What else can I do?
I have always struggled with the pressure to be perfect. My mother gave me what I call “Performance-based love.” I could only be loved if I performed to her high standards. This has led me to be afraid of failure and to always try to control everything.
On August 12th, I took a risk and put on an accessible LGBTQIA+ Youth clothing closet. It was the scariest, most successful failure of my life. And I did it all because of a song from a Disney movie
Disney’s Encanto is magnificent, especially if you grew up in a family like mine. We all had our “gifts,” and each of us “girls” was expected to accelerate and be better than our peers with those gifts. Living with that weight all my life means I have been scared to try doing something I am unsure about since failure meant I wasn’t worthy of love. But over the last few months, I have been breaking down the lyrics and those barriers within myself, and I want to share that journey with you.
“I just made something unexpected
Something sharp, something new
It’s not symmetrical or perfect
But it’s beautiful and it’s mine
What else can I do?”
Starting an organization to advocate for the LGBTQIA and Disabled community is not something I ever thought I would do, especially since I am doing it in a way that is the complete opposite of any other organization I know. To decide that I want to confront ALL the issues and put them in the same category sounds completely crazy! And the fact I don’t plan on making this a non-profit. I am scared and terrified. It’s not symmetrical or perfect, but it’s beautiful and it’s mine.
“I make perfect, practiced poses
So much hides behind my smile”
People who meet me think I am charismatic and have everything organized. But deep down, I’m not. Being autistic and having ADHD means I am so used to wearing a mask constantly and playing a part in meeting society’s standards. I’m chronically ill, meaning small things take a huge toll on me. If I go through with this business, at some point, that mask is going to slip, I am going to have a relapse and people will see I am not always smiling and that I fail at most of what I try. Can I live with that?
“What could I do if I just grew what I was feelin’ in the moment?
(Do you know where you’re going? Whoa)
What could I do if I just knew it didn’t need to be perfect?
It just needed to be? And they’d let me be?”
What can I do if I just realized that the world doesn’t expect me to be perfect? That is just wanting me to be myself? In the same way, I advocate for others to be themselves.
“I wanna feel the shiver of something new
I’m so sick of pretty, I want something true, don’t you?”
Wichita needs something new, and I want to feel and be my true self, I feel like everyone else does.
“How far do these roots go down?
How far can I rise?
Through the roof, to the skies
My friends and my family are my roots, and they go deep. With their support and from those in the community, just how far can I rise when I quit letting fear control who I am?
“What can you do when you are deeply, madly, truly in the moment?
(Seize the moment, keep goin’)
What can you do when you know who you wanna be is imperfect?
But I’ll still be okay
Hey, everybody clear the way, woo”
So, my clothing closet wasn’t perfect, seeing the kids who came through, and found what they wanted and the excitement they had, how real were those feelings? How true and raw was the happiness that I, in all my imperfections, made happen because I accepted my flaws, mistakes, and inexperience and just took a chance to do something new?
“Making waves, changing minds”
And that is what I plan to do. Make waves here in Wichita and change minds. By being my imperfect, authentic self, living in this moment. I hope you all join me.