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I think everyone cares too much. I know I do. I can pretend like I don't care, but I do. I want you to like me. I want you to think that I am exciting and worth every second of your time. I want to do something with my life that makes you go, "WHOA!"

But then I just don't do anything. Why? Because I care.

I care so much about what you think of me that it inhibits me from letting go and simply living free. It is kind of twisted, I know. The chains of expectations, whether real or assumed, started just on my wrists but have moved to my ankles, wrapped around my entire body, and I'm afraid to say they are starting to grip my heart as well. And all because I care too much.

This is exactly how bad it has gotten:

Finally I started this blog. For me. I think subconciously I hoped it would be a way for me to break away a little bit from caring what people think by going for it--even if negative comments come my way. (We can't escape criticism or rejection, so this is my first feeble attempt at doing something that will surely receive that and push me to face it).

Back to how bad my caring has become. Last night I had this crazy person conversation with TJ, telling him that I felt a little weird after the fact looking at my facebook status telling people about this blog. My status said:

TJ has told me for a long, long, long, long time to blog. Not a "Teej + Linz" blog, but one where I just write. And so I am. Not really for anyone, but for me.

TJ: Why do you feel weird?

Me: Because I'm worried about coming across as a person who is using facebook as a way to get affirmation or attention since I said, "I am blogging for me" but then publicizing it.

TJ: Are you trying to do that?

Me: No, I don't think so? Maybe? I don't know.

TJ: Well, who cares?

FREEDOM. Even if just for a moment.

Who cares?

So much inside of me wants to burst. I'm struggling within these chains and needing to break free. For too long have I let expectations rule over me and I can't do it anymore. This is my life, no one elses. If I don't do with it what I think God is calling me to, then I am living selfishly.

We are designed to be connected to each other. To be broken together and to be made whole together. If I spend my life caring too much about what you think, it could be the very thing that keeps me from something exciting, new, fun, beautiful, true, and meaningful. If we all spend our lives caring too much what everyone thinks we will find ourselves pretty lonely, and who wants to be lonely? Even the most introverted of people need people.

Today I'm going to try not to care. And of all days, today that is really difficult. I'm sitting at The Mix in Costa Mesa, the Mecca of hipsterdom and coffee (thus my draw here) surrounded by beautiful, cool people. Then I'm going to the offices of Sevenly where one of my dearest friends, Christina (Mia) just landed her dream job. Another place filled with creative minds, skinny jeans, beards on beards on beards, chalkboards, rainbows, unicorns and a fake deer mounted on the wall. I already know as much as I have angst in being in these spaces I am drawn there and want people to think that I belong there too.

I have a big zit above my lip and am wearing a drab colored high school outfit (nothing seemed to be cool enough so I'm trying for the "whatever" look). I have to wear sneakers because my foot is strained and needs support (How old am I?). I think it's getting hot out and I'm in a sweater. Bad idea. Just not my best of days.

But you know what? Confidence speaks louder than all of that. Shattering expectations and living freely is bigger and more impressionable than that.

I've realized that most of the time caring too much about me keeps me from caring about you. And that's not okay.

So, here I come world! Zit and all. At least I left my grandma shoes at home. I'm saving those if my foot gets worse...

(And if you see me today, maybe try not to stare at the zit. The caring thing is a journey and like I said before, I know that I still care a little bit. Okay, a lotta bit.)