In celebration of LGBT Pride Month, we're sharing open letters from members of the community to their younger selves as a way to share the struggles and triumphs of living their colourful lives. This week, we have Romney "Ri" Ranjo, who had to conceal his true identity as a young boy but is now proud to let his true colours shine. Read about his long, sometimes painful, but ultimately fulfilling journey towards self-acceptance and the pieces of advice he would have given his younger self below.
I get it. I get how confused and afraid you are. I understand how it does seem like everything right now is blurry and scary, but I also know that something truly amazing awaits. Trust me, in the middle of the tunnel there's a clear mirror where you can see the true vision of who you are: a contented gay man. That’s right, 18 years from now you’ll finally be fully proud of who you partially are (there's more to you than being gay). You’re gay and that’s okay!
Adoscelent life as a closeted gay man won't be easy for you. But time is on your side and as the days pass by, you would come to realise how great it is to be just who you are and that the only reason why others are trying to mould you into something you're not is that they’re also afraid. Forget the haters. Haters never want you to be happy — but why give them the satisfaction?
Right now, I feel the luckiest 'cause the most important people in my life, including myself and my family, have accepted me. And I know not a lot of gay men my age have that.
Ri with his family
I'm happy because finally, I can be me. I can shout to the world how freaking gay I am and be proud of who I love. Yes, believe it or not, there will come a time when you can go out and hold your boyfriend’s hand and it would feel just... right. No shame, just love.
Ri with his boyfriend
Young Ri, there is nothing wrong with being who you are. You're given only a limited time on Earth, so give that to the real you not the person you're impersonating. You’re scared and nervous, but embrace it 'cause that’s normal and reveal your true self anyway. It's true that nothing worth having comes easy. If I could turn back time, I probably wouldn’t change anything. You and I went through a lot of abuse and pain, but I’d definitely tell you that the journey is worth it, even if it's just to find peace and happiness in being who you truly are.
Ri Ranjo is now a full-time social media specialist, freelance nudist, and lifestyle content creator. He bravely expresses himself and documents his adventures on his social profiles. Know more about Ri and his adventures on his Instagram.