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Three years ago my world fell apart. It fell apart because 10 years before that I stopped listening to myself. Being true to myself and being true to what I wanted out of life was too hard, and I was too young to understand what it meant to really fight for something. So I gave up.

I walked the path that I was told to walk. I did everything I was supposed to do and truthfully, I was happy. But something inside of me...a whisper, a subtle itch beneath the surface...was always there reminding me that something wasn't right. I got so use to turning that whisper off. I became an expert in the art of not listening to myself. Over the years that inner whisper got louder. It turned into a shout: something I couldn't ignore anymore. I imploded. I couldn't take it anymore, and then I started to listen to that voice.

Sometimes the path that we set out for ourselves ends up looking nothing like that which we dreamed. But one thing is for certain: if you deny your true self long enough, everything around you will collapse. And everything around me collapsed.

The "new me" didn't fit into the old world I had built. My world of "supposed to". I grew angry. Bitter. Resentful. I expected so much out of everyone around me, because I had given up everything to be who they expected me to be. I grew distant. I acted out. I made mistakes. I hurt those that I loved. I felt like I was completely lost. But that voice inside of me carried me through the last three years. It never let me down. Once I started to listen, it even directed me.

I might have burned everything down around me but I eventually started to rise from the ashes. I'm bruised. I have deep scars. But for the first time in my life - I'm finally me.