About this idea of acceptance, I'd still say "don't worry about it." And by that I mean don't concern yourself with the perception that others have of you. Easier said than done, huh?
Really, though, Vic, who knows you better than you do? Only you know what's best for you. Don't rely on the friendships that are based on whether you're in a relationship, or not. That's superficial; don't you think?
Yeah, I tried that memory excavation exercise a few years ago and was surprised by what came out. If that list of childhood events identified the ways that they affected your choices, or limited your creativity, or damaged you emotionally, then use that in whichever way you determine.
Personally, I discovered that I had to accept that the lack of culture in the town of my youth had some affect on choices that I made as an adolescent, but there was still time to turn things around in my 20s. I even blamed my upbringing for holding me back, but that was just an excuse for not having the courage to chase my quiet dream of living as an artist in New York City. Surely there were dozens of artistic types in a high school of 1500. Statistically, there had to be at least 1% of the students who were interested in the performing and visual arts.
But, like you, there were several incidents that said to me that I hadn't an discernible talent, except the ability to type 80 wpm on an IBM Selectric.
I was discouraged from creative writing by my grade four teacher on whom I had a crush. Harsh criticism stops an artist in her tracks.
Don't let it stop you.
Caro, you know how it is. I searched for an old email to Vicky in which you wrote this: "if you want to paint, or write, or sculpt because you are experiencing some challenges without marriage. Maybe some of those socialite types you talk about ought to go to a pottery clash and get their acrylic fingernails into some clay. It might loosen them up.
I promise you that it will be therapeutic; this is a common prescription to ease anger and frustration."