“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you be something else is a great accomplishment.” – E.E. Cummings
Not too long ago I heard a conversation between a mother and her grown daughter. The younger of the two was talking about how her son had expressed he didn’t feel confident just being himself with his dad because he didn’t want to be judged. She went on to bring up his comments regarding lack of sexual identity (yet) and was making the point that if he can’t be himself with the small things how on earth would he navigate his relationship with his dad with something that is considered a big deal by many. Her mom completely missed the point and started lamenting, “No one wants their kids to have the complications of being gay.”
It made me think, “what are the complications of being gay?” The possibility of being ostracized, bullied, misunderstood…it would make it hard to find a partner, it might mean rejection by some. I can actually come up with a lot of complications of being gay. I can also say that those could possibly be complications of being labeled as strictly one thing in any category. If someone were labeled a nerd in a circle of jocks or a jock in a circle of nerds – all of those same complications potentially arise. How about if you get sick or disabled with something that people don’t understand? Same possible complications apply. How about being an introvert in an extroverted world or a spiritual person in the midst of a scientific community?
The fact is, no matter the characteristic it will only be a fraction of who we really are AND there will always be people who want to categorize us by that tiny fraction AND being categorized in that way brings complications that will make us consider if it’s even true, “is it true I’m just a ____.” That self-evaluation is exactly what we need in order to make conscious choices about who we are and what we do in this world.
In life there will always be something about us that will give us the opportunity to further define ourselves and often it isn’t comfy-cozy. It is the complications of being human that challenge us to be our best (or, if we’re not conscious, our worst) selves. This boy already had a problem (and it wasn’t about a hot-topic fear) it was about being negatively judged by his father which was clearly happening already. The complications of being ______ (fill in the blank) would only give father and son a chance to work through some misunderstandings … or not – in which case the young man would have a chance to own his greatness with or without the approval of his father.
As much as we would like to, for ourselves and for our children, we cannot avoid the complications of life. If we really sit with that thought we realize that if not for our complication our greatness would not have the practice it needs to reach its full potential. In other words, if our greatness is a seedling then our complications are the manure; while it may stink for awhile it creates the conditions necessary for our most important growth.
I will always find it interesting when people look at the symptom (possibility of being gay in this case) as the cause for concern when the real issue (a strained father/son relationship) is where our Love and Light is most needed. For now I will just hold intent for all of us that we let the complications of our life help us grow into the mighty being that we are and that we find possibilities and potential – even where it’s uncomfortable.
Can you think of a time when you were better off for your “complications?” How did you grow through it? Would you go back and prevent the complications if you could?