by Aisling O'Connor
Too often we dismiss feelings that are persistent and powerful because of the pressure we and those around us both intentionally and unintentionally put on us to conform to a particular ideal. Our actions are dictated by the way we feel and the way we feel by the way we act. Feelings are paramount to human existence; the way we live our lives and the legacy generations leave behind.
I feel incredibly lucky and grateful to be part of a generation that has fought for and gained change that will enrich the lives of those who come after us. Change that will allow future generations to embrace who they are and explore their feelings through adventure in a bid to discover themselves freely. Habitually, we find it easier to liberate others before we liberate ourselves, to encourage others to embrace themselves, to give advice, to give love. The saying goes treat others how you wish to be treated. Something many live by, but it isn’t until we are challenged, be it by internal or external factors, that often we realise that in the same breath we must apply this to ourselves.
In a time when social media consumes so many, we must remain conscious of authenticity, of self love, self worth and the importance of embracing individuality and all it stands for. We must continue to highlight and embolden the positive impact sharing of experiences can have on not only the LGBTQ+ community but society in general.
I urge every person reading this, to embrace every ounce of who you are, challenge yourself, challenge those around you when you don’t agree, kiss who you want to kiss, love who you want to love and do it freely from within.
Allow yourself freedom in order to encourage freedom around you. We have come so far, but we still have so far to go. Too many people in this world don’t have the freedom that I, my friends and my family have allowed me. Pride isn’t just about sexuality for me, it’s about being happy with who you are, loving who you are and not being bound by stigma that limits you.
Love is fluid and limitless and trust me, you can find it in the most unexpected places. I did, in the form of one of the most beautiful humans I’ve ever met.
How proud I am to love a person and feel such profound love in return
How proud I am to feel at peace, to live, to love and learn
How proud I am to live in a place that embodies ‘love is love’
How proud I am to feel so free to know that I am enough
How proud I am of those around me and the nature of their souls
How proud I am to feel secure to know, I’m not alone.