Tonight I went out alone to see a movie. I needed to get out of the house and make an intentional effort to not isolate myself when I’m feeling less than self-confident. While I realize that many people see me as an extrovert, I am at heart, an introvert. I’ll write about that some other time.
The movie that I chose to see was LBJ. I don’t read movie reviews and I don’t choose movies by other peoples opinions. I had no expectation either good or bad. I just needed to get out. I greatly enjoyed it, but I triggered something inside of me that I need to process through. At a place in the film, Mr. Johnson is to make a speech. Someone tells him that there will be people who will not be pleased with his position on civil rights. Mr. Johnson respond with “we will know whom those people are because they will be the ones who won’t be clapping.” This was the second time in the recent that I heard a reference.
I saw this post on Facebook recently, and it stunned me. Stunned me because its true. I have experienced this truth from people in my life that once clapped for me. As a minister and singer in church, there were lots of people who clapped for me who are no longer clapping for me. These are people that have been dear to me. Family and friends alike. People that I love and people that love me. However somewhere in my life’s journey, they have chosen become un-supportive of my “position.” Un-supportive of my being, un-supportive of my identity. Un-supportive of my love and un-supportive of my authenticity. Mostly un-suportive of my “lifestyle.” They stopped clapping for me. Some intentionally and some unintentionally. Some stopped clapping for me simply because they are concerned that others may not agree with them affirming me. Some have been malicious and some just don’t have the ability to relate to me any longer because I’m gay. Something that I kept secret until I fell out of the proverbial closet in 2012.
It’s no secret that I am active on social media. I enjoy it and I offer no apology. I post about many different things. Some political, some funny, some religious or irreligious and some about human rights or LGBT issues. I realize that some of my positions are controversial to some. We don’t have to agree with someone to want the best for them. I have noticed that some of those that follow me on social media will “like” a particular post and will bypass other post with no acknowledgment. I’ve even noticed that there are times that I will post on another’s wall and particular people will “like” some comments but will not “like” my post or comment even when my comment was in line and agreement with similar posts. This isn’t a new revelation for me. I’ve noticed this for years. I pay attention when people don’t clap for me.
I have at times, exercised my opportunity to unfriend some people that I feel are simply “watching from a distance” or just “keeping tabs” on me. Some have even RE-friend requested me. With much skepticism, I have accepted their request hoping that somewhere along their journey that they may have come to a place where they can “clap” for me again. This hasn’t always been the case. Maybe they have and maybe they haven’t.
Today I needed to acknowledge to myself and to them, that their choice to not clap has hurt me and did not go unnoticed. So now I’m giving myself a standing ovation. Because I can.