I hated looking at myself in the mirror. Whenever I did, I would make a list of everything wrong with me. I was ridiculed at school because I was fat. I felt shamed at home because I was deemed to be not good enough. Dad even said once, “You will never get to find love.” People always told me that I would be a better person, if only I could act in a way that would fit into what they expected of me.
It got worse when I first started using Grindr. I was always reminded of what needed to be fixed—my body, my hair, my skill in bed, my beliefs, and my closeted nature—in order to fit into a role that would be socially accepted by most of the guys on the virtual app. It didn’t help that I am a Christian; I believed that expressing my sexuality was wrong, which made me feel even more guilty when I explored my sexuality with men.
I felt that I had to be perfect. If I was not perfect, I wouldn’t be loved. This became a vicious cycle that never seemed to end. The more imperfections I saw, the more unlovable I felt. The more unlovable I felt, the more self-loathing I became. I just felt like there was always something wrong with me. I tried to suck it up and deal with these problems. But I couldn’t. It got to a point that I couldn’t face people without descending into a spiral of self-loathing.
Unknowingly, I began to seek out people that I thought would accept me. I jumped from guy to guy, bed to bed. I was cheated on, and dumped on several occasions, and I even got treated for STD. I just wanted to be loved, safe, and affirmed. But it never felt enough to fill the void within. The more things happened, the worse I felt about myself. I bottled up these feelings and hid them deep inside. And then I started to lose myself. I became tired and apathetic. I didn’t want to care anymore; it hurt too much to care. Even though there were people who said they cared about me, I just would not believe it. How would anyone love someone who is trash like me?
But then I realised maybe that’s how life works: Love happens even when you think you are trash. Looking back, I realise that I never needed to be perfect. I am worthy of love for being who I am. I may have met people who aren’t the kindest, but I still have others in my life that stick with me through thick and thin, and try to love me the best they could. Because of them, I can now look at the mirror, and say “You are loved, flaws and all.”