Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
Whoever created this little jingle was clearly delusional.

It’s the words, the little things, that really hurt…

Having a classmate who sits next to me in a particular class all semester decide to sit elsewhere after I ‘come out’ to her.

People being a lot ‘nicer’ to me after we become facebook friends and they see my profile where it says ‘women’ after ‘interested in:’. (And by nicer, I mean superficially really friendly but at the same time avoiding me in the halls and acting all awkward around me).

People, immediately after hearing of my romantic interests, bombarding me with questions, such as “When did I know I was attracted to the same sex? How did I know? How did I respond?”…. “When did you know you were attracted to the opposite sex? How did you know? What did you do about it?” I want to ask in return.

Or, alternately, immediately upon hearing of my romantic interests, completely changing the subject and never bringing up anything remotely related to romantic relationships again.

Hanging out with a group of girls and feeling awkward when they all talk about their boyfriends or history thereof, and, knowing full well about my sexual orientation, conveniently forgetting to ask me about who I am currently interested in.

Hearing someone bring up Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6, thinking that they are the first person to bring these verses to my attention and that, if I am a good Christian, I will listen to their interpretation and renounce my sexuality immediately. And of course they say this in a nonchalant way, just “wondering”.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, or get gravel in my eye and break my finger.
But what people don’t understand is that the physical scars and wounds are the ones that are much easier to deal with.

I have only been ‘out’ for a few months, and it has already so incredibly difficult.

But, conversely, it’s been worth it. While it means being a victim of what could be called a hate crime by some, and—even worse, means broken and awkward relationships, it is immensely better than being in the closet. I was talking with a good friend today, and realized this. That, though it has been really tough, there have been glimmers of hope, and glimpses of goodness.

The girl at church who is a traditional republican (read: not quite gay friendly), telling me that it is her job as part of the body of Christ to make sure the church is a safe place.
Another guy from church, a religious traditionalist (again, read: not quite gay friendly) joking with me (he really wants me to get the shirt that says ‘I’m not gay, but my girlfriend is’), and asking about my current relational status. When I explain it is ‘perpetually single’ he shares in my sentiment and suggests in jest that we go the mall together to scope out the ladies.

It is sitting in a bar with church folk and them letting me vent about how fucking hard it is to be at divinity school as a lesbian. They listen patiently, admit that they don’t understand, and remind me that Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t have a lot of people that understood him as a black man in the 60’s.

And then there is the professor who gives you a hug and cries with you, and who calls your name across the quad to see how you are doing and chats with you for some time about being an “Andrea Dworkin’ feminist and how her 9 year old daughter wears ‘Gay? Fine by Me!’ shirts.

So, sticks and bones may break my bones, and words and actions hurt my soul and spirit. But, just as bones, and eyes, heal, so does the spirit, and mine has grown stronger through my time here in North Carolina. It is the good moments that make the bad moments bearable, and even worth it.

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