Finding Your Own Feet

Antonio Rastelli
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I find that in my life nothing is simply black or white. In fact, most days it’s a deeper Shade of Grey, though a lot less racy.

As you grow up, you’re always being placed in some kind of box or some kind of restriction. Chavs, Goths, Hipsters, whatever. The point being that those boxes are inevitably not always a good thing. Even as adults, terms are thrown around and expectations are restricted. The term ‘Media Gay’ for example, I mean why have a specific term for a group of individuals who work in a certain area unless it’s to single them out? For the most part I wasn’t aware there were different types of ‘Gay’. Yes there’s the standard Twink, Bear, Butch, Femme and so on, but just because we call ourselves and others these, does that mean we then fall into the trap of acting up to the stereotype?

It’s been a year and a half since I came out. Before that I was a thoroughly closeted heterosexual who had no idea where my life was heading (and I still don’t). Before I had heard the word gay and faggot used in a derogatory way, be that in sports or just in my everyday life. It was used to describe something that represented a difficulty of some kind, a negative difference, a lack. When I came out I felt a wave of relief, but at the same time I felt lost. It’s there in that feeling of losing yourself that you begin to think that for some reason you need to change, you need to fit in, you need to mould yourself to one of those boxes that we as a community often house ourselves within.

I have been lucky to meet some fantastic friends who over the past year have metaphorically slapped me silly and reminded me that despite the emo, existential moments we all have every so often, life isn’t always about change. Life is about being comfortable with yourself, and that’s the hardest thing, especially when you’re young and finding your feet.

To the majority of readers this isn’t going to be anything ‘ground breaking’, but to the few who scour the Internet looking for advice, if this can help in anyway then my job is done. The journey is hard, people say it gets better, but in all honesty it’s always going to be a roller-coaster of emotions. The most important thing to know is to not compromise on the things that make you unique. Don’t let people take you for a ride, put you down, or try to fit you into their own narrow-minded idea of what you should be. We’ve all had our fair share of experience with bitchy and judgmental gays, and at times I have fallen into one of those boxes myself, but I look back and think to myself, ‘who are you trying to impress?’

It seems that with the boom of social media, everyone is trying to impress someone. It allows you to be yourself, but it can also lure you into unwanted or unwise change. With the digital age people meet, greet, and fall in love over social media, and who hasn’t tried to impress the person they fancy by pretending to be something they’re not. The point is that regardless of how people want you, just be yourself because if you’re not good enough now, who says you’ll be good enough later.

Being a nice person in today’s society seems like a hard thing to be, but really it’s not.

About Antonio Rastelli

Twenty-two going on forty, known to many as Tonio, ‘master’ of the self portrait. Intergalactic vagabond without a blue box, if found please return. Aspiring actor who’s quite partial to a good cup of tea, and a massive comic book geek.