I’m proud to be…(?)

proud

adjective

  1. feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one’s own achievements, qualities, or possessions or those of someone with whom one is closely associated. “a proud grandma of three boys “Similar: pleased (with) glad (about/at) happy (about/at/with) delighted (about/at/with) joyful (at) overjoyed (at/over) thrilled (at/about/by/with) well pleased (with) satisfied (with) gratified (at)content (at)appreciative (of) opposite: ashamed
  2. having or showing a high or excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance. “he was a proud, arrogant man”.

Body

My body is part of me, but not all of me.

I suppose I would loosely say: I’m body, mind and spirit.

I include spirit because I feel that for me, spirit a big part of the puzzle of being human.

I’m overweight, and my doctor says I’m ‘obese’ because my BMI (Body Mass Index) is over 30.

Am I proud to be obese? No. Because I don’t equate my body with my identity.

But then maybe, I’m supposed to be proud of being obese(?) I’ve seen TV programs where very large women saying that they were ‘big and proud’.

It ‘seems’ that almost every ‘minority’ or ‘persecuted community’s’ response, is to become proud of being in that community.

I can’t really see any harm in doing that, but is that really necessary?

I do identify as male, but that’s only part of me, and I’m not proud to be male. My genitalia does not define my gender. My brain defines my gender.

From about age 15 to age 26 I was gender fluid. I wore make up and wore trendy clothes and had hair that was kind of out there.

My pronouns are: them, their, they and theirs because it’s inclusive and does not exclude anyone. BTW: I’ve had these pronouns way before they became trendy.

Political correctness is about stopping hurtful, hateful, harmful speech. The origins of political correctness are very positive, but sometimes we can be annoying if we are overly politically correct.

Sexuality

We have recently had ‘Pride Month’, which is a very positive thing for the LGBTIQ community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Intersex, Queer), and for all persons learning about inclusiveness.

I do not equate sexuality with identity, and I also do not equate sexuality with pride.

‘Desire, behaviour and identity are distinct, and they do not always overlap. Someone who is celibate may also have strong sexual desires or even a particular sexual identity; someone may identify as heterosexual but have homosexual experiences; most people will have sexual desires that are not necessarily acted out in practice.’

– Professor Dennis Altman. [i]

So I don’t understand when people say they are proud to be Gay etc.

I do understand when someone says: “I’m no longer feeling shameful about my sexuality”. Or “I no longer carry all the negative and hateful things that people have said to me about my sexuality”.

I’m asexual (a person who generally does not feel sexual attraction or desire to any group of people), but I’m not proud to be asexual, and neither do I go around telling people that is who I am.

I’ve also never heard a heterosexual say they were proud to be heterosexual…and there are plenty of heterosexual people who struggle or have issues with their sexuality.

We do not choose to whom or what we are sexually attracted to. Even if someone is attracted to children, they don’t choose that for themselves. Sexuality is neither wrong or right it just is. It’s our behaviour that dictates whether something is wrong or right.

I’ve never heard Jeffery Epstein say that he was proud that he was attracted to children. (Remember its behaviour not sexual orientation that’s the issue). Apparently there are plenty of people out there who are attracted to children (men and women) who have never harmed a child.

Sexuality is a significant and a very important part of being human, but it’s not all that I am.

Being an older person my libido is almost non-existent, so sexuality is no longer that important to me. Whereas, when I was young, 13 to 45 years, sexuality was very significant, but I was never proud of it.

I find horses very sensual, but I have never wanted to have sex with a horse. I just like to pet them and be close to them. I like women’s feet, but I don’t define myself by feets.

I like the way we talk about mental illness these days i.e. I have bipolar disorder. Or I’m having a depressive episode. I have PTSD. Or I have alcoholism. I am unhappy, becomes: there is some unhappiness within me.

Then I find it more helpful to say: I have same sex attraction, instead of: I am Gay, Lesbian etc.

Another reason I’m not comfortable with ‘I am Gay’ is, this puts me in a box, compartmentalising oneself. In the past I spent a lot of time compartmentalising my experiences because I experienced so much trauma. This was a way of coping with so much abuse. This compartmentalising is very restricting and stops me living my life fully. These days I tell the truth as much as possible, instead of selecting what a say or not say about the past.

Ethnicity and Colour

We have just had NAIDOC week here in Australia, and there are plenty of ads where people say that they are proud to be Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander. Once again this is a very positive important week for people to learn about other communities and cultures. And again this is excellent for inclusiveness. But being proud of ethnicity or colour baffles me.

Once again I understand when someone says: “I no longer feel embarrassed or feel any shame about being Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander”.

I’m not proud to be Anglo-Saxon and white. I just am that.

I do understand what it’s like to be ostracised just for being. I grew up in a small ‘red neck’ town and I didn’t fit in.

I was bullied and teased just because I didn’t fit in, according to that town’s judgment of who was acceptable and who wasn’t. It was horrible.

James Brown’s song (which I enjoy) Say It Loud, I’m Black & I’m Proud is a very positive song.

Did I achieve the colour of my skin? Or was I born this way?

Or once again, is it because of racist, hateful speech and behaviour from others that I choose then to be proud of my skin colour?

So what are examples of being proud?

I’m so proud of the way I brought up my children to respect other people.

I’m really proud of my willingness to get fit and lose weight.

I’m so proud of my garden, and all the years of work I put into it to make it flourish.

I’m proud of myself for all the work I’ve done on letting go of resentment and hatred towards my abuser.

After my breakdown in 1999 I began to become interested in other things, instead of just my addictions. I’m proud of who the person I became. One who is now interested in many things and is intelligent and thoughtful.


[i] The term ‘LGBTI’ confuses desire, behaviour and identity — and it’s time we rethink it