“If I am ever afraid to follow my heart or speak my truth, I remember strength and courage come from within,” according to the daily reading, “Live My Truth.”
Our morning trek
Jaxson, our new greyhound, and I went for a walk yesterday on a glorious cool, fall morning. We’d gone about a block when we were hailed by a woman approaching from the other end of the street.
“What is that dog’s breed?” she asked. She stopped when she drew even with us.
“He’s a greyhound,” I responded. Jaxson’s brindle coat, graceful gait and easy nature seldom fail to draw attention.
We exchanged names and locations in the neighborhood. Turns out she lives one block over from ours; has lived there for 10 years.
We’re relatively new to our gated community that prides itself on being very “family oriented.” Indeed, the demographics of the neighborhood lean heavily toward young families but there are plenty of senior residents too and some, like my sweetie and I, who aren’t in either camp.
My new friend asked if I played games and if I’d like to join the “women over 40″ for game night at the clubhouse on the fourth Thursday of each month. I think she was going to say women over 50 but couldn’t readily decide which decade I fell into.
That was about the time I started to feel uncomfortable with where the conversation seemed headed. I dreaded the inevitable question about by marital status.
Not speaking my truth
I deeply believe in transparency and speaking one’s truth without shame, yet I still occasionally fall victim to my own homophobia.
Why? Because I still stutter-step around these fears: Not being accepted; not fitting in, and of being judged. These fears all point to my perception that I’m not good enough.
To thine own self be true is a phrase I preach but sometimes have trouble following.
Bottom line from the encounter with my neighbor? I was afraid of her reaction upon finding out that I share my home and my heart with a woman.
The deep-seated reason doesn’t matter as much as understanding that nobody should live with the fear of rejection because they have a non-traditional family, wear their hair dyed pink or live with the effects of mental illness or addiction.
Finally, the Pay-Offs to living your truth
Meeting Darlene yesterday morning caused me to really examine my fears. Then I turned them into I AM statements, like, I am a successful business woman (who happens to be gay and in recovery). I am a loving, giving and caring human being who practices tolerance and acceptance with others and myself.
Then, I thought of the three payoffs.
Pay-off #1: Understanding, again from yesterday’s Daily Word: “Each person is one-of-a-kind, and our lives, authentically lived, are our gift to the world.”
Pay-off #2: Grounding yourself in the wisdom of “what you think of me is none of my business.” The first time I heard those words from a therapist more than 20 years ago, I thought I’d won the lottery.
Pay-off #3: I often think about how my partner and I help educate neighborhood residents; how we put a face on “gay” for our friends and neighbors, just as we also put a face on addiction recovery.
Above all, to thine own self be true.
Photo courtesy of Efi21