IE Grapevine Updates

LifeClass: Be proud of who you are

Tyler White

Valentine’s Day 2014 was a day that for many people, consisted of giving and receiving gifts meant to signify their affection for a significant other or a long-time crush. But also on that day, something that may not be as well known, yet is perhaps a more heartwarming and historically significant event, was actress Ellen Page’s speech to the attendants of the Human Rights Campaign’s inaugural “Time to THRIVE” Conference.

In her memorable speech, not only did she come out to the public about her sexuality, she spoke out against oppression, bullying, and the brutal standards set by the mainstream media on the public.

In a short presentation that we can all learn a lesson from, she managed to send a strong message that emphasizes the ideals of self-love and embracing who you really are. And in this article I hope to share with you some of those ideals.

In today’s world, the mainstream has so much power over us that it can be hard to distinguish between what we really want and what we’re led to believe that we want simply because the hottest Hollywood stars say so.

Such harsh standards are set in place for us today by the media that deviating the path essentially means social suicide.

Those of us that stray from the pack are no longer thought of as innovators or pioneers, but rather as freaks, misfits, and abominations.

The path for self-expression is narrow and less-traveled, and those of us that choose to walk its path are often lost in a maze of insults, criticisms, and isolation from the outside. And some of that outside adversity is bound to make its way inside, disturbing our peace of mind and seeking to destroy our happiness. But what’s important is that we learn to shut out these negative thoughts and rid ourselves of self-hatred.

It can be hard to love yourself when it seems that everyone else is out to put you down. But the greatest thing that you can do for yourself is to be supportive of yourself. Because only when we have a sense of love for ourselves, can we love and see the good in others.

It’s so crucial that we have the ability to find good in the world because it’s all around us, despite the harsh stereotypes that dominate our culture. Amidst the people that wouldn’t spare you a second chance, there are people who will be supportive of you. There are people that will not judge you. And there are people that have the same struggle as you. You’re never alone in this world. All you need to do is reach out for help and someone is bound to answer the call.

The topic of coming out is a scary thing for a lot of people. Every one of us has something that we hide from those around us, and at some point in time the load will become too much to bear.

We will then have to weigh the benefits of releasing the weight on our shoulders versus our fear of the backlash that we all dread to face. But often times the best thing that we can do is own our decisions. Is it worth it to live a lie to keep others happy at the expense of yourself? Those that care for you will be able to put their differences aside to support you, and those that can’t were toxic to you anyways.

At the end of the day, the only person you need to answer to is yourself. And if you can learn to embrace your differences and the differences of others, then you are doing your part to make this world a better place. If we could all just embrace the natural diversity between us, the world would be a much more beautiful and peaceful place.

So my last piece of advice to you for today is to be proud of who you are. Find your voice and make sure it is heard. Own who you are. Do what you can to support each other, because all it takes is one voice to start a revolution. Being yourself keeps the beautiful diversity of our community alive.

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