“Nobody sees anybody truly but all through the flaws of their own egos. That is the way we all see …each other in life. Vanity, fear, desire, competition– all such distortions within our own egos– condition our vision of those in relation to us. Add to those distortions of our own egos the corresponding distortions in the egos of others, and you see how cloudy the glass must become through which we look at each other. That’s how it is in all living relationships except when there is that rare case of two people who love intensely enough to burn through all those layers of opacity and see each other’s naked hearts.”
June is one busy month, Pride Festival, HRC Gala, parties, arts festival, and on and on. I hear every year how glad people are once June is over—and they can truly begin to somewhat relax and enjoy the summer. I know I feel that way, and I have heard it expressed a lot this June of 2013.
Another common topic or theme that seems to be trending, posted, and discussed is how much of what occurs during June every year keeps people caught up in the thick of thin things.
Why are gay people so mean to one another, so comparative, so elitist, so downright bitchy? How does the queer community really do what Tennessee Williams suggests above and burn through the pretense, the illusion, the plasticity, and get to the caring and celebration of each and every person? Does it have to do with respect? Maturity and dignity? Cause and concern? Purpose and contribution? What? What the hell gets in our way? I think it boils down to ego, and the only ego we can really change, alter, or check — is our own!
A future leader, game-changing, young gay man I admire, Issac Higham, posted a week or so ago — “What the hell is wrong with some people? Why is it so hard to just be nice to others? I hear and read so many comments from members of the gay community that bash other members of the community for being ‘too fem,’ ‘too closeted,’ ‘too slutty,’ or hundreds of other examples of pointless putdowns. For a community so desperate for freedom to live life the way we feel is right for ourselves, we should be more accepting of each other.”
We may disagree, you don’t have to be friends with everyone, or even like everyone, but at least stop attacking each other! There are plenty of ignorant, hateful people willing to do that already.”
Isaac’s words and example is one of hundreds you hear or see every day. Why does this permeate so hugely in the queer community? I would like to offer ego as the reason.
I used to have a boss that would holler as people would enter a business meeting “check your ego at the door,” and his rule worked, and innovation, collaboration, creativity, sustainable solutions, and team building were always results of his advice.
Yep, ego, coming from Latin, where it means “I, myself.”
When others use the word in today’s vocabulary, they typically are referring to someone else that is me-myself-and-I absorbed, so much so they can’t see anything else. I am using the word in this Queer Shift column to bring awareness to how everyone has to be fully informed of their own ego, to make sure that it doesn’t run amok and turn them into a self-absorbed asshole. Here are some early self warning signs or behaviors of the unchecked EGO, which I hope support my assumption. Being; judgmental, pushy, pessimistic, manipulative, overbearing, hasty, stubborn, dictatorial, overzealous, rigid, defensive, unrealistic, indiscriminate, blind, naive, inflexible, uninspired, paranoid, inconsiderate, anxious, political, overly-competitive, showcasing your brilliance, seeking acceptance, comparative, complaining, criticizing, reckless, impractical, restrictive, know-it-all, detached.
Ego and Scarcity Thinking go hand in hand down the road to becoming a miserable, ornery, isolated, and at times lonely person and hateful community. I talk a lot about Scarcity versus Abundance Thinking and to tie it together here–I’d like to offer some abundant behaviors that won’t eradicate this issue, but it may help those who want to hear, consider, and be change agents for a better queer community.
Abundance Consciousness begins with a sense of gratitude, giving other people credit for their contributions and victories, read opinions that differ from theirs, talk about ideas and possibilities, share information, exude joy, embrace change, dream, forgive others, accept responsibility for their failures, want others to succeed, embrace self & community growth, continuously learn, expose themselves to different people, and operate from a transformational perspective.
When someone like myself offers opinion and suggestions such as these, they can be thought as judging too, but this is humbly offered as a plea for engaging in becoming a more healthy community. Healthy in our behaviors, our connection, our similarities–rather than harping on our differences. Truly.
And hopefully if we could all collectively do this–then the meta question that keeps arising of why can’t the queers get along and celebrate the totality of all of us, would dissipate. Maybe, just maybe–the drag queens, twinks, twunks, lezzies (lipstick and bull dyke), bears, uber bottoms, cowboys, hasbians & yestergays, rackers, bis, trannies, gender neutral & non-conformists, power tops, rubber aficionados, chasers, trans*, leather men, boys, bois, cubs, two spirits, non-binaries, misstresses, masochists, gender-fluids, fruit flies, fag stags, doms, subs, slaves, divas, jocks, circuit boys, gay listers, show queens, faeries, art fags, Grindr addicts, barebackers, suburbigays, nerdigays, daddies, ultra femmes, under-ragers, faux butches, throuples, frat boys, starry eyeds, rough trades, gutter punks, sex traders, porn stars, and YES even dirty bath waters could all just simply CELEBRATE DIFFERENCES, beginning with ALL of ourselves. Q
“I work really hard at trying to see the big picture and not getting stuck in ego. I believe we’re all put on this planet for a purpose, and we all have a different purpose… When you connect with that love and that compassion, that’s when everything unfolds.”