I have bad days when I look at the people around me, and a small, still voice inside my head says with absolute certainty, "they will never accept you. Not one of them. Not ever."
Lately I have those days more frequently than I'd like to admit... and I never have an answer to that voice. I tell myself that of course some will be accepting or at least not care, that with time acceptance will grow, I even tell myself that it doesn't matter what others may think or accept as long as I can finally move forward.
The voice is not swayed. "Never," it says, without a doubt in the world, "Not one of them. Not ever."
It calls me a fake and a fraud... self-deluded and far worse. It mocks me for thinking that I could ever feel right or be happy in this world.
But worst of all, that voice makes me feel alone. It makes me doubt all those friends who have supported and accepted me and it cuts me off from the world. It tries to revive those feelings of isolation and self-loathing that lived with me in the closet for so many years.
And as I say, I have no answer for that voice, no way to refute it or silence it once and for all.
Except... if I listen closely enough, there is another voice. This voice is even smaller, even stiller. It is often weary. This voice cannot silence the first voice, nor does she speak with absolute certainty.
But she is absolutely determined. "You will go on," she says, "because you must. You will make it... because I will not let you down, your friends will not let you down, and you yourself will not let you down. It may not be easy, nor pretty, and it may be awkward... but you will make it. You must remember this."
And I know that this voice is right. And that is enough.