Monday, March 6, 2017

Learn to be Lonely

We've all heard that. "It's not easy being green." We all intuitively know what that means, and we have all experienced it in some form or another. Oh, you collect vintage cookie jars? Better keep that to yourself. You enjoy listening to Nickleback? You'll lose all of your friends and probably your job. There's always one or two little details about ourselves that, if they made it into the light of day, would influence how people view us. But why are we ashamed of our little nuances?

Recently, I read an article recently about how the effects of being in the closet don't end when you come out. The author rather eloquently stated that being in the closet is like being lightly punched in the arm over and over again. At first, it's irritating, then infuriating, then it's all you can think about. I can agree with this completely. This has led a great many of us participating in the Best Little Boy in the World Hypothesis. As children, we tie our self worth to those things which seem to lend value to us. For me, it was music and generally trying to excel at whatever I put my mind to. As an adult, it's excelling and amassing respect and starting a political career. I can unequivocally say that what I felt as a child carried over into and has played a large part in my adult life. For example, I'm an active participant on three teams for Weber State University. I'm a very active member and State-wide officer for my Fraternity. I'm constantly evaluating my performance and critiquing it. "Oh, you got a B+ on your paper. Why didn't you get an A?" "Oh, you didn't get offered every job that you've ever applied for? You're resume is weak and you are an antisocial weirdo. Do better." "Oh, you don't have a six pack and a good torso taper? You're a hideous buffalo." This leads to an interesting mix of feeling as though I need to be better, but then being so overburdened trying to be better that I end up failing.

But this has far more dire consequences.I feel the need to have the biggest biceps, the most defined six pack, stay up the latest, drink the most, all while maintaining straight A's in school and attending many other responsibilities. We must be the best in order to be validated. Which, obviously, is ludicrous. We idealize youth, beauty, and sex. We've lost the ability to look past someone's external features to see if they're a good person or, more importantly, if they'll make a good friend. From September to November, when I was single, I had a Grindr account. Now, I know what Grindr is there for. I know it's primary purpose. But it's where all the gays hang out anymore, so it's the easiest platform to meet people. I made it abundantly clear that I only wanted friendship. They only wanted sex. To be sure, I did meet a couple of really amazing people, and they've stuck around, however this article resonated with me because of that experience.

I had just lost a relationship, and it was impossible to make new friends because it seemed as though everyone was looking to be validated. That isolated me from my community, and it would seem that this experience isn't unique to me. We all camouflaged ourselves before we came out, we all came out, and we all still feel that light tapping on our shoulders. It doesn't magically stop when we come out. I guess that paints a bleak picture for the post closet years. We still feel the need to do better, to be stronger, to be smarter, to be... enough.

Well, I've got to jet. Be humble, don't stumble, and I'll see you next time.

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