by José Paul Molina, Youth Community Member

Back in August, I was listening to a Haux song, “Salt,” and I misheard the lyric: “you can’t be lost if you can’t be found,” to “you can’t be loved if you can’t be found.” And suddenly, I was mind-blasted about this utter truth. I started thinking and meandering about the love I have received in relation to the things I wanted to be found and discerned about me and concluded that the condition of being “found” requires volition and honesty.

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I always tried to hide things that I love in fear of what the heteronormative society might do in response. And by doing so, I unconsciously hid my being from myself and others. At a young age, I did not get to freely explore the space my identity enthused for as much as I should have. Now, when people do find me, I’m not exactly myself. When we meet and depart, I’m elsewhere. Hidden deeper inside. And alas, they never truly “find” me because I never gave them the chance to.

You are what you love, but when you soon forget the loved things you hide, you find yourself trying to remember those very things that impassioned you since you were little.

Moment by moment, I’m finding and patching myself again from the strictures of society. I hope you let more people find you. But if you want to be found, be found as your true self. Otherwise, you will never be truly known. Make yourself present at your family table, take a friend’s invitation to dine out, or attend an organizational event. Amidst the awkwardness and anxiety, make a presence. You deserve to be found− and experienced− and found once again by the same people, and by new. By letting yourself be found, you find others who share common passions.

My voice, these words, and this message have not only found you. They have also embraced you without rejection. Now, find yours to give and be embraced by others.