Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Loving Myself - for being pretty damn fabulous
I've always known I was gay. From a very young age. It was something inexplicable, but always there. People ask me all the time, so 'when did you become gay? Errrr, when I popped out of my Momma is what I reply, because honey, I was born this way (gay).
Being gay is the easy bit. Accepting it and loving yourself is the harder bit.
I wrote the following many years ago, about feeling different, and coming out. Having rediscovered it, I wanted to share it with you. Its deeply personal, and only a very select few ever got to read the original at time of creation.
To anyone out there who reads this who may be a young question gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual person. I can say that it does Get Better, and that it go so so better for me :)
Being Different. - Written 2003...
They’re only three little words, what could be so hard about saying them. Why do they have so much power, the power of fear, anger, sadness, confusion…?
I find myself thinking I am a coward for not being able to say them, not being able to tell my loved ones the truth. The truth about who I am, about who they don’t really know. It can’t be this hard I think, once I say those words everything changes, nothing will ever be the same again. I need to find the courage and power to say those words I sometimes hide in the deepest recesses of my soul… I am gay.
I’ve recently told a family member and I find myself conflicted with thoughts of emotional angst. Have I done the right thing? Is it too much too soon? Will they understand? Can they accept me? Can they love me for being different?
Coming out is not an easy process and I defy anyone who thinks otherwise. Coming out is not merely about telling someone that you’re gay or about expressing your sexual orientation to someone. It’s so complex that sometimes I think I don’t even understand what it means. For me, coming out has been an emotional and psychological change, something which has affected me deeply as well as the people around me.
I’ve always known I was different. From a very early age I knew that I was not like the other boys. I didn’t play the same games, act the same way or even speak the way they did. I was always the odd one out, the one left out when all the other boys would go racing across the playground. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t like the other boys. I didn’t understand why I felt like I had a physical pain inside my heart that would never go away. I didn’t understand why I felt I had to hide it away, or risk getting into trouble for it.
In retrospect and with a lot of maturity I now know what that feeling of being different meant. It meant I was gay. I indeed was not like the other boys. I never had sexual feelings of attraction for girls, or the need to have a girlfriend. Instead I rather chose to have all the girls be my best friends, and secretly sit and stare at the boys from across the field. It was the naked figure of the boy in the change room next to me that made my body feel in explainable and wonderful things. It was the smile of the boy with the blond hair and the green eyes and the perfect bone structure that made me feel all giddy. It was the touch of my first boyfriend that made me feel… feel different. Different but completely natural. Completely normal, and completely right. Completely me…
Other people seemed to know it before I did, and the nicknames and hurtful words that stung me on a daily basis would be a constant reminder that the outside world was finally noticing that I was different. I could no longer hide my secret. It was as if it was leaking out of my pores, unable to contain it, it had to be known and would evade me, exposing me for what and who I am. ‘’Faggot, Queer, Moffie, Bumboy, Fruitcake, Homo’’ – I was all of those. The world had thrown its labels onto me. I didn’t understand. It hurt so much to not know why this was happening to me. Why God had made me different, why I had to pray every night that God would make me normal, and that I would find a girlfriend and be like everyone else. The pain of confusion would flood over me, overwhelming me until I lay in the darkness crying wishing it would go away and that I would wake up and be perfectly happy.
The exhaustion finally caught up with me. I was exhausted from always trying to hide it, to deny it and to make it go away. The crying, the bullying, the anger and the hatred from others and self hatred finally became over powering and I found myself struggling under the pressure…contemplating suicide… needing to find a way to change it all…
And then one morning I woke up and something was different. I remember it clearly. I got up and went and stood in front of the mirror. Looking at myself, something had changed. I no longer hated what I saw in the reflection. Instead I felt a serene sense of peace and happiness. The image looking back at me was beautiful, it was right and it was perfect. The smiling figure looking back at me was a new person.
It was someone who had accepted who they were and finally made peace with the fact of their self-identity.
The relief I felt that morning is beyond description and I felt a radiating happiness coming out of my soul. I had accepted myself and I was happy to be me.
Yes, I was different. But I was perfect, in every aspect of who I am.
Sure, society may deem me to be different and not normal but it did not matter anymore. Those hurtful words and bullies could no longer hurt me. They had lost their power over me and I had claimed my freedom.
The greatest freedom of all – to love yourself entirely and to be happy to be alive.
Now telling the people in my life was the next step. The next challenge…
Coming out is no easy thing…
We all fall to the floor at some point,
It’s how you pick yourself up
That’s the real challenge