I think I was around 15 when I overheard this discussing of if some girls in my year were gay in a very derogatory immature tone. It was a bizarre and quite confusing moment where I realised that not all people had crushes on girls and guys, like me. I  looked with new eyes at the word ‘girl crush’ that’s for sure. At that moment I couldn’t stand up and proudly support those girls, I could barely accept the reality I had just realised, a part of me was not ‘normal’, not accepted.

Fast forward another 10 years and here I get to stand alongside loud, proud and very clear expressions of self-acceptance and clear ownership of the things that make us different. You see it’s not just the LGBTQ+ closet I walked out of during my life but many different closets, my disability as a heavily dyslexic woman, my love of all things witchy, a powerlifter and a life coach. And with each one of those, I faced pushback, disagreement and unkind words but the thing that really helped me accept myself was remembering that we all have closets to come out from. Everyone has a hardship, a skeleton, a part of themselves that they haven’t accepted. By looking at those parts of myself in a new light, that of compassion, helped me connect to all that I had disconnected from all the way back to that day at 15. 

So as this pride month comes to a head and I reflect on the growth this community has made I will hold a little hope that you look at the part of yourself that you may not feel comfortable with, may feel a little different because of and know that that part of you is welcome. As you do this those parts of you go from feeling less like an unwanted visitor to becoming more of a long lost friend. Acceptance can begin just by having some compassion, for yourself and the parts of yourself you have rejected, making peace with them will end that battle you wadge inside to keeping it hidden. 

 

In the words of Viola Davis’s character Aibileen Clark in the movie The Help:

You is Kind

You is Smart

You is Important

 

Find Fenella at @fenellapowell and  www.fenellapowell.com