As part of the #BeYourself campaign we have encouraged people from across the LGBTQ community to share their voices and be ambassadors for self love, self happiness and believing in yourself. Colby has written an amazing blog piece for us in which he shares his journey to his happiness.
My name is Colby, I’m ecstatic and honored to share how I learned to love myself.
My story begins just like everyone else’s; I was just your typical guy in school kind of quiet and shy, but there was something about me that I couldn’t quite accept or that I would try to press away. I was gay and I was different (but being normal doesn’t really exist). At the age of 18, I decided I needed to find out who am I and what I want in life and, more importantly, how do I love myself like other people?
When I would look in the mirror, I wasn’t happy with what I saw. I didn’t like anything about myself, personality and even body features. Growing up I was taught to hide things about myself that you could say weren’t “perfect.” I was told being gay was an abomination. I was told things like why does your skin look different? Why do you dress like that? So many questions and no answers. In middle school, I wanted to be liked by everyone so badly I hid my part of being gay, and I began to like what everyone else likes, listen to what everyone says and dress like everyone else.
It got to a point where if someone would ask me “what do you like?” Or “what’s your favorite color?” I didn’t have an answer. Since most of my personality was molded to adapt and change per person, I had no idea who I was. When I was 18, I finally accepted that my life isn’t the typical “American Dream” and that I’m lying to myself. Countless nights of crying myself to sleep or just begging to change is what I was doing.
One day I said to myself, “I need to do what makes me happy and become who I want to be and just not care what other people thought.” I came out openly gay on Facebook – there was backlash from family and excommunications did happen, but I didn’t care; for the first time in my life I was free, and I was finally able to express myself and become my own person.
I started to make amazing friends, go to amazing places and for the first time in a long time when I looked in the mirror, I wasn’t ashamed or upset about what I saw, I actually started to like the facial features I saw in the mirror, my skin tone and complexion, and I felt like I belonged.
Every time I pass a mirror, I take an opportunity to smile and be happy for who I am. Never let anyone tell you who you are or what to do to make you happy. I’ve never been so happy to be in my own skin and to make new connections with people.
When you look in the mirror, take a second to smile and be happy for your existence. I guarantee no matter where you are or what you’re doing, someone is happy to have you in their life. As my favorite Poet Maya Angelou once said, “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”