I’m currently sat typing away on my laptop after finishing revision for the evening, watching the sun set through the lounge window and listening to the Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda audiobook (yes, I’m late the party OKAY). What more could you want?? Actually, it would be better if I was sat outside enjoying the last few rays of sunlight, but unfortunately our garden faces north so doesn’t get much sun past 3 pm. I’ve been trying to write this post over the past few weeks, but never quite getting it right. Sometimes thoughts are so confusing you have to just wait them out until they make enough sense to write down, or at least that’s what I find anyway.
Let me rewind a week and a bit to when I went to see Walk The Moon live for the first time. It was such a surreal experience – seeing them perform after years of listening to their music sparked a roller coaster of emotions, because their songs speak to me on a level that I can’t quite put into words. They’ve been like a friend, I guess, through my teenage years as I try to figure out more about myself and my sexuality. When I’ve felt lonely, confused and frustrated about my feelings, their music has helped me to feel accepted and less alone. So as you can imagine, seeing them sing the lyrics I’d held onto in tough times really hit me, in a good, but confusing and emotional way and since then I’ve been having this massive identity crisis. It’s like feelings and questions I’ve been repressing – unintentionally – for a long time have suddenly resurfaced.
It’s a funny thing, identity. A collection of carefully selected influences pieced together. Like a puzzle. A never ending, ever growing puzzle. As we go through life, we discover more pieces, make new connections, changing the image of ourselves that we portray to society. This concept has been troubling me lately – I keep experiencing this recurring feeling of uncertainty when I think about my identity, sometimes it feels like I really don’t know who I am, or what makes me me.
It’s taken me a good few days, but I’ve come to the conclusion that not knowing who I am yet isn’t a bad thing. At the moment, I’m quite enjoying life – it feels like everyday I’m learning new things about the world around me and it’s thrilling. Perhaps, throughout life, we never reach a point where we stop learning and discovering new things, so it correlates that we never stop learning new things about ourselves. Perhaps we’ll never find all the pieces to our own puzzles, but maybe that’s okay.
Throughout my life, my perception of myself and my identity has changed. When I was a child, I used to have very short hair and wear boys ‘designed’ for boys, I went to Scouts and loved spending time exploring the outdoors. I was just being me. My naive child-self wasn’t aware of the gender-shaped boxes that society would eventually force me into when I started secondary school. As a result of bullying, I reluctantly began to fit into societies norms by portraying myself as a stereotypical girl.
During my teenage years, I really lost sense of my identity and who I was. I became too focused on trying to fit myself into metaphorical boxes of what a girl should be instead of ‘thinking outside the box’, as it were, and just being me. Then I started – and still am – questioning my sexuality, which has been going on for a good 4 years now. Attraction is confusing and I’m still trying to understand that sexuality can be fluid and change as we do.
Everyday I feel different, in some respects, towards my identity. Not just my sexuality, but my overall perception of myself. It’s strange. Some days I feel comfortable and happy with who I am. Other times I don’t feel like I fit in – in society, in this town, in my own skin. I keep thinking back to when I was a child, and was happy being different and not meeting society’s expectations of what a girl “should” be. Now, I feel like I’ve spent too much time subconsciously shaping myself into an “acceptable” female that I’ve lost sense of who I really am. It’s hard to work out whether who I am now is just a mask I wear to avoid society’s questions or if this is just who I was always going to become. One thing I do know, is that I don’t fit in with the people I surround myself with, because they don’t know who I really am and frankly neither do I. I’m constantly pretending to be someone I’m not – for their sake and mine.
My understanding of gender and sexual identity is titled by my experiences, of course. The casual homophobia that is all too prevalent within the education system and the media. Even now, hardly a day goes by where I don’t overhear someone using labels of sexuality interchangeably with insults or make “jokes” at the expense of the LGBTQA+ community during lessons. It makes me want to hide more, put up another disguise. Showing a fraction of my real identity to the world because I’m scared to show what I feel inside.
I need a change, and space, to explore who I am – a blank canvas to repaint myself using the colours of the overshadowed, repressed version of myself that I used to let show to be able to move on to the next part of my “identity journey”, to collect more puzzle pieces. Maybe I won’t be truly happy until I know who I am. Or maybe I won’t know who I am until I am truly happy. Either way, I’ve got to keep swimming through this confusing stage in my life.
Who knew a concert could trigger an identity crisis, eh?