Her comment said, “If he is the one you followed, really, what is the harm?” Man the question threw me for a loop. What is the harm? Why did I get so worked up about the events yesterday? What’s the worst thing that could happen? The question really had me thinking. What was I so afraid of? Did I really have a reason to be scared? Well, yes and no.
My reaction was, in no small part, an instinctive reaction based on historical data. As a child, particularly one who is not popular among your peers, expressing feelings for someone who doesn’t reciprocate can be quite detrimental. The likely outcome is that the person will treat you differently. The worst case scenario is much worse. I grew up in a family, a culture, a time where vulnerability was not considered admirable. I couldn’t begin to list the number of times that my own vulnerability has gotten me hurt rather than serve some better purpose.
Because I’m discovering myself at a more advanced age than most, I’m going through a process that most people my age have already experienced; learning to be comfortable and confident with who I am and not to worry what other people think of that. I went home last night and thought about the events of yesterday, and the question that was posed to me, “What is the harm?” It seemed like a ludicrous question when I first read it (sorry Jody) and yet, I didn’t have an answer for it.
I was scared. I guess that’s about as obvious as the rather large nose on my face, but it’s true. I was scared. I am scared. I am scared for people who do not understand and accept me the way I am to know the truth. I’m scared that I always pick the wrong guys, guys who are straight and don’t know how to simply accept it as a compliment. I’m scared that I’ll pick the right guy and actually have to fully come face to face with who I am and I’m scared that I won’t ever actually get the chance.
I’m afraid of being hurt, not just emotionally, though that, too, is a real fear, but I’m afraid of being hurt physically.
A thousand possibilities ran through my head yesterday when I realized that it was possible Jesse was reading what I’d written about him. I imagined him sending me a hateful message on Twitter, or leaving a nasty comment on my blog. I imagined him calling my boss and telling him what he’s seen, or asking to be put through to me before unleashing a hell storm of vitriol against me. I imagined him making threats and making good on them…
I imagined him sitting around his computer at the fire house talking about me with the other guys, pulling up my blog again and again and reading the highlights (whatever they may be), pointing and laughing.
Not that I had any reason to think, based on what I’d seen of his personality, that he would do any of these things, but you see, I had broken the seal on my safety zone. No longer was I hiding in my corner juggling my thoughts and feelings like so many balls, hoping no one would notice.
But I went home last night and I realized something. I live in a culture and a time when the likelihood is, if my Fire Fighter did see my blog and discover what I was thinking? And if we presume that it does not go both ways? Well, the chances are much greater in this culture and in this time that his reaction would be to simply say that he appreciates the compliment, but does not reciprocate my feelings. And that really would be OK.
8 thoughts on “What Is The Harm?”
I feel for you. Our society has made it so difficult for people to just be who they are and to love one another, no matter what their sexual orientation. You deserve some peace of mind and I wish I had words of wisdom, but… I don’t. Just keep accepting yourself. Do your best not to worry about what everyone else thinks and I sincerely hope you find happiness.
I hope it all works out for you.
Those fire fighter pics are hot btw
You know it sucks that we live in a world where physical harm can be an outcome of flirting. Sorry if my comment made you annoyed. Sometimes I tend to speak to much.
And… I noticed you haven’t commented on my costume pictures.. sigh.
Your comment didn’t annoy me. If you knew me in person you would probably have been able to detect the humor in my reply comment that existed in my tone as I wrote it.
As for this post it was the genuine outcome of me thinking for a while about WHY the whole thing freaked me out.
Anybody who believes that “being gay is a choice” should have been living my life for the last few days. NOBODY would CHOOSE to feel like I do!
It’s funny, those pictures are not what I was looking for when I went to Google Images and did a search for “fire fighters”, however when those two pictures came up, I couldn’t resist using them!
Thanks Terri! I wish somebody had the words of wisdom for me, too! But I know that in the end, I’m the only person who can change this. I’m just still figuring out how. (Sigh)