I found it hard to settle into myself, being a Christian and loving God while also being queer. For the longest time, I felt like I was living multiple lives and none was able to fit inside of the other. I had been on a 24-year journey of figuring out who I was and defining my identity. Moving forward in life came when I realized and accepted my worth and that there is space for me in the universe.
Last June was my first time celebrating Pride Month. I only had a few weeks left to my lease at my last apartment and was nothing less than relieved to be able to live my life authentically. I always wanted to go to a Pride event for as long as I knew what it meant for someone to identify as “gay,” “bisexual,” “lesbian,” and other sexual identities in the spectrum. At the time, I was creating with makeup, so there was no better way for me to celebrate than beating my face in rainbow glam and enjoying the day with other LGBTQ+ people in the Nashville community. Six months prior, I got my first makeup job with M.A.C Cosmetics here in Nashville, Tennessee with a couple of highlights that happened along the timeline; I got to be a hair model with Good Dye Young, I was recruited to showcase my makeup with RAW Artists Nashville, I attended my first IMATS in Pasadena, California and celebrated beauty and art among like-minded people. I was growing into my adult self. It was like finally meeting someone in person after ages of getting to know them. For once, I was able to be myself and express my creativity through any medium I enjoyed—even if the world said I was not allowed to do so.
Now, at 25, as a queer black male, and after a recent diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder II, I take full pride in who I am and the complexity and intricacies that make me. Sometimes, it’s hard to feel important when I have cards stacked against me. At one point, I would have seen all of these things as disadvantages; I’ve come to learn how much for of an advantage they are. It’s important to let your colors show and live your most authentic life because you never know who it may touch and who it might inspire. Everything is connected and everything we each have to offer matters. It’s amazing being able to create through art, YouTube, and blogging and have it resonate with others around me; The greatest feeling is when my loved ones tell me how much of a positive impact I’ve made on them, all by being the most true, positive, and caring me that I can be.
Express yourself. Be you. The more we embrace ourselves and speak our truths, the more we add to the mix and help others through our stories.
Be loved. Be Well.
Written by Brandon Hillard
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