By: Christiana Cha
For a moment, I was stunned; I had expected to hear some profound thoughts, but somehow I had not expected to get hit by such a small phrase.
I was sitting in a room filled mostly with people in their forties and older but a few other twenty-somethings like myself listening to an acquaintance, Sally Gary (founder of CenterPeace and author of “Loves God, Likes Girls”) talking about how stigmatized homosexuality/same sex attraction was and in many cases still is. But that wasn’t what caught my attention. It was what she said next:
“Would that some of the other things we struggle with had been so socially unacceptable.”
A million thoughts flooded my mind – things like uncontrolled tempers, lust, jealousy, making fun of others to make ourselves feel better, excluding others because they somehow don’t “fit in” to the narrow definitions we set for our tiny elitist cliques, and so on…. Those are things about which we don’t talk. We hold our silence, and we paste on a fake smile and pretend to be nice whilst waiting for someone to pass just to turn and say, “What a dork,” or some other derogatory name-calling.
Why do we do it? And more importantly, why do we not point that out more as something that needs to be “fixed”? Why do we put other “issues” under the microscope instead?
A young boy is being verbally abused at home, but no one breathes a word or tells his father that he needs to change his stance toward his son or his son will have a world of baggage that will cripple him as an adult and make him continually believe the lie that he is inadequate, incapable, and worthless.
Men and women young and not-so-young lust after one another, sometimes having affairs, sleeping around, or becoming addicted to pornography. But we don’t talk about that, either. We almost seem to condone it, in fact.
We encourage exclusivity and cliques, we make fun of those who are different from us (let’s face it, we’re all different from one another), and we laugh when others trip and fall whether it’s physically or socially. (Don’t tell me you’ve never laughed at playground fails or Scarlett taking a tumble on Youtube – I have).
And, don’t tell me you’ve never had road rage. I’d be lying to you if I said I never have road rage. But beyond road rage, what about a general lack of control of one’s temper? That is something that can be very hurtful, especially to family members, who generally bear the brunt of a person’s rage.
And yet…we focus on topics like same-sex attraction. Why? Why don’t we talk more about the other topics I listed and so many more that are ultimately so much more hurtful to us? I almost stopped listening to the rest of what Sally had to say after she said that one line, “Would that some of the other things we struggle with had been so socially unacceptable.” Indeed! I wish they were, and I wish we talked about those things more and brought them to light so children did not have to grow up being verbally abused with no one to be their advocates! I wish that we didn’t make fun of each other so viciously just to get a laugh and feel good about ourselves. I wish bedding someone wasn’t such a conquest and a game to so many people. I wish, I wish, I wish. But how do we change it?
Well for starters, let’s talk about it.