there are times when being who you are seems to matter just as much as breathing

It's amazing how a smile can mask so much pain. The picture on the left was taken during a season of my life that was one of the most emotionally painful and consumed by anxiety. I had just moved from the Midwest to California and suddenly it appeared that so much of what I thought I knew about myself and the world was no longer true. The opportunity to be myself was sitting right in front of me, I just didn't have the experience or information to understand who I am, so I wasn't able to share that person with the world yet.

Mere Abrams