I stand here, in front of you, defenses up, walled in, ice cold, masked and chained, after being broken, battered and bruised for showing my true self to others.  They did not like that person, so I locked my true self up and hid her from the world. The mask I wear is pretty, it fits in. But I cannot keep her contained forever. She fights to be released from her prison, and in fits, she occasionally makes her way to the surface. She surfaces in peculiar ways, in the dreams I have, in the goals I make. She escapes in my smiles, hiding in my laughter, my artwork, my eyes. 

But then we met you. 

You smiled at us. You warmed the icy shell that kept her cold and aloof. She grew stronger that day. As we talked, and traded stories and experiences, the walls began to crack. She kept peeking through them, longing to see you, wanting to share her stories.  You asked me about my goals and dreams. She broke her chains that day, telling you all the wonderous things she wanted to do in life. Bit by bit, the walls grew thinner, and the ice melted away. She was surfacing more and more. You told her all the things that made you feel happy, angry, sad, scared. She wanted to know more, to see more, to feel more. I was terrified to feel hurt and rejected again,- but she was not-  she was ready to feel loved. 

She shed away the many defenses. She removed the mask that society forces us to wear, to blend in, to be the same as everyone else. She broke her chains that tied her down to earth, to stop the lofty goals from being reached, from dreaming beyond. And then, she tore down the  wall she had built- keeping her from letting anyone see her, to let them love her, to let her feel. The ice that covered her, keeping her cold, keeping her distant and unattached, melted away. It all fell away, revealing a glowing smile, a warm heart, and fire in her eyes. She is beautiful, imperfect as she is. She has her blemishes, her marks, her scars, her stories. She wears them all with pride. She is not weak because of them, but strong in spite of them. 

She stood naked, exposed, vulnerable. Her flaws and blemishes on full display. The Mask she nearly always wore, fluttered to the ground, to land bedside the broken chains, and the remains of the crumbled walls. She stands there, tall, shoulders back, chin raised in front of you, as her true self. The fire in her eyes, echoes the passion in her heart. The last layer of frost on her skin is melting, surrounding her in a warm white mist. You cannot break my Soul. She is strong, proud, and now, finally, she is free. 

Your soul reaches out to mine, and she smiles, lifting her hand. She pulls you into a warm embrace, like old friends reuniting. They hug, long, deep, melting into each other, glowing as they each give their full, imperfect selves to one other. They are dancing, like flames in a fire, passion and light eminating from within them. I can feel their spark, their joy, their happiness at finding one another. They were always meant to be free. They were meant for each other. 

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