Friday, September 9, 2016

Don't run from adversity

Thursday night, I had the chance to speak with a very successful, powerful, and influential leader.  She is an out lesbian.  I have had the privilege of knowing her for almost 10 years.  She has done many great things in her career.   Being gay has not been a central part of her story.

She mentioned that someone on her staff talked about my story with her.  If you follow this blog, chances are you know that I was married recently.  Just after our marriage, we were outed in the press in Nigeria.  It was a painful few weeks as we were attacked via social media, on our cell phones, and via every avenue you can imagine.  People who are hateful will find a way to get to throw vitriol at you from every angle if they can.

I bring this up because this respected mentor of mind asked me one simple question:

"Did you ever think of just unplugging from all of your social media so that they wouldn't get to you?"

I listened to her question and thought about it for a minute.  Yes, over and over again during that first week of texts, whatsap messages, Facebook posts and messages, evil emails, and disgusting comments on our blogs and other social media, I thought I wanted to crawl under a rock and just not let anyone find me ever again.  I wanted to change my email address, my phone number, delete this blog, eliminate my Facebook, twitter, instagram, and other social media accounts and start from scratch.  

As I watched the love of my life pace, cry, not eat, and come to terms with the entire thing, I wanted to do anything in my power to fix it. 

Running from adversity lets the haters win.  We cannot let them win in their hate.  We must stand up against it. 

I chose to not run.  I chose to face the bullies.  I remember facing bullies in elementary school and in high school.  Just because I'm gay doesn't mean I can't fight.  To me, it means I fight smarter and harder because I have more to lose.  

I chose to respond with love or neutrality.  I didn't let the hateful people receive hate in return.  I asked my friends and family who were also being attacked to only respond in love.  If we choose to respond to someone's hate with our own hate, we are as bad if not worse than we are.  I am going to love, love, love, love, love.

Jesus said that when someone hits you, you should turn the other cheek so they can hit that too.  That has always been very tough for me to do.  What I do try to do is to respond in a calm and loving way. It isn't easy.  I don't always succeed.  Sometimes my temper takes over and I lash out.  

When I do succeed at responding in love, I feel a happiness, a warmth, a feeling I can't describe come over me. I'm proud of myself.  I'm reminded that some people don't know why they are treating you badly.  In rare cases, the haters don't know how to react and stop hurting you.  If someone is full of evil, they will continue to try to hurt you.  That's when I choose to back off.  I don't run away.  I don't hide from them.  I retreat to a safe place and send my love and positivity out from there.  You don't have to stay close to it to get hurt.  I can mentally, spiritually, and physically move myself to a safe place to respond.  

May God grant me the love, the blessings, the peace, and the ability to always respond in love.  May hate never win. 

Love rules. 

We danced to this at our wedding.  I'm not going to let anyone take that love away.

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