Fear of ridicule/shame. Am I a witch?

What is it that stops us from expressing ourselves fully?  From living in our full creative individual power?
I realise that for me I have a huge fear of ridicule.  What will people think of me if their opinions are different from mine?  
I’m not a very scientific person.  I’m not into arguing my way logically about feeling some of the things I feel.  Sometimes I feel that I just “know” something to be true to me but if a more “scientific-minded” person were to pick it apart, I wouldn’t be able to back it up apart from declaring that it “feels” true/resonates with me.
Why am I so bothered about what others think about me and my thoughts and opinions, and the way I look/dress anyway?  I know I’m not alone in this.  There are a lot of people that I don’t agree with things they do or say but I don’t feel like I need to ridicule or ostracize them.  I might decide to not spend a lot of my personal time with them but I appreciate everyone has a right to their own opinion.
The people who’s opinions that matter to me most, are very supportive and know enough of my viewpoints, to not have an issue with me and still choose to be my close friends.
I have also chosen to live in Brighton, in the South of England, which is a very “alternative” city and where a huge diversity of people live and certainly in the clothing front – anything goes!  I love that.  So why do I still have a fear about what others think?
I remember from a very young age, my fear of being told off was so great, that I pretty much never did anything to be scolded about.  And in my parent’s defence, they were very reasonable with their boundaries in any case. 
This felt like a feeling I was born with.  
I have had recurring, very similar, nightmares for many years, and a couple of years ago, had a very insightful nightmare about me having been a witch in a previous life, and being tortured and burned at the stake.  Looking at wikipedia, it is estimated that the witch trials lasted for 3 centuries, and approximately up to 100,000 witches were killed (plus many more tortured).  Eckhart Tolle things it is in the millions! This would certainly instill a huge fear of being found out.  If this were your experience, I can imagine that you would go “underground” with your opinions/skills.  
As a female acupuncturist, and nutritionist who uses herbs, and homeopathy, and attends women in childbirth, I would have definitely been considered a “witch”.
Why do we feel like we need to be the same?
You only have to look at the fashion industry to see that many people want to be told how to dress and to look the same as others.  Not to stick out.  Not to dress individually.  We seem to have a fear in people looking differently from us and holding different opinions.  This is possibly the stem cause of racism.
I personally feel that I don’t want to “stick out”.  I have strong “alternative” to mainstream beliefs. But I dress very safely, I don’t look like the alternative-type that I am.
You only have to open one of the “Womens” magazines to see how women ridicule other women, for the way they look, being criticised for being overweight/wearing the wrong dress, looking differently.  This type of modern-day ostracising perpetuates our fear.
When we ask someone our opinion, they frequently try and convince us that their way/opinion is the right one and we should follow/do that.  When we don’t, and instead, we choose to do/say something differently, it is challenging to others.  I notice this happening through every day life on a very frequent basis.  From simple to more intimate opinions/situations.
We have two very large (1800 pupils) secondary schools near us (age 11-16).  I am always amazed at how similar a huge amount of the kids look.  They girls wear their school skirts in the same way (pulled up as short as possible), their hair straightened or wavy (depending on the fashion)/blonde or dip-dyed(depending on the fashion)/put up in the same way.  The boys wear their trousers hanging down over their underwear, or their t-shirt sleeves folded over, or trouser legs rolled up once, and the Converse!  The need to conform seems to be at its peak as teenagers.  But at what age do we then claim back our individuality?  Our creativity?  Our individual power?  our compassion for others viewpoints?  Our compassion for our own viewpoints?  
I know so many amazing women that are hiding their talents/their creativity/their individual passions for fear – fear of conforming, fear of failure, fear of shame, fear of being wrong!!  I feel like I am being internally pushed to reclaim my power and doing this blog feels like it is part of this.  My inspiration often comes in the night, when its quiet or dark, or immediately after meditating.
#feelthefearanddoitanyway