I want to be Cia. Well, sort of… I don’t think I want the blonde, Dutch Boy wig-gone-astray look. But as I prepared for a weekend retreat with a group of women who were unfamiliar to me, I found myself craving the anonymity that disguise would afford.

I had asked my friend, Karen, to please not share my story with the group because I just wanted to be “one of the girls,” as opposed to “the one with the dramatic, tragic past.” I guess I’d rather people get to know me as a person before they start to see me through that lens.┬áTo take on that identity and wear it like a cloak would be so constraining. Where would the room be for dancing? For wild laughter? For simple play?

And so, it did feel so wonderfully “normal” to be hanging out at the tables as we all worked away at our projects, listening in to snippets of conversation, sharing crafty tips with each other, eating together, laughing a lot. I felt myself “fitting in” with this group in a way I haven’t for several years.

So I’m happy I chose not to bring up that over-the-top part of my life, because–for just one weekend–it left me free to begin relationships in a more balanced way, beginning with who I am, as opposed to what I’ve been through.