Take Off The Mask

After 28 years, I can finally say that I have really come to terms with myself. I have come to terms with the fact that I’m different from most. I don’t think the way that most think. I don’t see things the  way most see them, and usually, everything about me is misunderstood…. and you know what, finally, I’m okay with that. 

I left my last job because I did not “fit in” and the friction and conflict I received as a result of. On the day I submitted my resignation letter, an older lady who had only said “Hi and Bye” to me in passing stopped me and told me, “You’re different, Sweetheart. You won’t ‘fit in’ anywhere you go.  If that’s the reason you’re leaving, you’ll be leaving a many places. It’s okay though. It’s okay to be ‘your kind’ of different.”

Puzzled, I didn’t say anything. I just looked at her and smiled, hugged her, and thought, “Wow!”

And now that I look back, I have realized that God started showing me as early as 6th grade that I was different and that I did not “fit in.”  I did not make friends as easily as others, weren’t liked as easily as others were liked, weren’t a teacher’s choice of a teacher’s pet, and often judged and misunderstood before I had even spoken a word.  With the few friends I had, I still felt like an outsider and felt that they only tolerated me because we had been together since babies. It seemed like my presence itself brought conflict and enemies. I can remember thinking, “What’s wrong with me? Why am I not accepted as easily as my peers? What have I done to cause these things?” I remember feeling I wasn’t pretty enough, I wasn’t talented enough,  and I didn’t  come from the “right” family. And even around family, I felt isolated and felt that I didn’t “fit.”

So, as a result, I tore myself down and apart. I grew to not like me because others did not. I grew to doubt everything about me because I had convinced myself that I was the problem.  

I changed and tweaked who I really was so that people would accept me, so that people would like me, so that people would find me more desirable. 

And now, I realized that I am not the problem. Being different is a self-definition I struggled with for years, which I now deeply appreciate. My differences have gotten me to where I am and are a result of who I am today. Although it is not always an easy path and it gets lonely, I view my differences as a blessing rather than a curse. Conformity would be stifling. I want to be me, not some mythical “normal”. Desiring to “fit in” requires you to be the opposite of yourself. 

My advice to those who are DIFFERENT- Be you!  It’s okay. I mean, it’s really okay! 

“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.”

“When you try so hard to be someone you’re not, you lose sight of yourself. You end up doing things to please other people, resulting in living by their expectations. In the end, you become what they want you to be, which can lead anyone down the wrong path to self-destruction.”

Take off the mask. Stop pretending. 

 Those who won’t like you, won’t . Those who will like you, will.

…..for who you really are. 

 Though your differences may never escape judgement and discrimination, but you can learn to love you and realize that there is value hidden…even in your “abnormality.”

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