I used to want to be understood. But then I grew up and realized the world I lived in would only accept me if I hid certain aspects of myself that make me unique.

I used to be afraid to be myself. But then I got to know myself and became aware of who I was and how I controlled my own destiny.

I then soon learned that there were people in my life that were ambivalent to my views, my values, and my way of life. I immediately wanted to revert back to my default setting- apologize and pull back.

But then I remembered I could live my life freely if I didn't let other people's perceptions affect me. Upon doing this, I soon shocked people when I proved not to be apologetic about who I was as a person. Was there backlash? Absolutely. But did I care or worry? Not so much.

I am a writer. I am a millennial. I am a young adult with a blossoming career in freelance writing and nonprofit management. My views on marriage and children are very progressive. I actively engage in social and cultural conversation surrounding race, gender, sexual orientation, class, and more. I care about racial justice and gender equality. I care about immigration and LGBTQ rights. I try to be up on every current event but even I can't be that informed.

To some, I'm seen as a lightning rod for controversy. A 23 year old young African American male with no criminal record and an education is quite the weapon of mass destruction. To those people I say "thank you". To some, I'm seen as part of the problem and not the solution. My often passive demeanor camouflaged by my introverted personality is often shattered by my assertive and progressive means of communication.

I believe conflict and differences can be useful because only in a state of anger or discomfort can true work toward a solution be done. Am I aware these tendencies can alienate me among my family and peers? Absolutely. One thing to note about an introvert- we have no problem being alone. We actually prefer it.

Standing up for what is right should have to alienate you. But in the world we live in, it does. It is much more easier and acceptable to follow and go along to get along, even if it's totally against what you believe. It's that kind of thinking that elected Donald Trump as President .

Take my story, going from a sheltered kid wanting so desperately to be accepted I would have lost myself in the process to being reborn into an informed, transparent and transformed human being who managed to live a fulfilled life despite others saying many times it couldn't be possible.