I can remember the day so clearly when I stopped caring "what other people thought." It was liberating. The days before that moment were draining -- emotionally, mentally, and physically. To wake up each day and put on that emotional suite of armor to protect me from the masses was exhausting.
So one day I just decided to step out and let the world take me as they will. I no longer had the need or interest in them seeing me as I saw myself. Their words and opinions would no longer defined me; I would define me and they were free to accept that or not.