Posts Tagged ‘ Respect ’

Anti-Gay Gays

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credit: nydailynews.com

I had a fascinating conversation with a student at our school yesterday afternoon.  She is openly gay (which is no surprise among women in the field of aircraft maintenance), and easily speaks of her girlfriend, their horses, and the fact that she is from Mayberry, NC.  (No kidding — that Mayberry.  The Mayberry.)  I like to think she feels comfortable talking to me because I don’t have much intolerance in me and try to practice general sensitivity to others’ feelings on a regular basis.  In reality, she probably talks to me because I’m generally affable, and we are both good conversationalists.  (You can be one, too.) It’s strange that what dominates your mind during a conversation can be the furthest thing from someone else’s.  

Anyway, she and I often have easy conversations about the world’s happenings and peoples’ attitudes, and she surprised me today with one of her own.

In the midst of our discussion, she said, “That’s why I don’t like the gays.”

I don’t stammer much during conversations, generally, but I was trying to find a way to diplomatically say, “But uh…you’re gay, right?”  All I could muster up was a chuckle and, “Ahhh….okay….?”

She went on to explain that she doesn’t go to the Pride parade, she doesn’t make out with her girlfriend in public, she doesn’t do this and that…she told me, “My only goal when I wake up is to go to work, come home, and take care of my family.  Some people don’t understand that just because you’re gay, not everyone wants it thrown in their faces.  So I try to respect their feelings like I expect them to respect mine.”  

I told her jokingly that she was a new hero of mine.  People like her are few and far between, it seems.  I think there’s a lot of truth to what she says there, and it’s refreshing to know that there are people out there who understand that every action has a reaction.  If a gay man rides in the Pride parade down the street on a unicycle wearing nothing but a banana hammock and covered in rainbow paint, and people laugh at him, it doesn’t mean they are discriminating against someone whose goal is obviously to be seen in public flying their freak flag.  I wish we weren’t so quick to point the finger of discrimination in this country, but I also wish we’d be a little more cognizant that we exist together in the same environment.  Each of our actions affects many, many others’.

In the meantime, I want you to keep in mind after reading this that for every cause you support, someone supports the opposite cause.  Sure, we’ll have recurring national debates about things like the Defense Of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (borne out of irrational fear, if you ask me), but we need to — as a society — start treating each other with a little more respect.  And that includes those in the LGBT, feminist, and NAACP-type communities who are constantly pulling the fire alarm when there’s no fire.  Respect the feelings of the people next to you, the people you work with, the people you spend your time with.  Be careful of the things you say to those around you (as this guy needs to learn), and actually give some thought and evidence to the causes you choose to become an activist for (as I have).  Learn to support them thoroughly, but also learn to keep from becoming combative or militant because the delivery method of your message will become lost.  People want to “stumble upon” your message on their own, and will actively avoid your cause for no other reason than because it is human nature to defy someone who forces them to listen to or do something.  

After all, you’ll always catch more bees with honey than vinegar.

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As always, I appreciate you having taken the time to read this.  Without you, I’d have no reason to write!  Have a great week!

 

Is Physical Fitness An Indicator Of Success?

I’ve always thought that everyone should live how they want to live.  Who am I to judge them?  And further, who are they to judge me?

But just recently, as I was strrrretching myself back into working out on a regular basis, it occurred to me that I need a big, hairy, audacious goal to shoot for.  I began thinking about the studies I’ve read that say that in many cases, the lifestyle your close friends live is likely to be the one that you live.  I’ve been counting my blessings that I’m a social person, and thanks to Facebook, I’ve been drawing inspiration from people I never thought I would have:  Turns out that many of my old high school classmates are runner- or-triathlon-types, and I’ve been reading their struggles and triumphs through their Facebook updates.  And one day, it hit me:  They have achieved great things, but they’re not really much different than I am.  If they can do it, so can I!

There are many, many things to consider when going after your own personal fitness from nearly a dead stop (anyone have one of these?  I do…)…

But of all the benefits one could expect from working toward being at or near your peak fitness level, one of the greatest has been well-documented.  Increased alertness, more energy during the day, etc etc etc.  This link   http://www.youngmoney.com/careers/staying-fit-to-stay-sharp-in-your-career/ explains a few of the more commonsense ways that proper exercise and diet affect your workday. But what about the intangible effects?

It has been shown that the authority you wield as a fit person extends far past conversations about diets or workouts.  As a fit person, your opinion seems to carry a little more weight (ha!) than the flabby, unproductive guy’s opinion does, in some cases–simply by virtue of the fact that your lifestyle has taught you to divide large projects into bite-sized chunks, achieve a series of small goals while keeping your eye on the big picture, and above all (especially in business), produce results. These people have the ability to exert a subtle control over the group activities and discussions that they participate in–without either them or the group realizing it, most of the time, and it’s in the obviously different way that people tend to respond to extremely accomplished people.  This makes even your own coworkers respond to you as an instantly respectable person.  (Of course, we’ve all known people who were, “Perfect until he/she spoke,” so for now we’ll assume these people are all mutes.)

I know a few of these people, and am close friends with some of them–they’re into triathlons, marathons, martial arts, yoga–whatever it is, they have clearly defined muscles, and generally very clearly defined and concise parameters for how to achieve whatever success they strive toward.  These are people who you would look at and think, even if they lost their job, and all of their money, they’d still have their health and good looks.  (Come on, everyone has a little vanity to deal with…)

Does fitness indicate success?  Maybe not causally in a linear relationship, but it sure seems that once you’re fit, more opportunities come your way.  Here’s to taking on the Elephant, one bite at a time.

(No celebrity endorsement of Matthew McConaughey or kelly Ripa implied.)

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