It Starts With You: Express Yourself However You Want
As part of our #beYourself campaign, we have highlighted various individuals across the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans, Queer and others in the LGBT+ community, along with friends and families who support us on our journeys. They have shared their stories and illustrated the courage it took for them to be themselves and hopefully encourage others to be their unique selves. Read Niall's story of self-discovery below.
It Starts With You
2013 was the year that changed my life for the better. I was in the second year of my four year degree, living with six friends just off campus. I was independent, I was living the college dream, I was surrounded with what are now life long friends, I was studying a degree to further my career and provide me with the life and future I dreamed about, but something wasn't right.
I wasn't really ME. Not the true me. You see, I was holding in a secret, a secret I hadn't shared with anyone. My sexuality is something I pushed to back of my mind and at times I was so good at ignoring it I nearly convinced myself it was phase.
Instead of me accepting and understanding who I really was, I just kept trying to conform to societal norms. Unconsciously I was pushing friends away. The sleepless nights, the anxiety, the excessive drinking on nights out, the fear, the anger, it all just got too much.I was living a double life which just wore me down.
Then I realized, it starts with me! There's only one person who can help me, one person who can get me passed this, one person who can change how I felt.. and that was ME. The minute I accepted myself for who I really was, a trigger switch went off and it changed my life for the better.
I still cannot really describe it but something changed when I accepted my sexuality. I realized that i'm not less then anyone else. No more hiding, no more lying, just upfront acceptance and honesty. Overcoming that hurdle was probably the hardest thing I've had to do to date but also the most rewarding. I accepted my sexuality and realized its apart of me but it certainly doesn't define me as a person!
I look back now and I don't know who that person was. My confidence, happiness and feeling of worth grew at an enormous rate. Of course that came down to friends and family too but it started with ME. I learnt a really important lesson in life and I probably learnt it the hard way too - My biggest downfall was me. I cared way too much about what people thought or how they would react back then and not actually thinking about myself, my happiness and what I really wanted. Because at the end of the day, Its my mind, my body, my feelings, my life and it should have only been MY opinion that mattered.
Today I can tell a different story. I'm fully aware we all live in a society where we are all judged and where we judge consciously or not and that can come down to what you wear, where you live etc. But if I was ever to offer anyone advice from my own experience it would just simply be - be you! I blog about Men's fashion and topical issues because that's something I wanted to do regardless of peoples opinions and judgments. I express myself through the clothes I wear to a certain extent and don't try to be on top of the latest trends but rather wear what I like and what I believe looks the best on me.
This world would be a very boring place if everyone was the same! Be you and express yourself however you please. But remember it starts with you!
Check out Niall's blog: Notionswithniall.wordpress.com