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Share your stories of resilience, strength and appreciation for yourself and others
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Bridges signifies resilience: a journey from darkness to light. It also signifies a connection between myself and you… and now I'd like us to use this to connect. Please use this platform as a message-board to share your stories of resilience, strength and appreciation for yourself and others. I can't wait to read them.
Kia ora, hello, all the way from New Zealand 🇳🇿
My name is Tristan, 23 years old and I am from a small rural community called Rerewhakaaitu. Despite coming from a very small community, I have been on a roller coaster of a journey.
I travelled from my rural house to school in the city. I was the top scholar of my high school, a prefect, a New Zealand representative in Equestrian and involved in competitive basketball and volleyball for our country. I have always been motivated, passionate, and persevering, always striving to reach my highest potential in what ever I do.
In school and within high level sport I found it difficult to be myself. I felt I had to act a certain way, I had to talk a certain way and I had to be someone who wasn’t my authentic self, to fit in and belong. This slowly ate away at me. Growing up I really struggled accepting who I was as a young gay teenager and then man. I felt trapped, unable to escape this unwanted reality and I couldn’t accept who I was. I came out to my family when I was 20, and I was blessed to be equally loved from everyone. I have now learnt that happiness is only real when shared, and only shared when the happiness is real. For me to be happy I had to be able to share my true authentic self to the people who loved me for the real me.
Not everyone was so kind. I found the sporting environment very toxic and ‘friends’ no longer treated me the same. I no longer was the guy who had done this or that. I had been labelled the gay dude, like it was what defined me, but in a negative connotation. For me I struggled to continue to compete and do what I truly loved. Changing rooms, on the court and field, hanging with friends socially… it all changed. I felt like I didn’t belong and there was no place for me.
During this time I found out my true friends. Surrounding myself with these people and my family, helped me to work on accepting myself and learning to find inner peace with who I am, I realised that I wasn’t the problem. What was it to be be normal? The world works to define normal, from what we perceive and think it wants us to be. There are always going to be a few individuals who act a certain way. It plays on our mind and makes us doubt who we are. Ultimately, diversity, love and authenticity wins. Well, so I found.
I ended up studying in medicine, before changing to complete a triple major in science: chemistry, physics and biology and then studying to be a high school teacher. I have been teaching now for almost two years, and it has been the greatest decision of my life. I am teaching at the school where I attended, stronger and more confident in who I am. I am here to help guide the students and our younger generations along their own journey, to help them untap their true potential and to help them realise they have more strength and power within them, more than they realise. What defines us isn’t our sexuality, it is the qualities and morals we hold as people. We all have a right to succeed in any area of the curriculum or anything we want to. Our path isn’t shaped by others, our journey is our own and no one can take away love, passion or who we are, from ourselves.
Tristan xShare thisShare this