I’ve been slipping up on Facebook lately. Posting things about my childhood, glimpses into my inner workings, that no one wants to see. Every day I’m on the verge of closing my FB account, except that it’s how I keep in touch with the few people I ever see or talk to.

I know what it’s coming from. My ever present need to be understood and accepted. I think, if I post this insight about myself, maybe the ones closest to me will get me. It’s the definition of madness, since I’ve done this over and over with no indication anything has changed other than people think I’m weirder than they did before.

I feel like I’m on a journey. Where I get more and more okay with the notion that others don’t understand or accept me. That the only person that needs to do that is me. People can think the worst of me, or make false assumptions, and maybe it will always hurt but I can’t change what they think. I can only be myself. Not the girly girl I’m supposed to be.

That thought is liberating, but putting it into practice is harder.

I had an insight yesterday. If other people disapprove of me for not doing things, then I make a mental transition to not doing the thing because of their disapproval. Am I unconsciously rebellious? Maybe. The things that I don’t do in general don’t harm other people. Not wearing makeup or not acting feminine doesn’t harm anyone. If people are angry at me for doing something not-harmful, that very anger makes them wrong. Gives me an impetus to keep not doing the thing. Only positive reinforcement works for me, and I’ve never received positive reinforcement, only punishment.

Today I thought that actually writing and drawing my graphic novel is one of the most seditious and rebellious things I could do. How I can spit in the face of people who think boy things are for boys and girl things are for girls. If the things that give me joy can’t be mine without discomfort and othering from people, then so be it. I will give you discomfort. I will be othered by you. But I won’t let your limitations affect me anymore.

I have to go forward. I can’t look backwards anymore, at the pain I felt as a child but could never verbalize. My life as a step-burden is over. It’s been over for years. I am free, I am strong, I have money, and I have power and control over my life. My ingrained terror at the negative emotions of others towards me is the remnants of a little girl who couldn’t understand why she was screamed at and unwanted. I own me. Not anyone else.

I am free. I don’t have to bow and scrape for the approval of others in order to survive. That’s the hardest thing to unlearn.


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