Honesty

12 07 2012

I have wrestled with writing this post. Probably why I have been back in civilization for a few days and am just now being brave enough to write. I have wrestled with sharing this – but really, if this blog is not about honesty and truth, then it is pretty pointless to continue.

I really thought I was past all of my prejudice – I really did – and then it slapped me right in the face. My son has taken up wearing nail polish. I know – you are now thinking – “big deal”. I know right?!! But honestly it was a big deal. Over the years he has sometimes painted his nails – and then taken it off before he left the house. We came in from camping on Sunday afternoon and he greeted us at the door with nails painted in all different colors. I felt a pain in my gut. Literally – knowing he had been to church that way – and rang handbells – and not  at our church – a different church. I reacted negatively and it was not good.

This is what confuses me – I started PFLAG in my town, I FIGHT for equality – I speak up for people I hardly know – yet I was the least accepting and receiving of my son this past week. I can’t even really tell you why. If I saw another man wearing nail polish (and I have seen plenty) I probably would’ve complimented him – and I would have been sincere. So, why do I have a double standard with my own kid? I have been wrestling with this all week.

I think one reason is fear for him. I mean we live in rural Montana and although our town is fairly diverse and affirming, I know there are still people in this area who would just as soon see a queer person dead as alive. That is just reality. But after thinking on this all week – I think the root of my reaction was more about people just plain judging him negatively. People categorizing him in a negative light. I can remember when my kids were all small not wanting them to stick out or be different. Life is hard and I wanted to save them as much pain as possible. So, seeing him actually doing something that sets him apart in a visual way rubbed me wrong. Which is still odd to me because I have always tried to get my kids to walk to their own drummer – I guess I approved as long as being different meant doing things your own way that everyone would admire. I didn’t think they should be different enough that people would ridicule them or put them down. I am a hypocrite.

After all week of deliberating about this – I have asked forgiveness and tried to be more open-minded. Secondly, my thinking has shifted. My son is an amazing person. Maybe him wearing nail polish might make someone start to lump him in a negative category – but as soon as he opens his mouth – their myths will be dispelled! I mean isn’t this what we are always preaching – “be out and be visual”. Relationships are what change people’s minds. It is easier to hate what you don’t know but when you add a face to that group of people it is much harder to hate them.

So, it has been a week of learning and growing for me. I am obviously NOT “there” yet…

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