Risking it All

Lonesome Tree On A Hill II

Life lessons come along everyday for me. One of the most recent lessons revealed itself to me last night while I was journaling and watching TV. On the show I was watching, a woman said something that really stuck with me. She said that although you can cherish and appreciate the lessons and values your parents have given you, you are not your parents, you are you, something special. Now as cliche and overdone as that lesson may be, it for some reason stuck with me. I think it’s maybe because I have had somewhat of a struggle with my own parents. For all the love they give me, they also seem to hold me back because of the values they believe in. They want me in some ways to be like them and not be who I am. The truth is, I’m very different from my parents. I care much more about fashion and trends then they do. I’m not saying that I am simply superficial though, I’m not.  I do care about so many other important things in life, but fashion is a part of me. And to me fashion is not just something stupid and superficial.

Fashion is about expression and being a true example of me. It’s about being able to show off the person I want to be, and showing that I am unique and one of a kind. Yes I wear makeup and and feminine clothes, but it’s because that’s me, not anybody else. I am not who my parents are and I never will be. It’s not because I’m trying to rebel against them, but I am my own person which is very different from them.

And although my parents won’t ever realize this, its not like this has been easy for me either. The looks I get some times make me want to just evaporate into thin air. But I have made myself immune to what other people think of me, because I have realized that nothing is more important to me than retaining who I am and never backing down. Although most people don’t realize it, I am risking it all to be me. I risk being beat up in the streets every day. I risk being yelled at, hated against, and discriminated against for who I am. I risk not being able to work where I want to or live how I want to just because of who I am and what I look like. All I am saying is that it isn’t just my parents or friends or family who has to deal with me being gay, wearing what I want, and being who I am. I risk everything every day, because I will not be silenced. I will not look down or back away ever. I am so much stronger and more confident than almost anybody in this world. And I risk it all to be me, the gay fashionista, designer, and artist. Fashion is all about confidence and expression, and that is who I am and will always be. I will never be someone who I’m not for anybody in this world. Friends, family, boyfriends, nobody can push me to be someone I’m not. I risk it all because I believe in me and every single person in this world who is discriminated against for who they are. Risk it all, and never back down!

Love Ethan Brown Jones

Rain, Sky, Freedom

Freedom

As I write today, I look out the window at the dark and cloudy sky. The rain gently dribbles down from the clouds, soaking the green grass and making rings on Eve Ponds. I read today about all the people celebrating what a great country we live in. I want to celebrate, but I also am trying  to comprehend what country they’re living in. It’s clearly not mine.

As I write today, I think about all the things that I take for granted, all the freedoms that I forget about, but all the injustices there still are. On the one hand, I feel like I live in the greatest country on Earth. It is truly the land of opportunity, the land of dreamers. But on the other hand, I feel that there is still so much hate in this world and even in this country. We are free, yet unfree. We can say what we want, and live where we want, but yet we are stifled in who we are, and who we can love. We still have a long way to go in terms of equality, civil rights, and in simply loving each other more. When I look around I see so much ignorant hate infesting the beautiful places in this world, I almost cry. But I have not lost hope, there are still people in this world who are saving the virtues of humanity. There are still people who care about others, who love each other, who accept diversity, and who simply light up this world with their spirit.

I still believe in freedom, because as I look out on this gray-blue sky feeling the energy in the air, I know that I have more freedoms than I know. I am free to be me, the gay fashionista, complete with makeup, scarves, and v-necks. Yet in some places I still feel uncomfortable, like an outsider in a town that hasn’t seen someone like me in a long time. I shouldn’t have to feel like this. I shouldn’t have to feel like I have to hide who I am because of some nobody who can’t handle the truth. But that is the reality of where we live; it’s the consequence of freedom. Freedom allows hate. It shouldn’t, but it does. That’s the sacrifice we make though. All we can do is try to make this world more beautiful, more loving, and more accepting.

As the fireworks burst into colors above my head, I realize that I am very thankful for where I live. I am thankful for the spirit we call the American Dream. I am thankful for having what I do. And I realize that I love the fact that as a gay man, I am able to express myself without fear of persecution. I can look at things that way, but I will still work my entire life so that each an every one of us can have equal rights. I want every single person to be able to love who they want and be who they are.

As I designer, I live for the beauty of the sky above, for the rain coming down, for the dream we all share, and for the freedom to express. As a designer and an artist, I live for the freedom and liberty that all deserve. I represent freedom, and I will always be free. Freedom is what makes this land so great.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Life Grows, Grow With It!

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As with all things, I feel that I am constantly changing, growing, and living. Over the past few years, I have grown overall as a person. I’ve grown smarter, nicer, more mature, and less naive. But my life has grown as well. I’ve met more people than I ever would have thought possible. Many things have happened to me that have made my life grow in size and intensity. I have more people to care about, more things to do, more responsibilities to keep, and more complicated relationships than ever before.  My life has grown so much more taxing and confusing, yet subtly simple and beautiful. I have grown as well, at first slowly and painfully, but now expertly.

So many things in my life have become clearer, more defined. I have realized who I am and become the best version of myself. I see things now as they really are, no silver lining, no lies. My life isn’t perfect, I’ll be the first to admit that. But through all the truth I’ve grown to see the beauty. I see beauty in the graceful and quiet sunset, in the green leaves of the trees around me, in the faces of the people walking by, in the neatly arranged clothes in my closet, and in the city lights shining in the night below me. I’ve grown to realize the people that I love, and the ones that I should simply walk away from. I’ve grown to see both the ugly and beautiful truths that this world has to offer. I’ve grown to be able to make my life the way I want it to be. My naivety is gone now, the reality has set in, and I like it. I have grown to observe everything as it truly is, no misconceptions, nothing but sweet reality.

My life has grown so much, that I almost can’t keep up. I am now a blogger. I am a gay fashionista teen. I am a makeup artist. I am a stylist. I am a jazz pianist. I am a fashion designer. I am a student library assistant. I am a landscape architect. I am an artist. I am everything that I want to be at once, and I have never been happier.

And yet I’ve grown to realize that something will always be missing from my life. I’ve grown to realize I am not easy to love. I have such a large personality and I am so sure of who I am and what I believe in, that it’s hard to love me. I have grown to accept this just as all else. I accept my flaws, and I accept my talents.

Growing as a person and learning to love life is more about letting go of perfection than anything else. It’s about looking at what is, changing your life for the better, and seeing beauty in every single moment of every day. Growing is about making things better: living more, loving more, letting go more. I’ve grown as a person, not because I let things be, but because I’ve thought a lot. I’ve lost a lot. I’ve seen a lot. And I have made myself who I am today. Growing is about moving with life, the ups, the downs, the loves, and the losses. It’s about defining yourself and refining your life. I’ve grown more than I can say. And I will keep on growing, life does!

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Safety and Expression

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As I write to you now I am on my way to the aforementioned memorial of Thomas and Eve Brown, my grandparents. As I look out the window, I see nothing but open grass rolling ever onward around me. No love, no beauty, nothing but solitary loneliness. I slowly roll on through the close-minded world of Wyoming. This place feels so different from the world I live in, so uncomfortable and prejudiced. In the last few days, I have already grown more and more uncomfortable and stressed about this memorial as family gatherings rarely go well. For me, being a gay fashionista is a large piece of who I am. And as my family and a large part of Wyoming and Idaho are rather conservative and close-minded, this often makes for uncomfortable situations.

We stopped at a truck stop. Outside was an extremely masculine and dangerous looking biker, masked in black leather and anger. I looked away from him, a sudden fear crossing my mind. This world felt so foreign to me. It was so unforgiving and upsetting in every way. The people felt so opinionated. Their eyes bored into me. I stood there in my short-shorts and mustard green V-neck and vest, trying to stare directly ahead, wanting so badly to get out of there.

Many times before we left I had been advised to bring what my parents had referred to as “appropriate clothing.” But what does that really mean, “appropriate?” When I stepped out of the bathroom this morning, my father had said, “You did bring appropriate clothing, right?” I of course defended my outfit and my packing, feeling hurt. They had said “Tone it down for this trip.” I followed this rule to what I thought of as an “appropriate extent.” Although to my parents, anything but pants and a simple shirt seems to evoke the response of “Really?” I am not a person who “tones it down” easily. Over-the-top fabulous is more me.

Walking through this unknown world, I can feel the eyes boring into me, the stares following my every move. Everything about this place feels wrong. It’s so close to home and yet so unnatural and far away. I feel so scared and yet squelched being an obviously gay fashionista boy in this old western world. Wyoming- Forever West. That’s the slogan that haunts me so much. So much of this place feels like a creativity hell, too old world and prejudiced.

On the one hand, as a designer, I love this place. It feels so wide open and secluded, full of unseen beauty. But on the other hand, as a very liberal, very gay teen, I feel out of place and hated by the people here.

I understand on some logical level that by restricting my expression my parents are just trying to protect themselves and me. But on an emotional and mental level, I’m mad and rebellious against what I feel is a restriction on my expression and myself. As a designer, I am all about expression and being myself; and this world makes me feel so uncomfortable and lonely. I don’t want to squelch myself just because I am in a place of prejudiced bigots. I would rather be me and feel expressive than feel a sense of safety, comfort, and yet restriction.

When they had said “tone it down,” I felt like I did that on a big level already. I brought no makeup, no lip gloss, no scarves, and my nails are bare of nail polish. When I left today in gray shorts, a mustard green tee, a red belt, and simple gray vest, I felt toned down in a big way for me. There is an obvious reason that these trips make me somewhat nervous, not being out to the conservative side of my family and going through largely conservative states and places. But I didn’t feel like I stuck out as gay any more than usual, and probably less than normal if anything. I can’t turn me into something else just because I’m around my family. I am me in every sense of the word.  I am a very gay fashion designer, and I always will be.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Confidence and Expression: Rules to Live By

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As a designer and fashionista, I often have people come up to me and say “God, you always look so cute and you work so hard at it!” Well, here’s my answer:

I don’t look good for anyone but me. For me, fashion is about expressing who I am and who I want to be. It’s about loving me and embracing everything that I hold close to me: my sexuality, my fashion, my loves, my passions, and everything that I am. I also look good because if I want to be the best version of myself and find the love of my life, I should feel confident and sexy in what I am wearing and how I carry myself.

Fashion for me isn’t just about clothing; and neither is being a designer. Fashion and designing are about creating a whole look and an image for someone, whether its me or someone else. When styling myself, I wear clothes that are me, my personality, my way, totally me. I style my hair the way I want to for me, and do my makeup the way I want to. Everything about my fashion is an expression of who I am. When Designing for and styling someone else, I try to express how they want to be perceived and who they are.

Fashion is about confidence: loving your look, and never backing down. It’s about wearing everything the way you want to and owning it! Buy things that make you feel confident, sexy, and loved. To make it in most places in this world, you have to own everything about yourself. In the fashion industry, especially when one’s a designer, you have to be ready to feel confidence in yourself, your look, and your designs.

For me, confidence and expression are rules to live by. I live everyday by these rules and I hope that you can too. I am all about expression in my designs, clothes, makeup, hairstyles, and fashion. When I walk out of the house every morning I feel like me and no one else. I display the true image of me in every way. Confidence and expression define me. To make it in creative arts, Broadway, fashion, and as a celebrity, these are rules to live by. Never dilute who you are for anybody else, ever.

You are fabulous, stay that way. Exude confidence in everything you do, and express who you are. You only have one life to be you. Why spend it being someone else? Be your own stylist, your own fashionista, and your own designer. Design who you are and who you want to be, no one else can. Own it!

Love, Ethan Brown Jones