Creative Director's letter - Sept. '18
For most of my life, I’ve identified myself as a cisgender gay man. Truthfully speaking, there weren’t as many identity options when I was growing up as there are today, but still up until about a year ago that label felt categorically accurate. That all started to change when I began to dive deeper into developing Social Civilian and the world of gender fluidity that began to open up around me. The more I learned, the more I started to really think about my true self and the labels that I had taken on. I started to question if these chosen labels, and in many cases, labels I had been given, were really an honest representation of the human being that I was growing into on the inside. Like many of us, I began to really process the thoughts and feelings that I was keeping inside, and questioned why I was so afraid to express them. Was the person in my heart and mind the same as the person that the world was experiencing?
The answer to that question for me was a resounding NO. If I am being totally honest, I have never really felt like I fit in with any social group. Simply put, I never felt ‘gay’ enough for the homosexuals or ‘straight’ enough for the heterosexuals. I am not necessarily bisexual, though that would probably be the closest fit. I came to realize that I was producing a version of myself that best fit whichever social setting I found myself in. I was afraid to be myself, but why? In some cases there was a definite fear of harm or harassment for being gay in the wrong crowd, but in many others, it was a fear of rejection or being misunderstood. It was much easier to just conform to the majority and just blend in. So where did that leave me? Do I even have a tribe or am I destined to be stuck somewhere in the middle?
The answer to that question came to me in the summer of 2017. I had purchased a dress as inspiration for the ‘Civilian Made’ collection and was wearing it around my apartment. Now, I had played dress up as a kid, but that ended pretty early into my teens, so this was a whole new feeling. I looked at myself in a full length mirror and thought “how queer,” but not in a bad way, in a way that put a smile on my face. In that moment something felt right. I grabbed my phone and looked up the dictionary definition for queer. The second definition is ‘(of a person) homosexual,’ and the first is ‘strange; odd.’ I immediately laughed and felt that I had found my answer. There was a wave of peace and understanding that came over me. I am queer; a homosexual that is a little strange and even more odd and there was no reason that I should be anything but proud of all of those facts.
I hope wherever you are and whatever you are discovering about yourself is making you proud too. Admittedly, it took me a pretty long time to get to where I am today and I know that I still have a long way to go. So even though it might be hard now, try and be patient. Don’t listen to the haters, because on the inside, there is a good chance that they are feeing just as lost, lonely and confused as you are. They just aren’t dealing with their insecurities with any sense of maturity. Keep your head held high and remember that you are a beautiful human being that has a lot to offer and teach the world around you. My team, at Social Civilian, and I believe in you and we can’t wait to see what kind of a beautiful butterfly you evolve into.
Until next month. Sending love, light and confidence!