I received an amazing email from a friend last week. In it he talked about society’s view and reaction to sexuality. He made the point that sexuality does not define a person. This is an enormous truth. And one I would like to embroider on…
If you, reading here, is contemplating coming out of the closet, or has recently come out of the closet, you might think that your sexuality defines you. You might feel that you have to build your identity around your sexuality. This is hogwash. Your sexuality does form part of your personality, yes, but it does not define you! Listen carefully, it does not define you.
At the moment, where you are very new to the whole scene, you might feel that your newfound sexual freedom drives your whole existence. In a way, yes, since it is going to influence your new identity. But for god’s sake, please do not let it become your whole identity.
What my friend meant to say was that you need to actually just find yourself. Get to know yourself better. All the in’s and out’s of your personality. Delve deep and find your being. Since this is what people (read: society) will get to know first. They will not get to know your sexual preferences first. They will get to know you first. So, it is important for you to know the true you. Your sexuality is a part of you and you do need to integrate this new part of you into your identity, but it is only one aspect of who you are. My friend put it so eloquently: “Who you are is more important than who you choose to shag.”
The forecourt to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi had the words ‘Know Thyself’ engraved in stone. It was originally in Greek (γνῶθι σεαυτόν). The Latin translation is ‘temet nosce‘. The philosopher Plato used it in many of his teachings.
Integrating all aspects into your personality and identity is a growth process and you will learn a lot about yourself in the process. You need to remember to keep perspective and not only focus on one aspect of yourself. The keyword here is balance.
Most gay people are more in touch with themselves, since they had to go through this rigorous introspection to accept their difference to the norm. Speaking of the norm… This is exactly the point my friend was making in his email. We as gays often marginalise ourselves! We notice we are different and then we want to show the world exactly how different we are. And it is exactly this difference that the heteronormative world struggle to accept. Why do we not do the opposite and show them that we are actually not that different from them after all? This has always been my own modus operandi. I let people get to know my true self first and then as a by-the-by find out that I happen to be gay. It is basically my sly way of trapping them into liking me first, before they can judge me on grounds of my sexuality.
The thing is, people are drawn toward authenticity. Embrace your uniqueness. Be authentic.
Just be yourself.