There are various definitions for the word pride, but the one above is my favourite.
Something happened to me over the weekend. I met a man and I decided to leave a club with him. I'm not going to go into the details of how we met but he called me by my name and I was surprised that he knew me and I had no idea why he wanted to speak to me when he approached me.
After about five seconds of his lips meeting mine it became pretty clear. It's a Friday night, drinks have been drank so one thing is going to lead to another and people are going to leave together. But the difference here was that he didn't want anyone to see us leave TOGETHER. I get that Gibraltar is a small town and everybody jumps at the chance to talk so I went along with it.
As I casually walk out the door I notice he's already 20 metres in front of me. What this is, starts to become abundantly clear; he's in the closet. I lose track of him and I start walking home, a car speeds past me and comes to a halt as I cross the street, the door opens and it's him. I admit I was wary of getting in, but I do against my better judgement.
I imagine you know where this is going but the important thing is how it actually went. In a split second his personality does a 180 and he starts screaming at me, trying to get me out of the car, using your typical gay slurs. I convince him to at least drop me off at home. The whole time I'm asking for an explanation even though I know that I will not get one. When we get to my house things reach a head and the insults get worse. I reach my boiling point and before I get out of the car I do something completely out of character and punch him in the jaw.
When I walk in through the front door I admit defeat, I surrender to what I'm feeling and fall into a heap on my sofa. I of course cry, because I have a moment of doubt. Maybe his words are true, maybe I am undeserving, second rate goods, less than the rest and simply not good enough. Of course, deep down in my soul I know this is not true, I've worked hard enough on myself to know that I am worth my weight in gold, and that is a lot of gold.
I know that his reaction is nothing to do with me but had everything to do with himself. It was simply a case of internalised homophobia. He hated himself for who he really was and was projecting it on me. Somehow, I represent a threat to his perceived existence, to how his family and friends see him, to how they might reject him and so, he rejected me. Just because I have it all figured out and have been able to find a reason doesn't mean I am in no way affected by it. I feel disrespected, hurt, rejected, unlovable and maybe even worthless. But I know that just like any other storm it will eventually pass and I will undoubtedly be OK.
In some way my feelings are also attached to some compassion for what must be a horrible situation for a 30 year old man. Whilst I assessed what happened days later, I found that this is exactly why pride is important. Being proud of who you are, having consciousness of your own dignity. Not because I felt victimised, but because of the way I choose to live my life, true to who I am completely. Living openly could hopefully give courage for others who are in his situation to also live their lives completely. Being out there and open can be scary and sometimes your closest may not have the best reaction but there is nothing as satisfying as being able to live your life HONESTLY. Time passes and those who oppose your truth eventually learn to live with it, because above all else, love is stronger than fear and anger. Love yourself and the life you choose to lead. Be proud of who you are.