Thursday, October 14, 2010
It Gets Better Project
i love this project. all of the recent occurrences of bullying, gay bashing, and suicide have been so prevalent lately. not that the situation is necessarily getting worse, but with social media becoming so visible, so intrinsic in our lives, the things we may not have been informed about before are now splattered across every webpage. in a way, things are getting better with more gay acceptance in popular media, and an increasing number of states legalizing gay marriage (fuck you cali, i'm so ashamed of my home state). but when people are still in their teens and 20's, trying to figure out who they are in every aspect, being gay may still seem like being a social leper. with how unsure of myself i was in high school, i cant imagine having the added pressure of either coming out and probably being attacked, or hiding something that was intrinsic to my being. i'm not into labeling, because it seems so exclusionary, but if i had to i guess i would consider myself bisexual. because i am sexually attracted to women, have had same sex encounters, and i think that most women are truly bi. however, emotionally i prefer hetero relationships. i'm not really interested in having a female lover, because of the guilt i feel knowing that it is purely a physical attraction, and i dont feel i could ever devote more to the relationship. so at first i was a bit miffed that this project was for LGBT only, and wasn't open to ALL teens that are feeling rejected by their peers. but what is good about it, giving something a label, is it creates a feeling of unity, allows one to feel a part of something when shunned by others. personally i have always been a non-joiner. the whole refusing to join a club that would have me as a member kind of thing. discovering my sexuality, my character, who i intrinsically am has been a very organic process for me. of course there are the ups and downs, a paradigm shift here and there, but i have never had to bear the burden of any serious shame for who or what i am. maybe it's because of the variety of things i can identify with being a tattooed motorcycle riding human and environmental rights vegan atheist bisexual bibliophile. i've never felt that any of these things DEFINE who i am, but they build the cohesive structure that makes up who i am. and i am not saying that being queer makes someone one dimensional or anything. but i just never had to "come out" with anything, it was always just there in the background. but that is mostly because there was no reason for me to hide anything. being forced to lie about your sexuality is tearing down the foundation upon which a person builds themselves. without that stability, it is so hard to grow in other aspects of your life.
so i really hope that this project and others like it get as much media coverage as the shocking victimization stories that make for good ratings. because i have been allowed to be completely honest about who i am. those who know me are fully aware that i am so totally open, maybe sometimes to a fault. but that is one of my favorite things about being me. for me its like proof that you dont have to play the game or live by the rules that others have set out for you. you can build your own rules, or fuck the rules all together. finding the path that allows you to do so is not easy, there are so many small-minded people out there that will knowingly and purposefully act as hurdles to hinder your progression. but at one point in my life i realized i could just walk around them, or better yet, break them down. i dont have to say "how high" when someone says jump, i can just say "fuck you" and blast right through. when i finally became aware that i could be exactly myself in everything i did, it was such a relief. not that i havent worked for it, the jobs i've taken, the friends i have, all of my experiences have been made with the caveat that i will only be myself. if not, it's a deal-breaker, and i'll have no part in it. i have a lot of people to thank for that, and i try to let them know it often, because few people are so lucky.
so no matter your gender, sexuality, whatever, try to be honest as you can be, first with yourself and then with all those around you. because if you can do it, it may give others the strength to do so as well. figuring out who you really are is a rough road, whether it be parts of your humanity that are chosen, or with which you were born. and this is obviosuly something that is ever changing, (hopefully) people evolve through the course of their entire lives. but once you have determined the things that hold you up, the things that make you proud of being who you are, share them with the world. the people i am closest to do just that, and they do it without pretension or judgement. because of my lifestyle i have friends that i correspond with only a few times a year. but there is a reason i DO stay in touch, even though it may not seem to others not strong enough to hold onto the bonds of friendship. it's because all of those people made such an immediate impact on my world-view, they made me see how amazing a person could be by just being themselves. being uncluttered and non-farcical, people that you can take at their word in every aspect of your relationship. i have had great friends in the past that i have moved on from and are not likely to contact again. the times we spent together were great. but the ones that really last, that i will consider friends throughout the entirety of my life are still in my heart, because i know who they truly are. and they know me. my life has taken me all around the world, meeting people with different backgrounds, cultures, lifestyles, etc. but all of those things can make an even stronger bond when shared with integrity and trust. i have been more fortunate then most in many ways, but one i never take for granted is the knowledge that there are people out there who accept not only me, but any person with a high quality of character. so let yourselves show people. the things you are proud of, the things you are working on, and all of the amazing qualities that you have which will help build the communal structure that is our society. its more than "i disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." that is not enough, you have to defend the right to not only say it, but to BE it. for me, i think the belief in god is a fantasy that people use to give their lives meaning, because they are blind to the meaning all around them. but as long as they aren't infringing on others rights and beliefs, let them have it, and respectfully. people deal with this life the best way they possibly can, and we all know we have to live with ourselves for, well, our whole lives. so be what you are, love what you are, and say what you are, because the more people that do so, the more we can trust in society as a whole. we are disgusted with the politicians that speak out against gay rights yet are caught partaking in homosexual relations. but if that person had just been honest about who they were from the start, they could be a beacon of integrity and someone to be praised. i'm not saying it's easy, it will take a hell of a lot more work going against the grain. but the more people that do it, the easier it will become, until the word "acceptance" is rarely used, because no one would consider any other alternative. it will just be the m.o. so if you've got the guts to do it, shout out who you are, and take it even further by giving support around you to those who want to do the same but are afraid of the repercussions. the point of this project is "it gets better", but it is more than just our lives getting better as we age and are okay with being ourselves, and maybe others are okay with it too. it's about society getting better, humanity getting better, something that will outlast us and our own insecurities, and become yet another rung on the ladder towards "acceptance". it's a movement that i want to be a part of, and encourage others to do so as well. because for all of my faults, i love who i am, and every person on this planet deserves that feeling. those of us that have it have a responsibility to work towards making it happen for others, or the pride we feel in ourselves comes to naught. i mean, who wants to be proud of themselves in a world that demeans others? certainly not me, and i'm pretty sure most of you out there would say the same. so say it. do it. be it.