Something we do subconsciously. Instantly. Instinctively.
A way to put the unknown into a known category in our own realm of thoughts, notions, ideas. A way to make something uncomfortable comfortable. A grasp at understanding.
Growing up, like many people, I was faced with an absurd amount of judgment.
I was different. I was a little boy that had girl best friends, played with dolls, and wasn’t afraid to show my feelings. I was gay. Shocking. I was the unknown for my Waspy-White-Obnoxious-Upper-Middle-Class-Suburban Town.
I grew up. I left. I found places where I was not so different. I thought the judgment would come to an ultimate end. I was wrong.
As I have embraced my sexuality as part of my life more and more, and ventured into the big blue gay sea, I have found that the judgment has done anything but ceased.
One would have thought that by entering into a collective world, where almost every member had been judged in a hostile manner that there would be an understanding how harmful this can be.
It seems that with every gay bar, brunch, or gathering you walk into you are about to put yourself into the harshest arena of judging. As gay men we all have expectations of our “brothers.” As men we are naturally visual. Thus, maintenance is key. An effortless perfection is to be personified at all times. Body brooding, hair quaffed, styled as if you just waltzed out of the pages of GQ.
I mean after all we are the people running all these businesses. It makes sense. And while I must admit, I love the aesthetic that is emitted from all these neuroses, the pressure can be so high that it creates more bad than good.
I am all for taking care of yourself, presenting your best self, reaching your ultimate potential. However, I think it is important to remember that the judgment we place onto each other is obscenely high, and naturally impossible.
I don’t think enough of us take a moment to remember that little boy being taunted for simply being who he was. Special. Amazingly different. Unique. If we did, I think we would give each other, and ourselves, a little more slack. Loose that judgment. Be champions for one another.
We all have a story to tell. So maybe next time, lose the judgment. Say hello to that less than perfect guy. He may turn out to be the love of your life.