I used to be someone who wanted to blend into the crowd.  I never wanted to stand out.  I never wanted others to notice me.  I was quiet, unless I really knew you.  If I had to be the center of attention, I would make jokes or try to deflect the attention away from myself. 

I felt like I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, or dressed right.  I never said the right thing, did the right thing, or acted the right way. Essentially, I was all wrong. I wasn’t perfect.  No matter how hard I tried to be, I wasn’t.  So, I kept doing more, trying to be more. 

About a year ago, something in me changed.  The need to be perfect stopped.  I stopped caring what others thought. I stopped trying to blend in.  I bought pink hair clips, and bold rimmed glasses.  At first, I was a little self-conscious.  After so many years of trying to fade away, I was suddenly trying to stand out.

My personality become a little more.  More laid back.  More adventurous.  More bold.  I began smiling more, laughing more.  I wasn’t looking around at everyone else wondering what they saw in me, or what I was doing wrong.

My husband took a picture of me on a date one evening.  It has become one of my favorite pictures of myself.  I am wearing my pink hair, and my chunky glasses and I am smiling.  Truly smiling.  There is a sparkle in my eye that I had been lacking for a very long time. 

I have felt more comfortable in my skin in the last year, than I have my other 35 (gasp) years of existence.  There are days when I feel the need to blend in, and those are the days I pull out my pink hair, and my chunky glasses. Those are the days I force myself to stand out.

But why?  Why do I feel the need to make myself stand out?  It’s because I have a daughter who looks up at me for everything I do and say.  She sees how I carry myself, and it will help shape her identity.  I want her to be herself and to stand out among the crowd.  I want her to shine like the diamond that she is.  I don’t ever want her to feel less than worthy or feel like she isn’t perfect.  I want her to march to the beat of her own drum. 

This starts with me.  So, I will stand out.  I will be bold.  On the days that I am not, well, I will wear my pink hair and fake it.

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