Growing up, I was never confident in myself or my sexuality. I was always chasing people around, desperate to be accepted which got me in some pretty messed up situations. I always put my faith in the wrong people and got let down every single time. When I got out of my hometown, I realised that the world is so much more accepting than I realised. I came to the conclusion that I didn’t have to be afraid to be myself and I started being unapologetically, me.
When I got with my current partner, at the age of 17, I wasn’t in a good way. I was underweight, depressed and had constant anxiety. I didn’t know who I was because I was always trying to fit other people’s mould and was always trying to hit other people's expectations. The day I finally let myself be free was the day he gave me the best piece of advice that I’ve held in the front of my mind ever since.
“Don’t change yourself to please other people. If they truly love you, then they will support you no matter what.”
(that's not exactly what he said but the general gist of it, the whole monologue was a little too long to write.)
His words were more along the lines of ;
"If you're a square don't try to fit into a circle hole and if you're a circle don't try and fit into a square hole."
That single piece of advice helped me cut the people out of my life that didn’t support me and shaped me in to the woman I am today. I use it as my pick me up and my life motto. Whenever I get sad about people having a certain opinion of me, I always think back to what he told me.
I can’t go back and change what happened. I can’t go back and tell myself to not hide away and let myself be me. However, I can give the same advice to people struggling today that I wish I could tell my younger self.
You won’t be truly happy until you set yourself free. Don’t be so hard on yourself, you are amazing the way you are and don’t let anybody else tell you differently.
Even if I could go back and tell myself that, I remember how stubborn I was and still, kind of, am. I would have heard that and thought “I can’t do that” and make up some kind of excuse. If you are reading this and thinking the same thing, don’t. Don’t stop yourself from coming out and being who you are. If you are scared the people around you won’t accept you, then why have you surrounded yourself with those people? Go to your most trusted friend/family member and try it out. Dip your toes in the water and let somebody know because the first step is always the hardest but as soon as you’re in the water you realise how much fun you can have.
We have come so far in the LGBTQIA+ community. Until recently, in my city of Plymouth, England, gay and bisexual men couldn’t donate blood. Our local MP, Luke Pollard, said:
“This is a landmark moment. As Plymouth’s first openly gay MP I have been supporting this campaign since I was elected.”
The rule was finally overturned as a Plymouth man, who’s been with his husband 19 years, has wanted to donate blood for a while but couldn’t because of who he was with. Now, the rule is, you’re allowed to give blood if you have been with the same person for more than three months no matter what the gender.
Even though, this may not have applied to me as a bisexual woman, it still warms my heart and brings me massive joy that an archaic rule has been wiped from the city I live in. I’m proud of the community I am a part of for banding together and getting this done. I’m proud of our MP, I’m proud of all of us.
In 10 years', time, I hope the world is rid of all these archaic rules. Not just my city but the world. LGBTQIA+ community should be able to do all the things a straight person can do with no reluctance about it. Everybody is human and no matter who you love, everyone should be treated the same.
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