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Amber is perfect. Brought into existence under predetermined circumstances in a cold little test tube; there was no chance of error. Carefully her mother generated a list comprised of all the traits that would be admirable to even the most cynical of judges; although a hefty bill, the outcome created a jewel with glittering genes arranged exactly as prescribed: blue eyes, blonde hair, pageant smile, china doll skin, an acceptable nose, delicate hands, rosy cheeks, average height and weight, Cinderella feet, ears to withstand flashy jewelry, long eyelashes, gorgeous curls, curvaceous hips, prominent femininity, a Barbie doll resemblance, grace, poise, beauty, passion, persistence, talent, humility, generosity, humor, friendliness, strength, eloquence, and dignity. Destined to win, designed to impress, and determined to make her mother proud.
Eventually Amber grew up and succeeded all expectations, moving through the ranks of the pageant world. For years, under her mother’s guidance, Amber perfected her perfection and used her heredity to her advantage on stage. Glowing under the lights, her beauty was radiant, her talents superior, and her poise and eloquence mastered. However, today her enhanced DNA would seem trivial when compared to many of the natural beauties anticipating the crown. In her hotel room, her mother prepared her to face the coming circumstances that would keep her from her prized prey. “Judges are very shallow at this level,” her mother reminded her, “your looks have to be on point.”
Kangaroos leaped in Amber’s chest, pulsing against her fingertips as she held them close to her heart, “Of course…and they always are.”
Lifting Amber’s hair off of her shoulders, her mother added volume to her luscious curls with help from various dangerous looking contraptions and smelly hair products.
“Mom,” Amber mused, watching her mother curiously, “what would you have done with a boy?”
“Nothing, that’s why we didn’t have a boy,” she replied, letting out a boisterous laugh.
“Oh…” Amber responded softly, “I was just…thinking…about how I was born and…well…I could’ve been a boy…”
“Potentially.” Quietly she set down her “fairy godmother wand” and unplugged it from the wall.
“Right…” Amber murmured, thinking of her mother’s words, “does that mean that if I had been a boy…”
Sighing, her mother looked into the depths of her daughter’s pure blue eyes. “Truthfully, you were going to be a boy, Amber, but we could make you whatever we wanted; so we did.”
Understanding lit in her gaze as suddenly everything became clear to her. Visions of her life flashed before her eyes, and it suddenly didn’t feel normal to be created like she had been anymore. Why did her mother change her? X-rays breaking under the surface of her skin made her feel naked and exposed for who she really was; a fake. Zipping her mouth shut, she closed her fake eyes and breathed a fake breath, with her mind clouding with one thought; her whole life had been a lie.
A scream erupted from her lips, “Mother, my whole life you’ve poisoned my entire self-concept with what you wanted me to believe! But I’m not your dress up doll. Can’t you see that?”
Distance separates them as her mother stood away from her creation, not recognizing her new, rebellious words. “Everything I did for you was so that you could be successful and happy!” she argued.
For once, she didn’t agree with her. “Give it up, mom. How can you stand there and continue lying to me like that? I know the real reason you changed me; you couldn’t love me as a boy. Just admit it!”
Keeping her eyes level and her posture tall, her pageant mom came out in her. “Listen, Amber, I wanted a better life for you. More than enough money was spent on your behalf between you father and I, but if that isn’t enough to convince you how much I care about giving you the best, than I don’t know what is.”
“No, it’s not; if you loved me, than you wouldn’t have been embarrassed by me,” Amber insisted.
“Oh Amber, would you please let this go? Please, we can fight about this later, but we’re running short on time,” her mother begged.
“Quit acting like this isn’t a big deal! Remaking every part of my identity is not okay, and I don’t know why I’ve accepted it all this time. So go find yourself another perfect pageant girl to fulfill your twisted childhood dreams!” Amber cried. Tears flooded down her cheeks, smudging her mascara under her eyes. Utter fury filled her entire body as she darted out of the room, refusing to look back.
Various emotions were swirling in her mind; anger, shame regret, and confusion among the most common. Who was she anymore? XX or XY?
“Zero…” Amber decided, “I don’t know what I am, but whoever I really am is not enough to please my mother, so I am worthless, and I am nothing.”