This Pride Month, let’s remind ourselves that life isn’t about living to fulfill other’s expectations and demands, it’s about our own. It’s about our own survival; It’s about our hopes and dreams.
“I’m not sure how this works, I’m not sure how any of this works, but I’ll try my best to live to the standards set by everyone else, in a society that can be inherently cruel and unaccepting, I’ll live and hide and conceal myself because to live true, could be a death sentence.”
— An accurate mantra for the closeted
Last Year, I attended SF Pride, it was my first time, as myself, being myself, celebrating who I had hidden for so long: The woman I suppressed, the woman I hid inside me, the woman I kept in the closet.
When I locked her in the closet, with her, went all the kindness, joy, empathy. The only things remained were the anger, the sorrow, the angst.
When I did let her out sometimes, I was quickly scolded, told to conform, to hide, to conceal. And so I did, I hid, so that I wouldn’t deal with the disapproval, the disappointment, the utter bullshit that people lob at us.
There’s no end to the lengths people will go to to express their disapproval or discomfort when confronted with something they fear or can’t comprehend. They fear us, because, they fear truth. They fear the thing they want most, to be able to be truly free, truly honest with themselves.
This isn’t some sort of “US v Them” argument, we’re all Human after all. I’m simply pointing out that, in being truthful, we make people nervous, because we confront that person’s bias, head on, like a freight-train.
In School, I was always bullied for being too femme, being an introvert, and being awkward. I was expected to maintain a façade, that of strength, of masculinity, of normalcy. That is a lot of pressure to put on a child, who is barely discovering how math works.
I was not known for my intellectual prowess, my athletic ability (because I had none) or my economic status, but rather the fat queer kid with the funny accent. Although I would only later find this out via the magic of Facebook and reconnecting with childhood friends.
As an outcast, I developed a rather thick shell, much like a turtle, or a jawbreaker. I had few friends, and quite a few bullies, the so-called alpha male types (and alpha females). I became isolated, alone and afraid. Trauma took over and guided me for decades. It left me with the inability to feel, and granted me the superpower of the closet. (That super-power being like superman, who was unrecognizable with glasses, I was unrecognizable while inside)
I hid so much from friends, to the point where I consider myself as having a life only half-lived. So now, I have to make up for lost time. I have to be myself, more than ever, be visible and be out and be proud.