If you could never then neither could I but I did. So I guess I'm saying you are wrong. All of those "could nevers" say only one thing, "I cannot be me." You are afraid people won't accept you for who you really are but I'm living proof you are wrong. I know that I may not be everyone's cup of tea but I wouldn't be even if I held back one ounce of who I am. If there's a chance people might still not like me when I hold back then why would I do it. Why not put myself out there and attract people who would like someone like me? Imagine how that feels. What would it feel like to let your hair down, kick your feet up and just be you? What would it feel like if you showed the world who you really are and they said "Hell Yeah?" They will and the ones that won't will not outnumber those who already didn't like you but you might gain a few. And...you'd be free.
One thing I can say for sure, any set back you have from being genuinely who you are will only be temporary. I have always stood up for those I think need me to and for myself. My very wise and well meaning granddaddy told me years ago, "You are just like your mother. You let people push you out front to speak for them and then when you turn around all those people will be gone. No one will stand behind you." That may be the only time he was ever wrong but he was. Well, maybe he was right about people not having my back but if I had heeded his warning, I'd have gone against all I've ever been. Staying true to myself has never failed me. I have always stood up even if it set me back a moment. In the end, only good came out of it.
I changed positions at work once because I didn't want to work for a person that really treated people terribly. The position I took was phased out in a downsize and the next job I got I met B. If I'd just stayed in the first position and kept my mouth shut, I'd have kept my job but I wouldn't have met Bryan. Score!
I once stood up in a meeting to advocated to not cut employee pay in a room full of people strongly contemplating doing so and guess what? They didn't cut pay and I believe they just wanted someone to voice another view because they were looking for another option. No one else in that room was going to stand even if they agreed with me. I know because the ones who did agreed with me told me later that, guess what? They "never could" have said what I said in that room. One of those people may even be reading this. I could go on and on but I won't. Just trust me that it pays off in the end.
You've just gotta have faith. Goodness always prevails in the end. Being true to who you are always prevails in the end. Do a trust fall with the universe. I promise it will catch you. Man, don't you know, it's what you are effin here for.