I’ve been afraid since I can remember. Afraid of expressing myself, of showing who I really am.
Back when I was a little kid the other kids at school would call me names and bully me for being different. Even the ones I saw as friends would occasionally engage in this kind of harassment for the fun or just to fit in. At those moments I felt confused and heartbroken.
I used to have long curly hair which I loved. One day I just told my mom I wanted to cut it. I made that decision because I was tired of people teasing me about how I looked and asking me if I was a boy or a girl all the time. Many years would pass before I would wear my hair like that again.
I was about 7 years old when I felt the pressure of society and the need to fit in so I wouldn’t be left out. So I hid myself, my true self from everyone else desperately trying to change my behaviors and my appearance to conform to society’s expectations of what a boy should look like. I tried to cast myself through society’s lenses.
Looking back I was never as successful at hiding behind a mask as I thought I was and that’s why it never stopped. Although I remember school as being one of the best places of my childhood because I just loved to be there I know there were dark moments where I couldn’t understand why people disliked me so much and I felt deeply lonely and misunderstood. Those moments left invisible scars, the kind you see everyday but don’t even remember why they’re there you just remember the pain.
At some point I got better, not at hiding myself but at avoiding certain places and people. And I improved a lot at pretending I didn’t care. So much that for a long time I believed I didn’t.
It wasn’t until I was 17, when I moved from my small town to the capital to study that I had the chance to express myself more freely and started to figure out who I was and what I wanted. However by then I was so convinced that if I didn’t fit in in at least some ways nobody would ever like me. So despite being open and encouraged to do so about my sexuality I still needed to look like other boys I still needed to look mainly and only like a boy. I could be gay but I had to be masculine. Whatever that means nowadays.
I was never a boy-next-door kind of guy so I struggled with looking like one, dressing, moving, doing, being one so I had better chances at being accepted and liked. All for the need to feel a part of something.
I used to care so much about what others would think of me that I was never truly myself. I was even afraid to show my real me to my own friends.
Nowadays things aren’t like that anymore. Some of those feelings still linger though. Those past insecurities are still present shadowing the way I relate to people today, making me doubt my self once in a while.
The big difference is that today I believe in me, I own my beauty and I stand up to myself. I look exactly how I want, I dress what I want and most importantly I behave how I want. I know I don’t look like other boys but I don’t try to do it anymore, I stopped trying to change myself to fit in anywhere. Today I know that between boy and girl there are many other options and that they’re all equally relevant and valid. So today I fully embrace all colours of that spectrum and present myself exactly how I feel like doing and I don’t mind anymore if someone asks me if I’m a boy or a girl.