There’s probably a lot I could say about this topic. The truth is, I’m not going to say as much as I could because I’m weary of dealing with this. I’ve dealt with it in one form or another basically for my whole life.
The messages are always clear, whether overt or indirect:
“You are not a man because…”
“You are not a man unless…”
Did you know a co-worker once implied that I was basically “turning gay” because I stopped to take (what I think is a rather beautiful and artistic) picture of a dragonfly perched upon a thistle?
I’m so goddamn tired of that. I know that it’s not anyone’s responsibility to make me feel “like a man,” but at the same time I can put into words now the pain and discomfort I feel from having this narrow (and often toxic) image of masculinity foisted upon me.
I’m really tired of people implying or outright stating that being gay makes a person less of a man. This is why people use “gay” and “faggot” and the like as insults. When people insult men, and especially when men insult other men, they often go for the core, to the very identity of a man as a man.
“Stop acting like such a fucking girl.”
“Take it like a man.”
“God, quit being a bitch.”
So I had the following conversation this morning, with someone I unfriended on Facebook less than a week ago. This person is a person that I have no face-to-face interaction with. I have not spent time with this person, basically ever. I know very little about his life, except for surface details. He is an atheist, and I am a Christian.
In the last month or two, I have been practicing being more emotionally honest with people. I have also been setting boundaries with people, especially those close to me. I have, on Facebook, made the decision to unfriend people without saying a word. These are people that I either do not spend time with or have not spent time with for several years, people with sharply contrasting values to mine.
So, while I understand that it may look negative (or whatever) from the outside, I take it fairly seriously when I choose to remove someone from my online social circle. I understand that in this day and age, getting unfriended is almost a slap in the face. But I’m trying to adopt a new “live and let live” policy.
Simply put: Leave me alone.
I don’t want every kind of person in my life. Right now I’m focused on building a strong foundation and eliminating people and things that cause me undue stress or cause me to spend energy in ways that I do not want.
The foundation I’m trying to build is the same that Jesus talks about in Matthew 7:24, when he says
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
I want God to be my foundation. I want my trust and faith and security in God and in Christ to be my foundation. For now, that is all I have to say about that.
Anyway, back to my “live and let live” policy. What I really need is to approach the world from a place where I can act freely on my own needs and desires. I need to set my boundaries and direct my energy willfully, rather than acting according to the emotions and desires of others.
Other people do not know me. People who are not you likely do not know you. The one person who I would say knows me is my wife, my partner. I love her and I trust her judgment about me because she knows me so well. In some ways, she has shown that she knows me better than I know myself. I trust her.
I do not trust those who claim to know me. I do not trust those who claim to know what I should do or what I should have done in a particular scenario.
I guess that brings me back around to this particular person I talked to this morning, the man I unfriended not long ago. I unfriended him because he posts numerous things that are disparaging to Christians, or at least to me. He has claimed to have Christian friends that do not mind the things he says. That’s fine for them. But I was not close with this man. We did not hang out or even see each other in person.
I am tired of being called names. I am tired of being disrespected. I’ve put up with in it many ways silently and I am finally ready to use my voice. So after a few attempts at respectful discussion with him, I finally decided that there was no good reason to subject myself to insults and insinuations that I was either a) an idiot, or b)… basically just an idiot for being either uneducated or for believing in “fairy tales” or whatever.
Why should I? So I can showcase how well Christians can take disrespect? Yeah, well, maybe. But at this point in my life I want to showcase boundaries. I have had bad boundaries, anger issues, depression and anxiety issues, and basically a huge lack of emotional honesty over my whole life. So right now, I’m going to address those things.
Anyway, so I unfriended this person and I guess he found out about it today and appeared none-too-happy about it. This is how he approached our conversation.
For the record, my wife and I eloped. No one came to our “wedding,” which was literally in the basement of a courthouse with the minimum number of witnesses.
So apparently, setting boundaries and having some control over my own life makes me “selfish” and a “twit.” And for some reason, oops, I guess I’m gay.
Maybe I hung out with too many gay people. Or took too many pictures of dragonflies. Or took too many dance classes. Or wrote too much poetry.
This shit really pisses me the fuck off. Seriously, what the fuck. I didn’t even do anything to warrant this kind of a response. But, whatever. Not my job to tell people how they’re allowed to respond to me. What I can control is how I respond, which was like this:
I learned after the last time this happened (which I’ll get to shortly) that there’s really no sense trying to reason with someone who just wants to hurt you and insult you. So instead I just let him know, hey, go right ahead and keep this up if you want, but I’m going to take the nasty things you said to me in private and make them public.
Of course, I’m doing that now, but I have omitted his name in this case. So no one needs to know that
█████████ said all these things to me.
He then accused me of not having a “free thinking mind.” So that’s cool. The truth is that I’m more free than I have been in probably my entire life. I can act based on my needs and values without putting the needs and values of other people first. That sounds like some fucking freedom to me. I’m free to choose to submit myself to God. I’m free to choose better things. I’m not bowing and scraping for other people’s attention and approval in the way I used to.
Hey, speaking of bowing and scraping…
That’s almost what another person accused me of! And by person I mean “person who I had considered one of my best friends for between 5 and 10 years, now that I’m thinking about it!”
END PART ONE. PART TWO COMING PROBABLY TOMORROW.