I’ve travelled all over the world.

In every place I land I find a different affinity with it. From basking beneath the domed spectacle of a Latvian cathedral, watching my hot breath dance with the baltic October air, to running my toes through a Lisbon beach as dusk blends into a sea of spotlights. The one thing that remains consistent, is me. A bar can have 800 wines in every colour of the spectrum, flourished with every crease, fold and gallant typographic dance a face can muster. And many do. Another bar, can serve just two, and be wonderfully, solidly perfect in its resolve. The world is endless and the world is beautiful. And whilst I’ve seen and tasted, heard and smelt worlds beyond my imagination, I’ve always stayed inside. I’ve never really been outside at all. Not like this.

When asked to write about the notion of ‘coming-out’, I realised this couldn’t be a piece about me. Not just me. Regardless of anything, or anyone, else, I will always be me. And I will never change. Not really. Coming-out to me was never – and will never be – a choice. It’s something I needed to do. I told myself that a few weeks ago.

My career has always been a precious part of me. In many ways, it embodies who I am. When I travel, write, eat, drink, consume – it lingers. Being an artist, a designer, a creator, has taught me to see and taught me to imagine. There’s a universe of imagination between our ears. And you don’t leave that at home. So it’s easy to see why I’ve always expressed myself as a creative. This is, and always will be, my identity. But there was always something missing.

When I finally started to understand who I was, and who I really could be, it was never a case of reimagining or discarding those parts that had always resonated so strongly. I was proud of my creative identity and how it’s helped craft me and my mind. But it was time to share. And my work had to come first.

Your mind starts to get carried away. You wander, you worry, you fear. You fear what people will think, what they’ll assume, what they’ll say. You fear what they’ll do. Human instinct? Sure, we’re survivors. Sometimes you have to leap and have to bear the fall.

I was falling.

I reached out to a friend at work and I could see the water spread out below me. There were tears, there were smiles, there were plans. If they hadn’t have outlawed hugging, we’d have done that too. We were ecstatic. I was petrified and liberated in one breath.

I came out at our work gathering. On Zoom. My choice.

I never doubted my colleagues’ support, but the fear still lingers. The response was unbelievable. Dozens of messages of support flooded in – and continue to do so – not just proud of what I was, but proud that I dared to jump. I’d landed. From seeing coming out as a reality of my own truth, to touching others with it, was a humbling experience. Being profoundly and unquestionably dazzled by displays of human openness and support, reinforces my belief that, fundamentally, we care. And always will.

It’s true that people are curious. Some are unsure. Why wouldn’t they be? For many of my closest, this is the first time in their lives, as well as mine, that they’ve experienced something like this. We are travelling together. But rather than coming from a place of morbid or unfaltering weariness, or fear, their curiosity comes from a place of mindfulness, concern. A place of care. A place of wanting to do the right thing. I’ve seen people grow and flourish throughout this process, from learning about pronouns, ideas, feelings – to realising that fundamentally, I’m still the same. C’est moi. I’m proud of every last one of you.

Now it’s time to get on the road again. It’s wide and it’s open. And it never ends.

But as usual, it’s my career that grounds me. The knowledge that my friends and colleagues are with me on this unbelievable and remarkable journey is like travelling the world with no borders.

I hope the world is ready now.

 

I’d like to use this opportunity to thank everyone at Whitespace who have welcomed me with such unfaltering kindness, and the wider Dentsu network, who have worked to make this such a empowering experience.

My biggest thanks to Jodie who has been on this journey with me from the start – you believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself. Your patience and generosity is something that should inspire us all.

There are too many others to thank individually. I hope you who know who you are, you inspire me every day.