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This post is in response to the Daily Prompt for July 6th, 2013.

I don’t remember a time when I have been comfortable being me. For years I’ve never even liked the sound of my real name. As a kid I mostly heard my name in a mocking manner. As time went on, I was afraid to tell most people my name, afraid of what they had already heard about me from other people. I’d wonder how long it would take before they would bully me too like the others, it usually didn’t take long.

That was one of the hardest things about growing up in a small town. I spent most of my childhood and teenage years feeling like a pariah and a scapegoat. Not even my own parents seemed to think good things of me. The most hurtful thing is, that quite the opposite, they seemed all too ready to believe every rumor. I wanted so badly to have friends, but after awhile, I turned inward into my own world and just gave up trying.

All of what happened lead me down a dark road, and to some hard times, too many to really speak of. Sometimes when you have always felt starved for affection, you seek it out, and you don’t always realize the people offering it don’t have your best interests at heart. You find out later they only pretended to care, and you were just being used. There were times in my life I stayed in bad situations far longer than I should have, simply because I was afraid to be alone again. Alone was far too painful, and far too familiar. Hindsight really is a lot clearer than what your heart wants to see, and what your mind wants to believe.

Time’s gone on, I’ve gotten older. I met someone and left that small town, but a lot of the insecurity remains. It was almost a relief to change to my married name, and hope I would finally, hopefully leave the old me behind me. I still struggle with issues in my present because of the past. I find it hard to make new friends, without assuming right away people aren’t going to like me. It’s hard for me to get close to people, and trust them. When my husband and I have disagreements, I have to ask myself if I’m really upset at him, or at something that happened years ago he had nothing to do with.

I am so used to being alone, doing everything alone, and not having anyone, outside the written word to talk to. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever outgrow this fear, and step out from behind my wall. I hope I can, but it’s hard, when being inside your shell is the only world you’ve ever known how to live in.