Respect.

How did I get here? Where’s my devil-may-care attitude? I’m without my mohawk, I hide my tattoos, no skimpy tops and overtly ripped jeans – hell, not a shred about me projects controversy. Unless you want to pick on the only rebellious streak I have in me which is that red streak in my hair *yawn*.  I’m not saying I miss being a freak show, attracting head turning wide-eyed stares – a significant thematic reaction usually provoked with the act of levitation.

It’s not like I want to be controversial but looking back at pictures when I was in Melbourne and first got back to KL, it is a huge leap to where I am now. This does not confine to physical appearance. It is mental too. I no longer share details with strangers I once thought mundane – I don’t now drop the word “lesbian”, “gay” or make statements like “My girlfriend said…” and “Angelina Jolie IS the reason to be gay!” without giving second thought.

I hated the stares, the whispers, the disapproving glances from the elderly. Slowly I started eliminating little parts of me. I dropped the “gay cuffs”. Made do without jeans with holes in ’em. Styled my hair downwards instead of upwards. Until I became like everybody else. Now when I see myself in the mirror, I see someone who’s downplayed, drifting below the radar, low-profile…. and well, its almost like a different me from a year back. So I have been pondering. At first I thought maybe its the society here that is dictating me and shaping me to this rather run-of-the-mill chick.

But you know what? No it’s not society cos if I still had that devil-may-care attitude, I wouldn’t be bothered with the glances or stares or head shakes or whatever. It’s just me. I am conforming. Yes the culture here is so that I would have to think twice before I wear a shirt that says “My Girlfriend Loves Me” but I am not going to use that as an excuse. Nobody makes you do anything you don’t want to and likewise, nobody prevents you from doing anything you want to do. Its fear of standing out. Fear of being feared. Fear of being different. Fear of being rejected, when you are being your total self. Or so I thought.

I am sure there are many factors that play in with how I’ve changed – not just physically but mentally. Perhaps it is being in a relationship with someone who is not able to be her total self due to her profession, so there’s a sense of responsibility to respect her privacy by being private about my life with her. Perhaps its working in a company that albeit provides room for creativity, is dictated by a pro-Christian evangelist who clearly is uncomfortable with “gay characters”.

For so long a part of my sexuality has been ingrained and it was almost my entity and not just part of it. Now, I have ceased to verbally and physically flaunt my sexuality, even though deep inside I know there is absolutely nothing wrong with being the way I am. For the longest time, I convinced myself that I’ve changed because I am fearful of the society I live in. Fearful of judgement and rejection. It took me a while for me to realize that to the contrary, I have changed because I have learned to respect.

I am respectful of the society I live in. I respect my partner’s privacy. I respect my company enough to want to represent them in a professional manner. I respect myself enough to not be the subject and topic of conversation in public, at work, amongst friends…etc. I have become a more private person but that is only because I no longer want the unnecessary attention. I respect myself not to be the pun of your jokes and amusement. A fleeting topic of conversation.  I am not just your novelty gay friend, neighbor and colleague….anymore.

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One comment

  1. Inwe Inglorion · · Reply

    I TOTALLY understand where you're coming from, having been back to SG for over 3 years now.And you're right – it's not society that's downplaying you or shaping you. You're still you despite how you now carry yourself and people can still tell that we're different, but there are certain situations where the lesser attention the better.And never be fearful of judgement. Easy to say, hard to execute. I am often faced with social situations in which I was fearful of "exposing" my "little secret" but I've learnt not to let them undermine me.At the end of the day, I still feel very much accepted, and thank god for that.I love this entry of yours. 🙂

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