Can you imagine the life we would have, the people we would be, if we stopped feeling undeserving, unlovable and unworthy?
Let’s explore how we got here:
The here that... generously throws around the word LGBTQ+ community but it does not exist in real life.
The here that... is ok with mental health being out of control amongst LGBTQ+ people
The here that... looks away when chem sex and drugs are killing so many of us
The here that... has a rigid standard of what gay, lesbian bi and trans should look like and act like
The here that... embraces youth and despises aging.
The here that... ignores the social isolation many older LGBTQ+ experience
What got us to the here is a perfect storm -
religion, cultural beliefs, social construct and our conviction that we are rubbish.
I think this perfect storm will have us believe that we are unlovable and unworthy. Since time began, we have been conditioned to believe that we don't deserve love, success, happiness. We have been told, we have observed, we have witnessed that the world around us does not think we’re quite normal.
It makes sense that our self-worth and self-esteem is in the toilet.
Like you, I kept trying to fit into the ‘normal’ world, knowing that there was something a bit different about me.
I spent years denying me and pretending to be who I’m not.
I over compensated for being ‘less than’ equal because of my sexuality.
I believed that I was not worthy or equal to everyone else.
I gave up a lifetime being the good ‘girl’ and doing the right thing.
I bought into the lies that being gay is a choice, an abnormality, weird, sick.
And I spent another lifetime silencing that little voice in my head, the one that kept asking “but what if…”
Those years built up into an internal tsunami of conflicting emotions:
Rage and joy
Self-love and self-hatred
Acceptance and denial
Fear and courage
Confusion and clarity
Shame and pride
Low self worth and self esteem had me making choices that almost destroyed me. For years, I tried to be what was expected of me, what the world wanted me to be. And for while it worked.
On the surface it looked like I had got it right. This heteronormative life that was expected of me. I married a man, had babies. On the outside it seemed that I was living the dream. On the inside I felt like I was on a derailed train and the inevitable train wreck was always just around the corner.
I spent two decades in an emotional abusive relationship. I was terrified to leave because I thought this is the life I deserved. I became a victim of my own circumstances.
Being ‘out’ has also gnawed away at my self-worth and self-esteem. Many people (straight and gay) assume I am straight because I look straight (I’m not quite sure of the logic behind that). It is frustrating that being visible in both the LGBTQ+ community and in the heteronormative world depends on how you physically present to the world. It’s exhausting and demoralising having to come out over and over, especially to the very community that is supposed to be your tribe and promotes inclusivity and acceptance.
And we are so dammed hard on ourselves and to each other.
Who of us has NOT experienced discrimination from other LGBTQ+ people because of their age, body, disability, ethnicity, faith, HIV status.
To survive in this world, in a society that makes us feel so underserving and unworthy. I was forced to chase external validation. I wanted people to like me, so I made the real me invisible. I played small, filtered so much of who I was and give them what they wanted, what was expected.
Of course, external validation is not all bad. We are humans and of course we want to be liked. It’s bad when our whole existence and the choices we make are based on what people will think of us.
As a community we are apologetic for who we are and we work so hard not to make people feel uncomfortable when they are in our company.
The thing is that we don’t have to drastically change or improve ourselves to be deserving or worthy or loveable. We just need to bravely unblock the way to our self-worth.
I think we need to change any form of the “well, I don’t deserve (happiness, love, success)” thinking that crashes around in our heads.
I’ve come to believe that, within the context of this culture, we have lost our sense of self. I believe that part of that knotty feeling in our chest, in our throats, when we lean towards loving who we are but then we don’t.
It's that bit we must untangle.