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The first memory I have of feeling awkward, uncomfortable and embarrassed to be me is from when I was eight. It’s been a long journey since then. There are signpost moments that stand out. Lessons learned, and heartbreak earned. I tried hard sometimes and didn’t try much at all other times. I learnt some stuff and forgot other stuff. I learnt what it is to be me, right here, right now.

I was in my pre-teens when the battles with my body started.

The battles with other people started around the same time. I would do anything to prove my worth, show people I had value, prove myself to them. All the while, I was maintaining a holier than thou exterior. I hid behind that front when I was scared or challenged. I was better than them. Even though I knew, to my toes that I wasn’t, it’s hard work keeping that type of mask in place. Let me tell YOU.

Masks are hard work. Full stop. I find it harder to pretend these days then to be myself. I still get embarrassed, usually when I fall, or do something unavoidably stupid. But I’m not ashamed to be who I am. I’m not embarrassed to be me.

A few years ago, a friend told me of the calm that enveloped her in her late twenties/early thirties. I nodded, smiling, thinking sure-sure. But now I’m here, and I think I might say the same. Laugh if you will. But I do. Scoff if you will. My brother should look away.

If this is what thirty is going to feel like, bring it.