As I sit down to write this blog, I’m reflecting on what a year 2020 has been, not only for myself but for my loved ones and my patients, it was a year full of unknowns and uncertainty.
I have seen the best in people this year – my neighbours checking in on each other during isolation periods, and the general kindness shown to one another. That spirit of kindness has kept me going through this challenging time.
I acknowledge this has been a difficult year for us all. However, for those of us who identify as LGBTQ+ this year has been especially hard; some stuck in lockdown with families who don’t approve of who they are; some are being beaten for being true to themselves; some even being thrown out on the streets, and some sadly are taking their own lives.
This subject is something that is close to my heart. I identify as a gay woman, and although I had the full support of my family during coming out, it was still a really tough time, and the reality that some people don’t have that support breaks my heart.
Over the years, I have experienced first hand what a small act of kindness can do, and I can recall vividly one of these moments.
I was 15 and had just left secondary school and finally came out as gay. My head was all over the place at the time, and I knew my previous classmates were all aware of my coming out, and I was the latest “hot gossip” at school. I recall having to attend school to sign some forms, and I was dreading it. I arrived at the school and was anxiously waiting in the corridor, hoping nobody would see me. My old English teacher came down the corridor at that moment and stopped to talk to me and said: “I heard your news, I wanted to tell you that I’m incredibly proud of you”.
That statement may not seem like much, but to me, at that moment, it was all I needed to make me feel slightly better like I was accepted. And I left that building a little braver whilst holding my head a little higher. She probably made that comment and then went on with the rest of her day not giving it a second thought however that comment has remained with me 14 years later, and I can still recall how it made me feel.
My final thoughts on this are that we never know what each other are dealing with in the background or behind closed doors. So try and be kind to one another. Your words and actions could make someone feel heard, appreciated and accepted. Your words could even save a life.