Sunday, February 3, 2013
I have often felt very different from other men, and until more recent years, found it nearly impossible to identify with them on almost anything. Because of this, I have felt inferior to them, as if I was somehow less than them. There are many reasons for this, some of which date as far back as when I was an infant. And it’s been a great struggle at times dealing with this.
After years of looking at other men as if they were better, I have come to realize that on a very human level, no one is better than me—and I am no better than anyone else. Everyone has a weakness, or many weaknesses. Everyone struggles with something, falls short at times, or hasn’t always lived up to their fullest potential. I am no different.
Being gay is something that has often bothered me. Growing up and developing those attractions to other men was never anything I wanted. And when they did develop, I fought them with everything I could. But I know that being gay is something that made me feel so much lesser than other men. I knew that nearly all other men were attracted to women, that that was the normal way of things, and yet I wasn’t “normal” in that regard. I knew I didn’t act as much like other men either, or have a lot of the same sort of likes or interests (things I was frequently made fun of for while growing up). I have never enjoyed sports of most kinds, and those I did enjoy, very few other men I knew ever did. There are just a lot of differences I’ve recognized over the years between myself and other men like that. And, until recent years, these were differences that I allowed to ruin my self-image and self-worth.
I have never wanted to believe that I could hate myself, but looking back over much of my life, I can see that I have done just that for a good portion of it. I haven’t liked myself very much, and have at times even hated myself.
Over the course of the last few years, I’ve been brought to a very certain conclusion though: I am not less than others. I don’t have to be perfect; I’m not perfect. And I don’t have to allow what others think of me to dictate how I think of me. I can’t please everyone, and there’s no reason for me to try to. I just have to be me, and enjoy being me. I have to be the person God knows and loves and wants. That’s what really matters more than anything else. And when I know that, what is there to feel inferior about?
I feel so much sorrow for other gay men or youths who can’t ever seem to grasp how wonderful they really are. It saddens my heart to hear of a person who has killed himself or herself because they are gay (or for any other reason really). I know there is no good reason for a person to feel bad about being gay. And it is an inexcusable travesty for any person to purposefully try to make a person feel bad about things they cannot control about themselves. I do not believe I can control who I find attractive, nor what color my skin is, nor my height, nor my ethnicity, nor my place of origin. Some things just are, and those things should be okay. They shouldn’t be ridiculed or placed at a lesser value than whatever is traditionally considered the “norm”.
Too often I look back at my life and wish for things to be as they used to be. But in this regard, I certainly do not. I don’t miss those old feelings of inferiority. I don’t miss thinking, believing, and feeling like I was some sort of a freak, unworthy of even occupying the same space as others.
Certain things really do get better the older you get. You begin to realize how unimportant the beliefs of others can be. You begin to realize how much better your life can be if you just learn to live it in the way that’s only truly best for you. You begin to realize how imperfect others are as well—even the ones you believed were the most perfect people in all of the world. You can begin to experience true freedom and self worth.
I know I’m not perfect. But I also know that I really do like a lot of things about me. And I know that I’m not inferior to anyone else. Nor is anyone else inferior.