March 5, 2012 § 1 Comment
The entire time I was reading Linnea Due’s essay, “Growing Up Hidden,” the only response I had was “Wow.” Not that this is a foreign concept to me, but a concept that continues to make me angry and sad. This woman spent a huge portion of her life growing up as someone other than herself. It pains me to think that people do this every day, and not just those who are gay. Many are taught at a young age that they must live a certain way to be accepted because of the standards of perfection that our society has created. No one should ever pretend to be someone they’re not, but the fact is people do it every single day and some of them never really become the person they know themselves to be. It just goes to show the influence the fear of judgment and the desire to be accepted have on people.
I can relate to this in a sense, having gone through something similar. Like Due, I too tried to hide my sexual orientation for some time—dating men to try to prove to myself and to others that I still liked them. But of course this accomplished nothing, except that I was pleasing everyone but myself. It came to a point where I had to decide that making myself happy was more important than living a lie to please others. However, unlike Due I am fortunate to have friends and family who support me and love unconditionally.
It’s sad to think that so many make it almost their job to “stay undercover” in order to please others and in the process hurting themselves even more. Life becomes a game of hide-and-seek (only without the ‘seek’), with people concealing themselves in the environment and dreading the moment when they are “found” because they fear how they will be viewed. Approval is such a big thing in the world when it shouldn’t matter. We shouldn’t care what others think of us and yet it influences everything we do.