We’re excited to share with you our latest self-love and confidence chat with Chris of @chrissofly22. Chris is a queer artist where his artwork is focused on being apologetically himself.
This chat is full of honesty, vulnerability, and inspiration and we’re so grateful to have had this chat with Chris and really hope you enjoy it too.
Don’t forget to check out Chris’s work and connect with him on his Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
What does self-love mean to you? How do you practice it?
“To me, self-love means taking care of your mental and physical health before anything, accepting yourself for exactly who you are by embracing all of your flaws (whether they be internal or external), and acknowledging the fact that your imperfections are what make you unique. I definitely feel as though self-love can be a journey, and not always an easy one. We often go through times in our lives when we're not so accepting of ourselves when we don't like what we see when we look in the mirror, and when we feel as though we're just not good enough.”
“I feel that the most important type of love is self-love and that it's healthy to actively remind yourself that you are worthy of love. In my mind, if you don't love yourself first, how can you genuinely embrace love from outside sources? These days, I find myself practicing self-love by spending quality time with myself. I love to just free my space of any messiness/ clutter, light a few candles, and listen to music. It's in those moments when I feel most connected to my spirit and can really center my energy (focusing on my peace and mental health). This "me-time" also allows me to reflect on my personal growth and my journey, realizing that I am a work in progress but also a work of art. We are all works of art; unique, delicate, and imperfect. It's when we acknowledge this, that we begin practicing self-love.”
Do you think confidence is something you can cultivate? If so, how?
“I definitely think that confidence can be cultivated. I honestly feel that, oftentimes, it IS cultivated. I remember when I was a very young boy, between the ages of about 3 and 5, I was so fearless! I would walk around the house in my mom’s heels with a pair of shorts on my head, pretending that it was hair. Strutting my stuff up and down the hallway, without a second thought. I was so free, so confident. As I got a bit older, it's as if the confidence faded away and the fears of being different or an outcast, instilled in me by my environment and society, took over.”
“The older I got, the more I actively worked to regain or recultivate my confidence. I always excelled at appearing to be confident to the world, but I was only confident in being the image that I thought I had to be; the "normal" boy. It's easy to appear to be confident when you're not fully being yourself. I feel that the road to true confidence is a journey that involves growth. The more you grow, the more you realize that life is more enjoyable when you are confident in being who you truly are. I wouldn't necessarily say that there is a specific way to cultivate confidence, as the process is different for every individual. However, a key factor in cultivating confidence is blocking out the haters /negativity and putting your happiness first!”
“It's crazy because this time last year I purchased my first wig (that wasn't a part of a Halloween costume) and I was honestly so scared to wear it out of the house for the first time. I'd put it on in my room and pace back and forth, anticipating to wear it out in public, but my fears of judgment and lack of true confidence would always hinder me from leaving my room with that green wig on. Eventually, I muddled up the courage to wear it to an outing and it felt amazing! I wore that wig with confidence because I knew that I honestly owed it to my younger self to be who I truly wanted to be, without fear of judgment! I share that story to show that we cultivate confidence more and more each day, as we grow into our truest forms.”
Your work blew us away when we discovered your page. What do you hope to communicate to the world through your art?
“Aww thank you so much! I really appreciate that! With my art, I hope to communicate that it's okay to express yourself freely and go against the norm. Boys can be princesses and girls can be princes, if they choose to! Men aren't obligated to be super masculine just because the many generations before us have implemented this false narrative. I want to show young boys who look like me and are growing up in communities that aren't so inclusive, that it's okay to be different. It's okay to express yourself in ways that aren't generally thought of as "manly" or "masculine".
“We are not confined to living a certain way just because of our gender. Everything that we've been taught for years and years about gender roles and gender-specific qualities is completely fabricated BULLSHIT. I want to encourage everyone, no matter their gender, age, or race, to be who they are! I know, first hand, that it can be the scariest thing ever to put yourself out there in such a transparent way but it's necessary for your soul to be completely free and happy.”
What is something or someone that's been inspiring you lately? Why?
“Lately I've been so inspired by the beautiful nature that surrounds me. Every day I find myself looking up at the sky, either at sunrise or sunset and being lost in complete admiration by its beauty. Looking at the clouds and stars in the sky gives me such reassurance and brings me so much peace. The plants and flowers in my backyard also inspire me daily. Watching them bloom and seeing the growth and the beautiful colors that they radiate just brings me so much joy and, in a way, reminds me of myself.”
“The life cycle of flowers and other plants is so similar to the journey that us humans go through, in a spiritual and physical sense. I find that the spiritual connection between flowers and humans fuels me. These gorgeous flowers start off as seeds that then grow and blossom into something beautiful. Even when they wilt away, as the seasons change, you know that they will soon blossom again. Just like we do. Throughout our journeys, we have times when we feel ourselves truly blossoming and thriving and we also have times when we feel like we're wilting away or changing with the seasons. It's not always the most desirable journey but it truly is beautiful. Experiencing the regrowth of your spirit can honestly make you appreciate the moments when you were feeling wilted. Nature is a beautiful thing.”
What is something you love most about yourself?
“Something that I love most about myself is my ability to connect with people through positive energy. I feel like I've always been the one that people come to when they are looking for good vibes and good energy. Though sometimes, it can feel as if I'm supposed to be the "happy one" all of the time, I try to remind myself not to look at it like that. Instead, I'm grateful to be other people's source of joy when they aren't necessarily feeling so joyous. Don't get me wrong, I still allow myself to feel ALL of my emotions and connect with them, but it feels good to know that people look at me as "Happy Chris" and turn to me to feel uplifted. I enjoy putting a smile on people's faces, making them laugh and feel loved! I love dancing around and singing and being the life of the party!”