Courage and Cowardice

I’m still thinking about motivations, so, please bear with me. 

I don’t think of myself as a physically  brave person. With the exception of a threat to my wife, when my fight or flight reflex kicks in I leave. It’s just the way I am. I don’t like physical conflict. Fighting hurts.

On a different level, I’m thinking more about emotional bravery. I’m thinking about why I write these. 

I’ll be the first one to tell you about any of the ghosts of my past you’d care to ask about. Those demons are part of who I am. Sometimes I still wrestle with them. Sometimes they want to come into my now. They can haunt me but, they aren’t allowed to tempt me. There’s no glory back there.There’s only darkness and despair…and a few stories that might be worth telling…and a few laughs. That doesn’t take any bravery or courage, all it  takes is being honest with myself and you. 

It’s what compels me to write these that I’m questioning. I put my real name on these. I make not the tiniest attempt to hide who I am. That picture is really what I look like. I’ve said that these are for Aj and Z. They are also real people. Those are the names I address them by. If you were to back track, you could find their last names in a previous post. They gave me permission to use their names. That took courage. For them to allow, with no editorial oversight, me to make posts about them takes trust. They trust that I’ll use my words and thoughts for them. That is the crux of my dilemma. 

Am I being courageous for voicing an unpopular opinion by defending my friends or, am I a coward because I had to borrow my courage from them? 

It really isn’t hard for me to type into a screen. There’s no emotional loading on the page itself. If I don’t like what I see, then I move on. If I don’t like my words, I backspace out. My thoughts can be laid out in some type of order and the filtered. Finally, thought complete, I make the post. No bravery there. Someone says something to me, here, that I don’t want to see? I delete.

My friends have fewer choices. Either to deny themselves the freedom to openly live as they are or to go on and live their lives knowing that there will be consequences for being themselves. At this point in time, there is no middle ground that I can see. They have both decided that they would allow me to share, with them and you, their lives. At least, filtered through my words, share them.

As I see it, being openly Pagan in a southern state will never be an easy thing and was, very probably, very hard. It would have been far easier to simply go to church on Sunday morning and keep up appearances. That may well have been my choice. As I’ve said, I don’t think of myself as brave. 

Being openly gay is a set of issues that I can not imagine. The stupid questions “why did you decide to be gay?” The hurtful comments “you know you are a sinner?” The randomly prejudicial views saying that “you know being gay leads to being a pedophile?” The nonsense “which one of you is the man in the relationship?” The institutionalized prejudice that approves of not allowing adoptions, marriages, custody, and firing without cause is beyond what I could deal with. I do not know what I’d have done if I’d been created that way. Just the societal bullying alone would have pushed me to, I think, deny who I was. 

It is not really brave for me to defend them. There are no real societal repercussions and no legal problems for me. My demographic, no matter what some of us might think, is NOT being persecuted. It looks like, to me, that being a lady is hard enough for them without the other stuff that God has put in their selves. Being a white, Christian, male in Texas is simple. If a few people I know don’t want to see my words they don’t. My life will not be physically threatened. Their lives have a very real chance of that.  They face their difficulties out there, in the real world.

So, I think I’m a coward. I think that my openness with my views and my words stem from being afraid. My defense of them is because of the standard of courage I see. I am afraid that if I don’t walk beside those Ladies and defend them, I will find myself wanting. I am afraid that I will not be worthy of them. I think that if I ran from people thinking less of me for defending the rights of Aj and Z, then that would make them turn away from me. I think that I could not bear that and out of fear of that loss, I write and hope someone listens. Avoiding a greater consequence, loss of treasured friends, and chancing a lesser one, societal disapproval, is not bravery. I was an addict for the majority of my life. I can handle societal disapproval. What I will never be willing to risk is the disapproval of Aj and Z. 

What I am is a friend to my friends. I do not care what society thinks of them. As far as I know, neither do they. What I am willing to do is to shout “These are good people. They are probably braver than you. They have as much right to their lives as you. Who the hell are you to tell them otherwise? Who the hell are you to judge them and find them less than you?”

Perhaps I’m neither brave nor a coward? Perhaps I am merely being true to myself? I don’t really care that much what, except for a select few, anyone thinks of me. Perhaps all it takes is a voice and honesty…and some borrowed courage from a couple of good examples. They loaned me some of theirs. I repay it as I can. 

I’m not sure I came to any conclusion in my own mind here. Sorry. Maybe I’ll think more on it. Maybe I’ll just stay conflicted with my motivation. Guess I did come to one conclusion, I’ll keep making posts and defending my friends as long as they’ll let me, no matter if I’m courageous or a coward.



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