Fear is a word that does not do justice to describe the flood of suffocating negative energy crackling within the community resulting of the new President-elect, and the behaviors his ignorance and irresponsibility has come to inspire and normalize.
Within a world of Alt-Right and internet-troll Youtuber romanticism, casual homophobia and transphobia, and lack of representation, the feelings of erasure, invalidation of emotions, and in some cases, giving up on a better world (as we begin to feel as though there’s nothing we can about the oppression we face) can permeate feverishly within us.
It is draining.
It is tiring.
It can make you feel like you don’t deserve to revel in joy, hope, or love.
It can make you forget the power within your identity.
There are matches in small and big places within this world that have the power to re-light your soul from the depths this world can bring it to; I have discovered these most commonly within self care. Below are some self care tips I have found that aid me the best, I hope they help you:
Remind Yourself That What You Feel is Valid
There is one fact I know to be forever true: the person who knows you the best is you. Outside influences, such as society, peers and family, can birth immense self doubt within your identity, and cause you to feel as though you do not deserve to discover and explore who you are. Compounded onto the societal stigma that having confidence within yourself is somehow shameful, existing as LGBTQ+ can be such such a tumultuous process, even after you have come out. Truly and forever more, if you feel a certain way, then it is valid and extremely important. Think about it this way, if your friend was trying to navigate their identity, you would support them and believe what they are feeling to be valid, right? So, if a friend deserves that validation, you do too.
It is okay to not know. It is so very okay, and perhaps you may not want to now, or ever, label yourself, and that is alright. Your identity does not lose any value nor worth in any stage throughout your journey. It is also immensely valid to want to explore. It is not dirty or shameful to want to try being in relationships with people other than your own gender identity, and it is not odd to not know your gender identity and want to be in a relationship(s) with another gender(s). It is also completely valid to not be attracted, either romantically and/or sexually, to anyone!
If someone is worth your time, they will understand and love (romantically or platonically )you for who you are. You deserve to be around those who appreciate every fantastic aspect of you, and how could anyone not? Being LGBTQ+ is an identity based off of love and soul, and what could be more ethereal than that.
Submerge Yourself in LGBTQ+ Created Media
The lack of visibility of LGBTQ+ narratives within the media can birth such a residual loneliness and foster self-doubt in your own assurance of who you are. Being surrounded in media from points of view and experiences similar to your own aids so very much in validating what you feel and who you are, and may even help in discovering parts of yourself you didn’t how to label or even knew existed!
Community exists in all realms of the media! Scrolling on YouTube, one can find hundreds of other amazing content creators from all areas of LGBTQ+ just by searching the identity they are looking to learn more about or relate to. On Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr, thousands within the community are creating space for their own narratives to be seen and heard.
Here I have curated two playlists* of LGBTQ+ Artists, and one for LGBTQ+ Artists of Color specifically. Whether you are feeling teriffied, happy, romantic, sad, or ready to slay the whole world, these playlists includes music for all occasions, of all genres, and from artists of all realms of the LGBTQ+ community.
Make Art (of all forms!)
Making art can manifest in every form, whether that be painting, photography, writing poems, or even drawing with chalk on the side walk! Despite which method you choose, creating art to express what you are feeling can be extremely cathartic, and can elevate and help you navigate your feelings. Creating something tangible out of the intangible (aka your thoughts and feelings), helps to quite literally look at the whole of what you are going through.
If you don’t consider yourself a creator, don’t feel like you don’t deserve to create just because your work isn’t like Picasso’s or O’Keefe’s or Thoreau’s. All creations are an extension of one’s soul, and that’s a beautiful thing in itself. If you want to, keep them private, or even share them on social media! It creates representation and the visibility that you deserve as well, and you never know who might feel comforted knowing that there’s someone out there feeling the same way they do.
Take Five Minutes to Breathe
If you start to feel even the least bit overwhelmed with society and/or your own journey with your identities, you have every right to take a moment to pause and take a moment to breathe. Closing your eyes to meditate, say in a public bathroom or in your car, taking a moment in the midst of everything to focus on your heart beat or your breath, aids immensely in centering one’s self, and in remembering that you are so wonderfully alive and in control of all the things buzzing in your head.
Do One Thing for You Every Day
This one thing can be small or big, and its size does not minimize its grandeur. This “one thing” is beautiful because it takes on a different form for all; maybe for you it’s going outside to take pictures, taking a nice jog, a bath, or even playing that one song that you love to scream-sing and/or dad dance to! Whatever it may be, if it is important to you, it is valid, and never selfish. Making time to have one part of your day set out solely for you help not only to elevate your mood, but to remind yourself that you do have control and ownership of your life, and how powerful that is.
Please know that you deserve love, and that you do not need anyone’s approval for your identity to feel valid. The person that knows you best, and that is the most qualified to say what you feel or declare your identity is you; anyone who tries to say otherwise is projecting their insecurity of not living their truths onto you, and therefore is not worth listening to.
Your LGBTQ+ identity is something that is a beautiful part of the great big complex entity of all you are, so take pride. Live your truths. This life is so fleeting, and you deserve to revel in the liberation and untouchable power of being yourself in every waking moment.