He is. He’s not. They love him. They hate him. It’s too much. Pretending to be someone he isn’t is tormenting his psyche, imprisoning his spirit, and annihilating his self-esteem. He knows he’s different. He’s always known. Always shouldered the burdensome lie. But as most burdens do, this one has become too heavy to bear. His secret too difficult to keep. He’s a monster. Apparently.
A gay monster.
Morally corrupt, an evil volcano bound to erupt, disgustingly vile, and doomed to social exile. Or so says his family, his community, and his country. On the contrary, he’s no monster. Just an innocent teenager whose heart has been labeled “evil.” Who is he to argue with a country full of know-it-all “adults” who blindly submerge themselves in a delusional pool of perfection? Casting down judgment from the safety of their high horse. Adults know everything…and nothing. We’re pros at lying. Even better at denying. But as they say, practice makes perfect.
How can a sexual feeling he has no control over deem him unworthy of living? This feeling…this secret…this thing…he can’t control is controlling him. But he has no choice. This secret is one society has forced him to keep. So he hides. Hides behind his fear. Behind their fear. Behind the mask that grants him acceptance. And day after day, he looks at his world from behind the mask…meets his mother’s loving gaze…his father’s expectant eyes brimming with hope. Their eyes…pre-shame. How would their eyes change? If he removed the mask? How would they look at him…WOULD they look at him…if they knew? Would they hate him? Stop loving him? Be ashamed of him? Throw him away? What would happen if he dared be…
Supposedly, they know him better than anyone. Love him more than anyone. Is that love as unconditional as they claim? He wonders. Nevertheless, his dad’s occasional gay slur, his mom’s complete and utter denial of homosexuality, and his peers’ relentless jeering of any soul who dares to be different…all keep his secret tightly sealed behind his otherwise sexually perverse lips. He fears his coming out will incur a social debt he, and his family, may never pay. A debt charged by hate. Never courageous, ever contagious, that hate spreads…and embeds. Embeds deep into his heart and his subconscious. He hates himself. Because he knows what they don’t. Knows that the hate they will unleash is kept at bay only by his silence. His denial. But he’s finding that his silence…his denial…is creating a very private, very hostile world of hate. A hate all his own. So, he has a choice to make…his silence, his fear, and their ignorance…OR his courage, his freedom, and possibly, their enlightenment. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll outgrow their H8.
“Different” is defined as “not identical, not ordinary, unusual.” Don’t we strive to be unique? We do. But we don’t. We want to stand out in a crowd…yet, we want to blend in with our peers? Each of us is different, yet the same. Different in terms of sexual orientation, politics, religion, race, culture, opinion. The same in terms of humanity, tears, pain, fears.
A hater dwells inside each of us. We hate because we fear. That which we don’t understand, we fear; therefore, we hate. It’s self defense. The human brain has evolved to do whatever it takes to ensure survival. Only the strong survive, right? Innately, we know…to survive, we must be dominant. So, we fake it. We self promote…puff out our chest, beat it a few times, bare our teeth, scratch our ass, and assert our dominance. We convince ourselves that we’re better than the others…Our skin color is better. Our chosen religion is the “only way.” Our sexual preference is better. Better is…better, no? We need to feel superior…lest we fall lower on the food chain of life. Risk our demise. When our “place” feels threatened, we become aggressive. Hate becomes our weapon of choice. We tell ourselves, “they’re not like me.” We banish “the others” from our inner circle…from “us.” That cues our brains to begin devaluing “the others” and justifies bullying, hate crimes, genocide, terrorist attacks, and war. We stop at nothing to assert our dominance. To be right. To feed our need to be right, we surround ourselves with like people. People who share the same values, opinions, prejudices, hates…as we do. Because hearing the echo of our own thoughts empowers us…Ahhh, sweet validation. Validation…and, uh, numbers. In any war, sheer numbers leads to victory. United we stand, divided we fall?
We hate out of ignorance…out of self promotion…out of fear.
But what exactly ARE we afraid of?
Religion scares us ~ We convince ourselves that our religion, or lack of, is the only one. Being wrong on this playing field carries heavy penalties. The gnashing of teeth, burning in hell, fire and brimstone kind. We’re right. We have to be – if we want to survive death. 😉 So, we condemn other religions as a sort of self-soother. We’re entangled in a desperate attempt to survive not only this life, but any possible after-life. Self preservation at its finest.
Race scares us ~ Conquering survival of the fittest means convincing ourselves we’re superior. Telling ourselves this skin color is better than that. As long as we feel superior, we’re good. We don’t feel threatened. But as soon as our superiority is threatened, hate jumps to our defense…snarling through it’s terrified teeth.
Sexuality scares us ~ Homophobia is no different than any other fear…it’s a protection of one’s ego. Like bullies in school, we pick on “different” because understanding it could lead to our social death. And condoning it could threaten our own sexuality…or at least others’ perception of it. Like teenagers in school, we long to fit in. We long to fit in because it’s a sure road to survival.
Survival means war. Or so it would seem. Not only do we wage war against “different” locally…but being the ambitious go-getters that we are, we take on other countries. We murder over power, religion, greed…all in an attempt to be dominant. To survive. But maybe true survival lies in education, not termination.
After all, ignorance is the root of all fear. And fear is the root of all hate.
So educate! Rip fear out by the root! Celebrate humanity…all its differences, all its imperfections, all its love.
Think with heart – not with hate.
“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.” ~ Marie Curie