"Michelle, look at the letters again, then turn to me and tell me how to spell your name. You can do it!” my father said encouragingly. I am standing in front of a life-sized cutout of an Indian chief with my name spelled out along his tall frame. I have tears of frustration running down my face, and I am angry because I can’t remember how to spell my darn name, even though it’s right there in front of me. And I can’t figure out why I was given such a silly girl’s name anyway!

I am a multifaceted person, as most folks are. One of my facets is photography, which started from a Polaroid camera gifted to me when I finished eighth grade. In the twenty-five plus years since, it’s become a semi-professional hobby. Light completely changes the character of a photo. The best photos are not taken at high noon or in the dark of night. The photos with the most character are often taken in the moments of twilight: sunrises, sunsets, or not far from it.

From the time I was a little kid I had always felt hatred toward who I was. I felt like a stranger in my own body. My physical body was that of a girl, but I knew inside my heart and soul that I was a boy. My female anatomy was an obstacle I would have to reconstruct before I could feel complete and “at home” within my body. I have begun my journey to reconstruct my life and physical body to match my inner gender.