Briana Patterson, Ft. Knox/Radcliff
So here’s my story, the very short version:
I’m originally from Kentucky. I grew in an emotionally abusive household where I traumatized by my alcoholic father.
I moved to San Francisco when I was 18 to go to school for Graphic Design. I fell in love with SF and the culture. Over the years, my depression and childhood trauma began to surface and I began to battle with it on a daily basis.
I had abusive relationships of my own, began to self harm and attempted suicide multiple times.
My sexuality identity was the only thing about myself that I didnt hate. I got involved with the Kink community in SF and I realized that I wanted to start my own loose leaf tea business and become a Massage therapist so I could lead erotic massage workshops. I met my most recent ex at a kink event and it was love at first sight.
Fast forward a year. I had the most painful mental breakdown of my entire life when I quit my job to focus on my tea business. I couldn’t make enough money with my business and was no longer able to still life in San Francisco.
That was devastating. I moved in with my ex and was completely crippled by my depression. I began going to therapy and my life turned around.
I was able to work again and was feeling hopefull. My ex broke up with me because of the depression after almost four years together. Since I was getting better, he told me that I could handle the breakup. This was October 2018.
So I moved back home. December 2018.
Since I moved here, I walk beside my depression and anxiety. I’m not ashamed of them. They are part of my story and they do not define me.
What does the word queer mean to you? How do you identify?
The word Queer means strength, overcoming adversity and not answering to anyone about who you should be or who you should love. I identify as Queer because I love people and their stories regardless of gender or how they choose identify.
Why? Or why don’t you identify as anything at all?
I used to get so caught up in labeling myself because I thought I needed one to be able to communicate to people who I am and who I am attracted to. It used to cause me so much stress and I found my self always having to answer questions like “Why?” or “Since when?” or “Are you sure?”
Where are you originally from and explain how was it growing up/living in Kentucky?
I’m originally from Kentucky. I was born in Ft. Knox, moved around a little bit when I was younger and spent most of my childhood in Radcliff. I lived in an abusive household, so honestly I hated Kentucky. I associated everything about Kentucky with my father.
What would you say to any person struggling to come into their own identity?
Listen to your inner voice and separate yourself from expectations.
How does your own identity run how you carry yourself? Or does it?
I used to think I should always be feminine. I would always wear makeup, wigs and dresses. I thought I needed attention and acceptance from guys. When I came into my identity, I rock my natural short hair, wear makeup occasionally and i’m not afraid to dress boyish if I want to. I don’t watch what I say around people anymore regarding my lifestyle. There’s a huge weight lifted without me needing a label of lesbian, bi or straight.
Do you feel excluded from the “mainstream” queer community? Why or why not?
Yes, because i’ve had boyfriends, people dont see me as Queer. Maybe I don’t give off a “gay” enough vibe?
Where do you feel “at your best” (safe, happy, fabulous, comfortable, etc)
Who influenced the life you live now?
Not so much as a “who,” but San Francisco was life changing. What I saw there and who I became there influences everything I do now. Depression and PTSD have also been an influence to guide me down paths that have made me stronger.