Let's get a little personal.
"Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck on a ferris wheel. One minute I’m on top of the world, then the next I’m at rock-bottom."
What a quote!! At some stage in our lives we have all felt like this. One minute things are great and the next they're not. The quote above is taken from a film I recently went to see. It's called Love Simon. It's a coming of age movie where the main character Simon is gay but cant come out to anybody. It's a real eye opener and throughout the movie I saw many similarities to my own "coming out"
Now I'm not going to bore you with all the details of the movie, what I will do is suggest you get your ass to the cinema to see it, as it's not long left in cinemas. But this movie really hit me hard. I came out of the cinema a little teary eyed, inspired, happy and most of all grateful. Grateful to my amazing family, grateful to my wonderful friends. Grateful to be in a country where I can be me.
Yes it's 2018 and Gay Marriage is now legal in Ireland and being gay shouldn't be a problem. If you think like this well my friend your head is well and truly in the sand. It's not like this at all. The fight for equality that started decades ago is still rife. It seems there's a new generation of people fighting for equality, yet there is a new generation of people who don't want equality. Im not meaning Trump, Im not referring to redneck America. Im referring to here in Ireland.
I first realised I was gay when I was 16. I just didn't fit in and sometimes today I still don't fit in. The difference between me now and me when I was 16 was that back then I thought I was wrong, different, strange. The me today accepts me, loves me, and says "Fuck you" to the haters. The 16 year old me would have hidden away. The me now stands up for what he believes. For example I follow someone on Instagram and he had a video up where he was taking the piss out of his friend but calling him a faggot. Erm.. "WTF.".. I called him right out. And guess what no response. I mean you have thousands of followers and you say shit like that. Cop the fuck on man. I wouldn't have done that 18 years ago. I would have just turned a blind eye.
But going back to Love Simon, when I was 16 I was on that Ferris wheel. I was at Rock Bottom. I hid, I was scared, and I don't mean as in a watching a horror movie. I was genuinely terrified. I thought the world would end. Even though I was so miserable I didn't want to come out because I simply didn't know what laid ahead for me.
But then I told my best friend at the time. She was an ex girlfriend to begin with but we became best friends. When I told her I was gay her response was "was that it? I thought you had some real big news for me". I then laughed and cried. I laughed at the thought of me worrying but cried that I had worried for so long and that I was accepted for me. The mask started to slip. The real me started to come through. I will always love her for the response she gave me.
When I told my Mum she cried and she had good reason to. My Mum has always been a bit or a worrier and this was probably the biggest reason she had to worry. We lived in a place where it wasn't so accepting to be gay and she worried about me, today it's very different. But she flies my flag no matter what. She loves me for me and she is my wonder woman. I left it 11 years then before I told my dad. He knew though but we never had the chat. It wasn't until I had my heart broken by my first ever love that he gave me a hug and said "Darren it's his loss" My Dad is amazing. He is my Rock Star, even now looking back as Im typing this Im getting a little emotional thinking how amazing he was and still is. ( Ok to give you some context Im in Starbucks and some auld one is staring at me obviously asking herself why am i crying right now.
A scene in Love Simon was the same Simons dad gave him a big hug and accepted him. His Mum reassures him and makes sure he is ok and lets him know she loves him no matter what! My parents were the same. I wouldn't be the strong person I am today with out them.
This was when I was back on that Ferris wheel, but this time at the top looking down on a world that not only accepted me, but I accepted it. That's the thing you need to realise. You also have to accept the world, it's not a one way street. In my case I accepted I was gay and wanted the world to accept me. But I do have to accept that the fight is still ongoing. LGBTQ community still isn't 100% accepted no matter how much we want to be. But it's making great movements and more and more people are dropping their masks everyday and showing their true selves.
Im still on that Ferris wheel now. And I'm still going up and down. The highs may not be so tall and the lows so low but Im still riding that ferris wheel. But the difference now is that when Im at the bottom, I know there is a great view from the top about to come my way. I may have to wait to see that view but I know it's coming.
And your view from the top of that Ferris wheel is on it's way too.