Search for Self-Liberation

Student discusses passions that help develop his personality

For sophomore Benjamin Quinn, coming out to his parents was a step toward self-liberation. While his family was very accepting, he still faces struggles today living in a predominately conservative state. However, his hobbies and dreams help him flourish.

Not only does Quinn use his swimming abilities to release inner anxieties and stress, but the swim team is also his ticket to college. He dreams of getting out of his small town and moving into the more urban—Seattle. Here, Quinn will follow his aspirations of being involved with the fashion world.

Fashion is Quinn’s mode of self-expression. Although he does not dress like the other boys at his school in Richmond, the difference of personal styles does not bother him, as this is one way he
transforms into the person he really is on the inside rather than who others want him to be. “In my mind, people first see you and they see what you’re wearing, and when they look at me I want my clothes to show you a part of who I am,” Quinn said. “When I first began dressing how I wanted it wasn’t like everyone else and I was scared. I thought it would be easier to be like everyone else. Every time I start to feel strange, I remind myself that my happiness is more important than what other people think.”

Expression through fashion was just one stop on the journey to deliverance. In order for him to feel more confident, he knew he must begin his weight loss journey. He did not feel comfortable in his skin and wanted to change himself for the better.

“I wanted to lose the weight because as I was growing up, I began to realize that it was holding me back physically and emotionally from being my authentic self,” Quinn said.

The journey to self-liberation is an important one. Many adults still have not accepted or grown into their bona fide personality. This process was not an easy one for Quinn, but he would not be the person he is today if he was without swimming, acceptance from his parents, and his interest in fashion.

“My family has shown me from a young age that people will judge you based more on what you can do rather than your personal life and to never hold back on who you really are,” Quinn said.