"You don't know me, you don't know me, you don't know me," the words race through my brain.
The little suspicion I've felt for months suddenly slams into me, knocking me down.
"They don't know me," I think again. "And how could they?"
I've been gone, hidden away... enslaved.
They had only the shell of the true me had they known. All they had known of me was distance, my dull eyes saw past them, my zest for life, dead.
And then I was gone, vanished.
Maybe they knew. Maybe they could read the lines of worry in my mother's face, or they translated the far away look my father sometimes couldn't hide.
What they didn't know was that the healing was beginning, and what I didn't know was that the healed wasn't completed.
And then I reappeared, different, changed.
But I was still distant and reserved.
My healing was not complete.
And now, over 3 years since the time the true me left, I am back.
I am happy, whole and healed.
But no one can seem to get it.
I feel the astonishment and wonder flood the room when I joke, when I openly express my opinion, when I smile a true smile.
Friends, this is the true me.
But few of you know her.
Because all of you just know and expect the dead me, I feel forced to be her.
I was never one to like being in the spotlight, especially in front of peers, so I feel I must continue being the old me so I am not the object of astonishment.
I just want to be the true me.
The girl God made me to be, the one who shines with his love.
For some people it's just too hard to be the real me.
So I'm quiet and reserved, smiling, paying attention to every word spoken, and wishing you could see the living Brittany.
And then I quietly excuse myself and seek out the newer people.
There I thrive because no one knew the dead me, and they have no expectations.
The real me comes out and I feel alive.
So please, if you know me as insecure, shy and overly self conscious now, don't expect that to be how I really and truly am.
When I act differently then you know me to, it's ok to be surprised, but please be happy with me.
This is the true, living me.
I'm so incredibly excited that God is transforming me and making me come alive.
So please, celebrate with me.