So down here in the normally sunny Sunshine Coast of Essex we’ve had a run of snow days. I won’t lie, it’s terrifying. It’s not that big of a deal for most places, but if you live in a rural area, like me, it’s a big fucking deal. Shops are running out of food, cars are getting stuck in the snow, and I can’t even leave my house because every single road that leads away from here is either covered by snow drifts or is a black ice death trap. It’s meant that today I have spent the entire day inside, cowering from the Beast from the East.
So I had a choice today, I could either sit on my sofa and watch mind-numbingly boring daytime television or I could use this time for some reflection. And so I’ve used some time to unpack some recently surfaced internalised negativity — oh, and watch countless clips of Evah Destruction on YouTube because she’s my drag crush of the moment. It was pretty uncomfortable at times (the unpacking, not the watching drag clips), but I sat down with a journal and wrote it out, because as much as it’s important to talk about the big issues going on in the world, it’s important to examine what’s going on with ourselves and how we can strive to become better people and better allies. But first, some disclaimers:
1. I hate journaling, but I felt it was the best way to explore this - so it might be all over the place or it might make perfect sense to you - but I’ve tried to fill in the gaps and refine it down a little bit so it’s mildly cohesive.
2. I feel I should mention that I don’t identify as gay, but I also don’t identify as particularly straight because I don’t really care for genitalia on the whole, but that’s a whole other topic for a whole other day.
This started a few days ago when I realised I’d been carrying around some pretty perseverant internalised homophobia and a need to appear attractive to the male gaze. I was window shopping around on ASOS for some spring/summer clothes when some men’s clothes popped up after typing pastel into the search bar. My immediate thought was to filter the gender down to ‘female’ when I stopped myself, why was that necessary? I always used to wear men’s clothing, I prefer the silhouette and to be honest I feel more comfortable in them, so why did I stop? And I then I remembered why. It’s because when I was about 17/18, you know, when you’re ‘finding yourself’ a lot of people told me I looked like a lesbian because of my style. At the time that terrified me, and now looking back at it I can’t help but wonder why.
And it’s because even from a young age we’ve been fed media which influences how we speak, act and dress. It meant that when my friends implied I looked like a lesbian, (which by the way what the fuck is that even meant to look like?) I was scared because it wasn’t fitting the construct I felt I should be behaving to, set by the external influences I absorbed. It also meant that I wasn’t dressing fit enough for male consumption, which worried me because how was I ever going to get a boyfriend if I wasn’t appealing enough to the male gaze? It was turd city, bitch. Now, the reason I’m saying it was internalised is because I was in awe (and even to some extent jealous) of those who expressed themselves the way they wanted. I thought, good for them and wow, they’re so cool but I never considered it an option for myself, because I just wasn’t cool like that. Turns out I was and am cool like that, and I’ve been carrying around that unnecessary and outdated view since. So fuck that. I’ve ordered some nice bits off ASOS and I’m finally going to start dressing in a way which feels comfortable for me.
And it doesn’t just apply to this situation, it can apply to literally anything.
Oh she looks great, I love that she’s embracing her body, but I’m too fat to wear anything bodycon.
Sound familiar to you? We have all got a goldmine of thoughts and feelings that aren’t our own inside of ourselves. It’s thoughts like this that can be damaging to ourselves and to those around us. I recommend grabbing some paper and a pen or any kind of alternative method and scribbling it out, keep asking the question why, keep questioning the words that pop into your head. Is it organic behaviour that comes from you or is it behaviour that has been taught to you? The moment you start questioning that is the moment you start to unpack and unravel all of the shit that has been fed to you.