. What other people think of you is not important. What you think of you is. For your happiness, fulfillment and peace you must grow in the direction you were meant to so you are proud of the life you create.