It's a cliché, but I've always been the triangular peg forced into the circular hole. In high school I would have described myself as a "floater," the kid who was in a bunch of different groups, but never the groups that garnered any level of social status or respect. I was (and still am) outspoken, but never with the right opinions. Everyone knew of me, but no one really hung out with me, save for a close friend. In college I pushed him away, didn't make any lasting connections, and things haven't been the same since.
I'm the floater who fell back down to earth, and it's lonely here. I'm provocative, but never intentionally. I don't go against the grain to get a rise out of people, or for some misguided perception of myself as a "rebel" -- it's just who I am. I don't fit in, and I can't bring myself to curate a palatable self image all the fucking time just to ensure everyone's absolute comfort, because I don't want sacrifice this "kernel" of ego I've had since childhood. I like who I am, and I'm proud of the fact I'm willing to stand up for myself, and for the truth, for perspectives no one else is willing to. Intellectually, I know it's better to be myself and say consequences be damned, but emotionally, it hurts to be a pariah.
Even with my family I can't be 100% myself, and it feels like I'm keeping a big secret. But I don't want to expose them to this jaded side of myself. Whenever I do, they just worry for me.
Being accepted feels so good, but I don't think that's why I'm here. Maybe I just haven't found the right friends -- but it's been that way my whole life. More than anything I want to be true to myself. It just hurts.