Life is full of defining moments: Sabrina shares the life events that helped her be her true self today
We all hope that we are all working towards the dream, as part of the #BeYourself campaign, we have highlighted various people from across the LGBT+ community who are working towards their dream and embracing who they are. Sabrina shares her exceptional and inspirational journey below for our #BeYourself campaign:
It's hard to pick that one defining moment in my life, because life is continuous and so are all the moments that collide and make it magical, sad, wonderful and exciting...
I guess for me, growing up in an area that was considered undesirable (and possibly still is) wasn't ideal, I could never fault my parents, they did and still do the very best for me (and my older brother and younger sister, #middlechildalert) I guess everyone from the LGBTQI community says this, even those that don't identify as the aforementioned, I felt different.. and there in lies the first defining moment, not just for me, but for everyone that walks the planet.
I felt that feeling in me from an extremely early age, did I know I was gay? looking back now, hell yeah!
Did I want to be gay? Hell No! I was awkward, shy, a little chubby (we'll come to that later), why would I want to be further out from the norm.
So I got myself comfortable in that closet, and told myself I was staying there until it was acceptable to be gay.
You see, all I'd ever wanted in life was the approval of my peers, my family, friends, everyone around me, but isn't that hard when you don't even have your own approval.
Being with boys was easy, I never attached, so it suited them (obviously I'm not painting all males in this light) and suited me, then I met a guy, and I genuinely forgot about the 'gay thing' , I didn't consider myself 'Bi' cause the 'gay thing' wasn't an option, not entirely sure if I considered myself straight.
He is and still is one of the best people I've ever met, we had a great relationship that spanned 7 years, a mortgage, an engagement, very little arguments and a lot of laughs...
Based on my first couple of paragraphs it was never going to be happy ever after, but I am a true believer that people come into your life for a reason and I don't doubt that he came into my life to enrich it and me for him.
The second defining moment was a few months before we broke up, there was a particular American tv show that features gay women and their lifestyle and I happened on an episode one night and I just had to see more, youtube and I became best friends, I felt like I was doing something wrong however, so even something as a two min clip on the internet was the little push I needed.
And out I came, while I'm thankful now for everything, on looking back I didn't handle it well, but like I said, I didn't want this, it was bursting to get out of me, I almost felt I had no other choice. For anyone reading that's come out, the first few people you confide in and speak about it, is huge, that first year for me wasn't great, I was really flailing inside, almost contemplating taking it all back for an easy life.
..... I didn't... I kept going, I met some really decent people that I now consider best friends and my family and friends that I grew up with saw me in the light I knew was in me.
I've had people tell me they always knew I was gay, which on the outside I guess it's easy to observe, and I suppose I knew it about myself too, but facing reality and living are two obstacles I didn't want to believe.
The third defining moment I guess was meeting my first long term gf, and again they are still in my life and are one of the best people I have ever met. I fell in love for the first time, at the age of 31, truly in love, and while the relationship wasn't always plain sailing, it did give me so many happy memories I will always cherish....unfortunately it brought out some underlying demons that I had kept hidden for years.
You see, like I said about about not having my own approval, I really did not think much of myself, I questioned the intentions of every single person I encountered, my self esteem was in the ground, my weight was going the other way, pretty much hated myself... there in I found solace in self harm.....
When that relationship came to a head, I knew life was going to go one way or another for me, either sort myself out or I'd be 6 foot under.
No prizes for guessing the next defining moment....
I sought help from a self harm centre, without them I really don't know if I would be here, for someone to listen to just you, when you questioned everyone and everything, was priceless.... next on my to do list was to join a gym, not just for weight loss but for my mental health... 4 years later and I still love the gym, for that reason alone.
I did more than sort myself out, I turned my life completely around, nobody is ever cured from the demons or the issues they had, but what does happen is they learn to accept these things and develop different coping mechanisms...
Then at the age of 34 /35, I went and got myself a third level education....
My last defining moment is divided into two...
First part : meeting my fiancée. I don't care what anyone says, everybody wants to fall in love, being in love is one if not the best feelings in the world. I had just been made redundant and was leaving Ireland to go live with my cousin in the UK. About a month before I was out of here, I get a message from this girl on a dating app, the ironic thing was I was going on to my ipad to delete my dating apps.... fate is wonderful thing, almost 3 years later we're together, happy as ever, having bought a house and looking forward to getting married next year.
Second part: getting fit..... I would have never put myself in the fit bracket, so I decided to change that, I educated myself about my body, about food, about fitness and started my journey, I'm currently at a 4.5 stone loss since June, and I'm getting fitter and toned as the weeks pass.
So like I said, it is hard to pick one defining moment, because without the above I doubt I'd be the proud gay woman I am today, to be able to hold my head up high, life gives you the opportunity to learn and gain confidence in yourself and to just #beYourself is all you can hope for.
Thank you LGBT Helpline Ireland for giving me a soapbox to tell my story...