Living My Truth
Today we celebrate those who came before us and paved the way for us to have the opportunity to live our truth. Thank you to my heroes: The Rocket Man, Harvey Milk, Halston, Andy Warhol, Smiley Miley, Basquiat, and Megan Rapinoe.
As I reflect back on the last year-and-a-half, I take a lot of pride in myself. I am still finding who I am, but I am working towards this each day. So much of myself is built around my sexuality. This can be both confusing and frustrating at times. I am often asked where I fall on the intricate sexuality spectrum. To answer this honestly, I do not feel comfortable putting a label on my sexuality; It is fluid. I do not ever want to box myself into a category to satisfy someone else’s curiosity.
I have experienced many ups and downs over this period of time in my life. I first battled through one of these low moments when I began the process of coming out to family and friends. A lot of relationships have changed forever because of this minuscule quality that I posses. This broke me. I reached a point where I woke up most days with a desire to kill myself. The worst part of having these suicidal thoughts was that I did not have the courage to act on it. Thank you to the people who kicked me when I was down. I believe that there is a time in everyone’s life where they will go through something that absolutely destroys them in order to find out who they really are. I am much better off because of the low moments I have lived through.
Most recently, I cherished one of my high moments when I took a solo trip to New York City, NY. While I was in the city I visited The Stonewall Inn. For those of you who aren’t familiar with The Stonewall Inn, this is where Pride came to be. Riots broke out on June 28, 1969 when this gay bar was raided. The uprising catalyzed the LGBTQIA+ civil rights movement. To put this in layman terms, for my community this is Mecca, this is the Vatican City, this is the Western Wall.
During this visit, for the first time in my life I felt a sense of belonging. I have struggled at times because of who I am makes me an outsider. I’m straight-passing for the most part. I am not the most masculine or feminine man. I do not have many LGBTQIA+ friends or acquaintances. However, I do have some amazing friends and family in my life who I can confide in when needed. I am very thankful for these people. They do their best to try and understand my life experiences, but cannot relate to a lot of the things I go through because they do not wear the shoes of a queer person.
One thing that I have finally realized is that we are all being taught the same bullshit but as I have grown older, traveled, learned, exposed myself to others… I see the world more clearly. I have learned that many people live in fear and insecurity. Many people do not know how to think and speak for themselves. Many people are victims and tools to control.
All of this to say, I am thankful for the disappointments in life. I can appreciate the good moments a little more. At 21-years-old, there are many aspects of the world and humans that I cannot understand. I will never understand most of these aspects, and that is okay. A lot of people aren’t living their truth.
What I am working on: Having empathy. Continuing to seek and understand. Loving. Trusting myself, my values, and my soul.
It is my hope that one day I will master these important qualities so that I will have the influence to change hearts and minds. Maybe help save a life.
Matthew Rigsby (an outsider)