From the time I was very young, the age of four to be exact, I knew I was different. I was torn by my desires to be myself and my desires to be accepted. I was frustrated by not wanting to be what my parents and my leaders, expected me to be and yet wanting their approval of me. It seemed as though nothing I did could appease them without me rejecting myself. I did everything I could to ignore myself and instead gave in to who they wanted me to be, denying my own authenticity. As I grew, regardless of how hard I tried to be their version of me, there was still an intense feeling of discomfort deep within me. It seemed that with every attempt to fit in I still could not, at least not on the inside. I put on a good show; I went to church, I took the classes my father wanted me to take, I tried to be a good girl hoping that others would notice my effort. But still deep inside I felt confusion for trying to be someone else, and I felt guilt for wanting to be myself. The fear of rejection, of not being accepted by those around me pushed me past my desires to be myself. As a child I appeared to be at home with my religious beliefs but deep inside I questioned and analyzed all of it. My father’s tiring of my questioning always led to “just because I said so, and just because the Bible says so and just because God said so”, but deep inside I did not buy into it, it simply did not feel right for me. I was torn between what I had been told God wanted me to be and being myself. I felt guilt for not being who God had predestined me to be and shame for wanting to create my own destiny. As an adult I attempted to force myself to believe in the God of religion but still could not bring myself to. Those beliefs just did not resonate with me. It wasn’t until my mid-life transition that I finally came to embrace myself for who I am and my own core beliefs about me and my path. I have discovered myself and my own form of spirituality that is free from any dogmatic teaching or control. And in that discovery and acceptance of who I know myself to be I have found the inner peace and joy I had been seeking all of my life. I am really good with who I am and I am authentically me.