Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Empathy & Lies

I was just struck with a brief moment of pride in the constitution of who I am.  Not pride in the sense that I'm better than other people.  I don't know whether I have God, my mother, or genetics and the environment I was raised in to thank for a certain quality I'm happily possessed of.  I am an empathetic person.  I almost always approach problems from the perspective I believe others may have.  My moment of happiness about this characteristic just now was kind of odd, because I realized that that quality may be just what is going to see me through the present turmoil that is coming out to myself.  I thought, perhaps I've been given an empathetic soul so that I can give myself a break, and accept me.

I know that this is not really what empathy is about. I have often times had friends vent to me about what other people have done to them or about people that annoy them... and my first reaction and almost always part of my advice to these friends is to put things in that other persons' perspective.  Empathy is about OTHER people.  But let's face it... my personality is made up of multiple people.  One of these "people" is extremely judgmental of all the other Grahams.  I am virtually always my own harshest critic.  I can never really seem to cut myself some slack.  Maybe, just maybe, I've been given empathy to counteract that problem... I've just never known to use it.  My simple point is that this characteristic of mine that is almost annoying to other people, could be used for my very own good, too.  Maybe I can start looking at things the way my other sides do, and judgmental Graham can give it a rest already.  I deserve some slack.

I used to always tell close friends that I felt like my life was so easy and that I didn't really have any big trials.  I would also tell them that this lack of trial made me fearful for my future.  Boy, was I right to fear.  My trials over the past few years have been almost unbearable.  I almost didn't make it.  So many times I've just wanted to run away.  But I'm still here.  I'm still fighting.  And maybe that's just enough heroism for me to actually respect myself.

I don't know if anything that I've just said makes any sense.  This blog really does feel quite vomitty. (There's that word again!)  But I think I feel glad that I know that I can't be expected to handle all of this with perfect grace.  I think I'm allowed a period to be a freak and lose a bit of the control that I'm always so protective over.  It's all good.

One thing that I do still judge myself for is the lies.  Having lied to myself for so long about being gay, (or, at least, how gay I am) has made it so natural to lie to others about it.  Yes... that's what being in the closet is.  But I don't want to be anymore.  I'm not saying I'm ready to be out, because I'm not.  I'm still reeling from finally telling myself that I'm gay.  (Man, I'm REALLY making it sound like I have mental illnesses (read multiple personalities) in this post... I promise that I don't (except for depression, but that's another story.))  I'm just tired of the little lies all the time about how "hot" I think a woman is.  I hate how I feel so phony when I say it.  I wish I could eradicate everything from my life that makes me feel that way.  I loathe feeling like a liar, so I'd like to be able to no longer be one.

Today, I went to lunch with my roommate.  Because it was just the two of us at a restaurant, he predictably became concerned that people would think we were gay.  It's been bizarre letting go of my homophobia that I also used to feel.  I used to be SO afraid of people thinking I was gay.  If I saw someone laughing at me when I was alone with another guy, I used to always instantly assume they were making fun of me for being gay.  Well... I still think that... but it's been weird realizing that I shouldn't have a problem with them laughing.  That's their own damn problem now.  I am gay.  Deal with it judgmental jerks.  (I just went to the Internet to find a better word than jerks, but I came up empty. I'll settle for judgmental jerks, I guess.)  So anyway, I still am just as over-anxious about people judging me, but it's kind of nice realizing... oh wait.  I AM GAY.  It doesn't matter now if people think I am or that I look it.  I'm not saying I'm necessarily embracing being ok with being perceived as portraying gay stereotypes, but I'm just trying to elucidate that it's nice to know who I am.  Homophobia is really a waste of mental time and labor.

It will be so great when I can quit lying and quit acting like homophobia is alive and well in me like normal.  I'm not ready to tell the world that I'm gay yet, but I don't feel like it's too far off that I might come to be THAT accepting of myself.

I got abducted by aliens.  Ask me about it.  The end.
(Curious to check to see if anyone (who isn't crazy) made it through this post.)


  1. Made it through this (and many of the other of your posts), but I may pass on the alien abduction story...

    Actually, I had a hard time deciding which post to comment on. A lot of them are really interesting (especially your pro and con list) and make some good points. And it definitely sounds like a difficult situation. But I really like what you wrote about lying because I remember feeling this so strongly a few years ago, though I hadn't thought through it as carefully as you have. I feel like the fact that you have such a clear view of the situation means you are further along in figuring this all out than you may think.

    I think the funniest thing about major life changes is that despite being able to compare ourselves to plenty of other people, we'll never really know how we might feel in a future situation until we end up there ourselves. Like, every time I've gone to look at a new school or workplace or city, I've always totally incapable of really figuring out how I will feel in that situation. I think it's a combination of fear of the unknown and a lack of creativity. Assuming this phenomenon is somewhat universal, I think you're more than allowed to freak out a bit and to not handle this all with perfect grace.

    Good luck.

    1. Hey Evan, thanks for the comment, and don't be afraid to comment on more than one post, haha. Yeah, who knows what that alien abduction thing was about.

      I think I often deal with major life decisions/changes by not thinking too much about it and following what feels right. This whole situation is a little too jarring for that approach apparently though. I'm glad it looks like I've got it pretty figured out, because maybe that means I kind of do... but I still have the very difficult task of coming out to someone that I trust who can support me and learning the ropes, I suppose.

  2. Don't get abducted by aliens! Did they at least probe you? :-)


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