I want to write something for the people who live a bit differently than everyone else, for the people whose normal is considered exotic, for the people who spend most of their time explaining themselves to members of the majority who feel entitled to explanations.
Too often lately, I’ve heard people question and judge other, less mainstream groups under the guise of “I just want to understand you.”
And of course, you’re a nice person. You, as a minority, want to educate people but at a certain point, it’s exhausting. Your every day is spent playing nice and speaking slow to the people who can’t even fathom your normal. But I want you to know it’s not your responsibility to 1) represent everyone in your minority group by speaking for everyone in your group and 2) to constantly feel like the Abe Lincoln robot at the Hall of Presidents, armed with facts and responses to teach the gaping masses.
I don’t want to use this space to address the people asking, the majorities, those who are so used to going wherever they want, wearing whatever they want, being affectionate in public, etc. They’ve been addressed enough. I want to use it to give a little boost to people who have to continually explain themselves. You need to know that no one is entitled to an explanation about your life. No one is entitled to know why you have chosen what you’ve chosen. No one is entitled to anything from you.
Here’s what I mean by entitled: The person who says, “Well how am I supposed to understand you if you don’t take the time to explain it to me?” Guess what? You do not have to feel badly about saying “no” to that. Your life is not their “research.” Your time is not owed to them for the betterment of humanity. If they are truly curious, they can look it up. They can educate themselves. Don’t ever feel like you are required to present yourself to someone else like you’re competing for Miss America. Their approval is not necessary, even though they think it is. The idea that further divides will be created because you, the minority dares to be different and unfamiliar to the hierarchy at hand, or because you refuse to constantly explain yourself to people who have never had to explain anything to anyone in their lives.
“Entitled” are the people who think your stubbornness and tears and anger and silly emotions are getting in the way of their very rational, very reasonable discussion of a thing that has never, and will never, personally affect them. That if only you would stop being so invested and taking everything so seriously (ie: your own life), you could explain your very soul to these peering, judgmental eyes in a detached and comfortable manner that this majority deems appropriate.
You don’t owe them anything. You can walk away from this discussion. You can let them think you’re “difficult” or “a bitch” or just perpetrating stereotypes about “your kind of people.” Let them talk. They cannot begin to imagine the magic and the hardship of your life. They are small, while you are vast — as Walt Whitman said: “containing multitudes.” They want to be spoon-fed from a safe distance. They have bathed in convention and privilege and then, they want to dissect you like it’s fun. They feel entitled that you answer them, that you address their curiosity on their schedule and be open to their rebuke; They’ve never known what that’s like and they feel anyone daring to be outside of their sphere and scope of knowledge is asking to be interrogated and criticized. You must answer to them on high for they are the majority and you are choosing — or were born — to be wayward.
Guess what? No one is entitled to any explanations from you. If they ask, from now on: let ’em squirm. For once, they don’t get to understand everything.