Of Self-acceptance, success, validation and other evils
Let’s start from the fact I have always been the “uncool” guy.
I was fat and uncool in Elementary school. I was uncool in High school. I was extremely fat and even more uncool, turned up also to be gay, after.
Today I’m just uncool, and gay.
I always struggled with my image. Years of self-hate (and binge eating) shaped my body in ways that can’t be fully amended. Can be improved yes, but the damage is there and visible. Therefore my dreams of becoming the new Chiara Ferragni are gone (not that I was anyway going to, I’m not blonde and I definitively don’t eat salad).
This struggle with your image/abilities/self brings you to places in your mind you don’t want to be, By always having a tiny, but present, voice that says you’re not good enough. And it’s a catch-22 you know? The more that voice speaks, the more you look to somebody else for validation:
Am I pretty? It’s my body ok? Is my t-shirt highlighting the wrong bits of my body? I can’t wear shirts or I’ll look stupid.
Or worse: Oh, he is looking at me, he hates me.
To add insult to injury, one year ago I have decided to start drag. So if I had enough doubts about me as a boy, I have decided to self-cannibalize in the drag world.
However, one year in, things changed. I feel more secure of myself, I am more confident and I am in a place where other people’s judgement starts to have less impact on myself. Though, still there.
I’m not saying doing drag changed things, I think it all comes down to growing up. I have arrived to a moment in my life/career where I can’t really be bothered. You want to give a side eye? Go for it. You feel I’m too fat/thin/femme/masc? Ok you’re right.
Seriously, that’s ok. And it all comes down to define your measure of success and what do you want. Because I learned that you decide your success, and what makes it.
When I look myself in the mirror, I notice what I don’t like and I think what I need to change. I don’t allow an Instagram, filter-loaded, massively-angle, perfectly-taken, sliced moment of your life ruin mine — and my perception of me.
When I’m in the office, I acknowledge what I’m capable of, I celebrate my own success, and my own failures. I don’t allow you, because of your frustration/seniority/degree, to let me down.
When I’m on stage, in drag, I decide what’s funny for me, I decide if I look beautiful or not. I decide if my make-up skills have improved, you don’t. But ultimately, I decide what my success is. If I can make laugh at least one person, I know I’ve succeeded. If I know I gave a smile to the person next to me, my husband, I know I won the entire thing.
And ultimately, that’s what really matters. It’s not the likes on your post. It’s not the compliments you receive. People won’t give you compliments just because they feel you don’t need them. There is a difference between what we feel inside, and what we project.
Don’t go fishing for validation. By all means, please be thirsty on Instagram if you want. That’s always fun. But if there is something that I’ve learned, and I’m still learning, because it takes a lot of years and energy, it’s self-acceptance, and what your success is. Because there is no global-scale for that, and ultimately you can’t waste the best years of your life trying to be something you’re not.