Where do you begin when there isn’t an ending yet? Well, I suppose I should start at my beginning. The beginning I can remember anyway. I am a survivor of sexual abuse which happened frequently throughout my childhood until I was around 14. These horrible things were inflicted upon me by three different men. Things like that leave their mark on you in more ways than you can ever imagine. My head was in a spin from it all. My Mother and I left behind our family home in order to get away from one of my abusers. We left one evening with no idea what to do next. We had no income, no home of our own and very little possessions. Years later we have much better lives.
It was getting to this stage that was difficult. I always say that people should talk about their problems and their issues. True to my own advice, talking is exactly what I did. Unfortunately people often didn’t know how to react to the issues I had. It wasn’t their fault. It is hard to give advice to someone who’s in the situation I was in. I fought for justice for six years against one of these men. During those six years the court case was adjourned many times, new items were asked for such as my medical records and even notes from counselling sessions of mine, and in the end he was found not guilty. I appealed this decision and finally got the guilty verdict I so desperately wanted. By then I had leaned on many different people for support and I worried that they were going to look at me differently or see me as a burden. I was raped, sexually abused, emotionally tortured, stalked and afterwards I was ripped apart on the witness stand more than once. I had self harmed, I had swollen knuckles on several occasions from inflicting pain upon myself and the nearest wall. I attended counselling. I had support from youth workers and even teachers. I also had help from my friends. Despite their willingness to help I still couldn’t help being afraid that I was asking for too much by talking to them.
What changed my perspective on my fears was actually a mail on Facebook from a good friend of mine. She told me that listening to me and seeing me going through my personal battles inspired her to actually finally speak to someone about hers and to face something that she had avoided for many years. You think you are being a nuisance but in reality you are probably your confidants’ greatest inspiration. I was. Talking is so important and I really cannot stress that enough. I may reveal more of my history in time but for now feel free to ask me anything and if I feel comfortable answering your questions then I will. Take care, wonderful people.
My posts have been pretty minimal compared to usual recently but for a good reason. I’ve been doing a lot of writing for other LGBT online publications and I’ve even interviewed someone! I haven’t forgotten about this blog though and I continue to be inspired by all you lovely people every time I’m here.
One thing that has been on my mind is “going wild”. You know the “crazy” things people do when they’re young adults, or even older adults, that are outside their normal range of activities. Yeah, those. What the hell are they? So many people hint towards a wild background but never seem to go into major details on the topic. I drank alcohol a lot (probably too much) when I was a teenager but that’s what teenagers do. Especially Irish teenagers anyway. When I was almost 19 I stopped drinking for a year and when I started drinking again I approached it with a much healthier attitude. I have only slept with one person, my wife of course. I got married, settled down and focused on running a household and not making the same mistakes that my family members did. Please tell me what I’m missing here? I’m constantly told that any time now I’m going to go wild. It’s like people are waiting for it. You know what? I’m waiting to see what they’re on about too! On the rare nights out I drink whiskey or cider and dance too much but isn’t that what you’re meant to do if you’re in a club? I would definitely love to know what kind of things are wild to be honest. I need to be educated on this topic!
My style is to have short blended hair
This blurs the lines of gender but I don’t care
My jeans are deep blue with creases of wear
They’re loose but tight in places. People still stare.
My body is skinny with a smaller chest
They just look there and forget the rest
My jaw line is defined with a cheeky smile
My fingernails are too short to even file
My t shirt is sometimes fitted but never tight
They look and guess. They’re rarely right
I do a good deed for a random in the street
“Good man” they say and I feel my face heat
I wear men’s shirts cos you don’t need to see
The sexual side of my female body
I get swallowed up by the layered comfort
When they shouted “ugly lezzer” that kinda hurt
My tattoos are too masculine according to who?
A stranger – how does it even affect you?
My gender confuses you in the public toilet
Your reaction is almost enough to start a small riot
A word to the wise: I’m doing no harm
It’s not my fault if you’re attracted to my charm
Or if you never saw someone so weird
I’m certainly not a person that needs to be feared
Am I a young guy or a raging lesbo dyke?
My hair stands up with gel in every spike
I’m standing tall for myself and everyone just like me
Please don’t let them make you cry. Just be yourself, let yourself be free.
John Legend – You & I (Nobody In The World)
This video actually brought tears to my eyes (yes, I’m a big softy!) because it brings together a collection of so many women of different shapes, sizes and colour and encourages them to love themselves. We are all beautiful in so many different ways. I hate hearing anyone put themselves down, especially because of their looks. I allowed my looks to hold me back from being more adventurous and I ended up regretting doing that. Scars, weight and stretch marks are all part of simply being human. I do my best to dress well and look good but I don’t allow it to consume my thoughts. I lost a lot of weight and as a result my upper arms have stretch marks and a small amount of loose skin. My arms don’t look really bad but let’s face it: you are your own worst critic. Last summer I allowed myself to get upset about my flaws and I let it stop me from wearing certain things. This year I vowed to put it to the back of my mind and do whatever I like while wearing whatever I like so that’s exactly what I did. I feel so much better now. Overlooking your imperfections can be an overwhelming task but you can do it and you can embrace the way you look too.
I challenge you to think of at least three things that you like about your looks.
Remember, our imperfections make us human and your imperfections are so perfect.
We’ve all felt depressed and many of us have even been on the verge of suicide. Maybe as members of the LGBTQ rainbow we are more susceptible to these powerfully consuming feelings. I’ve been there myself. I have felt my spirits depleting as black waves threatened to drown me. My problem was mainly attributed to my past. I struggled so much to move past the horrors of my childhood. My experiences haunted me to the point where they had made it into my subconscious and plagued my sleep as well as my waking thoughts. It’s so difficult to deal with and even more difficult to explain the raw feelings associated with it to someone else.
Imagine you are lying on the cold, hard ground and are trying so hard to get back up, trying with all your strength to push yourself back up but every time you get close you are shoved back down again by a force which you is terrifyingly stronger than you. Now look again at this scene more closely. Every time you tried to get up there was a hand reaching out to help you. It is the helping hand you need to make you unstoppable against the dark force that relentlessly propelled you down time and time again. That hand is always there, even when it is almost too dark to see it, it is still there.
In your darkest days there is always someone there ready and waiting to help. It might be an old friend, new friend or even an acquaintance. Your help may even come from an organisation designed for your needs. Nobody wants to see you suffer.
One day things will be so much better for you and you will be glad that you stuck around for these better days. I was prompted to write this post because too many people suffer in silence alone. Remember, somebody always cares.
These footsteps are now as light as my new attire
My heart is now as warm as a winter fire
I’m in sync with my face for the first time in oh so long
I smile through the saddest words and dance to every song
Wearing black and living in darkness just isn’t my style
It was a dark phase for only a short while
The night is lost as I drown in waves of morning promises
Shaking with happiness I catch all of your wet kisses
I am painted in good fortune, happy in my newest skin
It doesn’t take luck to beat the odds, to win.