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  • Writer's pictureBen Pechey

True Blue

Quite often we carry the problems we faced in childhood into adult life. Growing up gay, there was no way that I could hide it, I was constantly faced with how other people thought I should act. Your personality becomes a publicly formed narrative, people expect you to be a certain way. A couple of years ago I began to realise that my existence and personality had perhaps become more of a persona, and maybe I had lost who I was.

To make my life easier, I guess I learnt that I had to hide the more obviously less ‘normal’ aspects of my life. I suppressed parts of who I was in order to make my life easier, I’m not sure how good at that I really was, because I still had a really hard time with bullies.

One unavoidable way that people categorise and group people is through their music choices, no more than if you are a teenager and you are trying to stereotype someone as gay. Now I openly declare, I have no idea what is happening in modern music, and am very happy with the music of the 80s, as I type this I am listening to the musical stylings of Vanity 6. However, growing up this was just another thing that I felt I had to hide. I always felt that I couldn’t ever really discuss what I really liked. No child was ever going to have an easy ride if they declared their love for 80s divas like Jenifer Rush or Madonna.

The outfit you can see is probably one of the tamest things I have worn in recent months, yet I would have never have worn something like this when I was 14/15, you have no idea how much I would have wanted to dress like this, yet never would have. It all hinges on the open love for Madonna and True Blue, my favourite Madonna album. To be able to stand in a car park with my best friend and take pictures of this outfit feels so cathartic, for my teenage self. Having the ability, the freedom and the confidence to do this only highlights how other people can hold you back. If I could say anything to myself when I was younger, is that it would all be okay when you grow up.

Having grown up, I now fully appreciate having the ability to be honest about myself, and allowing myself to be who I am, without letting other people shape my personality. Self-expression is really one of the only ways we have to assert our personality to other people, it is intrinsically linked with the way people perceive you. Being in full control to show exactly what you want is liberating. It also ensures that other people don’t walk all over you, and makes you stronger.

It is worth mentioning that my choices are not always excepted, I am all too aware that members of the public are not able to accept me for who I am. However, having the confidence to step out the door as I truly want to, allows me to brush aside the comments and the stares as ignorance. It is not my fault that they cannot deal with me, so I remind myself not to let it bother me.

I am always amazed at the power and strength that my darling friend Jamie has in the face of hostility from the public. Jamie always reiterates that they have no shame, because they have nothing to be ashamed about, thus they don’t let comments from the public affect them.

I also have to say a weird kind of thank you to the people that can’t seem to cope with my existence, as it gave me the content for my final major project at university, so to all of the ignorant rude members of the public, I couldn’t have done it without you. It is so important to be your truest self and if the environment you are in or the people around you are stifling that, then you need to seek change so that you can be the most comfortable and happy to ensure you will thrive.

Thank you so much for joining me today, I will see you all soon.

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