June 1, 2014

How do I identify myself? I'm a young girl with big dreams and always willing to lend a helping hand. I am Canadian. My mothers side may be Irish, Scottish, French and Canadian and my fathers West Indian, but I was born here and I am proud to say I am Canadian. So why do you ask me what my background is? Although I was baptized, I am not Roman Catholic. I am spiritual, I believe in science and I am female.

You would never be able to tell this about me from my birth certificate, drivers license or school records. On school records, I'm of mixed decent or 'other'. My drivers licence, I'm a number. My birth certificate, I'm a name and a date. So why are we identified by these silly cards and pieces of paper? How you feel and how you see yourself, that's what should be written in the fine print. If you are an immigrant whose been living in Canada for 5 years now, even though you may not have your citizenship yet, if you feel Canadian, than you are. If you were born in Canada and moved at a young age, and still associate yourself with the country, than a Canadian is who you are. There is a lot of meaning behind a nationality and more so in a religion, and finding yourself within them, is an experience not everyone will be able to lend their 5 senses to.

I support personal expression and being who you are, no matter what you are 'suppose' to be. If tattooing your whole body is how you feel comfortable in your skin, then that's exactly what you need to do. If you need to shave your head to feel beautiful, then shave away beauty queen. If you need to dress like a woman or a man, because your body doesn't allow you to express how you feel and who are you, then this is your time to do so. Feeling comfortable in your own skin is so important to the human experience and your own personal development. I know it's hard and there will always be someone there to give you a hard time, and although I'll never experience it first hand, I know there will always be 1,000 people to that 1 jerk-off who will be there to support you. That's what a community is for, that's what family is for, that's what friends are for.

Someone really close to me that I've grown up with came out to me a few years ago and I was so honoured to help him through his transition from a closeted young man to an open and happy individual with nothing to hide. Although it did take a few years, his friends become a very big support system for him. Their support helped him grow the courage he needed to tell his family, and guess what? His family was so happy to accept him as who he is. Yes there were questions, and some didn't understand, but with some explanation, he is now living with nothing to hide. He was born who he is. He didn't learn to like men, he didn't just wake up and think 'hey, I'm gay', it's who he is. He's still the same person, nothing has changed. I think once people start to understand this, hate crimes will roll to a stop. No one was born the same. We are all different, from the way we look to the way our minds tick. Learning to understand this and asking questions is how our world can come to a more peaceful place. I will never say 'it will never end' because one day it will, and once we can learn to not hate, we can focus that energy into a million different things to better our world. From sustaining our natural resources to learning how to resolve conflict without violence. One day it is possible, and today is a good day to start believing in that.

Be who you are, be who you identify yourself as.

Happy Pride Month everyone. 


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Sunshine & Raine is a digital marketing and sustainability consulting platform for brands in the global social impact space.
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