Who you are is not set in stone: Oisin's inspiring journey of growth and self-acceptance
As part of the #BeYourself campaign we have reached out to various inspirational individuals across the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans communities and asked them to share their stories. One of the most powerful ways to encourage change is to share our voices and let the world see us for who we are. Oisin shares his story below and hopefully will encourage and inspire others to be themselves.
My name is Oisin. I am 29 years old. And that is just about everything that I know for certain about myself. Although, I'm pretty sure my age keeps changing too. I remember being 18 years old and certain I wanted to be an artist in London, marry a woman and have a couple of kids. Now, I am working as a veterinarian in Australia, I am an out gay man, and I don't know if I will ever want kids. My life definitely made a 180 degree turn somewhere along the way.
Growing up, I always had a passion for art. I was top of my class in Art and I was working towards studying art at University. My Halloween costumes were famous, whether it was as a Giraffe on stilts or a transforming transformer. I won more than a few cash prizes for my costumes too.
I also went to an all boys school, with a big emphasis on rugby. However, I hated sports. So there was more than a few clashes when I was pressured to play for the school team as one of the tallest and biggest guys in the school. All my best friends were girls, and I was the one always sitting with the girls, sipping on our cappuccinos.
Have I painted the picture yet? I was that stereotypical GBF or Gay Best Friend. And while I also dated different girls, I was regularly asked if I was gay. When I said no, common responses were “Are you sure?” or “I give you a year until you come out”. What all these people didn't realise was that it was none of their business either way.
Truthfully, I wasn't happy though, not just with my sexuality but with everything. I slowly made changes to my life. After secondary school, I studied art like I always planned. I didn't have the same passion for it, studying it full time so I dropped out. I repeated my University entry exams and started studying veterinary medicine. I wanted to be part of a team so I also took up rowing. I captained the novice squad and was secretary for the rowing club as well as competing internationally for my University. I made guy friends as well and became one of the lads. I also started dating guys secretly too. I eventually reached a point when I didn't want to hide anything any more though. While I was still interested in women, I knew ultimately I would want to settle down with a man and I decided to come out as gay*.
Its funny though, when I am talking to people for the first time and tell them I am gay*, they don't hear the asterisk but that asterisk is very much there. The asterisk is that yes, I identify as gay but I have had very real, very meaningful relationships with women. If an attractive woman walks by, my head can still whip around. I even dated a girl after I came out as gay. These relationships were not a phase to me. They played an important part of making me who I am today. I am still very close to some of those women, and still have very strong feelings of affection for them. For me, being gay is being attracted to men and hoping to settle down with a man someday but not to the exclusion of all else.
Now, I live in Australia. I work as an emergency and critical care veterinarian. My work life consists of everything from bee stings, to CPR, to emergency surgery on the pets of Perth. I watch RuPaul's drag race every week because I love the costumes and theatrics of it all. I surf most days with my best friend and love blowing off some steam at the gym, lifting heavy weights. My perfect weekend is a camping trip with my boyfriend and his beautiful dog.
As you can see, my life has gone through many phases to get to where I am today. #BeYourself is about being able to be honest with yourself about who you are and what you want from life. Just remember though, that who you are, is not set in stone. There is rarely a single defining moment that changes your life forever, but rather a million little moments that slowly change you. Who we are is always growing and changing and evolving. If you give yourself a little patience, kindness and honesty though, you'll come through all of it though as the best version of yourself.