Most of my life I have steered clear of my sisters’ dad’s family. When we would go and visit the aunts and uncles and cousins, I felt out of place and like I was wearing a sign that said “Not Related.” I would excuse myself and go walk around by myself or go in another room, where I sometimes cried out of loneliness and not belonging.

It was through the help of one of my sisters that I realized, just a little bit, that this side of the family does accept me. This realization came very recently. What’s interesting is that while I felt I didn’t fit in, I wanted to invite all of them to my wedding. And I found myself worried that they wouldn’t want to come.

Again, at my sister’s urging, she told me, “Everyone loves you. They always ask how you’re doing and they are always happy to see you.” I started to believe her.

My healing journey has included, over the past few months, me attending some family gatherings. The comforting fact is that I no longer held that sign. I was in my own body among others and I felt a part of them.

Years and years of struggles and sadness and self-hate are slowly transforming into something better; I am transforming into something better. My “better” means accepting I am loved and I am wanted and I am okay.

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