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i spent most of my life wanting to fit in, wanting to be most normal desperately, wanting to be accepted by everybody. being homeschooled, not much exposed to the norms i didn’t know how very different my upbringing was, how very different i was until i went to high school at 15… | Secret Keepers by Emily Joy Rosen

i spent most of my life
wanting to fit in
wanting to be most normal
desperately wanting
to be accepted
by everybody

being homeschooled,
not much exposed
to the norms
i didn’t know
how very different my upbringing was
how very different i was
until i went to high school at 15

there were so many
subtle and not so subtle
social clues
i completely missed

there was so much unspoken
that seemed to be understood
with eyerolls and raised eyebrows
that i just didn’t see

and i got hurt badly
when i realized
not everyone was playing
the same game as me

most people did not
seem to say what they meant
or do what they said they would

i didn’t understand
why some people
were considered
so much cooler than me
but certainly it was clear
we were treated differently
and i created much suffering
when i realized
some people
simply didn’t like me
when i started to get
this world
isn’t safe
for me
to be me

and much to my dismay
no matter
how much i efforted
how hard i tried
how much i gave
i couldn’t actually seem
to make it work for me
i couldn’t actually seem
to enjoy
this world
full of rules
i had never agreed to
and i did try
i tried
most everything…

i bought the clothing
the mannequin was wearing
in the display windows of the coolest stores
so as to make sure i was dressing correctly

i went to a weight loss center
priding myself on never eating
more than 18 points a day
so i could compare dieting tips
with girls competing for skinny

i read teen magazines
and practiced getting guys
to like me
by hiding how i truly felt
by never showing my underbelly

i pretended to hate school
and acted bored
when i really adored learning in class
when i honestly found it so exciting
to discuss topics collaboratively

i got mean
and agreed to go along
if a popular girl told me
this is how you need to be

i stopped caring
or to be more accurate
i stopped showing that i cared
i got clear that vulnerability
was a weakness
and decided
i was never going to let anyone
know how i truly felt
i would never give them
that much power over me

so very sad when i think about it
but perhaps necessary

i got sick
really sick
for most of my twenties
i was self attacking
in literal and extreme ways

and yes
i did
i almost died

i was living in a world that wasn’t mine
i was living a life that wasn’t true
i was compromised and confused
i was a fraud
and i honestly didn’t know
there was a different possibility
for me

i thought faking it
was just what we had
all colluded to do
and it didn’t even dawn on me
that i could create the world
i would want to live in

not until one day
as i was driving down the highway
feeling uncertain
if i would ever be happy

i starting thinking
why not?
what is it that is getting in my way?
what do i really want anyway?

tears came
and the road
in front of me
got blurry
as i became
with grief
and elation

and i just knew
what i had to do

i had to create the world
i wanted to live in
and to do that
i had to become
the person i wanted to be
the person who would create a world
that made life worth living

it has been an epic journey
and i am still so very far
from where i want to be
but i must tell you
from the moment i had that realization
from the moment i took ownership
for the world
i am living in
everything changed for me
i felt more inspired, lit up
and empowered

we can change the world
you and me

so may i suggest
that if you don’t feel like you fit in
or if the world
is not how you want it to be
perhaps it is because
you are here
to create a new one
perhaps you are here
to create a new world
for us all to live in
with greater harmony

❤️ emily joy rosen

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