Hi all, thanks for asking me to write a bit about myself!
I was born in 1994 with microbial on both sides a.k.a. bilateral atresia. I then had a hearing band until the age of 4 when I got a bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA).
I grew up and never really questioned it or being different from other kids. That was until I entered my teenage years and really wanted to fit in.
I had long hair for at least 12 years from primary school until 6 months ago. It was pretty much a mask that allowed me to belong and be like everyone else.
You couldn’t see my ears, so they didn’t ‘exist’.
Pretty much everyone around me encouraged me to keep my hair long. ‘You can’t see it anyway’, ‘you don’t look any different’ – but every time I hear that, it sent me a message that I had to cover up my ‘ugliness’.
So on January 2nd 2017, I decided to shave it all off. Down to grade 1. I remember the hairdresser with tattoos all over tell me casually, ‘It suits you really well’. I felt amazing. And I haven’t looked back since.
I’m a lot more confident, I feel much freer, I feel much more myself – I’m proud to be a gay man with Microtia. I’m actually living as the true Oli.
It’s the first time I’ve felt so comfortable in my own skin. I wouldn’t trade the feeling for anything.
I started going to the gym, have done nude modelling on several occasions, have worked at Dior and Coach, and I am creating my own fashion brand.
If you’re reading this, and you have Microtia, be strong. At times you’ll hate yourself and you’ll wonder why this had happened to you. But remember, even the most confident people have their own insecurities. You are beautiful just how you are. You, like everyone else, have a true purpose and your ears won’t affect that. Believe in yourself and in your beauty. Because when you do, you’ll be unstoppable.