So, first an update. I probably am going to have to give up the battle of the smoker. There are just too many of them. Seriously, every time I walk by that laundry mat, there is someone smoking at the front door. In fact, yesterday when I was walking by there was even someone smoking inside the laundry mat. None of the other places in my neighborhood have this problem. I suppose I can win this fight by just going someplace else. It’s just so close…(If you have no idea what I am talking about, read my blog post entitled Taking a stand one pair of undies at a time….)
I’ve been thinking a lot about rights this week. Mostly, why is no one concerned with mine? Maybe it’s because Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a California gay-marriage bill for the second time this past week. Or, because a co-worker “shhhed” me at work when I was talking about my boyfriend Jeff. But, I’ll get to that in a second.
I admit, I am clearly too sensitive about this. I can’t help it. All my life, I have been a chronic people pleaser. My problem is serious. It really is the battle of my life. I’m winning this battle on small fronts, but, I will probably always struggle with this. For God’s sake (pun intended), I put myself through 6 years of Bible college and denied my sexuality for this reason! I wanted to make my parents happy, my church happy, God happy. And, I thought that if I could make them happy then maybe I would have a chance at being happy. It’s clear that I was wrong. I got the order wrong. I should have been first on that list. Perhaps, I should have been the only one on that list.
Damn. I can really get stuck on an issue, can’t I? My point is this, I spend waaaaaaay too much time worrying about how loud I am on my cell phone, the volume of my TV at night, am I disturbing anyone, etc. etc. etc. etc… It’s the struggle of the people pleaser. I don’t really want to become a selfish, narcissistic prick either. That’s not my goal. But, somewhere there lies a balance. It starts with me taking small stands for myself.
So, back to the work incident. Some background first…flight attendants do lots of talking. Too much, actually. They talk about the passengers. They talk about other flight attendants. They talk about the latest US Weekly. And, mostly, they talk incessantly about themselves. Being the chronic people pleaser that I am, I usually end up listening. And listening. And listening. You get the idea. So, when someone actually asks me anything about me, I jump on the opportunity. Last week my co-worker asked me if I was in a relationship.
Delighted to be asked, I responded, “Yes, I have a boyfriend. His name is Jeff. He’s a food stylist.”
My straight male co-worker said, “Oh, cool, do you live together?”
Amazed at his interest I answered, “Nope. But, he lives nearby…we spend a lot of time at my place of the weekends, though.”
“Shhhhh.” The straight guy said, “Prying ears are listening.”
“Shhhhh.” He points and uses the international sign for me to be quiet.
Now, mind you, at this point in the flight I have already listened to him talk directly in front of passengers about his wife, her job, their arguments, the amount of sleep she usually gets, the amount of sex he usually gets, etc. etc. etc. etc. I was tucked away in the corner of the galley and not talking very loudly about anything racy at all.
So, told him, “Listen, you asked. And, I have every right to talk about my boyfriend Jeff. I have nothing to be ashamed of…”
To which, he turned and walked away. It’s just your typical “straight” male flight attendant arrogance–constantly trying to de-gayify the job. They usually feel that they have a lot to prove, working in a field dominated by women and gay men. They overcompensate.
I’m proud of myself, though. I’ve worked hard at not feeling shame for being gay. Especially, since it is a feeling mostly placed on me by others who are not comfortable with my sexual orientation. It’s interesting to me that he felt no embarrassment in trying to hush me. He just wanted me to feel shame in talking about the most important person in my life. It’s obvious where the real shame here lies.