I had this vision of myself, living in the mountains somewhere in Asia with Buddhist monks. Shaving my head (again) and living a life of freedom. Freedom from the world, from stress and from myself. I realised that you can’t control people around you, you can’t stop them from hurting you. It may be that I was unlucky and didn’t meet many people worth knowing when I was younger.
I am sure it’s common to feel like you don’t fit in, that your mind works differently to others. The truth is that the things that don’t make you ‘ordinary’ are what make you an extraordinary person. I met a few people in my adult years that I have really meshed with; with similar views and outlook on life. I am lucky to have them in my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I didn’t like to talk about what was going on with my life, or my past and nobody really knew me. When I was growing up as the only boy in the family (and a very gay one at that) I was taught to not show my emotions or sensitivity. This started years of sweeping things under the rug, years of not dealing with things. I was completely lost, unable to overcome the smallest problems – because I was full to capacity. I didn’t want to turn to anyone for help, I didn’t know who I would turn to if I needed it.
Things didn’t stay that way though.
It wasn’t a case of opening floodgates and all of the crap from life gushing out. It happened slowly as I grew, I started to realise that sharing things with other people was not a sign of weakness. I started to realise that when it comes down to it, I was not that different from anyone else. I started to undo all of the false sense of mental health that had been drummed into me as a child.
I learnt to choose the right people to open up to. I learnt that being alone was not always the answer. I learnt that everyone has their own lives that are as complex and haphazard as mine.
It is now that I can stop and ask myself for advice and really trust it. Now I can make the right decisions for myself. I know who I need around me. So I thought I would write about a question I ask myself when I feel overwhelmed and not sure who to turn to.
Who are the people around you helping?
Before I started asking myself this question I thought the answer was nobody. I thought there was no one who had time for me, and that nobody would bother to listen. I consider myself to be very lucky. I’ve got a family who love me and accept me for who I am. I’ve got friends that support me when things aren’t looking great. There is so much in life to be thankful for even though things aren’t exactly where I want them to be.
So it’s gratitude, that’s what I’m talking about. There are so many things we can take for granted. When I slowed down and actually thought about how grateful I was for my friends, or for my Mum or for the roof over my head – I realised that there was more too happy about then sad. My relationships with everyone blossomed!
Always be grateful, be grateful for the legs you have to walk, for the air you have to breathe for the people you have to cherish. Life becomes a little bit more magical.
So I have this vision of myself in the mountains, living in a small home with incense burning all the time. Before I was alone, but now I am surrounded by the people I love.