An Open Letter to the Man at Walmart from Texas
You mutter this under your breath as if I can’t hear you. The old me would have turned around and spouted off something biblical or possibly the typical, “How can you say your sins are less than mine?” However, I’ve changed. With each growing day I realize if you sit three people in a room, they will all have different backgrounds. They all have different stories, different ideas, different morals, and different opinions. I say opinions because that’s exactly what you are expressing by calling me a “dyke”. You sir, don’t know me from Adam. You don’t know my name, my history, my heritage, MY opinions, let alone my sexual orientation. Okay, so, yes I am gay. That’s not the point. Just as you don’t know me,
I DON’T KNOW YOU!
So, I choose to turn and look you in the eyes. They tell a long, tired, bitter past. “Where are you from?” A simple question from the “dyke” and you’re caught with your mouth agape and confusion in your stare. “I’m from Texas.” Interesting. Texas. I’ve never been there, but I’ve always wanted to visit. They say everything is bigger there, everything including opinions. “I’m from Michigan.” I’ve made it personal. You know something about me, I know something about you. Has your opinion changed of me? “I am not certain, but I believe you labeled me.” Whether it be that you labeled me correctly or incorrectly is my business. “I’m sorry?” Is that a question are you asking me if you’re sorry? You may not know my past and you may not quite be interested. I just wanted to know where you were from to indeed let you know, that I too have a home. I too have a family, and I too am human. I may be younger than you, but I’m not lacking in personal experiences and hardships. I too am just trying to make it in this world. “No sir, I’m sorry that you felt the need to make our worlds collide by one derogatory statement. I’m sorry if something upset you when you woke up this morning. I love you and I hope that doesn’t make your skin crawl too much.” I love you? Yes, a stranger just told you she loves you. It’s only because I do. I love every person that has ever bullied me, openly shared their negative opinions of me, or labeled me. Only because it’s made me even more individual. It has added to my experiences, added to my rebellion, and added to my heart. I have lived my life with my emotions on my sleeves and suddenly sir, in this moment, I have clarity. A clear view of who I am and who I am supposed to be. I am supposed to be understanding, patient, and kind. So kind as to look the man who just muttered a slanderous label under his breath and let him know, that I am grateful. You have shown me that I don’t have to be who you say I am. I can make my own name for myself. I can be whoever I choose to be.
But I’m still gay.
The Girl from Michigan