I guess I should apologize first: Using the past tense in the title could be considered a lie. Obviously, one can’t stop the shame entirely since that’s a natural urge.
To tell the truth, I’m not the kind of person who gets ashamed easily. But there are a few things I felt uncomfortable with, even though I should be proud about them. That was a problem I struggled with for quite long time, so I’d like to tell you how I overcame it.
To give a few examples:
I felt insecure about being a feminist, and I felt insecure about being a LGTBQ-Supporter, even though I knew that both things were right and good.
It was hard for me to openly talk about them because I was afraid of the reactions, especially with people who were close to me. I was so ashamed – ashamed of being ashamed.
How could I ever call myself a feminist when I couldn’t even speak up? How should I change things when I couldn’t even change the way I felt? Such things crossed my mind on a daily basis. I was sick of it, and I decided to put an end to it.
If you start looking for opportunities, they will appear. So, the first thing to do was trying to not stay silent when something bothered me. I spoke my mind whenever I could, clenching my fists in my pockets and speaking the lyrics of We are Bulletproof pt.2 by BTS in my head. Upsetting people was something I usually refuse to do, but it couldn’t be avoided in all cases. I had to deal with the consequences of disturbing small-minded people’s comfort zone and stopped giving in even if it would have been easier.
It’s a slow process. The annoying thing that happens when you choose to fight? Suddenly, you start hearing sexist or homophobic or racist stuff all the time, maybe from friends, family members or even teachers. Yes, it was hard for me stop ignoring it and start taking rude comments with a straight face.
I think whenever you want to get into activism, especially as a teenager, you should learn to be strong and confident about yourself first. Because most negative reactions include you, they try to make you insecure and want to silence you. Once you’re able to stand up for yourself and your opinion, you can stop being ashamed.