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Do any of us really grow up?
There are moments I still feel like the child who thought grown ups were eternal giants and I, little boy, was a burden unworthy of their secrets. Am I the only one?
Don't look at me
As I began to grow, to learn, and to realize things about the world for myself, I felt left out of some vast community. I couldn't speak the secret language. I didn't follow the references they casually made. I was deathly terrified of being found out for the outsider I was. This is when I stopped innocently meeting strangers' eyes. When I was small, I trusted strangers implicitly. I lost the ability to give that trust when I gave in absolutely to my fear.
What am I ashamed of?
At some point, my embarrassment shifted. I was ashamed of being gay, but that eventually went away. I was ashamed of pretending to be Christian all my life, but that stopped when I left my mother's church. These days, I find my lingering embarrassment stems from the oddest places. I'm embarrassed when people hear the music I like. I'm embarrassed to have anyone hear me sing. I'm afraid that somehow I am still the kid who gets red faced so easily. I built up a hard shell to protect that kid, and all I've really accomplished is hiding the world from myself. I've let myself miss too much.
Look them in the eye
It has gone on long enough. Far too long, in point of fact. It is time that I looked more people in the eye. I have spent years programming myself to hide. I have let the bad habits possess my thoughts, my actions, and my time. No more! It has slowed my writing to a scary stalled point I often fear I will never escape. I have finished works before. I have stumbled time and time again. These mistakes and missteps do not own or define me. I will burn them away and rise from those ashes a better man than I have been.
I will write. I will sing. I will live.
Live excellently. Forgive freely. Admit your faults. Embrace weirdness. Hate no one.