Let Your True Self Shine Bright: Christian Moretti on the Journey to #BeYourself
This month, the LGBT Helpline will focus on the idea of what it means to #BeYourself. Social norms often restrict the ways we express ourselves and the way we choose to appear in public spaces. This is an issue which presents frequently on the LGBT Helpline, with many callers suffering huge stigma because they like to wear clothes or make-up that go outside society's hetero- and cis-normative expectations. To explore this issue, we welcome people to share their stories with the hashtag #BeYourself, and we will be featuring a variety of perspectives on self expression, like the one featured below.
There is one day when you open your eyes, breath in the fresh morning breeze and you think: ‘it did get better after all’.
Being a teenager is supposed to be a fantastic time for everyone, new friends, new opportunities, dreams and expectations. However this is not the case for many. Many youngsters have to face things that they should not, such as: discrimination, shame, bullying, verbal and physical harassment.
When you are young and you go through this, everything seems too much to bear, too painful, too scary. You think that nobody can understand you, you become defensive and you close yourself in your little shell which is narrow and uncomfortable but safe.
Then, slowly, you realise that the world is not actually as scary and threatening as you thought. You start understanding that you have a place in there and that you can make it better in your own personal way. You come to realise that who you are is not something to be ashamed of but it is a value, something distinctively personal and yet so important for the world. We are all different, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, Bisexual, Straight and this is what makes our world colourful and beautiful.
It is important to stop and appreciate this throughout all our different and equally beautiful talents. May those be through art, writing, painting, music, reading, drawing, science, etc …. The world does not need homophobes and transphobes, it needs variety, differences, equality and respect.
Can you imagine if everybody had the same hair colour? Can you imagine if everybody had the same eye colour? Can you imagine if everybody had the same style? Wore the same clothes? Can you picture in your mind how boring life would be?
We all express our feelings, personalities and identities in many ways, through fashion, colour, art and activities.
Nobody can tell you how to behave or how to express yourself because, ultimately, only you know who you are. Your true self cannot be hidden because it is destined to shine bright, you only have to let it out and, I can promise you, its light won’t disappoint you.
Then that day will come, you will look back and you will smile at your life because it does get better.
Dr. Christian Moretti is a secondary school teacher, novelist and poet, LGBTQI activist and current Mr. Gay Limerick