Since turning thirty a number of years ago, I have really grown into a person that I am proud to be. I had spent many years before that x-mark on the calendar trying to be many things for many people and it was emotionally draining. I had put the small pieces of myself on a shelf and created a false picture based on fitting in the pieces that others had been trying to force into the frame of my puzzle. Not only had I done myself a grave injustice, but I tried to pass off a fake portrait as art.
Since that defining moment in my life, I have retrieved those small pieces of myself and worked steadily at rebuilding my own puzzle. Each piece now gently falls into place and I feel much more of a sense of accomplishment knowing that this puzzle is the one I should have been working on in the first place.
You are only a reflection of yourself and it is a defining moment when you can truly embrace the person you are and not the person who others think you should be. It was a hard road for me to follow but each step was worth the anguish, each misstep was worth the correction, and each failure was worth the lesson.
I used to deflect compliments, and sometimes old habits die hard, but now when I receive kind words I can truly take them to heart because those words reflect who I am to the core of my being. Now that I am being honest with myself, and just being myself, those words have greater meaning because they fall on the ears of the person I wished I had given myself permission to be so many years ago.