"Strength" has varying definitions when looked up by the Merriam Webster Dictionary. My favorite, however, is "vigor of expression." The past few months have torn me apart, while simultaneously building me up. They have tested my strength both mentally and physically. However, it is through the trials and tribulations that I have found my own inner strength.

The 2016 election showed me just how different society sees me. As a liberal Democrat living in the Bible Belt, it can be extremely hard to find my own majority. I was a part of the outspoken majority of Americans against Donald Trump. My words commonly got twisted and blown far out of proportion as the election progressed into the circus it became. Expressing my political opinions showed me how different I was.

Being the "different" one is nothing new to me. Growing up, I was called the "ugly duckling that never turned into the swan." From the start, I was not destined to become the next Miss America. It was not just my looks that sent people away, but my passionate stance on politics and how the world functioned. A combination of those things meant that I was alone for the majority of the time. To quote Glee, "When you are different, when you are special, sometimes you have to get used to being alone." I spent the majority of my childhood in front of the TV alone, with my imagination as one of my only friends.

It was in the times when I was alone that I subconsciously found my own strength. I think that strength has allowed me to find my purposes in life, whether they be to empower people, or to be the next ceiling breaker. Whatever they be, I know that I will continue to leave my lasting impact on the world.

I am not writing today to ask for a pity party, but I am here to use my story to inspire people everywhere. If I can fight my internal battles and still at least appear strong on the outside, so can you. No battle is worth your livelihood, whether it be inside of you or with another person. Do not let other people, their pettiness, or their words deter you from finding yourself. Or, better yet, don't let those things define you as a person. You are more than other people give you credit for.

Let's face it, life can sometimes suck. Find a role model. Whether they are fictitious characters in a small town, or real women inspiring the world, does not matter. The fact is, find someone whose message you can adhere to. Or maybe, create your own message. If you have a story, tell it. The world is waiting for your voice that will emerge from the inner you.