To me, there seems to be 2 elements of who we are. The first is who we feel we are on the inside. When no one else is around, how are we filling our time and what are we thinking about? Whose words do we remember and cling to and what ideals do we keep sacred? The second, is who we project outward to the world. What parts of our complex, inner selves do we want others to engage with and recognize? Which of our human behaviors do we make most prominent and which do we hold back inside ourselves, not allowing for that release that a public forum or the company of another human being could squander? When, if ever, is appropriate to just let it all hang out, and whose trust or admiration might we lose if we do?
When are the lines drawn between winking at someone and reaching for their hand, and what makes that line so clearly evident and meaningful that we don’t cross it? If I were to make the simplest guess, I would assume cultural norms and stigmas attached to breaking those norms. In Spain, people greet one another with a kiss on each cheek. If we did that here, it might be accepted by some, sneered at by others.
This is not to say that brazen invasions of personal space without consent are ever acceptable, because they never will be. In all things we do we should care about the people who are on the other end of our actions. Always.
Now, shifting gears a bit, if I were to translate this idea over to something as innate (and as a gay man, it is my opinion that my sexuality is something I innately possess) as human sexuality-the sharing and openness about who we are drawn to on a spectrum of male-female-and its acceptance by the masses. What we would find? Probably something similar still today to what we find in places like Spain and Europe (juxtaposed with our attitudes here in the States): If 2 men were to walk hand-in-hand down the walk in Spain, I can make a semi-educated assumption that it would be seen as normal in a lot of places. If I were to walk hand-in-hand with a fellow I found attractive that I met in, say Texas, and we were walking by, say, a church in the Bible Belt, I’m not so sure what response I would receive from the people around me. Or how about Kansas, where not too long ago in our nation’s history Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten to his death for responding to the advances of a scared individual who took a great deal of time out of his own life to plan the death of someone else.
What is wrong with this picture? To me, it’s the fact that people have such a hard time with tolerance in some instances that it leads them to committing acts of violence against another person, or rejecting someone for who they feel they are and don’t feel compelled to change BECAUSE WHO THEY ARE MAKES THEM HAPPY and they’ve likely battled their entire lives for understanding and appreciating every piece of who they are inside (which, I might add, the world can never be privy to the whole picture, as open as a person may show themselves to be).
This is just an awareness post. If you get mad at someone or feel you’ve been wronged, ask yourself if it’s worth neglecting them for an extended period of time. Ask yourself if it’s worth feeling like you hate them. Ask yourself if it’s worth casting the first stone and calling them out on their faults. Ask yourselves these questions, because we’re all human with faults and issues, and if you think you’ve seen the whole picture, you should spend your energy figuring out the reasons why you haven’t, because human nature, and the psyche itself is a complex web. If it weren’t we wouldn’t have such a booming market in those fields (especially in the US, where mental health issues abound).
So if you’re angry, just remember to think about why.