After a difficult time through the COVID-19 pandemic, Raya Mynot took some time to discover herself. With a changed name, and a partner that supports her fully with PH, she’s now happier than ever – and proud to share her experiences.

I’m writing this following Pride month, which is a month dedicated around the world to celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) community.  

So, I want to start off this article by saying HAPPY PRIDE, even if you don’t celebrate it.  

Pride has always had such a special place in my heart. The Pride community is just so inclusive, accepting and proud. I just love that. I attended the Brighton Pride festival this year and it really was amazing (it always is!).

Having PH makes us different to others and growing up that was really hard to get used to.  Not being able to always join in at school, having to skip activities, or outings with friends because they were just too much for me, was really hard sometimes. I definitely felt out of place at times.

My mum used to tell me to always be myself, and if people didn’t like or accept that then it was their problem – not mine.

One day something really did just click in my mind, and I truly stopped caring what people thought about me and my PH.

Self-discovery can really be challenging in itself, let alone having to do it alongside a physical condition.

But my family have always been so open and honest, so I have grown up knowing I can always talk to my mum about absolutely anything. Having such a supportive family definitely helped massively. I really don’t know what I’d do without them all.  

My name has changed from Kaylee to Raya. During covid and lockdown I really went into a pretty dark place and had a lot of problems with my mental health.

After seeking support (which is always okay to do, if you ever need it!) I had talked through a lot that was on my mind and it really did help. I found myself having better days, finding myself again, finding my own style, and making new friends through some new hobbies I’d picked up. It was really refreshing.

I think as person I’d been though a lot in life and after covid I just needed a fresh start. I also started to feel like my name didn’t fit my persona. So, I just decided to shorten my middle name of Soraya and become Raya (she/they).

It definitely took my family a little bit of time to get used to it all, but they really have been amazing. My mum is enjoying looking thorough names again as I’ve given her the task of picking my middle name before I legally change it to Raya.

It’s also felt so amazing to introduce myself as Raya to new people and new friends. This really was a turning point for me, and I started to love who I was becoming again.

Getting yourself out there with a physical condition can be challenging. At school most people were in relationships or talking about who they had a crush on etc, and that was just not for me.

I wasn’t into the whole relationship thing, and I was certain I wanted to spend life alone being independent. But it definitely just takes that one right person.

With having new hobbies meant a whole new group of friends, and that’s when I met Jade (she/her).

She really did come along when I least expected it, but it turns out it was also when I needed her most. She’s been amazing when it came to understanding my PH and knowing my boundaries etc.

Jade accepted me and my PH so willingly, it was just so amazing for me. Shes never made me feel different, never treated me any differently, and most importantly hasn’t wrapped me in bubble wrap like I’m going to break (if you’ve read my articles, you will know this is my biggest pet peeve!)

Jade came to my last hospital appointment with me at my specialist centre and it was just so nice to have her there as support. I also think it was beneficial to her too, as she was able to hear more about my PH.

I love that Jade is also comfortable asking me questions about PH. I’ve let her read some of my past Emphasis articles too which she really enjoyed, so I know she will love reading this. Jade, I love and appreciate you so, so much!

I guess that brings us to the end of the article. I really have enjoyed writing this one so much.

Remember to always be yourself, and don’t worry about others think. Your happiness is most important and always comes first! Be proud of who you are.