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Why It Took So Long To Come Out To Myself

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Photo by Getty Images/Scott Olson

Little white lies are never the way to go

I’m not a big fan of lying. Telling the truth, though sometimes more difficult than spouting off a little white lie, is almost always the route I take. It's not that I've never lied, but the guilt of having deceived someone, and the possibility of being called out on it, is ultimately not worth it, so I usually stick with honesty. But while I don't really lie to others, something I realized not so long ago is that I had been lying to myself, and suppressing a part of my identity, for years. In a type of self-deception that's undoubtedly familiar to many, many other people, I had been tricking myself into believing that I was straight, even as it became increasingly clear that I was definitely not.

Due to my religious Southern upbringing, it took me a long time to shake the idea that being straight is not the only acceptable sexual orientation, despite the fact I have found people of every gender attractive. I spent a long time lying to myself about my feelings, trying to convince myself that they weren’t real, and that I would never actually act on them, that I would only date guys. And because these were things I was telling myself, I believed myself—who knows me better than me, right? And the truth is, I wanted to believe my own lies; it was easier to shake off my feelings for girls and non-binary people than to question my own identity. It was a warped form of positive thinking, like I was The Secret-ing my way into not being bisexual.

Plenty of people practice self-deception for reasons other than trying to repress their sexual identities. And, in fact, self-deception has been proven to benefit careers and help change mental states in a positive way. A 2012 study showed that if we believe we’re better or smarter than we actually are, we will have the confidence to convince others of our abilities. (Case in point: A reality TV host now occupies the highest political office in the U.S.) Another study shows that smiling when you’re sad can actually make you feel happier since that act triggers a chemical reaction in the brain that releases hormones like dopamine. 

But in the same way that self-deception can improve moods and self-esteem, it can also serve as an identity repression tool—or, at least, that's how I was using it, as negative reinforcement. I was still holding on to the homophobic ideology I had grown up hearing, and by telling myself I was straight, I was subconsciously trying to promote an identity of being someone who I thought was "normal" and "acceptable." I had a lot of deeply rooted internalized homophobia, and covering it up with lies was much easier than digging it up and facing it head-on. It was much easier to hide my feelings for girls and write them off as platonic “girl crushes” than to understand them as, well, plain old crushes. It got harder and harder to brush those feelings off, which led me to actually change the definition of what “straight” meant in my head to accommodate for my feelings for girls. I actually had myself convinced that I could have feelings for girls and still be straight—which I think we all know is not actually the case. 

Uncovering and tackling this lie I had told myself for years was probably the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done. I was right in thinking that being honest in the first place is much easier than dealing with lies that come back to bite you. Looking back on the years of my life where I had misunderstood my own thoughts and feelings was a truly strange experience. No one can know you better than you know yourself, and to find out that I didn’t know an incredibly important fact about myself was humbling.

In movies and TV shows with an LGBTQ+ character, the central part of their coming out story is when they tell their friends and family. It’s brave and it’s risky, and you could end up being alienated by the people you love the most. But I had never considered that part of my coming-out process would be coming out to myself. I didn’t know the voice in my head could lie to me about something so central to my identity. Replacing that voice telling me I was straight with one acknowledging that I was bisexual was the ultimate act of self-care, and it made me immensely more comfortable in my own skin. I had been holding onto a lot of guilt for lying to myself without knowing, which went away once I allowed myself to be honest.

Telling ourselves the truth is the most rewarding thing we can do. Recognizing your own emotions, something you’d think would be instinctive, can actually be extremely difficult due to your belief system or the society you live in. Conversion therapy still exists, LGBTQ+ teens are still kicked out of their homes, and people are still beaten and killed for their sexual or gender orientation. Our society is still homophobic, and those beliefs can become ingrained in us without us knowing. Telling ourselves the truth about our gender or sexuality involves tackling those problematic ideologies to understand ourselves, which is hard but, ultimately, the best form of self-care there is. 

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Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Well, actually it's crocodile, but she looks out of this world so...

Winnie Harlow walked the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday on her way to a screening of Oh Mercy!, wearing a showstopping gown.

The sheer black dress featured green embroidery on the front and back, which Ralph and Russo confirmed was in the shape of a crocodile. She belted the dress with a black crocodile skin-like belt and finished the look off with some strappy heels. She didn't leave it at just that. For beauty, Harlow packed on full lids of sparkly purple eyeshadow. She kept her hair sleek and simple.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Though the brand says otherwise, as Game of Thrones fans, we'd like to think the embroidery is reminiscent of a dragon's skin. Not to mention, Harlow looks out-of-this-world beautiful in it.

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Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

That denim kimono!!

Marion Cotillard shut down the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday at a screening for Matthias Et Maxime. Instead of an extravagant gown that's expected of the event, Cotillard wore a matching black crop top and shorts. Despite wearing an outfit I typically don to a hot yoga class, she looks incredible. She completed the look with an oversized denim kimono, a statement necklace, and heeled booties.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

At first, I was drawn in by the crop top and hotpants duo, but, after looking closer at the kimono, it's clear that it's the real scene-stealer. The floor-length Balmain piece was decorated with artful rips and dragon motifs. I would like to live in it.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Let's all bow down to the Khaleesi of Cannes.

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Photo by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images.

"It doesn't make you weak to ask for help"

Singer Billie Eilish is continuing to open up about mental health, this time in a new PSA video in partnership with the Ad Council and Seize the Awkward.

In the video, Eilish insists that "it doesn't make you weak to ask for help." She doubles down on the importance of asking for help, and stresses the importance of friends and family being there when their close ones reach out and checking in on them as well. "You should be able to ask anyone for help, everyone has to help someone if they need it." According to Eilish, there have been times when someone reached out to her at the exact moment she needed it, and it helped.

It was particularly refreshing to see Eilish acknowledge that there are things she still doesn't know and has to learn about her mental health. At the very beginning of the video, the interviewer asks her to reflect on her mental health journey, and all Eilish can do is let out chortle. "I think when people hear, 'Remember to take care of your mental health,' they think that everyone else is, and that is not at all accurate," she admitted. "You know, for me I'm trying to learn still to make sure that I stay okay."

Check out the PSA below.

Billie Eilish On Mental Health & Friendship | Ad Council www.youtube.com

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Photograph via @kimkardashian.

"#NotOnMyMoodBoard"

Kim Kardashian has definitely been accused of borrowing a design now and then. But when Instagram influencer and Kardashian look-alike Kamilla Osman claimed the entrepreneur copied her birthday look for a Met Gala after-party, Kardashian was not going to let it fly—and shared plenty of photo evidence to shut down the claim.

Fashion industry watchdog Diet Prada first noticed Osman's claims on Instagram and shared side-by-side images of Kardashian's Cher-inspired outfit designed by Mugler and Osman's dress. "Never get confused with who 'inspires' who. They won't give you credit but they will copy," Osman wrote on her IG story. "I designed this dress for my birthday last year. Nobody had a dress like this was an original design."

Kardashian responded by posting the true inspiration behind her look: images of Cher, in similarly sparkly, plunging-neckline dresses and wigs, and of model Yasmeen Ghauri walking a Mugler show in the '90s. In fact, the only similarity between Osman's and Kardashian's looks is the bodycon mini-dress style, which the two are not the first to wear. Among the images, Kardashian included a blank slide with the hashtag "NotOnMyMoodBoard," making it clear that this was in response to Osman's claims.

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Though I am with Kim on this one, Kardashian does have a history of co-opting other people's work. From being sued over her Kimoji app, to claims she copied makeup palettes and perfume bottle designs, to being accused of copying Naomi Campbell's entire style, it's far from the first (and probably, far from the last) time Kardashian's name will be mentioned like this.

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After delivered the perfect pep talk

When Lena Waithe took over as a guest host on Jimmy Kimmel Live, her first time ever as a late-night host, actress and friend Halle Berry knew exactly how to pump her up. After Kimmel's security guard Guillermo Rodriguez hit the "Berry Button" (a large button on the wall that says just that), Berry came running out in a backless tee and boyfriend jeans to give Waithe a pep talk... and plant one on her.

Berry rolled in as if she'd just jogged from hanging out with her friends to come to Waithe's immediate aid, joking she wasn't dressed for the occasion; but, let's be real, she could wear a paper bag, and we wouldn't complain. Waithe requested the "Halle Berry juice," similar to her 2002 Oscars speech, and Berry immediately had the lights turned down low and jumped into inspirational speech mode.

"I know that you are a force of nature. You are a beautiful African-American queen going after everything that is hers," Berry said before going on to list Waithe's many titles and accomplishments. She jokingly concluded, "And you already winning, girl, 'cause you are dressed way better than Jimmy ever will," before asking if Waithe needed anything else. Clearly, Waithe thought that was all Berry was there to do, because she said no, but Berry insisted she needed one more thing before grabbing Waithe's face and surprising her with a kiss. "Wow," Waithe reacted after Berry pulled away, and honestly same!

Watch the video, below.

Lena Waithe's Guest Host Monologue on Jimmy Kimmel Live youtu.be

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