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“If you think you can get away with it, you can.”

That’s what my brother said to me many years ago when I saw a girl wearing green camo-style khakis and a blue top and said “I’d never be able to wear that”.

I had been raised with many “to do’s” and “not to do’s” of fashion: never wear horizontal stripes, they make you look fat; white should never be worn after labor day; and, of course, “blue and green should never be seen”.

So, on this particular day when I was looking longingly at this girl who looked great, seemed comfortable and exuded confidence, his words rocked me to my core.

I can wear what I want?

This question, of course, was just a shadow of the deeper struggle going on: ‘I want to be this, but I feel forced to be this .’

I grew-up as a person who wanted to please everyone – a trait that still hangs around my neck like a boulder the size of Texas. I hate letting people down. I hate not living-up to expectations. I hate making mistakes. I hate upsetting people.

So, it has been a pretty huge learning curve for me in life to learn that, no matter how much I try to avoid it, I am going to do some, or all, of it many, many, many times.

Sometimes I feel like I missed the lesson on ‘how to think for yourself’ that everyone else got in life. It’s not that I don’t have my own thoughts, I certainly do, but I only allow them out into the world if it means that it’s going to please people. If I think that it will upset people, I generally will keep it to myself.

This is a huge problem.

It leaves me feeling invisible a lot of the time. I’m afraid to be myself for fear of disappointing people.

I’m not sure when it all started. It could have been when my parent’s divorced and I began to worry that it happened because I wasn’t good enough, or if I could only be perfect maybe I’d see my Dad more often; or when adults would tell me, a child, about their struggles and I felt it was my responsibility to take care of them and make them feel better; or in school when everyone is just trying to be accepted and fit-in so you do and say what you think your peers want. Most likely it’s been a combination of all of the above and more.

Wherever it started, it exists and it sucks.

The intention is to not let it exist here.

Memories will be shared, dreams will flow, imagination will run wild and life will forge forwards as it always does.