Hello all those who have ever been told to be ashamed of what makes them different. I would like to start by saying, I LOVE what makes you different, what makes you YOU, and you should too!
My name is Jess
When I was young I was taught that a perfect future involved being married to a man, with two children and a white picket fence. When I was young, I was told that gay people could never be happy. I was pressured to believe that my life would be “lesser” because of my sexuality, I was told I “just needed to meet the right man”, I was “too pretty to be gay” and that I could “choose to be straight.” I thought that being different, being gay, marked me with a scarlet letter that would tarnish my life forever. I convinced myself that if I could push it deep enough within myself, it would go away. For years I lived a life that was not truly my own. When I was young, I dreamt of changing the world, and little did I know that I had to start with myself.
I am now… wholeheartedly living my truth. I no longer allow society to tell me what they are willing to accept of me, and what they are not. I do not believe that my life is lesser, it is in fact much fuller because I do not fit into the box society is so desperate to place me in. I choose to accept every part of myself; my sexuality, my personality quirks and my external appearance, all without requiring any outside approval. I have fought a long battle with self-acceptance. I have chosen to create a life that is a transparent, authentic, honest version of myself. I have a wife, not a husband. And my house does have a picket fence, but it’s not white, its purple.
This journey I have been on has taught me one thing; that the years I spent hiding who I really was prevented me from accessing the true power that comes with allowing yourself to be exactly who you are. The journey of self-acceptance has been terrifying and painful at times and often filled with many people who didn’t understand. But, there have been many more who have understood and who have loved me even more for being the true version of myself. Mostly, though, the journey has been so very, very worth it.
If I could send a message to the younger me I would say; Dearest Jess. Yes, you over there, you gorgeous thing! That “thing” in your head that you are too scared to share… too scared to accept… too scared to be…you can be that! You can be gay! And you can be HAPPY whilst being it. You may not feel right now that you are strong enough, but girl, you SO are. You can be your own role model. And just so you know, your 33-year-old self is excruciatingly happy in her skin. She is happy with who she is in the world. She has been described as “authentic” on many an occasion. She has many people who love her for exactly who she is. Her life looks a bit different to what the world is telling you it should be. But she is happier for it. Hang in there! You are stronger than you think. And it gets so much better.
I would like my fellow women, mothers, daughters, grannies and free spirits to know that you can be ANYTHING you want to be and be happy. Anything! That “thing” in your head that you can’t be or can’t have, that dream you keep suppressing, that hope for a different life; you can HAVE it. Don’t listen to those that tell you that you can’t, that you aren’t smart enough, beautiful enough or talented enough. You are!! And you deserve it, just the way you are today. Now go get it girl!
I would also like you to know that I could never have gotten here without you. The women in my life are the ones who have changed me. They have taught me that the way I am right now, is, and always will be, enough.
In sharing my story with you all I have learnt that keeping quiet does not serve the world. We all have stories to tell and we should be sharing them. My 14-year -old self needed to know she wasn’t alone, and I’m hoping that now, another 14-year-old knows that she isn’t. Tell your story. Someone, somewhere, needs to hear it.