I had a rough start at life. I was a “goth” in high school—I had long black hair, only wore black clothes, listened to heavy metal—you get the picture. I was born in South America and, at 6’2”, I was also by far the tallest of any of my classmates. People thought I did drugs or that I was into black magic and stuff. Making friends was hard for me because I was very shy and guarded and there weren’t many people willing to break through my exterior to find that I was just a harmless kid. That still happens: I’ve probably only had three friends my whole life.
My parents thought that I’d grow out of this “phase.” I have three siblings who are very normal, functional people. But I rounded the corner into my early twenties and nothing really changed, except the way that I saw myself. I started internalizing what people had been saying all along—that I was ugly and weird. I lived in a really traditional society and people were not open-minded, so I was bullied constantly. But once I hit puberty, and then my late teens, and then my early twenties, I started becoming obsessed with the fact that girls, specifically, couldn’t get away from me fast enough.
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