I have a relative via marriage whom made a very powerful statement when dealing with a personal problem of hers, “You have to live change to want change,” she said. It stuck with me for the moment, and I filed it away like we all do with everything else for another day. What if, we could strive to be better than our previous self, almost every day?
Going against the normal isn’t easy. It takes conscience thought and effort. One moment for change for me was in college. The scenario was familiar, I wanted to take a girl out and she didn’t have time for me. I liked her as a person, and I knew she had overcome adversity in her life, so I thought she would be a good person to know.
We drifted in and out of each other’s life until I came across her profile on Facebook. We talked for what seemed like a long while, and I asked her to do something one more time. We h ad set a tentative time to get together, yet that day has yet to come. I found out one day she was in a relationship…with another woman.
Obviously, I was devastated. To be fair, I didn’t think of her as a girlfriend, far from it. I just wanted someone to hang out with. Didn’t I at least deserve a phone call to say, “Jim, this is why I haven’t wanted to hang out?” Hell, yes I did! Now, I could have called her every dirty name in the book. I could have said I didn’t need to talk to her anymore, but I didn’t. We talked, and redefined our relationship. I knew the suicide rate within the LGBTQ community is high, I had a family friend who committed suicide, I did not think she would harm herself, but I did not want her to suffer the same fate as my friend. I had a choice and I made it.
I admit I wasn’t fully comfortable with gay people until I was asked to read a book for a class in college. I realized if the arguments made in the book were the best arguments against marriage equality, then the arguments were weak at best. Gays and lesbians were just trying to be their authentic selves. They just wanted to live with freedom and independence like me. I can’t blame them, I love women too. It turns out I have a lot gay friends than I thought. Furthermore, I kw the same girl who couldn’t find time for me than is one of the few people who would return my texts if I needed her help.
To those of you who are still in high school, perhaps this is a lesson already learned. I hope; however, you won’t have to wait until college to interact with people outside your regular social circle. It is okay to be nervous about the unfamiliar. It is the duty of the current generation to move society forward, building bridges instead of walls, and make the world a better place.