All over the world people are celebrating Pride Month; you might have seen on my instagram story the video I shared of Ellen Degeneres and the powerful montage of people coming out for the first time, and confidently declaring their sexuality. I don’t have much of a public voice; but I do have one, and I’m privileged to be in a position where I have a platform for speech and have people who are interested in what I have to say. If in the 15,000 or so people following me on social media what I am about to say helps just 1 person, I know the pain that it will soothe.
I am and have always been a deeply private person. There’s very little of my personal life that I share, so I certainly don’t feel the need to do this based on any social pressure, or timing. My decision to publicly come out and say, with pride and exhaustion, “I’m gay” is largely about respect, for the thousands of gay men and women before me, suppressed and ignored, who campaigned fought, and died, for the right to be heard and seen; to be accepted and not feel shame. To not feel the pain of living nothing but a true and honest life.
For the past four years, I have had a deeply intimate relationship with nature, without truly knowing why. Something continued to draw me closer to it. Having enjoyed gardening before, but never being seriously into it, it came as a complete surprise to find myself completely immersed in designing and planting the gardens on the farm. Being surrounded by, and working with, nature in its finest and rawest sense, revealed to me something that only recently I have come to understand. Nature is unapologetically honest. Some things are broken; don’t work out; fail to grow; develop in odd shapes; claim patches as their own – and with such confidence. This post isn’t intended to be a detailed explanation of my sexuality – I don’t need to explain myself to anyone, and neither do you – but it is another voice of support for the changing tide of social minorities. It is in the hope that anyone reading this who is living a life disingenuous and at odds to how you truly feel, to offer support through my words that this life is for living, in as close to contentment – if not happiness – as much as possible. And that is exactly what was drawing me closer to nature. I realise now that nature showed me, slowly and patiently, it’s vulnerability; simplicity; practicality; honesty; sincerity, and unapologetic realness. It took me a while to see that, and to allow it to have an impact on me. These are also the very things that make humanity better. Imagine a society more vulnerable, real and kind. The ultimate vulnerability is to say “this is who I am”, knowing that some will not like you because of that. The ultimate sincerity is respecting that choice, and knowing it’s okay.
This isn’t a coming out story (although perhaps it is now!), but an offer of an alternative way for those who need to seek to better understand themselves, or an outlet for working out who they really are. To achieve inner peace and calmness – whether you know you’re gay, are unsure, or whether that “something” that you know isn’t right, has nothing at all to do with sexuality. Some choose drugs, or turn to alcohol. Others ignore the real them and pretend they are someone else. I found nature. I’d go so far to say that nature saved my life – it taught me patience, because self discovery and self care take time, and nature always rewards, in time. One day at a time, I hope it helps someone reading this to turn over a new leaf and avoid grieving for the person they dream of being, but never grow in to.
We are all different, yet we all have something to contribute to make the world a better place for us having been here. My being gay doesn’t define me, because we are each so much more than one linear part of our lives, but it does complete me. It makes me honest, and I believe that’s one of the most aspiring things that nature offers to us all: the ability to be free and honest, and entirely unjudged.