One man may have taken the adage, “be whoever you want to be,” a little too far when he decided to fulfill his dream of becoming a platypus.
Jenya Bolotov, 26, knew at a young age he was different from his peers. The aspiring designer wanted to change his physical appearance on the outside to match his inside, explaining that it’s what he has "always wanted to be."
“Externally, I am now a platypus," Bolotov said, according to the Daily Mail. "Inside though, I am more like a bird."
“They’re my spirit animal and they come to me in my dreams," he continued. "I love platypus - the way they look and even the word 'platypus' itself. I like the way my stretched face and lips now look like a platypus bill.”
Bolotov spent seven years changing his appearance to look like the duck-billed, egg-laying mammal, according to the Daily Mail. He had eight parts of his face stretched: his ear lobes, nostrils, septum and lips are extended by more than nine-and-a-half inches total.
“I was a very quiet child," he says. "When I was a kid, I felt as if I didn't belong in this world. I felt like it wasn't my world and that I was looking at it as if from outside. I knew that I would have to genuinely change myself and live differently to feel happy."
The graphic designer is the first and only person in the world to have the very top bridge of his nose, the “surna," stretched, the Daily Mail reports.
“All of the modifications I have added to my body make me feel whole," says Bolotov. "This is what I am now. It is what I have always wanted to be."
He says he loves his new “bill,” and his life has not changed much since his transformation. Bolotov can still complete normal, routine activities like eating and talking without challenges, according to the Daily Mirror.
He acknowledges, however, that he does "attract a lot of negative attention" when walking down the street, and "sometimes people make mean comments."
"I’m used to it now though and I just try to ignore them," he says.
Though the human-platypus currently does not have a girlfriend, Bolotov is optimistic that he will find a girlfriend who will accept him for who he is – platypus bill and all.