“it’s a crime to falsify this ballot”
for me, “it’s a crime to falsify your beliefs.” disclaimer: I never voted until adulthood. I never even registered to vote until after college. I hated talking about politics for fear I’d not be able to keep up with the conversation, that I’d offend someone, that I’d say the wrong things or give away too much about how I felt about a particular position or issue. strange? maybe. I carried what I felt were my own beliefs into adulthood, but struggled with those same beliefs. I kept up with this, keeping secrets and playing the game with everyone from my family to my friends and coworkers. when the topic of politics would come up, instead of opting out of the conversation, sometimes I would lead people to believe I had voted a particular way … the Republican way, to be exact. why? because over the years, I felt I was betraying my family and my past by believing different things or questioning how things work. so, I lived the lie. I secretly voted for the people I felt were the best for the job (never voting straight ticket, ever) and then, if probed, would perpetuate the false front. crazy? probably. if you know me, you know I have zero problem arguing a point or showing passion about a cause. but for whatever reason, in the area of politics, I have struggled. until recently. and that’s what all of this has been about. these posts about me taking a hard look in the mirror and having the courage to admit that I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to be loved and treated well. I wanted to not worry about offending someone just because of my political beliefs. it seems so ridiculous. but it’s not. not at all. being the black sheep isn’t easy, and not something I take lightly. but it eventually became too much and I need to be the person I am, in the open, without second-guessing myself. I have decided that I have changed and grown into the woman I am, and that that is OK. it’s better than OK, really. it’s liberating. scary, yes. but liberating. and this may seem so trivial and ridiculous to you, but I promise you it is not. maybe it’s the middle child syndrome of wanting to fit in and be part of the crowd. wanting positive attention, etc. who knows. but to me, being the black sheep is worth it because I’m not OK with lying. not to myself or anyone. my beliefs are my own. and it doesn’t change who I am in any way other than I’m healthier, mentally. I feel good about who I am and where I am. and that is all.