Katie Katie Atkinson When Katie and I hung out in her teenage bedroom in September 2013,, we talked about lots of things: school, surgeries, her love of art, dancing -- and her not-so-big love for her ears. "I actually had my struggles with dance and actually wanted to quit dancing because, you know, hair tied back in a ponytail, in a bun. " Flash forward a year to August 2013, and Katie was over that, and made a very public declaration on Facebook. * * * I have Treacher Collins Syndrome, I have a cleft palate, and I have microtia- which basically means my ears didn't fully develop. I used to hate my ears, I used to be so upset because I wanted to get them pierced like all the other girls. I used to long for ears that I could actually listen to music normally with. I constantly feel like covering my face with my hair, and until now, I've never had a photo of myself with my ears totally exposed, let alone my hair just being in a ponytail. I'm tired of feeling ashamed of my ears, just because they look different. As much as some days they make me want to crawl into a hole, they've also made me stronger. I want to celebrate that, I want to celebrate the fact that I'm unique, I want to celebrate the fact that I've made so many beautiful friendships and that I have a whole family because of my syndrome. So I'm done. I'm done with people telling me I'm not good enough just because of the way I look. I'm done with strangers on the street pointing and staring. I'm done with the name calling and the negativity. I'm done with feeling like it's my fault I was born the way I was, but because of all the love and support I'm so blessed to have, I now know it isn't. Really, this post isn't for me at all, This is for my beautiful friends from AboutFace, who continually give me the love and support that I could not live without. They are the most hilarious, wise, generous, kind-hearted, and intelligent people you will ever have the honour to meet. But they are also the people who go through so much crap that no one should ever have to go through just because they're different. And I'm sooo very done with that. Let's make different a good thing. Heck, let's make it a great thing. Let's celebrate it.