"Be the person you needed when you were younger." -Ayesha Siddiqi.
I am writing this blog post with the acknowledgment that I can see more clearly now and understand what I couldn't back then. I also realize that the people in my life were human and doing the best that they could. This post is more about me and my growth and less about the people of my past.
I grew up in a strict religious household. I couldn't do many of the usual social activities that kids do. It hindered my social and emotional growth and understanding of the world. I always felt like I didn't fit in. The advice and cues that I received on my struggles and my attention-seeking behavior were specific to the religious ideology I was surrounded by and less about looking at me without that lens. Privately, I learned to navigate this world by hiding, rebelling, internalizing, and seeking external ways to boost my self-esteem and to feel love for the real me.
Again, I don't blame anyone for this. It was what I felt, and that is okay. What I have learned about myself (throughout the years) is that I am an empath. I am sensitive; I think, feel, love, and seek to understand deeply. It is my lens to the world. It's what made me different. It's what makes me different. My healing process is ongoing and has been an intentional journey to find myself, my path, my beliefs, gathering my strengths, and forgiving myself for what I didn't know at the time.
All of this experience has led me to be who I am today. I am proud of the healing. I am proud of the journey, a journey of self-love, growth, and understanding. Beneath the surface, I became a champion for those who, like me, don't feel seen and protect those beautifully different. Like a caterpillar who grew into a butterfly, I became the one that I needed when I was younger.
I can't change the past, I can't change how I felt, but I can change how people feel around me now. I hope you feel seen. I hope you feel like you can be you. Love who you are, love who you want, believe what you want, and identify yourself in a way that makes you, you. You are safe to carry your struggles and your journey out in the open around me. My life and experiences have led me to this space. It is a place to grow, share, learn, and a place to listen and be heard.