Growing Up A Guy: My Personal Struggles with Embracing Who I Am!

When I was a child, I never really understood what it meant to be different. I lived my life with the mentality that we were all "different", in that we all have different personalities, however, it didn't register that we as people are thrown together to coexist.

I was exposed early to what we today consider social norms. Girls were feminine, particular and classy. Boys were tough, brash and assertive. As a child, I always struggled to find my place in the mix. Early on, I was recognized by my elders for my vivacious personality, however, I was scrutinized by my peers for my internal qualities that didn't fit their standards of how a boy was supposed to behave. Naturally, I leaned more to my creative side and spent more time exploring the qualities of the crayons in the box, then being outside playing basketball. Unlike many people, I was comfortable with who I was, because I knew that I was always going to have friends, and that people cared about me. However, certain situations as a child growing up triggered me to be defensive when it came to bullying. I always remembered the age old saying, "Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words could never hurt me", and I went on as a child.

It wasn't until high school, when I really started to see that me being different was actually a good thing. The microcosms of my personality started to develop and I started to realize that I was genuinely special. Since  I was younger, I had always gravitated towards girls as my friends, we always seemed to get along better. My favorite TV Show was "That's So Raven", because I could identify more with Raven as a comedian and a kid going through life than other shows. I never developed the strong hormonal sense that many teenage boys get, and I was more reserved when it came to talking about sex. Regardless of everything that went on in my formative years, I was still able to be victorious and achieve great things as a young teenager.

I used to think that fashion was not what I was put on the earth to do. Pressures from family members would make me sway my career choice very often, because fashion wasn't something that boys necessarily did. I can distinctly remember thinking about going into Chemical Engineering, Orthodontics and even Political Science, because those were obvious choices for a man to do as a career. It's funny, I really thought about all that stuff, and yet, Science is my worst subject. As I got serious about sewing and learning the craft, and studying designers, I really saw that fashion was my passion. When people tell me that fashion isn't something that men do, I simply combat them by saying, "I know a male in the fashion industry... Ralph Lauren!"

Many people don't achieve their full potential in life because they don't do what God has aligned for them to do. You can miss your divine purpose in this life if you don't listen and follow the will of God. God wants us all to follow His plan for our lives, because that is truly how you achieve success. As a teenager, I was so afraid of what people thought about me, and what they said about me behind my back. However, once I started to fully submit my life to Christ, those feelings of insecurity all went away, and I am now able to live my life based on God's standards.

My life is mine now, I take everyday and try to make the most of it. When I see something that I like that doesn't align with society, I simply have a "who cares" mentality. Who cares that I love fashion design? Who cares that I carry a Kate Spade Planner? Who cares that I can identify hydrangeas as my favorite flower? The only thing that people should care about is themselves, because that's exactly what I intend to do. Any boy or girl who doesn't feel like society accepts you because of what you love, tell them "Who Cares?"! You can be anything or anyone you want to be, what you love is what you love no matter what people say. Trust me, you won't catch me with a copy of Trucker's Weekly magazine, but PLEASE put me down for an issue of Vogue.

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