What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of being a teenager? An awkward transition phase, outfits you wish you didn’t wear, decisions that now to this day you even question. “What were you thinking?” I definitely had all of the above, with dashes of anxiety and excitement. For a time, I lived with my mum, it wasn’t perfect but it was necessary & a moment in time I’ll always remember as a window to a deeply repressed part of myself coming to light that needed to be out.
I was scared of everything as a child. Highly sensitive because I believed in everything – to me, anything outside of ‘my world’ was frightening, which meant my mum wearing make-up & nail polish. For a time it was a real challenge, it frightened me because I wasn’t used to it, it seemed really fierce & overwhelming but overtime I started meeting people who opened me up way further into that realm and it excited and intrigued me entirely.
In truth, I grew up kind of sheltered, very early on I was super quiet, I lived in my own little planet: my world consisted of songs I loved, video games, drawings, home movies, my friends, and books I’d write. This would carry on into my early secondary years but deep inside, I longed for something more. I decided to take on drama as an introverted kid, I was around fifteen and regretted not taking it sooner, threatened by the what-ifs but finally, I had to make a decision and I followed through.
My years in drama taught me that I was crazier than I thought and it also taught me a powerful lesson: not to care, it felt like a family, everybody was learning at the same time and suddenly my world got brighter, I was introduced to my feminine side, it was there I’d meet my best friend and be exposed to a world I didn’t know existed and had no idea I was naturally a part of. It was the first time I felt truly seen. So much so I came out in the Summer of 2018.
From there on out, my attention would quickly switch onto pop artists like Britney Spears, Rina Sawayama & Tierra Whack. They made me feel seen and heard: they were unapologetic, fearless & were rooted in self-assurance, it was like a playground for self-expression in its rawest form, one where three were no rules and you could just be unapologetically with no restrictions or barriers. To me this was freedom.
My biggest takeaway from them was that it’s okay to be who you truly are unfiltered as scary as it seems & that freedom is the ultimate goal, I feel like I’m learning with all these new artists continuously, as we’ve all been given so much time to self-analyse in quarantine, I’ve begun to come to terms that this is an ongoing process. I used to believe there was an endpoint and a final destination but self-acceptance is a lifelong journey, my biggest takeaway is that we’re all figuring it out together day by day and I’m deeply excited to see where this stage of life takes me.And that’s where I’m at now, in an experimental phase of my life, learning and growing as I go. Painting my nails & wearing a purse when I want. Being willing to make honest mistakes, try things for size asks embrace the mystery and complex beauty of being a young person in the 2020s as the world is continuously changing I am too.
Featured post by Marcus T. Graham (@marcustgraham)