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 It’s easy to lose yourself in a world full of unjust judgments and unrealistic expectations. Being anything outside of what the societal masses deem “normal” could mean facing rejection, maybe every day. Everyone wants to fit in, everyone wants acceptance, even to a small degree. It’s our nature.

That is why you need to remember that there are people out there in this big ‘ol world who will love you for exactly who you are. So take off the mask and find those people. They are the ones who bring out the very best version of your original self. And they want the real you.

Copies are boring. Conformity kills the creative. Average is just.. well.. average. Average doesn’t get noticed. You can’t influence the world by blending into it. Stand out and make your presence known.

Once you figure it out, being yourself becomes effortless. It’s keeping up with the chameleon versions that get difficult to manage. Trust me, I know from personal experience.

You shouldn’t strive to be one of many in the sheep herd, getting lost in the shuffle of white fluff, uniform and unrecognizable, bleating your monotony through grass-stained teeth.

I say: MAKE ME A LION.

You were created under the pretense that there will be only one you. Don’t waste that God given right by morphing and shape shifting into a copycat version of someone else. Authenticity is a dying art.

Everyone is going to judge you in some way, shape, or form. It’s going to happen all of your life. Better to be judged for who you really are, then to not even recognize your own self in the mirror, or worse, be recognized by anyone at all.

Stop giving a shit about what others think about you.

Let them judge.

It’s a long fall from atop their high horse. I hope they tuck and roll.

The person I am today would kill to throat punch the girl I was once was. Back then, that girl should have just worn a jester hat, maybe even a red frilly vest. Hell, throw that bitch a mini accordion. Dance monkey, dance.

Your identity resonates with you for your whole life. It encompasses all that you are within your social life, your family life, and even your professional life. Stay true to you. It means everything. The sooner you find yourself, keep him or her around. You will realize that you are happier and that you stay happy longer, without trying. You and those who love you, the real you, will thank you for it.

If I could go back to Stephanie in the past, I would tell her all that hard work to fake herself: the façade, the theatrics, the circus side show in its entirety, meant nothing. A full-time job of unpaid and strenuous work just to get everyone and anyone to like you.

I cannot believe that as an introvert, I tried so desperately to be a full blown extrovert. This social butterfly who said and did all the right things to avoid being different, to cloak my quirks and my awkwardness, to avoid judgment, to avoid missing out on the party when all along I was missing out on my own life. I couldn’t have been more unhappy.

The same held true for molding myself to fit into career paths I would never love, just to make money, or gain status, or get the approval of others who thought they knew what was best for me, those who couldn’t accept me for who I really was inside and what I really loved to do.

Complete and utter shit show.

Hammering a square peg into a round hole.

An express jet flight to Fakeville.

If they aren’t people out there who dislike you, or don’t understand you, or challenge you, or question your motives, or who have an opinion about your lifestyle, then you’re doing something wrong.

You’re not here to please everyone.

This is why I choose to stay true to who I am, even if it means somebody doesn’t like it. Maybe I won’t make a friend because of it, maybe I won’t land a job because of it, maybe I’ll piss people off temporarily or permanently,  maybe I’ll get obvious judgments disguised in hushed whispers about my choices, my clothing, my alternative lifestyle. But remember, I am a lion.

And a lion doesn’t concern herself with the opinion of sheep.

So I want to know what makes you different my readers. Tell me something about yourself that makes you stand out, something you’re proud to roar out loud.

Revel in your uniqueness. It’s what makes you badass. It’s what makes you free.

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