I am not the same person that I was.
I am different but it's a good kind of different.
I used to push and pull myself to fit into the boxes I thought I was supposed to be in. I was clay to be molded into who I thought they wanted.
But I found people who were like me... and so it gave me the freedom to be me. And I found all that pushing and pulling was really a lot of work. It was exhausting to always be someone you really aren't.
Having a safe place to be me gave me the courage to still be me in places that didn't feel as safe. Places that were risky, places that made me feel vulnerable. It was still scary to risk being me in places that held emotional danger...
But knowing that there was a place that it was absolutely okay to just be who I was gave me the strength to just be who I was in places that could still sting. Knowing I had people who loved me just as I am made the potential backlash of being just who I am less debilitating.
Despite the best attempts of people who love me very much, I will probably never be the kind of person who doesn't care what people think of me. I do. And I will probably always tend to being the chameleon. It's a safety blanket.
But I know now that I'm okay. Faults and all, I'm okay.
And maybe I don't need that safety blanket as much as I used to.