A group of ladies (and Brad) and I met at The Cup in The Village Tuesday morning to begin our journey toward The Invictus Project. Some of us knew each other, some of us didn’t. I think one or two girls didn’t know anyone other than Brad. And we were supposed to sit there and share some of our most personal and impacting moments with each other. It seemed like each of us were willing, but none of us really knew where to begin. Eventually, we got the ball rolling and we were all able to open up our experiences to the people who were there with us and ready to help us carry a little bit of the burden.

I heard from these women who have felt lost, out of place, and comfortable in places they knew they shouldn’t be. In every one of them, I heard the echo of my own life’s experiences. I have family and friends who love me, I know I’m not alone. But I’ve felt alone, whether completely or just a little bit.

I’ve felt like the black sheep in my family for most of my life. I actually believed I was adopted for years when I was younger, even though I look just like my dad. I thought it was a coincidence. No one in my family shares the interests or passions that I do. To this day, I have no idea where the love for art, life, music, fashion, or expression came from.

It feels like these things run through my veins, they put the life in my own body.

Most of the people in my family are quiet-night, busy day Midwestern townsfolk, reading the newspaper before dinner and mowing the lawn on the weekends. Not me. I don’t fit in here. I remember being 4 or 5 years old and seeing other places on TV – big cities and foreign countries – and feeling like that’s where I should be. That’s where I belong. With dancers, writers, musicians – weirdos and culture-freaks and people who appreciate my love for all of these things.

I have places and people that make me feel comfortable. But feeling comfortable and feeling at home aren’t the same. I’ve made my share of wrong decisions, but when something right is right, I know, and I’ve learned not to fight with myself on those matters. And sitting around that table, listening to these women tell their stories, I not only heard pieces of my life, but I felt the beginnings of bridges being built between each of us. These are people who are going to understand me. I barely know most of these ladies and I’m already inspired by them. I can’t wait to see what the rest of journey holds for us.