Thursday, February 23, 2012

Just People


 "I feel kind of like a lesbian at a Southern Baptist Convention.", I whispered to my husband.

"Huh?" He raised his eyebrows and waited for me to explain. The expression on his face was one I see quite often. Yeah, I think you're cute. Crazy, and I have no idea what you're talking about half the time, but cute.

We were in the middle of a weekend away with friends at a steampunk/gaming convention. It was a great time, with lots of laughter and fun, and yet I felt that all too common social anxiety eating at me. There we were, fully costumed and enjoying every second, but I couldn't help but wonder what the other attendees would think if they knew. Would they still be friendly and accepting if I "came out of the closet" or would they immediately slap the stereotype on me, eyes narrowing and mouth stuttering as they hurried along to distance themselves from the "preacher's wife"?  Was this what some of the other attendees would feel like in a crowd of Christians? Would they be afraid to share their lives, for fear of condemnation?

Say it ain't so.

A friend and fellow teen leader is teaching a series to the youth right now entitled "Reflections". It's all about taking off your masks and being real. After the first lesson, one of the teens said, "He hit the nail on the head. Hard." And yeah, he did. I'm 41 years old (Did I just admit that? I'm fighting it every step of the way, it's true.) and I struggle with this daily. I don't fit in the box and I don't want to fit in the box, but sometimes it's scary to be exactly who I am; the crazy, silly, mixed up, emotional, opinionated, loving, cynical, struggling, goofy, sarcastic, manic, freaky me. I want to stay in the closet, keep on the mask, and only show pieces of me to pieces of you. But the rest of me ends up peeking out and ruining everything.  And I have this fantasy of living in a world where we can love each other first, where we can see each other as people rather than labels, and where we don't have to fear the pain of rejection- no matter who we are.

I know, I have a bit of the idealist in me. But as a Christian, I can't help but continually return to the two greatest commandments- love God and love each other. I'm not saying we should accept everything a person does, there is right and wrong and I know this, but I want to live in a world where we can accept each other for who we are and go from there. No pre-judgements, no labels, no stereotypes. Just people.

I'm a steampunk, preacher's wife, geek, homeschooler, bibliophile, vampire mythos lover, gamer, writer, mother, friend, partner in crime, goofball, Bible study leader, fan girl, coffee addict, cat lover and so much more. I don't want to be a label. I want to be me. And I want to know you.  Just people.


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