Part of this year's twenty. Geez, I'm getting old.

At 10 years  old I was already painfully aware that I was different.  I had braces, wore glasses, and was already an outcast.  At 13 I had lost my mother and was frantically trying to form an identity that wasn’t awkward.  I was completely lost.  With very few female role models in my life, my teenage years were a mix of trial and error and what knowledge I could glean from friends who hadn’t figured it out any more than I had.  At 18 I had just had my first kiss and was beginning to become the person I am today.  I just didn’t know it yet, and I fought against it for many years.  At 20 I had my first serious relationship, but I still struggled with the person I was and how I behaved with those I loved.  I had left school and had had some pretty deep scars to begin to heal.  By 25 I had made some drastic changes in my life.  I had begun to embrace all the aspects of myself, but I had only just begun.  I fluctuated wildly between self loathing and self empowerment, and I constantly questioned whether or not the one person who said he loved me, desired me, and accepted me for all of who I was could be trusted.  I was just beginning my battle with Fibromyalgia, and I constantly struggled with depression.  I had a very long road ahead of me.  My childhood and the bullying I had received from all sides about my weight, my personality, my mental and physical health issues, and my past mistakes had done a lot of damage.  I was still very broken.

But here I am having completely neglected any good that has happened in my life.  I have had a family who loves me even if he don’t always understand me or my decisions.  Though she passed just as I was coming into my own and forming a more mature mother-daughter relationship, I had a fantastic role model and inspiration in my mother.  I may have only had a handful of friends, but they were some of the best friends I could have ever asked for and the reason I pulled though so many rough patches.  At 19 I was a member of an art gallery and on my way to running poetry readings and open mics.  Albeit on a very small scale, I was living my dreams.  I have had amazing jobs at portrait studios, the zoo, and now at an airline working fantastic people every day.  I have thrived despite my medical issues and come out stronger.  I have built an amazing tribe of friends and chosen family, and my life is moving forward every day.  In this past year I have worked towards getting a license an completed my first mud run.

Last week I turned 30.   I still have moments of self doubt, but I have started to see my life and who I am for what it is, beautiful and unique. I am starting to accept my body for how it is not how I think it should be.  I have begun to believe people when they call me beautiful or sexy.  My faith grows only stronger as I mature.  I have begun to fully experience my sexuality and sexual identity.  I am loving the way I choose to love and make no apologies for being different.  I have fully embraced the parts of me that are quirky, geeky, an spontaneous.  I have simply stopped letting people tell me I can’t, stopped letting them tell me I won’t, and stopped letting them tell me to grow up.  There are goals I wish I’d have met by this point in my life and plans I’ve had to change as life has flowed in different directions, but I have had amazing adventures and grabbed a opportunities I never would have dreamed imaginable.  I am embracing 30 with renewed spirit and a better understanding of who I am and what I want from life.  The things I hid, shunned, and tried to eschew at 20 are the things that make me dazzle at 30.  I feel like this past year has given me a new life, and I fully intend to live every last minute of it…at 30.