“Surround yourself with faucets, not drains. Join a community who fill you up, not sap you dry.” This was something my mom said to me many years ago and it always stuck with me. Community has, and always will be, extremely important to me. I’ve always relied heavily on my community (my peers, my family, and my friends) as a support system for the darker moments in my life.
When I first moved to New York, it was a struggle. A small-town guy moving to the Big City to pursue his dreams… you’ve heard this kind of story a million times. But, truthfully, the first year was horrible. Quite possibly my worst year ever. I had no friends. I had no money. And to top it off, I was losing sight of who I was in a city that was ready to swallow me whole.
Eight years ago, my life was changed in the most remarkable way. I met a group of men who looked past my many faults, who educated me, who didn’t make me feel ashamed to cry, and who showed me what it was to be a better man. For the only boy in a sea of sisters, these guys are the closest thing I’ll ever have to brothers. We truly are a dynamic brotherhood that can’t be broken and we stand with each other no matter what.
If you didn’t know, June is Pride Month across the globe – a celebration of diversity, acceptance, and beauty in the LGBTQ+ community. This month, I’m thrilled to join The Art of Shaving in celebrating the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. The Art of Shaving is a brand built on the pillars of brotherhood and pride. They have been a champion of fellowship among men of all sexual orientations and offer customers a way to put their best foot forward.
The Art of Shaving has been a staple of my daily routine for years. What I love about TAoS is that they are one of the few grooming brands that step beyond the counter and truly help their customers identify who they are (or who they want to become). They help men take pride in their appearance and build the kind of confidence that sparkles long after they leave a TAoS shop.
So this month, with the help of The Art of Shaving, I applaud the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. There are those who try silence our voices and shame our love – but in this brotherhood, our solidarity speaks volumes and no amount of violence, homophobia, or political bigotry can strip us of this community.
I love all of you with every ounce of my being. I will always be here for you – don’t ever hesitate to reach out to me. I’m so proud and honored to be a part of this community – I couldn’t think of a more fabulous way to live my life!
Scout Sixteen is a lifestyle blog from Justin Livingston. Justin grew up in Mississippi but relocated to New York City in 2008. On Scout Sixteen, Justin shares his passion in fashion, travel, food and drink, and mental wellness.