I’m gay

And tonight, to coincide with my birthday, I’m celebrating with friends over Rainbow Cake. It’s the Elton John of cakes, complete with rainbow flares.

As a child I always knew I was gay, but somewhere the feeling got lost. A long and, not always scenic, route ensued to bring me back to who I truly am.

What I needed was to find my tribe. I wasn’t actively seeking it, though sometime last year I met a group of women that I could truly connect to. I could see myself in them in many ways. And they are women of character who I aspire to. Most importantly, they are women that are generous and kind. For the first time in my life I came to the full realisation of who I am and I felt safe in their company. They bolstered my confidence and gave me my voice again. And I love them eternally for it.

Thankfully my tribe has now extended to my family and friends that I’ve had the confidence to come out to. We’ve created noise, a celebratory noise. We’ve drowned out the negativity that sadly weaves through many homes, communities, governments and countries throughout the world.

In life, philosophy and literature imparts one of the greatest lessons we continuously come back to, and that is to know thyself. For those reading this who are LGBT and haven’t come out – even when society may not deem you equal because of your sexuality – know that you are. And just like in my situation, know that there are people in the world that have your back.

Some may be asking “Why does she feel the need to write this?”. The answer is that there is nothing I’m leveraging off or deliberately seeking. This simply feels like the right and natural way to let it be known, sincerely.

As black as my skin, as Chinese as my blood, and as Australian and British are my nationalities, I’m also a proud Gay Woman. 

Most importantly though, I’m a happy human being. 

Love,

Faustina Agolley

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When we revere people

We can undo ourselves in many ways when we revere others. We look to and talk to their status rather to them as a person. We also become less discerning. We’re blinded with admiration.

The common types of people we hold high – leaders, CEOs, layers, doctors, directors, athletes and artists are not without their shadows.

Self-Love

Self love – a topic that’s quite “fru-fru” – my made up word for mushy, sensitive –  yet a necessary topic because it’s a vital part of living.

Self love is thinking and feeling for yourself. You’re in charge of your well being and happiness.

It’s understanding your constitution before someone dictates it for you. It’s filling yourself up with the things that are right for you rather than looking to others to fill that space.

It’s getting back to the very ideas of what makes you excited about living. It’s knowing your likes and dislikes, your interests, what you’re curious about. It’s having confidence in yourself and self worth. Coincidently this is likely where you become more compassionate and empathetic to new ideas and to others.

How is it done in practice? Its going inwards and knowing yourself. You cut out the noise of daily life. Practices like meditation or mindful time alone are superb ways to achieve this.

Then it’s being vocal about it. Your inner dialogue shapes your behaviour. You’re then aware that you have choices every moment rather than feeling you’re largely shaped by the day’s events – good or bad.

These dating apps ain’t so bad…

A good way to diminish the stigma and fear around dating apps is to simply treat them as real life conversations.

We can still hold our own in these environments and exercise the kind of autonomy we require.

How is this done? Our profile is a huge reflection of what people respond to. Therefore, our profiles should be an honest representation of who we are.

Why is this important to point out? Because quite often we can rest on the assumed ideas of what other people think we should be as opposed to who we really are. We can also get a little lazy when talking about ourselves and our values. We immediately think it’s egotistical to commit to words about our true selves. Or believe we have to be clever or witty, when the majority of us are not.

Ultimately, our values are the very thing that other people want to know or will eventually have to know for any kind of genuine connection to happen.

We’re wonderfully complex people with many dimensions that sum up our character. We’re passionate about at least one thing if not many. And, just like any human, we all harbour insecurities and are afraid of being judged. Though if we abandon all unhelpful ideas around ourselves, be vocal in a way that’s most sincere to us, then our profiles become self filtering in the kinds of conversations we’ll attract.

The joy comes when we do away with the huge expectation on an outcome. If we’re hell bent on finding ‘the one’, having the perfect date or a life partner we can miss out on all the opportunities of meeting people that can inspire our lives in more ways we could have ever thought.

That’s not to say there can’t or shouldn’t be an endgame – but we should lighten up a little and just enjoy getting to know the wonderful people that exist beyond our orbit.

Life Sabbaticals

Sabbatical is a term usually reserved for teachers. It’s a year’s paid leave while they travel and/ or take on further study. Seven years of work usually equates to year away.

The purpose of sabbaticals is for teachers to come back to their vocation enriched with experiences to share.

It’s quite the opposite of sipping daiquiris by a pool in Bali or mindlessly dedicating a year to binge watch television. It’s considered time away for proper life experiences that can assist in shaping the next phase of life and work.

Put simply, it’s an investment in the teacher.

Sabbaticals shouldn’t just be reserved for those in the teaching field. There should be large chapters of our lives where we can have significant time away from the daily grind no matter what profession we’re in.

I like to call them Life Sabbaticals. It’s a decision made by you, for you. A decision that doesn’t rest on the job you have.

In a Life Sabbatical you turn your life’s timeline on its ear. You, running your life on your watch and nobody else’s. A year designed of your own choices.

You may be thinking, well this isn’t an ideal world, my job won’t ever pay me to take a year off to travel. Having a year of nothing on my CV doesn’t look good for my next employer. I have bills to pay, responsibilities to think about like my bullsh** mortgage.

Or you may be thinking, that’s not normal.

True. It’s not normal. And quite easily all your friends have never made these kinds of choices so you’re weird for even thinking about it. You may even be feeling guilty. Or there was that one friend that had the balls to pack up and split. You see all their remarkable world travels or philosophical insights on Instagram and it makes you envious and nervous at the same time.

But if the idea also excites you, even just by an ounce, wouldn’t you at the very least entertain the idea of making it happen? To draw out a plan to make it feasible?

What if you chose to factor in this time away for yourself so that you’re not at mercy to the requirements that you think your life, society or your job demands of you?

Or took smaller steps. Initially taking three or six months away?

There’s wonderful examples of people that have staked their claim on their own time line. There’s a family member, at age 50, that took time away to dedicate her full attention to the romantic novel she always wanted to write. A grand departure of her former life, and she thanked herself for it. Now she’s looking into literary agents and publishers.

Then there’s an old colleague in my world of TV who took a year away to the United States to explore other careers. He got a broad scope of what was out there, returned to his old job and eventually transitioned into another role that still included his knowledge and experience of the entertainment industry.

There’s friends that have become dissatisfied with their former jobs and are now looking for something more fulfilling. They’ve had the courage to step away from their old life, to investigate inward and taken a lateral approach to explore what’s out there. Most importantly, the simple thought is to get back to what makes them happy. And to see those joys turned into a life and business of their choosing.

These are exactly the kinds of results that come from  dedicating huge periods of time to yourself.

At the very least, after a life sabbatical you’ve expanded in some way.

And your evolvement is grander than anything else you could have ever imagined.