Why my selfie doesn't reveal my full self
February 02, 2015 at 5:12 am
Life is full of contradictions. Every person has a backstory. Just because someone’s life might seem perfect and picturesque on the outside doesn’t mean that everything is truly as perfect and picturesque as it seems on social media. Pictures are worth a thousand words, but one picture cannot fully capture someone’s true essence. Not everything on Instagram can show you who a person truly is, or reveal every facet of someone’s life.
I do consider myself undeniably attractive. I get told I’m beautiful and gorgeous practically on a daily basis. Whether it’s someone I meet while out and about in real life, or a new guy on a dating app, or just comments on Instagram, people seem to love to tell me how attractive I am. Beauty has its benefits. I do think I have been able to navigate certain situations in life with more ease because I had my looks to help me get my way. It is much easier to get things from men, especially things of monetary value. Although my looks have certainly helped me fill my time with many male lovers and dates, I’ve still yet to experience an official monogamous relationship.
I’ve never had a boyfriend, which does shock most that I reveal this to. Whenever I do tell someone I’ve never had a boyfriend, the usual response is “But you’re so attractive…”. Well clearly it takes more to get a boyfriend than being attractive. I’ve also seen tons of unattractive people in relationships. I have no problem luring men in, but keeping one is a whole ‘nother issue. Though never having experienced having an official,, committed, monogamous relationship is a sensitive subject for me, I do take comfort in knowing that there will always be another new man waiting to enter my life. Plus I’m only 24, so I know there’s still time. I don’t even want to settle down soon anyway. I just want to know what it’s like having a boyfriend and being a boyfriend to someone else. But next time you do see a beautiful person, don’t assume that they must have had tons of long, committed, fulfilling relationships, because beauty doesn’t reflect the number of serious relationships one has had.
I also get questioned about my race practically on a daily basis. Being racially ambiguous has its perks. It is nice keeping people guessing and being able to transcend stereotypes, mainly negative racial stereotypes. Though I find it offensive whenever someone does ask my race. It’s like they’re trying to stereotype me by classifying me racially. Someone’s race or ethnicity doesn’t necessarily reveal anything about their personality, so I don’t understand why people are so obsessed with knowing these details. Or how they find it appropriate to have the first question they ask someone be “What’s your ethnicity/race/background?”
It’s also infuriating when someone asks me my nationality when they really mean race or ethnicity. Though they still get upset when I just say American, because apparently black people can claim any other country as their point of origin, except the United States. The slave trade dropped black people off in the Caribbean, South America, and the United States around the same period. Black people today can say they’re Jamaican, Brazilian, Haitian, etc…yet people seem offended if I say I’m American.
Racial ambiguity is fun and a gift when it allows me to evade most of the the mass racism affecting black people on dating sites and most aspects of society, but I still know the struggle. I know the frustration of being a person of color. I know the struggle of constantly turning on the TV and being outraged by another show featuring an all-white cast. Especially as a gay man of color, where gay men of color are never depicted on television. As a screenwriter, my biggest mission is to increase GLBT diversity on TV. There’s still a long way to go in terms of representation and making American television more encompassing of what gays today look like in the real world.
Fitness and the gym are essential aspects of my life. I workout 2-3 hours a day, 4-5 days a week. I’ve been working out regularly for nearly a decade now. At first glance someone could see me and just assume I’m some masculine jock because I have huge muscles and I’m black — because most assume muscular black guys must be oozing masculinity. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Well, I do have large muscles, but I’m not masculine and I’m extremely non-athletic. I was never picked to be on anyone’s team in physical education while growing up. I never played sports as a child. In front of the TV was where I spent most of my time, which is probably why I want to work in television production now. But I can’t throw a ball. I still don’t understand the rules of basketball, baseball, football, etc…nor do I enjoy watching any of those sports. I couldn’t care less about sports most of the time. Though I do have crushes on many pro-athletes.
I enjoy being a contradiction, and showing people that just because I have huge muscles and love weight lifting, doesn’t mean that I’m masculine. My favorite color is pink. Britney Spears is my favorite musical artist. I love wearing makeup when I go clubbing, and the girls section of Forever 21 is one of my favorite places to shop. I like to show people that life isn’t divided into rigid categories of masculine and feminine. I can enjoy doing what I want to do. I don’t need to fit into a category or be limited by my gender and biological sex. My gender doesn’t define me. My race doesn’t define me. My sexual orientation doesn’t define me. I am a complex, multi-faceted, and unique individual.
One picture won’t show you everything there is to know about me. So next time you see someone new, don’t assume that you know them based off of a photo. Get to know them, and don’t stereotype. Chances are, there’s way more to know about them based on what they choose to reveal about themselves than what you assumed from surface-level observations.
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