I am writing and learning and evolving constantly. I am becoming a new person at 36. A better person, I hope. I am finding my way to become who I want to be and allow myself to open doors to the life and the friendships and the love I want to have in my life. There are still doors to be unlocked. I am not relegated to this tiny room I thought I had to remain in. I can grow and change. I can outgrow this little room – become bigger than I thought I was. I can learn, I can evolve, I can be someone better – not different – just better. A better version of myself. I remember when I had my makeup done for my wedding, I told the makeup artist that I didn’t want to look different, unrecognizable – I just wanted to look like the best version of myself that I could. I am learning that it is okay, healthy even, to want the same for the parts of me that aren’t seen. To want to become the best version of myself that I can, while still remaining true to who I am. Because that woman is smart, and caring, and has faults and has dreams, and has scars. And that’s okay. Everyone has scars. Isn’t that why they invented coverup? We all know that so many of us are just “putting on our face” for the benefit of everyone else – to cover up those blemishes, those imperfections. We put on a “brave face”, we put on lipstick, we curl our lashes and put on Spanx and wear wires under our breasts to lift them back to the place the resided in our 20’s. And that is all okay. And I am learning to do that with my heart. I cannot tell everyone everything all at once. I need to let them learn about me, let them ask the questions, let them ask for seconds before I’m heaping more on their plates. Because sometimes they are full, and they may politely ingest and digest what I have served them, but it will likely be too much – and they will leave with a bad taste in their mouths and heartburn. Because sometimes my heart burns people. And sometimes I feel as though I’ve been burned when they inevitably walk away. It hurts. It hurts so badly. Where is my family? My foundation? My soft place to fall? I have been so busy pushing people into my home – trying to build my family, my foundation, my corral of kinfolk – that I am just blindly telling them whatever I think they want to hear. Throwing truths and tragedy and pieces of my life at them in the hopes that they will stay – out of what? Pity? Love? Obligation? What I need to do now is begin anew – building foundations based on trust, and commonality, and friendship that is earned. I need to learn the difference between personal and professional. To learn who the givers are – and also who are the takers. I need to decide which of those camps I want to fall into and live that life accordingly. I need to stop pretending that vulnerability is showing and telling everyone everything all the time – and accept that I have been hiding behind my circumstances in order to avoid being rejected for being me. “Show and Tell” is for children. I mean, who is going to reject the woman who has so much pain and heartache and sorrow in her life, right? So maybe if I tell them all of those things – if I tattoo them on my forehead, and wear a sandwich board proclaiming everything that I am and have ever been, they will stay here. And if they won’t, I will try to keep them here by bombarding them with texts and calls and emails and Instagram likes and Facebook comments. I need to learn the art of letting it play out on its own – of laying low and letting things move at the pace they were meant to. I need to let it be. Let it become. Let it blossom and flourish and grow on its own. I need to learn to be okay with that – to be patient. I need to just be. I need to be me and I need to believe that that is enough.