In reflection of my 24 years, I have come to endearingly refer to myself as a mongrel, a hybrid of many opposing natures. Adventurous but anxious, competitive but soft, friendly but shy. I spent the first two decades of my life as a female. That version of myself remains a part of me, though I no longer see her when I look in the mirror, her appearance erased by hormones and surgery. She is my effeminacy, my discomfort around men, my affinity for brightly coloured clothes. She is my friendships with women, and my closeness with my mother.

As a child, I loathed all colours associated with girliness. The pink backdrop in the painting conveys my growing appreciation of the feminine side I once rejected, where I now find my compassion, strength, and kindness. Leaning forward in vulnerability, I hug my knees for comfort.

My relationship with the outside world remains tense, as a powerless entity in a population which debates my rights and questions my sanity. Conversely, my gaze suggests a calmness. I am finally at ease with the individual facets of my identity and I embrace their un-orthodoxies.