I’ve always been hungry for knowledge. From a young age I used to ask my mother questions about everything. We would talk for hours and hours about worldly issues, sex, relationships, history.. you name it, we’d talk about it. I always wanted to know more.
Where and how you grow up influences most of the opinions that you develop as a teenager. The strongest opinions you have as a young adult are often those of your parents.
I’m a passionate guy, so my first opinions were strong ones, and over the past decade my opinions have changed. A lot.
I was raised pretty conservative, not hugely so, but on the edge of problematic. I grew up in a town where it’s a regular thing to hear inappropriate jokes about someones sexuality or skin colour in your local pub, and that was something I was always surrounded by as a child growing up so I didn’t think anything of it. Being around this made me detest the thought of being gay. I really struggled coming to terms with my sexuality as a teenager and pretty much hated everything about the idea of it. The internalised homophobia I had for myself was extraordinary. I would make homophobic comments about people on television, or in media, using it as a way to suppress the queer inside me. I would make snarky comments about gay sex and how it was disgusting etc, while going home and wanking over Sean Cody dot com, all because it was a great distraction from people thinking I could be gay.
I worked hard to overcome this and eventually came out when I was 18, but when I did come out I felt guilt. A guilt for harassing so many people, and myself, through my own awful self hatred. When I see people now protesting so intensely about someone being gay, I see the younger version of myself, and wonder if they’re battling the same demons that I did as a teen. After all, ‘the lady doth protest too much’.
I spent my twenties learning. As Tyra says ‘I grew from it and I learned’. I really did. I travelled around the world and met many people from all walks of life. I learnt a lot about what it is to be LGBT. What it means to acknowledge white privilege, and how you can use it to shine a light on the suffering of so many. I have had deep, compelling conversations with black friends. I want to learn their story and hear their struggle, and not in a patronising way, I want to listen, openly, to hear the truth in their existence. I have had the same conversations with the women in my life, to find out about all of the realities that women live through daily in this world. I want to be as aware as I can be of everybody’s existence. I don’t claim to be pure at all, I’m not, I was extremely problematic, only within the last 10 years, while shedding the skin of the ignoramus snake, am I reaching a point of larger awareness. The recent outcry from comments made by Munroe Bergdorf about all white people being inherently racist was not shocking to me, because I know how long it’s taken me to reach a point where I can understand and process these kind of truths as facts. I’m pretty sure 10 years ago I would’ve probably been outraged too, but I’ve spent a long time trying to educate myself and see this world through the eyes of not only Sam Morris.
I see my twenties as a pyramid. I’ve climbed a pyramid of confusion, and prejudice, and fear, to reach a richer point of knowledge, and when you get higher and higher up the pyramid, there’s absolutely no way back down because you’ve learnt too much to possibly return to base.
I still have a way to go & a lot more to learn, but I find peace in knowing that I’m probably on the right side of every argument I might have with a stranger online. Except if it's about sport, that I know nothing about.
I know we don’t need another white poster boy, but if I can use my platform to educate and inspire people to be more thoughtful and considerate of everybody's human rights, and not just their own, then that’s valuable enough. It's never too late to learn, and change your opinions.
writing my thoughts straight from my head in london town