I’m walking down Brunswick Street, its mid-morning and I’m walking away from, or towards my favourite café, I don’t remember which, I have my headphones in and I am listening. A deep, content, inspired and comforted listening. The sky is grey and heavy with rain that has just happened or just about to happen or both and I’m crying.
Not sobbing or weeping. I’m moved, deeply.
Tears welling up and spilling over a little.
I’m back at my high school. Remembering the isolation and discontent of that.
I’m listening to an audio book called Simon versus the Homo Sapiens agenda. Simon is a young gay man, in high school, being pushed out into the world by someone else, he’s not having a good time of it. Some guys decided to mock him in front of his drama class…but that’s not why I’m crying.
I’m crying because Simon’s class mates and his teacher step up and shut down that rubbish. They call the crap out. They make sure there are consequences for homophobia. Bullying someone is not accepted.
I’m crying because I had people stand up for me, not enough – but some. I know how it feels to have people in your corner swinging wildly when you can't raise your arms. When you don't know how to. When you can’t imagine that it’s going to be ok, when you don’t know that things will change, life will get richer.
I’m crying because I never ‘came out’. From very young everyone else told me I was gay, a girl, girly. Which I, of course, rejected. I’m so moved by the book because I can see Simon is growing up in a time and place where he got to define for himself what his sexuality was before anyone else. Someone ‘outed’ him, which is the tragedy of the story, but he was largely comfortable with the idea…just not ready to share it with the world…yet.
It’s a brief moment, no one else notices. Just the wind in my eyes causing them to weep a little. I wipe the tears and savour the strength of my emotions.
I understand a little better why I find injustice and inequity so deeply and profoundly distressing. Why, when I see it, I am prepared to stand in the corner and swing wildly at it.
I understand that now is the time to look up and see who’s standing in the corner on their own.
Time to look up and see who needs me.
Time to walk over and encourage them to hold their head up and take a swing at life.
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