Ms Gay Limerick 2012

Lads. I won. My crown is class.

When I entered, I didn’t think I would win. I wanted to help out by adding another contestant to the mix and I wanted to have the banter. I kind of wanted the crown, a lot.

It fits. I’m all about activism, I’m all about Pride, I want to big up Out in UL and I want a more public forum for bisexual visibility. On the surface, its all rosy. Winning last night was one of the most amazing rushes of my life and the support and love I felt from the Limerick LGBTQ community was something I have rarely felt before.

Today feels different. Because today I am not swaddled in the warmth of my fellow queers, non-heterosexuals who empathise and understand. Today, I am not only out (as I have been for over a year), I am OUT. To the world of Facebook. To anyone who keeps up to date with I Love Limerick (which is a lot of Limerick) and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Post or the Leader had some pictures and suddenly I am out to my nana and the rest of my extended family.

I have no issue with being out. I am very, very proud of who I am. To me, bisexuality is no big deal because it just means that whoever I’m dating may be of a different gender from relationship to relationship. But it invites questions. Questions that, whilst I can get into, I’d rather not if possible. I’m dating a boy which complicates things to the outside eye. He is my only interest, but how can Ms Gay Limerick be in a heterosexual relationship. The relationship is straight but I’m not.

I’m not confused or transitioning over to gay either and that’s another question I have to frequently deal with. I worry what my family is thinking. Are they secretly ashamed and just not telling me? I worry what T is thinking. Will he be too embarrassed to tolerate me anymore? I am so proud of who I am but I am worried that it might be selfish to be this proud of only me when the rest of my family might not feel the same way.

I am scared of backlash. I am scared that a bi girl won’t be good enough to be Ms Gay Limerick. I’m scared that I have offended the people who I hadn’t directly come out to because the issue never really arose.  I’m scared that people will think I’m a cheating whore because of my orientation. I’m scared that people will see me differently even though nothing has changed.

I thought that getting up on stage and being judged by my community was going to be the hard part. But I was wrong. It’s the next bit, the bit where I have to stand up and take charge of what I’ve done, that’s where I’ve got to be brave. And hope it all goes okay.

I wonder if I’ll get funny looks wearing the crown in the supermarket…

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The Changing Perceptions of Beauty

Hopefully as you read this, I am happily on a treadmill, completing my interval long run. An hour and fifteen minutes of 2 minutes green zone, 7 minutes yellow. Then a beautiful cool down of blue 🙂

Ever since I came home from college, certain shows have been banned from the house. Whilst Gok Wan is still perfectly acceptable territory (YUS!) everything from Supersize Vs Superskinny and Fat Families to America’s Next Top Model is firmly switched off at my mother’s request. In fairness, this is for the best and triggering is all too easy. And I can easily fill the time with Peep Show, House and Grey’s Anatomy (I am over my whole aversion to hospital shows.)

I remember one episode of Supersize Vs Superskinny featured a girl of 5’5″ weighing in at 105lbs. The family collectively grimaced at the sight of this undernourished girl in the same way we did towards her oversized counterpart. At 5’5″, my lowest weight has been 104lbs. And in my mind, this still wasn’t enough. To think that my perception of reality changed so much in such a short period of time is… not shocking, but notable. I once thought that Beyonce was the most beautiful woman in the world. And whilst I still think she is amazing, stick her next to Lady Gaga and all I can find myself doing is passing a comment on relative heftiness.

As if to strengthem Mom’s resolve to keep me away from such shows, the one episode if ANTM I have seen this series introduced me to Ann.

 ANTMAnnMAIN

And I am not proud of this, but I still think she is beautiful.

But which is more important, I must constantly remind myself, being thin? Or being able to run, having the energy to go about my day, being free from calorie obsession and being able to have kids some day. Working on it, to say the least.

First Impressions

I’m watching Fashion Fix re-runs before I start in on a long hard day of study. Oh the joy of Christmas exams. Because everyone needs that two months before the mocks… I digress. For those not aware, Fashion Fix is another of those makeover/clothes shows, showing women of all ages how to turn themselves into something beautiful. Given my whole advocation for “Its what inside that counts” it would be easily assumed that I hate these shows with the same ferocity that about half the nation hate Jedward. (Personally I miss them. Weak all the time.)

But, no. I find myself enraptured, bordering on obsessed with these shows. Ever since Trinny and Susannah’s What Not To Wear, which I started watching when I was nine, I’ve been hooked. I watch them all, What not to Wear US, How To Look Good Naked, Paisean Faisean perhaps before the year is out. The appeal, I think, is being the sheer possibilities of everyone, no matter how far fetched, no matter how un-beautiful society may deem them, to look fabulous.

And really, is there need for these shows? Of course. Reluctant as one may be to believe that a change in appearance could change your life, its true. It would be great to think that people are judged by what they are as people, but that isn’t reality. We judge people. Everybody does it, consciously or otherwise. Our first impressions of people our usually based on their appearance and as we all know, first impressions are hard to shift. I know that to anyone I’ve known long term, I will always be that quiet, frizzy haired little nerd and while that is fine, it is wonderful to be able to present yourself to give an impression that is slightly more flattering.

Never a self confident little bunny when I was younger, I looked to these shows for hope, a follower of Ugly Ducking Syndrome, if you will. Who doesn’t love a transformation? And while I’ve hardly undergone a transformation, I have started “Taking care of myself better” as my Mom woud put it. Turns out, its not a complete upheaval to straighten the aul hair, stick in the contacts and throw on a bit of makeup before school. You don’t have to get Tangoed and Extensioned to have confidence. Everyone is beautiful, sometimes it just takes a little push to bring it out. So my enthusiasm for these shows never wanes, my love never dies. I will always want to see the ugly duckling turn into a swan.