What Are You Scared Of?

You scared of me?  Huh?  Are ya?

I chuckle.

I am not a threat to anyone.

…..I hope.

Yesterday I reposted about Jamey Rodemeyer and much discussion about differences followed.

I have to come clean.

I am scared of differences.

Not threatened.  Usually.  But scared.

I don’t always know what the proper protocol is to engage in discussion.

Some people don’t want their differences pointed out.  Yet they make a point of being different.

Some seem to be different, glorify it and are open to any and all acknowledgement of it.  You don’t have to agree with them, like them, or even care.   They are secure, safe and strong in who they are.  They have a peaceful acceptance of themselves.   And you.  Me.  Anyone.

Some folks seem to try very hard to not be different about anything.  They want there to be a status quo.  They are comforted by static.  They want no differences.  They hope for no change.  They cannot accept, or even participate in, discussion about acceptance and differences.

I could go on.  For your sake, I will believe you get the picture I am trying to paint.  Our differences are immense.  And how we react to being different, as immense.  And how we react to other’s differences….

So.   I am scared of differences.

Because I am curious.

I am curious about why you are tattooed from head to toe.  I want to know what the tattoos mean.  If anything.  Maybe you just “like” them.   I am curious about the thinking process you go through to pick one out, get it, and cover your body.   I have tattoos.  I like tattoos.  You want to know why I have them?  What they mean?  Ask!  But I am sometimes afraid to ask others.  Sometimes I’m not.  If I am able to engage some people in conversation I do ask!

But some people do not encourage you to engage in conversation with them.

I am curious about relationships.   How did you meet?  Why do you like him?  Why do you like her?  What drives you insane about that person?    What makes you fill your life with this person?   I ask a lot of questions.   So many, in fact, that I often don’t give you a chance to fully answer.   Sorry about that.   I just want to know!

But some people are not open to you knowing about them.

What drives people to be passionate about their career?  Their hobbies?  Books?  Music?  Painting?  Red jelly beans?  Coffee?  Why do people fill their lives with a passion about some thing.   I am easily swayed in to thinking I need to try more.  My mom is trying to encourage me to take FlatFoot Dancing Lessons.   So I watched some videos.  Now I am convinced she is right.  Of course I have to do that.   And in looking in to that I find a world full of people who are passionate about it.   Look at them.   Watch their feet.  Watch how they go on and on.   You can see the passion in their feet.  In their faces.  I want to know when they started dancing.

Why do you shave your head?

Why do you color your hair?

What’s it like to be gay?

What’s it like to be Buddhist?

What’s it like to be Atheist?

What’s it like to be genius?

What’s it like to climb Mt. Everest?

What’s it like to be in a wheelchair?

What’s it like to be blind?

Why do you believe what you believe and why do you do what you do?

Why are you so confident?!?!??!   For real!  Please share this wisdom.

How do you become so gracious?

How do you exude such kindness?

How do you look in the mirror every day and not see the fear you instill in others?

Why do you hit your child?

Why do you take drugs?  What are you avoiding feeling?

I don’t want to know these things so that I may judge you.  I want to know these things so that I know.  I can’t promise I will understand.  I can’t promise you I will be fully comfortable.    But I can promise you I won’t hurt you because you are different.

Our differences don’t hurt us.

Our actions do.

I’m curious.

I am scared of differences.   Because I don’t want to offend.

But I do want to know.

What’s it like to be not me?

Only you can tell me.

46 thoughts on “What Are You Scared Of?

    • I agree with you completely. If you are going to permanently ink something on your body it should be something that means something today, and will still mean something in 50 years.

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    • Well….because it is late and I am tired I will tell you about my first tattoo. 🙂 It is a Celtic Shamrock double outline, that ends in a trinity knot, that the bottom drapes out in to my black belt. It is on the very top of my “back”. Right below and over a neck injury that occurred during training for my first degree black belt. Very symbolic for me for many reasons. 🙂 Thank you for asking!!!

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      • wow that sounds amazing and i can see how it would be meaningful! thank you for sharing even though you’re tired. 🙂

        every time i see someone with a tattoo, i tell them i like it (even if i don’t) and ask where they got it…that gets some great conversations going. i think the majority of people with them like when someone notices.

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    • Thanks Reviewer Rose. I have done a “180” in some regards. Where there was a time I wouldn’t have said a word, now I sometimes ask too much. I have to be careful and respect other’s boundaries and privacy. My “curiosity” does not over ride their right to privacy or to “just be”. 🙂

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  1. You make a great distinction between wanting to know so you can judge vs wanting to know so you can understand.
    I wonder if the ability to ask the question is hampered by our own experiences of being judged? And, maybe our ability to answer is as well…?
    It’s becoming much easier for me to ask people some of those questions. Is it because I’m older now? Is it because of going through therapy and accepting myself more now? You have me very curious about it all and I’ll be thinking on it all day!
    Thanks for opening up a great discussion!

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    • Thanks Denise Hisey. And…WOW. You really made some great points. I think my “aging” process has allowed me more ability (through experience, or wisdom, or loss of common sense) to ask more. To try and engage more. To be “less” insecure about myself.

      I have had many moments in life where I realized that I was judging. Or at the very least, appeared to be judging. I don’t want others to take a perception or a visual, and judge me. I’d rather they ask.

      You have given me some things to consider as well. Thank you!

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  2. I’m not sure I could describe what it is like to be an Atheist from my point of view, because I do not view the way I am the same as those who go out of their way to proclaim they are Atheist. I have no interest in arguing with anyone over their beliefs because I prefer people to actually be themselves rather than try to convince them to think like I do. I think it is a rather narrow label, but it is one I must use to save on time.

    The things I am afraid of, since I am in college right now, are: Forgetting to turn in assignments, not having speech outlines finished, not being prepared for when I have to give a speech, receiving failing grades and being kicked out school, freezing during my speech, and everything in-between.

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    • Thank you Heretic. 🙂 I appreciate your thoughtfulness to this.

      I would love to engage in conversation with others who “believe” differently than I do. Not for either of us, any of us, to try and change beliefs. I do think when it comes to ‘faith’, beliefs, politics, etc…most conversations do seem to be a persuasion and not a sharing of beliefs. I want the sharing. So I really appreciate your response.

      Your fears of school seem to echo some of what i had when I returned to school as an adult. Did you ever have the dream in high school or grade school of forgetting your locker combination? I had that dream all through my college years, even as an adult!!!! And I didn’t have a locker in college.

      (FYI just for you…I’ve had my THIRD guitar lesson. 🙂 )

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      • You know what is weird? I never had that dream any time through school, but I started having them in my mid-twenties. What is even funny is there are no lockers in my school, which makes having the dream even weirder.

        I wouldn’t mind that discussion, as long as it was more of a sharing thing rather than a persuasive argument.

        (Awesome! What is your instructor having you learn?)

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        • That’s the kind of discussion I like to have with others. Not a persuasive argument, just a sharing of “this is how I think/feel” and “wow, never saw it like that, this is how I always saw it”. I remember having a conversation in a small group of 3 and we all had differing opinions about something we had seen. One of us said “isn’t it amazing how we all saw the same thing, but we all saw it differently, how wonderful!”. I have thought of that every time I don’t see something the same way others do. And it is wonderful.

          (I really like him. He is having us do chords of course. But we are only using the bottom 3 strings G/B/E. We are using things like “The Simple Man” and “Knocking On HEaven’s Door” to practice the changing chords. My fingertips have already calloused! 🙂 )

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          • I had friends who had a tendency for talking philosophy while high. A lot of what they had to say was rather funny than serious because of their intoxication.

            (My guitar teacher started me out on on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising” and AC/DC’s “Back In Black” since they used basic open chords. Barre chords were learned by playing along to Ramone’s songs)

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            • I imagine those philosophical talks were quite entertaining! Or, possibly quite open if they had put their inhibitions aside. 😉

              (I immediately read this and found a chord chart for BAD MOON RISING. That was a little too ambitious! But I am getting my fingers to move a little bit better on the fret board. That is a huge relief.)

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    • I do know that people don’t like to be stared at. Who does? But often I am looking and WONDERING, not judging or condemning. So I smile. I speak. Most return the smile and/or the speak. But not all. But I continue to wonder.

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  3. Every time I think I have pegged one of your posts as my absolute favorite, you come up with another than deserves the title. Fantastic post, thoughts, questions, observations, writing, all of it. 🙂

    I am scared of differences too. Sometimes I’m scared of samenesses. I am interested, yet don’t want to offend with my curiosity. I’ll give you an example. Once I went to this 5k thing called the Color Run and I wore my weird toe shoes. I had never met anyone else who wore them, although I’d seen them once or twice in passing (someone jogging in Boulder, Colorado which is far from where I live, and which is where I bought my first pair of weird and funny and wonderful toe shoes). Anyhow. There I was with my friends wearing my weird toe shoes and I noticed someone else wearing them, but I didn’t have the nerve to walk up and say, “Hey! I got funny toe shoes, too!” Thankfully I was with a friend who has nerve and isn’t scared of differences or samenesses and she walked up to that other person, and next thing you know, we’re visiting each other’s blogs and I’m calling you CM. 😀

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    • 🙂 I remember having our differences pointed out to us so we could share! It was a great, and very fun, moment.

      I think this example is a great example. Our differences connected us. Your friend saw a bond in the making.

      Speaking of which…..it’s going to happen again! That Color Run!!!! 🙂

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  4. I believe that many who appeared to be different are in fact scared of normality.

    The person covered from head to toe in tattoo’s (or with any other major point of difference) can be the one intimidated. Normality is a strange concept so not understanding it and being unsure how to interact on that level can leave many feeling like ‘a freak’.

    I went through my stage like that. Maybe that’s why, as you say, “some people do not encourage you to engage in conversation with them”.

    It’s not that you don’t get them, it’s that they can’t get you.

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    • Excellent point! I have a young relative who told me the very thing! She said she didn’t feel like everyone else and feels that no one understands her choices. She isn’t offended by them not being like her. But she is uncomfortable trying to “be” like them. Then when she “appears” different because that is how she is comfortable, she knows she doesn’t blend in so feels unaccepted. And she recognizes she feels like this NOT because of what others say, but because she sees the differences and knows she cannot be “like” them. So she builds this very intimidation within her, without anyone having to say a word to her.

      She can’t get that others may very well accept her. But she doesn’t believe that.

      Thank you!

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  5. Boy did this one stir anxiety in me because I thought of so many things I’d love to say and then my insides came to a halting screeching “don’t say that!” I am afraid to say some things or to put things out there even loving kind things because of feedback I’ve gotten in the past or no feedback and then the vacuum, the void screams out to me “you idiot why didn’t you just keep quiet.” All this when I’m originating something because it makes me feel self conscious. For the most part, I don’t mind being asked things and am comfortable opening and being honest but we kill because we are different, we go to gas chambers for it or hang with a rope around our necks on trees, we bully because of it and that also takes lives; words are not so innocent and once it’s out there you can never take them back. There is no word that comes without an energy, a physiology. Candace Pert, wrote about the molecules of emotion (up for a Nobel Prize). For me, this is what speaks to all of this. A thought inside our head, that silent voice, once out there can be very dangerous. Is there really enough love around to embrace the differences? (BTW: I worked with a person, in the closet, so fearful of coming out, still today, because of this very issue. This was one of the inspirations for my writing my book and also placing it in history for the security and safety of this lovely wonderful human being). Thank you, Colleen. Paulette

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    • Paulette, you speak my fears as well. I will say that there is MUCH (believe it or not!) that I do not say. For the reasons you expressed.

      But I have said much, that I never would have said, before.

      Before what?

      I don’t know. But “before”.

      When I speak, or write something, I do fear the response or as you point out – the lack of response. And yet I know I sometimes don’t respond because I am unable to formulate clear thoughts on a subject so perhaps others don’t respond for the same reason. Or I don’t respond because it’s something that does prompt feelings of anxiety.

      I make a very conscious decision to not speak about certain things or express certain feelings. And we certainly have that right.

      I hope though that if there are things you truly want to say or write, you find the way to do it that helps you. I will read it. And respond. Safely to your concerns.

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  6. I write because I can slink behind a character; I can let a reader in without outright saying, “Hey. THIS is what I think, feel, believe. THIS is how I am different. THIS is who I am.”

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  7. You spoke my heart and mind here…and I wanted you to know that I think tattoos are cool, I’m just not sure I want them on my body 😉 or stand the pain of having them on…

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    • Hello Tropical Home! I don’t like the pain either. That’s why I only have two. 😉

      And it often surprises others to see or realize I have them. They are not easily viewed by others.

      I’m glad you felt what I was saying. Thank you.

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  8. Ahh…there is indeed a difference in the asking when it’s for understanding and out of getting to know someone … vs asking because of judgemental things.

    Still … for those that seem less approachable? Perhaps it is not because they fear judgement from you … but from within? (Ack…my insecurities are showing!) Because I am clearly Irish … many will conclude that I am catholic. When something comes up that pertains to this and I withdraw (not intentionally, but I am aware I do this) … I think some believe me less approachable.

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    • Makes complete sense. I often don’t speak up, or don’t respond to blogs, because I am concerned my comments will not measure up to what someone else wrote. It is my self judgment that is more cumbersome, sometimes, than even the possibility of other’s judgment.

      Brilliant Irish Katie.

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      • Ohhh …. I am the same way with whether I comment or not. But in general, that happens mostly when I do not know someone well. If I ‘know’ them…and have become friends with them, then I tend to comment. It might take me a day or so to gather my thoughts … but I think friends like to know what others are thinking, even if it is not in agreement.

        And … I find that people of similar minds gravitate towards one another. Not necessarily in political/religous/economic/etc view…but in the way they approach communication. And I think those I am friends with know that what is said by me…and by them…are not said in judgement. *smiles*

        By the way … just so you know … the “I am not catholic” comment I made … I think it will confuse some … for I definately come from a strong Irish Catholic family. (I find as much as I try to show that not all Irish are red headed, green-eyed, fiery tempereed, Maureen O’Hara’s … I unfortunately at times do fall into stereotypical categories. It was pointed out for instance, that me and my brothers all have ‘typical’ Irish names. And we did have the obligatory sibling in the clergy. My brother Michael used to wear a collar.)

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        • I so look forward to comments from others. Some, I literally have to hold my breath to hit the publish button. I never worry about disagreements, I worry someone will wonder on to my page, be offended by something and I can’t take back that impression they took from my writing. I worry about offending more than anyone ever disagreeing with me. I have been very fortunate in having wonderful people respond, agree or disagree, they have all been very respectful.

          Ah…..all Irish fall in to one category in my head: LUCKY. 😉

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  9. Hi Colleen. You realise Persecution of Mildred Dunlap was inspired by this post of yours? I was over there, saw it.

    It IS inspiring, Colleen. Crazy how we need to be BRAVE to love someone…

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  10. What a wonderful post but only the beginning to the million other questions generated from both the questions you ask, and the answers you get. Thank you for sharing this. Also thank you for stopping at by blog and liking my post on my favorite movie. I appreciate the time you spent visiting. Take care and much success. Bill

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