How old were you when you when you stopped looking in the mirror?
When did you start hiding?
Sometimes I forget that people don't see the world the way I do. I get distracted by people. It's not about what they wear or how they walk. I get distracted by the freckles that were kissed across their cheekbones, the smile lines that crinkle their skin, the light that flashes in their eyes, or the kaleidoscope of emotions that rushes across their face as they talk. I get distracted by the beauty of people.
I realize that makes me different than most.
Most of us are used to people staring if something is wrong.
And if something is wrong with me to the point where people are staring I'd better fix it . . . I'd better fix me.
And we do. We paint over, cut out, and hide all these unique and different parts of ourself. We do it so we're not different because being different is a risk.
They burned people who were different.
They enslaved them.
They beat them.
They laughed at them.
They thew them out.
They locked them up.
They 'othered' them.
It makes sense that you'd hide what makes you different.
Don't want to be the woman who's too loud or the woman who want's to raise babies. Don't stare off at the clouds too long, they'll think something is off. Don't dance in the rain or they'll call you crazy.
Keep your opinions to yourself if it's not in line with the tribe.
Don't show too much skin.
Don't be a prude.
A whole lot of don'ts all for the sake of fitting in to a grey, colorless society that's terrified of different.
Maybe you learned this when you were young and that's when you stopped looking in the mirror. Maybe you were afraid of what you'd see.
And you hid. You hid your smile and your enthusiasm.
You hid because it was safer than being different.
You had to survive.
I'm not going to tell you that being different isn't scary. It's very scary.
But here's the thing: you're already different. I see that. Maybe the world doesn't because you're that good at camouflaging your light. But I see you differently than the world does.
Or at least I try bloody hard to.
There's no hiding the beauty that is you, not from me . . . not from people who are trying to see.
If you're hiding, you can come out.
If you're looking for your people, start here, with me.
I won't laugh and I won't throw you out.
I love different.
I cherish different.
Come be different.
Come and not fit in.
And if you need, I'll be with you and we can look in the mirror together and I'll point out to you all the beautiful differences you thought you had to hide.
. . . maybe it doesn't matter when you started hiding . . .
. . . but it sure matters when you stop.
If you have tips or concerns about human trafficking happening in your area call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888. NHTRC is a national, toll-free hotline, with specialists available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.