I am a white, gay, cis woman. I have mental illnesses. I’m an abusive relationship survivor. I’m fat and I love dogs. I’m an atheist who is on the cusp of Gemini and Cancer. I also don’t believe in astrology. And before J K Rowling showed how transphobic she is, I was a Slytherin.
Some of these things are obvious when you look at me. You see a fat woman and can clearly tell I’m white. Other things, even my good friends wouldn’t know, unless I wanted them to. I’m usually a very open person who has no filter, but I still have my secrets. Learning boundaries is important and it’s something I’m working on.
I don’t always describe myself as these ‘labels’ I’ve created and I’m still the same Beth I was before you knew these things about me. There’s some things I tell to some people and not to others. Some of my family don’t know I’m gay (and are very unlikely to read this). Most of my friends don’t know about how abusive my ex was. Both on social media and in real life, you only know a person from what they’ve told you, which isn’t going to be everything.
Identity is fluid. Before I came out as a lesbian, I identified as bisexual, which is something I think a lot of people do. (Reminder that bisexual people do exist and it’s not just a stepping stone label.) Just because you identify as one thing today, doesn’t mean you have to forever. I’ve talked about this before, but up until recently, my mental illnesses were my identity. The majority of people I would meet were under the mental health system, so it would be a conversation starter to discuss our diagnoses. Now that I’m trying to meet new people who, as far as I know, aren’t under mental health services, I need to find new facts about myself.
I also find it really frustrating that certain labels have certain connotations. As a lesbian, I just haven’t found the right man. Discussing mental illness makes me attention seeking. Being fat means I’m lazy (although there is some truth in that…) Some people will try to put labels on you, which might not resonate with you, just because that is their preconceived idea of what your words and actions mean.
Try to ignore other people and live your truth, (easier said than done, I know.) No one has the right to tell you who you are, or that you’re wrong for being you (unless you’re an abuser. Maybe, don’t do that.) Remember, you will grow as a person and your identity will change with that. You won’t stay the same person forever.
So, you do you.