Hi, my name is Mason, and I am queer.
Hi, my name is Mason, and I have bipolar disorder.
These are the two sentences which in many ways define my life.
I have many identities, but these two hold greater power over me than the others.
And I have lost friends because of both of them.
I have feared losing my job because of both of them.
I have lied and actively denied both of them.
I have felt unsafe around others because of both of them.
I have had relationships ended because of both of them.
Maybe this is why I insist on shouting as loud as I can that I am a member of these two communities.
I can be a little defiant sometimes.
There are two turning points in my mental health story. The first is when I came out. The second is when I heard that my parents had been told success for me would be being on disability and living in a group home.
I said “fuck that noise, imma prove you wrong.”
And so, society,
You tell me I am less than because of who I love? Fuck you.
You tell me I can’t get life insurance because I have a perceived higher chance of suicide? Fuck You.
You tell me I am crazy? Fuck You.
You tell me I need to grow my hair out? Fuck You.
You tell me I shouldn’t “dress like a man.” Fuck You.
You look at me with fear when I tell you I have bipolar? Fuck You.
I am who I am.
And I am fighting to learn how to love who I am.
Which is a radical act.
Coming out is a radical act.
Being vulnerable is a radical act.
We all need to be a little more radical.
Not in a go out and burn bridges sort of way, but in a desire to fight against a society which tells us we are not good enough.
Because there are very few people (probably none, I’d wager) who have never been told in some way shape or form that they are simply not good enough.
Not strong enough.
Not smart enough.
Not nice enough.
Not polished enough.
Not skinny enough.
Not tall enough.
We receive constant messages telling us we are not good enough, or we need to change, or we need to improve.
And I’m all about self improvement and cheesy self help books.
I’m all about working to be the best we can be.
But maybe who we are is enough.
Maybe, just maybe it’s ok to be broken.
Maybe it’s ok to hurt.
Maybe it’s ok to eat that piece of pie.
Maybe it’s ok to skip the gym today.
Maybe it’s ok to assertively stand up for yourself.
Maybe it’s ok to fight to learn how to love who you are.
Even the parts that scare you.
Especially the parts that scare you.
And so I challenge you to come out. We are all closeted about something. We are all hiding something.
My name is Mason Aid, and I have bipolar disorder.
My name is Mason Aid, and I am scared to let myself cry.
My name is Mason Aid, and I still sleep with a stuffed animal (his name is Owliver and he is bomb).
Who are you? What scares you most when you look in the mirror?
Take that part of you and hug the shit out of it.