I found this article which I must share. Please be warned that it is of a rather depressing nature ( I had my share of tears ), but it is an important read.
& if you are not the reading type, maybe watch this short youtube video
Before Peace Corps, I had never met so many beautiful ambassadors from the state of Minnesota. So when I read this article I had trouble finding a connection with the people I know and the description of the state they call home in said article, but it serves as a reminder that we all come from places of beautiful people, and unfortunately some of this beauty is so rare and different, even exotic! that some folks just don’t know what to do with us.
Although I have tried to not come across as an activist for fear of having my tag or label grow in size, I think it is about time that people started speaking up. It is my time to speak up that is.
Now I’m not trying to make people feel sorry for me by sharing what I’m about to share, but if anybody out there is going through anything similar, slightly similar, or heck even different, just know that we all go through crap or even hell sometimes.
Where to start..
I’ll start off by mentioning that I’ve been the victim of bullying. No surprise there.
School was not the problem though, especially since I learned to entertain people by way of class clown. Perhaps it was this self-degrading character which granted me immunity from attacks or suspicion. If anything was ever brought up, I quickly dodged it by acting up or exaggeratingly portraying the insult thrown at me. “Fag!” So I gave them a flamboyant but entertaining character which resulted in a cease fire from the offender and a shift of control. This hardly ever happened though (the negative insults part.) Maybe once or twice.
No, the bullying came from my own family, both immediate and extended. I don’t want to go too deep into it because I don’t want to make people feel like the bad guys, but I do want to say that just because family is supposed to promote a safe place and a healthy environment, it is not always so. Living with a host family in Cambodia for 20 months I have come to see a varying degree of family impact on the individual, with expectations such as who we should be and how we should act and even who we should love. Some people are okay with that, but if you are like me, NOT OKAY. It has given me the opportunity to analyze my situation with my family back in the states.
I know that my family and even some of my friends have a hard time understanding me. Having knowledge of my ‘unconventional’ attractions are partly to blame for this I guess, but my personality definitely plays a bigger role. But of course, every misunderstood part of us is lumped into the one thing that people love to hate, and we wear that label. The gay guy. For some reason this overshadows and tries to oversimplify the rest of the complex beings we are.
I’ve done something about it though! We can always do something about it. The solution to my particular situation has been to get away from the unhealthy environment which I felt was suffocating me, which meant leaving my family behind and starting fresh. Trust me, it is not an easy thing to do nor am I saying that is what everyone should do. I love my family and I always will, but until I feel that it is a place that will be good for me, I will not go back.
In the meantime I journey on my quest to make friends and in these friends form a new family away from the place I call home. It is a journey in which I slowly strip myself of the old skin and grow a new one. It has been beautiful and exciting.
So far, I’ve learned that this is a wonderful world only when we pursue our own happiness, and for me it is what has made life worth living.
So if anyone out there runs into this blog, like my friends, or absolutely ANYBODY and you are having suicidal thoughts, I offer myself as a listener and confidant. We may or may not know each other but I value you. I’m not a therapist nor am I a psychiatrist, but I am a person who will listen.
firstname.lastname@example.org is the best way to reach me.
& to the rest of us, let’s be aware of how we treat others, (our children, elders, students, teachers, peers, counterparts, employees, bosses, family) especially those we see as different. :)