Be Your Own Hero

Wow. It’s Pride already? Seems like just yesterday I was attempting to do a drunken back flip after too much sangria in Soho Square.

 


This is my first Pride issue as Scene Editor and I’m very excited to share it with you. Not least our amazing piece of cover artwork by Ego Rodriguez, which ties in nicely to this year’s London Pride Parade.

The theme for 2015 is “Pride Heroes”, quite appropriately as this year has certainly seen no shortage of them. From the long-awaited pardoning of Alan Turing to Caitlyn Jenner’s very public transition, the LGBTQI+ community is filled with brave, courageous individuals who risked their safety, acceptance and place in society to be true to their most authentic selves.

These are admirable people that we should look up to, praise and celebrate. But when thinking about who your role model is, my suggestion is this: be your own hero.

The quickest way to lose oneself is to try and be somebody else. It sounds trite but it rings true. If you focus your energies into emulating somebody else’s path through life, how do you find your own? You won’t know where you’re heading and before you know it, you’re lost in the woods.

Being your own hero means celebrating yourself, your choices, the things you love and hold dear. The things that shape you, that inform the way you live your life. It’s the voice inside that tells you when you don’t want to do something, when you should do something and what you really, truly, deeply need.

“It’s about embracing all the things that you tried to shake off as an embarrassed teenager and owning them now.”

It’s about embracing all the things that you tried to shake off as an embarrassed teenager and owning them now. They are yours, part of your history. Your origin story, if you want to get all X-Men about it, nobody else’s is the same. You are both completely ordinary and utterly extraordinary in a million ways. Most importantly, you are your own. You do not belong to anyone.

We all have heroes, why wouldn’t we? Mine, albeit silly, are Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Britney Spears (I am a child of the 90’s after all). One is a fictional character in a cult teen show about high school vampires and the other is arguably one of the most iconic pop stars in the world. The choices may seem shallow, I concede, but they represent two things to me; in Buffy’s case it’s that being different doesn’t mean being alone, in Britney’s it’s that no matter how dark things get, there’s always hope to turn things around. I admire them, they resonate with me. But I don’t idolise them.

The proclamation that I am my own hero could seem arrogant, but it comes from a sincere appreciation of what I have achieved in my life thus far. Not necessarily jobs or income or material possessions or boyfriends or any of those other silly yardsticks we use to measure personal success. But about being able to walk down the street and feel comfortable with myself. To know that I like myself for what I am and not what I wish I were. To realise that anyone who has a problem with the fact that I exist, is not someone I should be trying to please. I know that the people I surround myself with are there because I enrich their existence in a way they choose not to live without.

For many straight people, this sense of acceptance, of validity, is instilled very early on. They are born into a world that was built to endorse their desires and needs. For the rest of us, things are not always so straightforward. It can take a long time to find that sense of self. To appreciate yourself in a world that does not always appreciate you. You can end up feeling like a salmon swimming upstream for much of your life, but who says upstream is where you’re supposed to go?

Choose your own path and celebrate yourself for it, because it takes guts. You are a hero, so own it. You might even have your own movie someday. Just remember, if Madonna and the Incredibles have taught us anything, it’s to heed this one piece of advice:

NO CAPES!

Have a great London Pride 

– James Egan, Scene Editor

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