I’m not just embarrassed, I’m ashamed and full of regret. Owning these feelings isn’t easy, but it’s necessary I acknowledge, name, and own them so I can grow.
In celebration of Pride month I decided to advertise pride month and my counseling services on Facebook last week. The result wasn’t what I expected. I was bombarded with a plethora of hate speech commentary. It really shocked me and I felt very upset. Instead of responding to the comments or simply let them be, I found myself deleting them over and over again. Saturday, I got so frustrated I just deleted my ad completely – as if it never existed. I let a group of hate filled people get under my skin – fading me into the background, as if I never existed existed, much less my pride.
Saturday evening my partner and I had dinner with dear friends, another gay couple, and afterwards we attended the Pride Houston Chorus annual pride concert. The timing of this, in my opinion, was no coincidence. I not only wanted but I needed to hear and see messages of Love Wins in word and song. During the concert I had a ton of emotions stirring inside. Afterwards, my partner and I talked about those feelings while sitting in the parking lot. He helped me realize I let hate win earlier that day by letting the beliefs and actions of a small group of people, less in numbers than those at the concert, not just prompt me to remove an advertising and celebration campaign, but an online presence of pride – my personal pride.
I will not let hate win again. Those ads are going back up. And this post will be one of the ads. If we let hate win, we lose ourselves – not just simply the pride we have for our sexual orientation, gender identity, skin color, or whatever it is that differentiates us from the so-called majority or mainstream public.
I’ll be 47 years old next month. I came out at age 20 in Abilene, TX and after moving to Austin (of all places, Austin) I experienced my first near hate-crime that same year, prompted by a number of pride stickers on my vehicle. I didn’t let those fools hurt me and win, and it was much more scary than Facebook comments. I won’t let anyone online do that now either. Love wins here.
Are you seeking a place to process out shame or trauma, or a desire to welcome more pride and love into your life? Contact me. In my office you are loved just as you are, with pride, and without judgement. Contact me to schedule your next step to living with pride and ease.