A wicked feeling born within that clings onto your shoulder can always be defeated and saved. When coming close to cornering your sexuality and finally embracing it, internalized homophobia might attack you by surprise. Still, with the right amount of stamina and faith in yourself, you can defeat it like any other superhero.
The ideology of internalized homophobia defines itself as the negative self-reflection one's self has about their sexuality, possibly influencing their future relationships with potential partners and themselves. One cannot express self-love if something is within them, causing destruction, resulting in that individual unable to love anyone else. The phrase "you can't love anyone else until you love yourself" is a prime message here because it is true. Can a flower flourish with no tender or care? Will it grow into a beautiful sunflower with no assistance at all and live an ordinary life without deteriorating? Most likely not, which showcases the same type of message when it relates to self-love and acceptance. Your heart is its own seed that blooms under extraordinary love and care, developing into a magnificent flower, signifying your happiest state of mind.
However, internalization is normal and happens to almost everyone who is questioning or even entirely out. Never imagine yourself being at fault here, because with the process and social construction of our society, we are meant to be out of place, but it is our job to normalize these differences within ourselves and others, creating a new normal. No matter who someone loves or who they are, we must find ways to normalize their experiences and give them comfort, showcasing nothing changes about how we view them. We as superheroes aspire to save everyone, including our own villains because each villain holds some form of positivity and worth within them. With the constant repetition of heterosexual and cisgender representation within almost everything we see, it is harder to believe that others are just like you outside of this reality, no matter where you live. But, there are. There are communities, millions of people, so you are not an outsider, but you are a fighter. Absorb the negative energy and release as much positivity and love as you can, just like a plant, eventually changing your mentality and perspective on yourself and your life.
My extreme battle between internalized homophobia ended some time ago but still has its aftermath and lives on with me. Some days are better than others because, with my mentality, I realize that I cannot change who I love, but accept it. With my struggles of growing up seeing no normalization of gay people, I couldn't realize that I was gay myself for a long time. I felt like a fish surrounded by a circle of sharks with no way out. I hated this part of me that made me feel so out of place with everyone. Still, I matured, and with time, I gained valuable knowledge and exposed myself to normalization that helped me fight my supervillains, save that humanity left in myself, and turn that internalized feeling into something positive. I took chances that sometimes backfired with my parents but made me more comfortable around my friends. I am not saying this fight will be easy, but with time, maturity, risks, and self-love, you will see a big difference now and who you were before.
Book of Advice
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.