So why am I here doing this, me a working-class special needs queer?
Firstly, all of the labels above were given to me by society, and they are all labels I've worked hard to accept and embrace. I Can I Am and I Will is about overcoming, building a community and connecting with others. Owning your identity and embracing who you are. Growing up, I was surrounded by trauma and abuse and, to top it off, being queer, which by the way, I didn't understand.
I was told I was queer before I knew what it meant. From my early memories as a child with an abusive stepfather who called me this, I tried all I could to be "normal" and to fit in and not to be different. There was a huge lack of queer representation, and I can honestly tell you this caused so much craziness in my life, I could never truly be myself. You begin to create a false reality; I was never fully satisfied and always full of want, need or desire. This led to a massive lack of self-esteem and self-abuse. Abuse with alcohol, drugs and sex pushed my body to the extreme limits and never being at rest. I reached what we all know as rock bottom, a place where you have two options to live or die. With this series of letters, I intend to share my learnings and how I got to a place of acceptance. I want to show you how I reached a place of joy within myself and my life. I give my word to be open and honest and to cut out the bullshit!
My rock bottom came gradually and slowly, and it crept in. I was having a breakdown, something I thought would be obvious to recognize, but you can't see it when you are in it. A breakdown for me was the inability to make good decisions and process my thoughts from a well round considered view. I couldn't cope with my life and lifestyle choices anymore. The way I had been living meant I was full to the brim with shame and regret, and I simply couldn't make good decisions for myself. Cycle after cycle of bad choices and behaviours left me feeling so isolated and upset. There was a period I would wake up in tears. I would wake up sad! Everything about my lifestyle was the opposite of self-care and well-being. When you are going through something like this, you are delusional about what is real, and you don't see what is happening to yourself and can't accept it.
One of the big things that happened in the lead-up to my rock bottom was a diagnosis on Christmas Eve of 2015. I was diagnosed as HIV positive, and I believe that a lack of self-esteem and self-respect and not truly understanding myself led me to this. My diagnosis made me more self-destructive, trying to block things out and not truly facing what I needed to face, but we will come back to that later. Around this time, when I was waking in tears every day, seven words came into my head I Can, I Am, and I Will, I had no idea just how powerful these words would be to my life, but they gave me hope. We are all led to believe that we have freedom of choice, or this is something we work towards, but my choices led me to so much destruction, and I couldn't get my head around this! I'm the one behaving and causing all of this for myself.
One of the first things that truly helped me with my self-discovery and recovery was journaling. I would never have believed that something so simple could profoundly impact my life, but I guess that's part of the delusion and lack of belief I was carrying with me. In fact, it is estimated we make over 35,000 choices every day (conscious & subconscious). This means that our conditioning, i.e., upbringing, schooling and energy, all form part of the programming surrounding us. Even inherited beliefs from your parents, grandparents and so on.
SHOCKER! We are all different, and these programmed choices will not always work for us. Journaling allows you to control your choices and make conscious choices for yourself. The simplest choices take 15 minutes daily to monitor, and as they say, seeing is believing. It was so hard to just get the pen to paper, and my mind was stopping me. I felt blocked and blank, but I just started to write and allowed it to happen.
Today almost five years later, I still journal; in fact, I've created a journal of my own with the ICIAIW community. I still have mind traps; what I mean by this is limiting beliefs or perceptions that may not be true. I still feel myself getting emotionally tied up, but I'm now able to pause and react the way I truly want to react and not in a way I've inherited that simply does not serve me.
Allowing yourself to focus on the fundamental of well-being and consciously connecting with yourself, creating small positive daily habits that create the bigger picture of wellbeing. Seeing a clear picture of my lifestyle and intake allowed me to understand that it's so important to look at our self-concept. Self-concept is the idea of who we believe we are and who we actually are. It's the doing that counts and the direction in which you're heading.
Connect to your true passion and do things that are full of intention and meaning. For me, this brings joy. Journaling helped me evaluate where I needed to make changes in my life, and being a positive representation of the queer community is sorting that. It is important to help people find their way through and see a different way of thinking. I love people, I love people's faces, and I'm very excited about a positive future.
To be continued ... click here to start journaling https://iciaiw.com/product/wellbeing-journal/