To be proud of yourself, who you are and what you stand for is a major accomplishment. Being comfortable in your own skin without a care in the world.

Sometime being yourself and being accepted can be a battle between yourself, your family and the world around you.

For many years, I dealt with the hurt and pain of someone’s words. Many years of hearing that “you aren’t good enough” or “can you

do better that” or even “God! Act like you have a brain up there!” made me feel less and less like a person, every strike of a word. I began to question my own self-worth.

At times, I felt like I turned against myself to be better for another person’s benefit and pleasure. Changing things to be this perfect person that, I thought, no one was satisified with, a huge disappointment.

Having a strong family can sometime help you get through the heartache, torture and grief that you might set upon yourself when the world on the outside has beat you down with their words of hate and large amounts of doubt. Understand that a “family” doesn’t have to be a consistent with the genetic foundation that bonds you but by bond, security and value of the relationships that are formed.

The world around you will continue to pry and dissect every part of your life apart. Whether it’s your image, your sexuality, your dreams — whatever. It’s you that makes the ultimate decision to be strong and rise against those that make your life full of obstacles.

My name is Patrick A. Jervis-Stone. I’m proud of what I have become and looking forward to who I will become in the future. I still battle issues of self-doubt, self-image and self-esteem. I’m still battling that inner demon that someone placed inside my head that said “you’re not good enough, ” everyday. Though I am have not sent a proclamation of my definite self worth and how proud I am my sexuality to everyone, I surround myself with people that are my “family” and truly care for me, that love me for me. This is what keeps me strong and striving to be myself, everyday.

The power to be yourself can be a powerful thing and very inspirational to others. Happy National Coming Out Day!