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What a beautiful epiphany! I hear you on how scary that feels, and I get the fears. Would that help comfort them a little to know that I'm here for you with a warm blanket? I'm looking forward to seeing what unfolds as you step more fully into your own beautiful self.

@Josiane: thanks so much; I appreciate the support!

Oh, that discomfort of separating *them* from *yourself.* Anyone who has had to really search for themselves will probably attest that it's not painless. There will be fear and anxiety. But the result...the result is so worth it. That true happiness of knowing that you're living as YOU is worth all of the tears and heartache. Bless you, sister.

I did the very same thing and hadn't really thought too much of it until last year. Gave myself up to fit into a particular group and for a bit over 13 years wasn't really totally, authentically me. Now while I am finding that some of the new me isn't great, that's okay at least it is me, truly me warts and all, I can grow and change and even adapt to the bits of me I don't love at least it is truly me

"Really, it was to pretty much everyone but me, though church and family were the primary ones. (I suspect this is true for many people.)"

Well, that was definitely the case for me, too.

Congratulations to you for seeing all of this. And for moving forward in spite of/through all the fears. Those are both awesome things. :)

@steph: i always wish i were alone in this, even though i know we never are. thank you.

@kim: yes, that. i would rather be myself, warts and all. even the things i think aren't great are still me. thank you for sharing this - good inspiration to keep at it.

@leanne: your comment rings of hope. loved reading it.

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