It is a beautiful thing living outside the shadows of pretense. 

I remember in junior high and high school...well really, most of my childhood, feeling disconnected from my peers in most every way. I didn't get to experience many of the things they did. Half of those things I wasn't terribly interested in to begin with and many others I'm grateful to have been spared. Rather than wanting to fit in with them...I wondered why I couldn't find my own space to just be who I was. And so I wrapped myself up in books, and hand written fantasies I crafted in my own diaries. I lost myself in places that were completely unlike the space I knew. And the only people I let in that space were my siblings. 

I've grown, over time, very comfortable in my measured distance from the outside world. I've been called everything from introverted, to mean, to distant, to aloof. None of these things are completely the summation of me. Many, aren't even accurate. I am simply...careful. Careful in how I invest my energy. Cautious in letting people close to the deepest, most intimate spaces in me. My shallow water is very limited, but the depths are endless, which means I'm cordial to strangers...but never familiar. To the ones I get to know and come to love, I'm a bottomless ocean of tenderness. I'm afraid I don't know how to find a middle ground. And I'm not sure I want to.

The circle of friends I have today is an intimate one. We share a hive mind - without feeling pressed to update each other on every bit of minutia in our lives. We are tightly bonded, intimate, honest and probably all together separated by thousands of miles. Our uncanny similarities are only outdone by our glorious differences - and we celebrate them and each other with reckless abandon. As we enter the holiday season, there are many things my heart wishes and longs for, but the one gift I have in excess, is the gift of a space where I am seen, loved and appreciated just as I am. It seems, that although I am eternally the late bloomer, I am rewarded for my patience.

For that, I continue to be grateful.