Remembering our strength
August 16, 2012 | 11:00 am
(Updated: March 29, 2013 | 2:12 pm)
“You can run, but you can’t hide.” I say it all the time. I remind others, but more so I remind myself. If you know me, you’re probably over hearing it. It’s hauntingly true, and I am constantly reminded of it for better or worse. While I am an expert at having run from people, situations, cities, and then realizing the problem hasn’t gone anywhere until I tackle it inside my head and heart. I am still somehow constantly amazed at how this truth manifests itself.
I’ve recently been put into a situation where I showed someone in a position of power a weakness in myself – the fact that I am highly sensitive, and willingly go outside my comfort zone and boundaries in order to appease others. I’ve done this before, but I’ve never had it used against me or taken advantage of the way that it is now.
Let me first say that I’ve always known that my sensitivity and my capacity can be both a strength and weakness – I work, I write, I volunteer, I am endlessly devoted to my girlfriend and my friends – but for it to be viewed as a soft spot to be poked is scary and illuminating.
I am a people pleaser, and while I care a lot less what people think of me than I used to (a whole lot less), I’m going to be honest and say that I still care. Since coming out almost two years ago, I’ve been working my ass off to grow a thicker skin, but it’s hard when, by nature, my heart is open. I expect that people are good until they prove themselves otherwise, and recently, someone’s proven otherwise.
So now what? “What” is that I have to confront this person with as much shored up strength as I can muster, and risk what feels like a lot while I’m at it. It’s funny how we allow certain individuals under our skin. How, while we can be assertive, forthright, purposeful, and honest with some, others get us impossibly under their thumbs. It’s a hard reminder that there’s still a child inside of me, and that dance with insecurity continues – only now I’m conscious of it.
This situation, and hopefully eventual lesson, is forcing me to face in myself my ability to hide behind being sweet and accommodating. It’s gotten me in trouble before: Relationships, romantic and otherwise, that carried on far too long. I chose to spread myself too thin because it’s always been hard for me to say “no” and make those waves, but I’m getting better at it.
And when I am faced with situation like the one I’m in now, nothing provides me with more perspective than being queer in this world and having come out to everyone. We did it, guys. We want to do it. We are going to do it. You can do it, and it will change the way you view the world. That level of strength is like getting a tattoo – once you’ve done it, you always have it, and you can’t pretend that you didn’t. You can look to it as a time when you were able to go through with it. All in the best way.
I know that when my sense of security and my power are tied to someone else, it only chains me down. Now is my challenge to draw on the amazing ways I’ve stood up for who I am and what I am capable of.
Perhaps this is most abstract that I’ve written, but sometimes, I am abstract. And what I’m experiencing is just that – a new challenge, an unknown that I must apply my experiences to. Before I came out, I spent a lifetime running when things got too hard – it was always flight. But now I fully believe that I am ready to fight and no longer want to hide.