This article was written and submitted by sophomore Olivia Gardner. It is a fictional piece.

It started with thoughts and feelings of a different nature, a feeling of misplacement that crowded and confused her. She learned at an early age that what she was feeling was wrong.

She grew up with a Catholic mother, a father in the army, and a severe disposition in the world. She didn’t know who she was.

She spent her time hiding what she wanted, that small urge that grew with the passing years, from a flame to an all-consuming fire. She was tortured by who she wanted to be, and the person her family pushed her to be.

Torn between her love and her sanity she collapsed into herself, and away from others. A mask of hurt covered everything that she thought she had to hide, because she had learned that what she wanted was wrong.

She wanted to be a boy.

This girl was so scared; she would hate herself and ask why she had to be this way. She had no one to turn to, she felt so alone.

Freak. Faggot. Disgusting. She was afraid of everything that had been poured into her ears from the hatred of the world, school was a nightmare, home was a place of despair. She had learned that her hope, her dream of becoming who she wanted to be was something to be repressed, and that was what she tried to do, until her façade started cracking into pieces.

She knew that if she didn’t do something she would lose her sanity, she was on the edge of falling and she knew that if she fell she would never find the strength to get back up. Crying had felt like the only option for her in her removal of the overbearing pressure she felt on her existence, and she cried for so many things.

This girl was something special, she found art, she found humor and she was a light to others in their own darkness; she had too much of herself and the beautiful person she was meant to be inside her and she couldn’t contain it. She let go a little of what she was hiding from the rest of the world.

Her mother was frightened and confused. Her daughter with perfect grades, her talented little girl was different. Her daughter was something that couldn’t be handled. She blamed her daughter for what she was, and how difficult it was going to be for them. How was she going to live the life she had envisioned if she had a daughter who would rather be called Finnian? The fighting began.

Screaming, hatred and bitter tears were lost, the girl was so trapped inside herself all she could do was fight for her freedom, and to be accepted by the one who should love her the most. She hated that she wanted to be who she was, she wished to be anywhere other than where she was, as her mother would close her eyes and the girl would slam her door closed with horrible finality. She hurt herself for the first time and cried for hours afterward.

The solitude the girl had surrounded herself with was beginning to invade her senses, she could find no solace with any peer; her home was a place of hurting. She made a list of everything she wished she could say, and of everything she wished could be true. The entire list was three pages long and she couldn’t find the way to help herself out of the darkness she had felt trapped in.

The girl pressed on the walls that blocked and repressed her and found a light in the friends she had left behind in her past, she found guidance, acceptance, and truth. She felt happier with each long distance text she received from her best friends from middle school, who lived so far away. For the first time in a long time hope was found for the girl who had been so lost, and she found the fire that had burned within her for so long and withdrew the courage to live the life she had been watching happen around her.

The girl showed her mother the list, and with tears that dripped down her face, she explained to her who exactly she was. She had found herself and she was going to be the person she had found, and live the life that she had captured.

She got a therapist, another voice amongst the shouts of recovery from the hurting that had plagued her for so long, which would guide her in life; she joined a group of people who she found to be like her, different, special, right.

It had started with thoughts; enough to spark a fire that would burst into color and beauty, and ignite those around her who had darkness similar to the one she had battled and won.

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