A brief recap of my life so far..
I was born on 1st June 1989. My mother’s heritage is Scottish while my father’s is Australia. As you can see from the video, I was a child who always had a smile on my face and loved their own company. I also had career ambitions to be the pink power ranger but still had a back up option of slaying vampires with Buffy. My life in pictures shows the happiest times and although there’s so many that I’ll cherish forever, a big part of my childhood is also filled with some of the saddest and darkest.
My parents divorced when I was a year old and one of the earliest memories I have as a child is sitting out the front of my house crying and waving goodbye to my dad after spending a weekend at his place. Every fortnight I would stay with him and my step mum and it was always difficult to leave his side but something that became part of life. I was an emotional and sensitive child and it grew as the years went on. The attention I was seeking from my dad grew too but at the same time, my attachment to my mum and home grew stronger because behind that smile of mine was fear and anxiety. These feelings were brought on by the constant verbal abuse and fearful situations I experienced from my step mum. It was very rare I would come home with no story to tell and when I think about it today, the anxiety I felt knowing what I was going to endure from her remains strong.
On a brighter note, what kept me going was my amazing upbringing from my mum and family. She truly is an inspiration and someone I definitely took for granted during my later years. It’s always been me and her as a team and we’ve created a bond like no other. Being a single mum comes with personal and financial struggles but she made a vow it would never impact me, and she succeeded.
Although being a sensitive boy who only played with girls meant I was the number 1 target for bullies, my school years were generally filled with fun times and great memories. The love and importance I have for friendships today stems from the friendships I developed during my school years. These friendships only strengthened throughout high school. I was never academically excelling but I learnt what I felt I would need in adulthood. I watched some friends choose science, while others headed towards media. However, I felt in my heart I was destined to be in a position of helping and guiding people. It wasn’t until I signed up for the peer support program (guiding and supporting year 7 students as they entered high school) that Education/Child Care was a path I wanted to explore.
As I turned 18 and my school years were coming to a close, a dark cloud that had been hovering over me for quite some time was getting bigger, not knowing what was wrong and why these daily blues were turning into weeks and eventually months. Suddenly, one night I finally snapped and cried in mum’s arms that something was wrong. This lead to a doctor visit where I was eventually diagnosed with clinical depression. This is a topic I will save for a future blog , but I will say from this point, it led to the toughest and darkest 3 years of my life so far. On a positive note as I look back on this time, it truly did strengthen me for the better and I am thankful for the experience.
So, what caused my depression? it depends who you ask, but after many years of soul searching, the stress of year 12 broke me, but 18 years of sadness and disappointment related to my dad played a big part. It wasn’t until recently I wonder if subconsciously hiding my sexuality played a significant role. It wasn’t until after my 21st birthday I realised I finally had to acknowledge I was gay.
My ‘coming out’ story is another topic I will save for a future blog, but I will say accepting my sexuality was the most amazing feeling in the world. I describe it as the day I began to truly live life, regardless of the negative responses and situations I found myself in to get to that point. There is a big emphasis and support base on the ‘coming out’ phase, which I find great and so glad people have access to these support bases, considering the rise of suicide in the youth today. However, it wasn’t this stage that I struggled with the most, it was afterwards. I had only been around straight people, so how does a gay man fit in with society now? What is the gay community like? What do you mean by equality? Gay sex? Dating boys? The only way to get these answers was through experience and had no idea how challenging that would be because their were some days I hit my lowest, a time I call ‘hitting rock bottom’ and I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.
Through these experiences, I developed anxiety with my body because I didn’t look like how a ‘gay man should look’ and presently I am yet to resolve this. My sensitivity and naivety lead to constant heartbreak over and over again and struggled to work out why having a good heart simply wasn’t enough. It wasn’t until a significant relationship ended suddenly simply because (in his words)
“You’re the perfect guy but just not sexually attracted to you enough”
He may have been the third guy to dump me for this very reason but it was the sad realisation at what the gay community was really like and as I sit here presently, I know what I deserve and what kind of guy is ideal for me. I am very content and being single in the meantime, but can’t help wonder maybe their just isn’t someone destined for me, and if that’s part of life’s plan, I’m at peace with that.
Professionally, I am in a really positive place. I run a before and after school care centre full time while currently finishing my 2nd year studying a Bachelor of Education (Primary) Although my spare time is limited, I feel like I am at a stage in my life where I know exactly who I am as a person. Life is a juggling act and it’s taken me a long time to find the right balance that suits me. This does not make me perfect and I still go through highs and lows just as much. The only defining change in myself is the strength and determination I have for whatever life throws at me. Life is a constant challenge that involves the choices we make, the risks we believe are worth taking and the people we decide to let in. We are all a work in progress, so don’t let fear or the past limit your full potential.
I open my heart to you all ❤