Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Often times it is the way you look at something that determines its value. For example, the common dandelion plant is considered by many a horrible uncontrollable weed. It is hated and despised, yet it is one of nature’s greatest treasures. It has been used for salads, cleansing the body, and removing warts. Pages and pages have described the benefits of this so called common weed that seems to overtake and discourage many.
Recently I was asked to listen to an article that talked about how being gay was a gift from God. There was so much good in the article, but there were some things that I wanted to express and define to help create a greater understanding. So often men are put in that category simply because they show a sensitive sweet side. I often get offended that our society is so quick to judge men when they don't fit the norm of what we think a man should be. For example, if they are tender and kind and not beating their chests they are assumed to be gay.
Read this next line carefully. I have to agree that being gay is a gift from God if your referring to men that are tender, kind, and sensitive. However, not all men that are tender, kind and sensitive are gay. Most men that I have met that seem to be sensitive, kind, tender, and most important, in tune to spiritual things are labeled and mostly what sets them apart from other men is their "sensitive" side. Truth be known, for some reason, being labeled, seems to be the trial in life for men that are on the sensitive side.
As young as I can remember, I was teased, mocked, scorned, laughed at, judged, humiliated, despised, beat-up, kicked around, spit upon, and shunned for being a sensitive, tender, kind boy. I was called gay and fagot so often that I almost believed it. Even my parents wondered about me and my mom frequently had talks with me about that issue.
I was constantly encouraged to change my behavior, do sports, and other ‘manly’ things. I felt stupid because I liked to grow things, write poems, lip sync to Haley Mills, and yes even dress up. I hated baseball, hunting, and most boy things. I cried easily and felt things deeply. I had a knack for house cleaning, cooking, and babysitting.
School was by far the worst. In my school there were hippies, jocks, cowboys, and Mormons. I practiced none of the above and there was not a place at my school for sensitive sweet boys. No one knew how to handle me. When no one knows what to do they tend to do the wrong thing. I hated school. It was painful every day. One of my worst memories, and I have many, was walking into the locker room and hearing laughing. I heard "Hey coach, have you heard the latest? Brad is a faggot!" I remember looking at them and feeling so stupid and I looked to the coach for help and he just laughed with them.
Home was not a place of refuge either. Dad was a cowboy and just did not understand what to do with this boy that was considered a sissy. To be perfectly honest, I was a sissy. He tried to understand me and I tried to gain his approval. I did join the football team once just to prove I could do it and gain his approval as that of others. It was a disaster and I hated every moment. The only good thing was I remember the feeling when I was able to tell my parents I made the team. The look in their eyes was glorious. If only that look could have been there when I did the things I loved. I didn't last long. None of the other team members welcomed me and made me feel like I belonged. I hid in the bus at games afraid I would have to play. I just couldn’t do it.
All those years I really believed that my tender nature was a curse. I was angry with God and the world because I was not loved or understood. I could not be me and be loved at the same time. I would create all these different personalities to please everyone in my world. It was a hard time. I tried to be macho and tuff. I tried not to cry at movies or get overly passionate about things. I fought my tender side and loving nature. But no matter how hard I tried, I could not change the person I was. I had to come to terms with the fact that I was not a macho man.
At times, life has been extremely difficult. Many times I have been frustrated not understanding why I was created different from others. It took a long time for me to finally embrace who I was and feel comfortable being "different". For me the journey is not about being gay, it's about being in touch with the man God created and liking him despite what others think and judge. It's hard when so many tell you one thing and you’re feel something different. I decided that I am like the dandelion, totally bright and flowery. I stick out wherever I go, and many just look at me like I am a weed not understanding that under that flowery perhaps feminine cover is real stuff. Strong and useful beyond understanding, I have come to understand that like the dandelion my differences are a great blessing in disguise. What to some may seem a curse, really is a great blessing. My differences like the dandelion if understood and used properly can bless others in great ways.
Perhaps we should take a lesson from the wonderful dandelion plant. Small and misunderstood as many are in the world, when we take a closer look there is value in every part of a person just like the plant, from head to toe, every human being, no matter the difference, has great value. What may be considered a weed to some is a wonderful flower filled with beauty and goodness.
I have been labeled many things and am still constantly being labeled and misunderstood for the things I do. It has taught me to be more accepting of others and most important it has taught me to trust in a God that created me. He has his divine purpose and as I learn to trust in Him, I have learned to love and accept who I am and I am better able to combat the constant judgements of others. I trust and follow Him and find great peace in the journey.
Boldly I declare I am a man, yes I cry at movies, well truth be known, I cry over a lot of things. I love gardening, cooking, chic flicks, romance novels, and life. I enjoy making friends and am overly passionate about a lot of things. Yes I still like wearing bright colorful things but I also can appreciate sports, working out, shooting, spitting, burping, and just being macho. I enjoy hugs from men and I love men that are sensitive, open, and dare to be who they are.
Saying that, I leave the judgement to you about what kind of man I am, and say we are all in our uniqueness, gifts from God.
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