Is it possible to put your own happiness first?
I tried coming out publicly in 2020. By the word tried, one can (correctly) assume it didn’t go quite as planned. In fact, I received a text in reply to coming out that said: “No parent wants to hear this, if we’re being honest.” Ouch. It was enough to push me back into the closet for a while and further into shame.
However, I’m sure almost anyone would agree that nothing went as planned in 2020. Polarizing politics, racial injustice movements, too many avoidable deaths, quarantining… the list goes on.
And on, and on, and on.
That’s just the world, though. Each and every single person in this world has their own set of problems or difficulties that must be dealt with daily. Mine, in particular, included a third eating disorder relapse and experiencing inner turmoil over the decision to come out publicly as bisexual.
If you aren’t familiar with eating disorders, they typically revolve around control. (Although, each person is unique and it’s basically impossible to generalize one characteristic to all eating disorders! I cannot speak for all.) Guess what we as society lacked entirely during most of 2020? Control. It felt like the world was constantly crumbling around us 90% of the time.
To make up for the lack of control, I reverted to controlling what went in my body and out of my body. I am speaking so plainly and openly about this relapse because there is no reason to treat it like a death sentence for my recovery.
In fact, I think that exact mindset is what helped me recover from my relapse quicker than ever. I didn’t go into panic mode; I didn’t try to “fix” myself strictly the next day.
I simply tried again.
I focused on my health and stress relief instead of focusing on “absolutely no more failures.” This kind of rigid thinking doesn’t allow humans to be humans. We are not perfectly programmed robots.
“Be kind to yourself” can seem cliché at times, but it holds so much truth. That leads me to my final point:
It is ok to put your own happiness first.
I have recently discovered something that makes me happiest. Being myself. Not filtering myself for the sake of other people’s comfort. I can wear what makes me comfortable, instead of what others think looks best. If I don’t want to fix my hair, I don’t have to.
I can be who I am without apology.
It’s a new year, so you know what that means. Resolutions. Goals. Expectations for the new year! A clean slate.
Putting my happiness first
I am starting 2021, and the rest of my life, by being completely myself. It never felt right advocating for LGBTQ+ rights when I couldn’t even admit to being a part of the community. It never felt right hiding relationships. It never felt right being so ashamed of who I am. But that is changing now.
I am putting my happiness first, and I am the healthiest I have been in months.
If you are in a position of relapsing or feeling afraid to be yourself, or family members and friends do not accept you: you are seen, and you are loved, and you are worthy of that love.