Your Small Guide on How to Interact With Family and Friends as a Mentally Ill Black Q***r
As someone who comes out multiple times to the same people, that status is one that makes me think this time will be my last. And now as (some of) my family and friends have been more open, I’ve been thinking that a list like this could help others in a similar situation.
*Thank you, The L Word.
Smile at sweet stories about your baby-gay self.
Like when your little sister brings up every crush you had in high school, it’s okay to feel warm but mostly embarrassed. I’m pretty sure this is what the straights get all the time so it’s probably cool (cooler with us, but whatever).
If it’s way too embarrassing you’re allowed to jump on your sister’s head to shut her up instead.
Observe safety/possible growth in your life.
Take a look at how people are treating you/the environment you’re in and think about changes you can make. But only when it’s safe enough to.
Compare your life to the ones you see on social media.
There’s that saying about the tip of the iceberg — the good we see is only 10% of people’s lives and the other 90% of their lives is hidden under the surface. When you’re scrolling through Tumblr and you see those wlw aesthetic boards, don’t count it against yourself. Your life isn’t gonna be a wlw aesthetic board all of the time and that’s okay.
Get yourself around QTPoC in any shape or form.
Whether that be through forums, Facebook groups, Twitter, Tumblr, walking into coffeehouses that focus on qtpoc art, you find some people who make you feel less alone. And as long as they’re good to you and you’re good to them, you stick with them. This is the family you need.
Get down on yourself for not being where you want to be, yet.
Especially in your twenties. Sure, plenty of people have had epic romances since they were teenagers but the overwhelming majority of them were straight and the world was telling them they should be doing that shit already. It took you time to get here and that’s okay. You’re not falling behind. As cliche as it sounds, you are where you’re supposed to be.
Cleaning the space around you, making sure you get enough water, opening the tabs you need to apply for jobs and internships, are all moving forwarding, even if you just see it as one step. One step forward always means progress.
Which is easier said than done, so I recommend doing what I do. Repeating the Wreck-It Ralph mantra to yourself (Spoiler Alert): “I’m bad and that’s good. I will never be good and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.” This saying also works this way:“I’m gay and that’s good. I will never be straight and that’s not bad. Fucking thank goodness. There’s no one I’d rather be than this fly ass motherfucker I am right now.” Cause he didn’t change and he fucking saved the world, mostly.
Laugh at some of the ridiculous shit that comes out of people’s mouths.
Laugh that you were so worried about what these people think when it’s clear they don’t give a shit about you. Laugh while you put distance between you and them. The distance may not last forever but don’t put a timer on it. That depends on them getting their shit together (if ever).
Take it out on yourself if they never get their shit together.
That’s on them. Do you.
Mourn losing the relationship for a bit.
Because that shit does hurt. It’s for the best but it hurts and that’s okay. All that growing and shit.
Whenever you feel like doing this—going back to toxic people, taking it out on your body, or isolating yourself when you know you need support—listen to Beyonce’s “Don’t Hurt Yourself” instead. I’m 99% sure that whenever you start a dance party or just walk down the street with the first line “WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK I IS?” screaming through your head and out your mouth, you’re just telling the universe that you’re gonna be okay. Whether it agrees or not don’t matter.
Public transportation rides are now filled with the movie-like possibility of a cute girl looking at you and falling in love with you just because she could hear Hayley Kiyoko’s Gravel to Tempo playing through your headphones. You can thank me later.
Forgive yourself if you don’t follow the rule above you. That shit is tough and it’s okay you’re still figuring it out. I mean if you do some fucked up shit, apologize for that, work to make it up to the person, and don’t do it again, but don’t apologize for this. Whether you believe you were born this way or chose to be like this, doesn’t matter. You do not need to apologize for who you are. Cause you is fucking fantastic and we need you here.
Remember who you are.
Cause if Nicki spit that shit then it’s gotta be true.*