To The People Who Love The Real Me, Thank You

To the outside world, I look like I have my shit together. However, I really come with a clouded history filled with entirely too much pain. After countless rejections and abandonments, I learned to put on a mask and build strong, defensive walls. Although many people prefer the phony, happy facade, there are a few amazing souls who know and love me just the way I am.

So to the people who see the real me, thank you for accepting the entire package. Thank you for embracing the hot mess that I am without ever shutting me out. It doesn’t matter that I come with lots of bruises, scrapes, and scars; you embrace them all. You take me entirely as I am without question or hesitation, both on the good days and the bad.

Sometimes I feel like a walking diagnosis, or a version of the plague. I do some pretty outrageous things in the moments when I’m feeling dark and twisty. I often feel less than lovable, and my behaviors frequently become too much to bear. Yet those who truly love me find ways to help me walk the middle path without making me feel like a total ass.

So to the people who love the real me, thank you for holding on despite my many flaws. Thank you for reminding me of my better qualities instead of harping on every single imperfection. It doesn’t matter what ridiculous stuff I do; you willingly grant those second chances I truly don’t deserve. You love me unconditionally without even a moment’s hesitation because you see the brightness when all I see is black.

I know I make daily errors in nearly every part of life. I frequently need subtle reminders to keep myself in line, and it’s embarrassing to say the least. And although admitting my mistakes feels vulnerable and downright scary, I know that the people who truly love me will forgive my transgressions in the end.

So the people who admire the real me, thank you for calling me out on my shit. Thank you for being brutally honest even when it hurts. It doesn’t matter how long it takes; I know you’re in this for the long haul. You remind me what I’m working towards, and you challenge me to be my best. Even when I stumble or make a terrible mistake, you’ll catch me and provide a much-needed swift kick in the pants.

I never thought I’d find a place where I could freely show my true self. Yet somehow along my journey, I’ve found all of that and more. For the first time in forever, I feel like I’m part of a tribe who not only sees me for who I really am, but embraces it in every way. I don’t know how I made it all these years without each of you, but now that I have you, I never want to walk alone again.

So to the people who love the real me: thank you. I will forever shower you with gratitude and love you with every beat of my heart. As long as we have each other, we’re never really apart. I’ll never take you for granted and I’ll never let you go. Because for you to not only see the real me but embrace her, too? That’s something worth cherishing for the rest of my days for sure.

Writer. Mental Health/Disability Advocate. Mom. Lover of All.

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