Identity Crisis Part 2 (but more happy!)

Today, for some reason, my mind won’t stop whirring with thoughts. Like deep thoughts about life and stuff. I’m usually quite a deep thinker anyway, but today my mind is just an explosion, in a good way though.

As you may know from other rambling posts, I have been questioning my sexuality and identity for a few years now, but it’s become more intense in the past few months. Especially (inconveniently) in exam season when I was sort of stuck in this phase of ‘I don’t know who I am’. Then those feelings sort of disappeared for a little while as I came out to one of my closest friends and I felt a bit relieved to not have to ‘hide’ around everyone.

The past few days, however, I’ve started thinking about stuff again so I thought I’d try to write it out to make sense of my feelings and maybe it’ll help someone out there too who is questioning their identity.

I am bisexual. Or I’m pretty sure I am. I am attracted to both men and women, but the attraction I feel towards different genders is different, so sometimes that makes me question whether I am bisexual as I often go through long periods of being attracted to solely men or women. But for now that label feels okay, I’m not 100% comfortable with it but for now that’s what I’m going with.

One thing I’ve been noticing over the past few months is that the way I think about gender, or my gender, has changed. I’ve never really questioned my gender before, and I’m not sure if I’m questioning it now, but something ‘feels’ different. This is mainly in relation to clothing and the way I present and perceive myself. I find myself more and more shopping or browsing in the ‘men’s’ section which I know doesn’t really mean much as I don’t agree that clothes have a particular gender anyway, but I’m finding that I feel more comfortable dressing in a masculine way and it’s confusing me a bit.

Sometimes I’ll put on a dress or floral top or something and feel so uncomfortable I have to change immediately. Which is weird because although I was never a ‘girly’ girl as a child, during my teenagers I have been comfortable wearing these types of clothing up until recently. But now…I don’t know.

I find myself looking to men for fashion inspiration and wanting to wear men’s clothing. My friend and I often joke about my shirt obsession (I have too many oops) but itsy true that I feel most comfortable and happy in them because they feel masculine to me and I like the way I look when I wear them, especially with my brogues, which also happen to be from the men’s section. I don’t think it’s that I’m particularly attracted to men that dress in the way I try to (although I am attracted to some men but that’s another thing argh), it’s more like I want to ‘be’ them, I want to look like them and it’s SO CONFUSING.

However I know it’s perfectly okay to be female and wear more ‘masculine’ clothing and I should wear whatever makes me feel the most comfortable. I’m just confused as to why, all of a sudden, I feel the need to distance myself from anything feminine. But I’m not going to stress over it too much. For the moment, I am happy and I know that I’m discovering more about myself and who I am everyday. I’ll find the answer someday, but for now I’ve just got to do what makes me comfortable.

It feels a little weird writing about this, as it’s something I’ve never talked about before despite being at the back of my mind. If you can relate, I’d love to hear your perspective on things. ūüôā

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Identity?? Crisis?? AHHH

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?

//lgbtq+ music I’m loving//

So…I missed Pride month ūüė• I mean, June was a very busy time for me with exams and university applications and exams and open days and exams, so I didn’t have time to write anything on here for Pride, which I’m sad about but hey ho.

But! I thought I’d share some lgbtq+ artists and songs that I’ve been loving recently (I say recently, but I’ve been listening to them for months). Most of these were recommended to me by awesome blogger friends, and I’m very grateful because I’ve found some artists that I absolutely adore and can’t imagine how I lived without them (*cough cough DOUWE*). Some of these artists I’m not sure what their orientation is, but they have some songs with lgbtq+ themes, so I thought I’d include them anyway.

Anyway, without further or do, here are some of my lgbtq+ music faves!

Hayley Kiyoko // wlw

I have so much love for Hayley Kiyoko, her songs are so…gentle? And pure? I have quite a few favourite tracks of hers, of course¬†Pretty Girl¬†and¬†Girls Like Girls¬†which are probably her most popular (?) but I also really love¬†Cliffs Edge¬†and Grave to Tempo and the whole Citrine EP¬†‚̧

Douwe Bob // bisexual

LOOK AT THE DOG (and Douwe of course)

Douwe is my Eurovision bae. He competed for The Netherlands back in 2016, and I fell in love! His music is so relaxing and calming, but also very catchy! I do wish he sung more of his songs in Dutch though, because Dutch sounds so nice when it’s sung, but netherless he is a very talented artist (who has very cute dogs).¬†He Ho of Bi¬†is one of my favourite lgbtq+ songs ever (the title basically translates as heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual – credits to¬†Michelle¬†for introducing this song to me and for sharing my love of Douwe!!), and I’d highly recommend watching the music video if you can to understand the Dutch better (plus it’s so cute). Both his albums¬†Pass It On¬†and¬†Fool Bar¬†are worth a listen too!

Christine and the Queens // pansexual

What a beauty!!

Okay, so this is turning out to be international music faves as well as lgbtq+, so here is some beautiful queer French music to add to the party! I think I first came across Christine and the queens when¬†Tilted¬†was a big it in the UK, but since she came up in my French listening exam (French exams are rad), I decided to check out more of her music, and she definitely doesn’t disappoint! I really love iT¬†which discusses gender and is just generally such a jam!

Ingrid Michaelson // lgbtq+ lyrics

Ingrid Michaelson ‚Äď Tickets ‚Äď The Lincoln Theatre ‚Äď Washington ...

Although I’m unsure of her sexuality, Ingrid Michaelson’s song Girls Chase Boys (chase girls) is such a beautiful song with lgbtq+ themes. The Way I am is also a joy to listen to.

Shura // gay

Shura: Star of hit single Touch explains why she chose music instead ...

Shura!! Her music is so pretty and peaceful – I especially love 2Shy and Tongue Tied, but she has so many other songs that are so relaxing and just generally nice to listen to! (Shout out to Elly for introducing me to her and the next artist a while ago!)

The Internet // lgbtq+ lyrics

The Internet Pictures | MetroLyrics

I’m going to finish of my faves list with The Internet. A lot of there music is quite slow and gentle, which is also very relaxing to listen to. Again I’m not entirely sure of their sexualities, but lead vocalist Syd’s sings Girl beautifully and I just love her voice! Somthing’s Missing is another of their songs which I love.

So, that’s a round up of some of my fave lgbtq+ artists and songs. Of course there a loads more and more well-known artists who represent the lgbtq+ community, but these are the ones that I really love and can really connect with. If you have any more recs or faves, feel free to share them below ūüôā

 

//Is Thatcher a good role model for young girls?//

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This weekend I have been studying Thatcher’s 11 years in power in considerable detail, as I came to the realisation that my teacher hadn’t actually taught us the whole of the Thatcher unit in our course book and so set about teaching it to myself. For those of you who don’t know Margaret Thatcher was a Conservative party member who became the first female Prime Minister of Britain in 1979. As a woman myself and a strong believer in the importance of politics in the empowerment¬†of young people, women, and other misrepresented and minority groups, I was keen to investigate Thatcher’s impact as a role model for young women like me and why perhaps she is still viewed negatively by British society nowadays. Was she really as bad as people make out?

So I started with learning about what Thatcherism actually meant, as despite studying politics last year and learning about Thatcherism as an ideology, I feel like I never fully understood it.  Thatcherism is basically the key political ideas that Thatcher stood by and from what I can tell, they were given their own ideological term as at the time, they were considered to be radical compared to the traditional Conservative ideas of preserving individual wealth and private ownership. To give you a bit of background, what Thatcher stood for was the rights and interests of individuals over that of the nation as a whole, promoting individual enterprise, rewarding hard work through low taxes, the importance of law and order to maintain a democratic society, that law, freedom and justice was provided for all by British democracy and she was a conviction politician, believing that as prime minister, she should stick to her own principles rather than trying to reach a consensus which always required compromise. Although I pretty much have the opposite political standpoint on most of her key ideas, I could see the logic behind Thatcherism, so at this point had a fairly positive view of Thatcher, although I was a little skeptical as to how she could have transformed her political beliefs into policy that would have benefited the political and social environment at the time.

Then I went on to learn about Thatcher’s economic policy, which I won’t go into detail with as it is quite complex and long-winded, but overall her attempts to lead Britain out of recession – although they broke the trend of past governments – and her way of economic thinking interested me, despite their limited success. Generally though I am quite sympathetic towards economic policy as it must be so difficult to manage such a vast, fluid concept as a countries economy and it’s impossible to benefit everyone at once, so her economic failures in my opinion were no worse than past governments.

After going on to reading about her intentions to “roll back” (reduce) state intervention in the economy and increase the size of the private sector, I started reading into how Thatcher’s policies caused political and social division within Britain. This aspect of analysing her time in office really interested me, because instead of reading all the complex detail of which policies she introduced to do what, I was actually learning about the impact of her policies and how they affected real people living at the time. What stood out to me most, was a statement saying that Thatcher felt “threatened” by diversity within society. This is what got me thinking about if Thatcher really is a role model and an inspiration to young girls like me because even though she managed to fight her way to the top level of politics – something that would have been unheard of 50, 20 or even 10 years before she became Prime Minister – I certainly don’t agree with some of the things she did whilst she was in that position of power.

Firstly, Thatcher’s viewpoint of homosexuality was that it was a symbol of ‘moral decline’ and that heterosexual families and relationships were the norm which should be promoted to young children of the time as the ‘right’ way to live. As a member of the LGBT+ community myself, I was saddened by this. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t ignorant to the fact that discrimination and attitudes towards the LGBT+ community in not-so-distant decades were on a different scale to they are now, but it still upsets me to read about the fact that the government who sets the law and code which the public should abide had a role in stigmatising homosexuality as late as the 1980s. As a result of Thatcher’s beliefs about homosexuality, she introduced a law called the Local Government Act 1988 and in Section 28 of this law, it was stated that discussion and promotion of homosexuality within schools was to be banned. This is something I really disagreed with, because even during my school education I haven’t learnt about homosexuality, in fact i can’t even think of one instance throughout my primary and secondary school education where homosexuality was even mentioned, other than Christian views on homosexuality that we had to study at GCSE, but even then we only briefly touched on it. As a result of this, I didn’t even know that there¬†were¬†other sexualities until about two years ago and only discovered my own sexual identity thanks to the help of my internet and my wonderful blogger friends, so I definitely think education about LGBT+ issues and people is vital in helping the LGBT+ community, especially young people, feel accepted by society and to help others to learn about us and the issues we face. So going back to Thatcher, I an’t imagine what it must have been like for LGBT+ young people back then to live in a society where your sexual identity is repressed in every aspect of society.

Furthermore, as Thatcher was in favour of advancing individual rights over collective rights, she was also against feminist movements of the time. Feminism is also something I am passionate about as a young women, because I believe that nothing: race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity etc should stop anyone from being treated with equal respect and having equal opportunities in life, so naturally feminism is a cause that I am in support of. It sort of shocked me a bit to hear that Thatcher was against feminism, to the extent that she stated that a group of women campaigning against the positioning of American cruise missiles on British territory should be ‘eradicated’, because as ¬†the first female Prime Minister, she was in a position to empower young women and make a step forward for the rights and attitudes towards women within British society at the time. Those women that she said needed to be ‘eradicated’ had every right to campaign and what sort of message would Thatcher’s attitude towards them have sent to young girls at the time? That they should remain passive and that their opinions aren’t worthy of expressing?

Honestly, although I could accept some of Thatcher’s early beliefs and policies, I struggle to accept her attitudes towards homosexuality and women. I know I must take into consideration the context of the time in which she was Prime Minister when attitudes towards same-sex relationships and the roles of women were still very traditional, but form the viewpoint of a young 21st century LGBT+ girl, I can’t really see Thatcher as an ideal role model for people like me to look up to. I mean yes, it is inspiring that a woman managed to achieve such power in a time where women were very much expected to be wives and home-makers instead of pursuing careers for themselves, but I think there is so much more that Thatcher could have done as Prime Minister to inspire more young girls to take up careers in politics. Of course, I still think it is important for young girls and women to learn about Thatcher but I hope that one day the stereotype of female politicians and Prime Ministers as being ‘just another Thatcher’ will disappear and the new generation of female politicians will forge their own identities and success stories that will act as a better inspiration for young women of the future.