I had a wonderful time tonight at my gay dad "therapy" group. I use the word "therapy" loosely, it is a support group, men in various stages of identifying who they are, and an opportunity to share each others' stories. It is powerful, enlightening and satisfying. There are things shared among the group that is bonding. I feel trusted, heard, and validated. Whereas through most of my life I was never in a place, among a group where I felt I could be heard and share my innermost feelings. I denied myself that because of judgement, social norms (which are damaging) and shame. These feelings were imposed upon me at an early age, then I believed them for myself. The true damage happened when I self-loathed myself because of those impositions!
After having an invigorating evening of trust and support....a few of us decided to go get a snack and further our conversation. Once we arrived at this "sports bar" to get an appetizer.....we were met with a loud din that permeated the entire place. Not knowing that this was a suburban waterhole for the 20 somethings, we took a seat. For the first 30 minutes we were able to tolerate the loud and obnoxious laughter, yelling, and general disrespect for everyone eating and enjoying themselves.....these 2 tables were in riotous fits of chaos. I asked 2 waitresses to see if they would kindly ask if these people could tone things down a bit. I received the comment that these people had been here all day, and that the manager would take care of it.
20 minutes later the problem had escalated. I got up from my chair and went and asked a young lady to limit her loudness, because we could not carry on a conversation at our table. I was told to F....off. Then the 2 tables became aware of my conversation and they all clapped and mocked me as I returned to my table. I had said my peace. The wait staff witnessed it and came and apologized. 10 minutes later I received another loud message from the young lady....this was a public place and she had every right to yell. The wait staff went over to her and ask that she be quiet.
This example brings to my mind a sense of entitlement that many people have in society today. There is a general disrespect for individuals and how people are treated. It runs rampant in "Suburbia America" and it disturbs me. I find it offensive when individuals that do have good jobs, good houses, opportunities surround them.....talk in degrading words for others that are less fortunate, don't fit the social norm, or may step outside themselves and speak up, only to be told to "get back in line" that "you are worthless, unworthy and a vagrant"!
I came from a small farming community. I was told that I would not make anything of my life from my high school counselor (most of my siblings had the same person tell us that). I was a first generation college student. One of the first from my family to graduate from college, then go on to get an advanced degree. I received help, I needed help to get to where I am. If those people that were at the "watering hole" tonight were part of the influencers in my life then, I would have been told to go back to where I came from, I do not belong, I do not have a chance. Is that really fair? In a country where we are free, can succeed and gain increase. I am offended that this type of behavior runs rampant. This general disrespect for others (not knowing others' specific situations, yet being able to judge them at a moments notice). This tires me.
I do have faith in humanity. I do hope that the people who do speak up are loud enough to make a difference. I hope to be one of those difference makers.