"I continue to seek validation regarding my sexuality. I continue to seek validation regarding my body. Enter the Internet, a seemingly endless vortex of possibilities."

Ever since I was a young gay living in a semi-rural setting, I have sought others' approval (I'm now 34).

I continue to seek validation regarding my sexuality.

I continue to seek validation regarding my body.

Enter the Internet, a seemingly endless vortex of possibilities. Now, enter social media - and more specifically, Facebook - where the playing field felt leveled. This kid was suddenly in heaven.

I started using Facebook a number of years back. I fell in love with it almost instantly. Here was a space where I could express myself and have others who wanted to be connected with me offer their approval of what I had to offer.

Over the years, my relationship with Facebook and my network have grown stronger and stronger. I try to craft my digital persona in a way that makes people smile, laugh, stop and question their beliefs, all without offending (for the most part). People have enough rubbish to deal with in their own day-to-day lives; if I can offer some sort of positivity, even for a moment, then I feel that sense of approval has been achieved.

I love that I have crafted a feed that some of my friends tell me they love. People know when I am 'off my game' when there's an absence of social posts and check-ins. A friend once told me she feels like she knows me better now because of how I use Facebook.

I know I shouldn't seek approval outside of myself, but I do. It's like a dirty habit. An addiction.

I chose to participate in this project because after so many years, I'm starting to accept my body. We spend so much of our lives being taught to feel shameful of our bodies, to cover them up. Here is an opportunity to break free from that cycle of shame, and possibly achieve approval from outside, but more importantly from myself.

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