I have felt like an outcast for most of my life, never really fitting in. What I didn’t realize until later in life is that I made myself into the outcast. I didn’t know who I was, and in order to be accepted by others, I became the person I thought they wanted me to be. Because that wasn’t really my true self, my connection to them was based on a false foundation. I unconsciously knew in my heart it was fake and superficial, but didn’t know any other way to be. I was a stilted, internally awkward woman with many faces, ever changing depending on who I was with.
So when parts of the true me showed through (as inevitably happened), they didn’t understand who they were seeing, as I was different from the way I had always been. As also inevitably happened, I became resentful of my self imposed falseness, and I wrongly blamed them for making me have to be that way, when I never gave them the opportunity to meet the true me.
There have been a few lifelong friends I have found along the way, with whom I allowed myself to explore and express who I truly was, without expectation or judgment. It was those friendships that gave me the opportunity to figure out the real me, so that I could finally stand with my true face forward, my voice strong, and my heart in my hand.