Warning: This post is about homosexuality – if this offends you, I suggest you stop reading now 🙂
I would also appreciate it that if you find anything offensive, or wish to share any negative thoughts, that you don’t p0st your feelings on the matter in the comments, but that you keep those thoughts to yourself. While you’re also entitled to your opinions, inflammatory comments will be immediately deleted.
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Tonight on Facebook I followed a link published by a gay colleague to a YouTube video by Pixar (“It Gets Better”). In this video clip numerous gay people, both male and female, told how they struggled in their youth with bullying etc, and reinforcing that things will get better, for young people struggling with this issue today to look forward to a brighter future as “it will get better” over time.
I have been struggling with my own personal demons this year, which came to a head a couple of months ago, and perhaps it’s just the frame of mind I’m in tonight, but something resonated with me tonight with this YouTube video. No, I’m not saying that I’m gay (not that that would be a bad thing) … but I have numerous gay friends, and in fact most of my friends from high school have turned out to be gay (both male and female) – in fact, I think my best friend and I have ended up being the only straight ones in the entire group! But I did have one story growing up that has always stuck with me …
I met Roseanne at work when I was in my early-mid 20’s, and we used to go out nightclubbing etc on a semi-regular basis, and checked out guys like most other girls. ‘Rox’ was my closest friend at work, and when we’d had a particularly tough day at work we’d head off to the ‘local family restaurant/pub’ up the road and share a bit plate of chips/french fries and have a game of pool. One particular day she said to me very earnestly that she had something to say to me, and that she hoped I’d take it OK … my immediate reaction was to say the most outrageous thing that came to my mind … “oh don’t tell me, you’re a raving lesbian!”. When her jaw hit the ground, I took one look at her face then my jaw joined hers … when she said “well, that was easy”, we both cracked up and howled! To be honest my initial reaction was “wow, how do I feel about this?” – in a split second my mind had already worked out that she was the same person she was 10 seconds ago, so why should her sexuality make any difference?
She only ever confided in myself and her best friend – they had been best friends since the beginning of time. After that announcement that particular friend (I use that term loosely) to this day has never spoken to her again – her religious beliefs were paramount to their friendship, all 15-20 years of it. Apologies to anyone who fosters these same beliefs, I don’t mean to offend, but that’s an alien thought for me, as it’s not the way I’ve been brought up. I’ve always been brought up to accept people for who they are – that’s not to say I’m perfect in that regard in any shape or form, but I’ve certainly tried to foster those feelings as I’ve grown up into the mature old biddy that I am today.
I’ve had a few discussions with people when they have made statements that homosexuality is something an individual chooses. I have a very simplistic view of this – why on earth would someone choose to invite ridicule, bullying and non-acceptance in society if they had a choice? I know gay people who have struggled with acceptance, and put up with listening to bigoted comments from some people when I was living in Melbourne in particular – these feelings are just so alien to how I’ve been brought up, I struggle to understand this stance. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I accept that not everyone can have the same viewpoint, but it still saddens me to see people ridiculed and pigeonholed for one aspect of their lives and a very small part of who they are as people.
Anyway, that video clip brought me to tears tonight – when I think of all the people out there growing up without a support system as they struggle to come to grips with their sexuality, or being ‘outside the norm’ and not in society’s perfect mould … I remember those days at work when Rox and I kept her secret for a number of years before she felt comfortable with making it more public (including telling her parents). Many conversations were had about her boyfriend Don (who was in fact her girlfriend Donna) – and my Mum, bless her soul, accepted Rox with open arms (as well as Donna at our dinner table occasionally). It makes me reflect tonight how different Rox’s struggle may have been without having at least one person as a support during that difficult time, especially as she had already been spurned by the closest friend she had growing up.
I sit here reflecting tonight, as I feel fed up in some aspects of my life (mainly during the working week) … that a simple gesture of acceptance and caring has the potential to have a huge impact on another life. This simple act that costs nothing at the time can make a huge difference to someone … and quite frankly, knowing that feels good. While we’ve never discussed it outright, I’d like to hope that my acceptance and support 20 years ago made a positive impact for Rox. I do know that she is an incredibly caring person who is very much at peace with herself (as is her family), and it’s a pleasure to still call her friend, even if we haven’t seen each other for about about 5 years.
And on that note of melancholy and reflection, I also want to give a massive vote of thanks to my Mum by raising me to have an open mind and not judging people for their race, colour, religion or anything else. I am reminded of the many kindnesses that my mother has shown to everyone who has touched her path during her lifetime – she is the most caring soul who never has a bad word to say about anyone (well, OK, barring her husband occasionally) … and now in her 70’s she’s started volunteering at the local rest home to give the elderly residents some company and assistance. Your caring and nurturing nature never ceases to amaze me, Mum! If I end my life as being only one-tenth as compassionate and caring as my Mum has been all my life, I will deem that as a successful and ethical life well lived. Mum, you are truly my role model, and I am blessed and proud to call you my Mum xx 😀
See, I told you it was a very reflective mood tonight! But in a good way, as I’m trying to retain a positive demeanour during the working week, and reminding me of life’s goodness helps to retain that balance! 😀
And I promise the next post I’ll be back to my stitching posts again! 😛