The first time I began to scoot, crawl and walk towards my dreams of accomplishing more than I had dreamed
The first time I began to imagine a world unlike the one I lived in, a utopia where dreams and realities would collide
The first time I felt the connection to my father by picking up a basketball and figuring out what a talent was and how to better myself through them
The first time I found myself racing the boys and beating them making "running like a girl" not so bad
The first time I fell in love with the boy who wouldn't share his blocks with me teaching me boys are a lot of work to win over
The first time I looked at myself in the mirror wondering how I could change for that one boy to like me.
The first time I put on a sweater to hide every single flaw I believed to have, hiding them under bulky clothing hoping no one would notice how fat my arms were or the boobs that did not exist.
The first time I saw a males penis boy pulled his pants down in front of me and told me to "suck his dick"
The first time I hated my father was when he was sent to jail and missed my basketball games for a whole year because he got behind the wheel intoxicated.
The first time I got called my nickname repeatedly and out loud in public as a group of boys chanted "let's go gappy" from the balcony of the basketball court during my basketball game.
The first time I stayed up and cried all night wondering why on Earth I deserved this and why the bullying won't seem to stop.
The first time my friends began to have sex but I was still the weird girl in the group.
The first time I threatened my life because I lived in fear of the cruelness of the outside world
The first time I my mom found me in a dark place in my room and knew that my days were numbered but did everything she could do to keep me in the light.
The first time I really looked at myself in the mirror and told myself I was beautiful.
The first time I took of the sweatshirt, focused on my grades and involvements instead of how others perceived me.
The first time I almost won an election, and learned that failure does not determine what type of person you are, but shows how brave you are for trying anyway.
The first time I won an award for being the most outstanding citizen in my town for the volunteer involvements I had made.
The first time I was happy with myself, and the woman I had become
The first time I thanked all the pain I went through, without it I would not be the young woman I had become.
This is the first, but not the last time, I stand tall, proud and happy, to be me because we are never given a task we can’t overcome.