What will the neighbours think?

What will the neighbours think? What will people say? They will point, and stare, and mock, and whisper, and say it out loud, spread the word, use it against you, twist your words, take it out of context, judge you, they will judge you, and then…
..then nothing. They judged you. Good for them. This shows more about who they are than who they think you are. If you care, that shows more about who you think you are, rather who your true self is.
I have always been concerned about what others thought of me. Growing up gay in Greece didn’t really help either. I always carried this secret in me, aware of its enormity, unwilling to even consider telling my family. People could tell from a young age, not because I had a love for the Spice Girls and hang out mostly with girls (although both were accurate indications), but because people can. I still remember when a boy from my class came to me when I was 6 and said that his dad told him we could not be friends. When I asked why, he said his dad that I a faggot. When I asked him what a faggot was, he shrugged and said he didn’t know, but whatever it was, I was it, so we could not hang around anymore. I said ok, but never mentioned this to anyone else, because what if they knew what was a faggot (and then explained it to me) and we both realised that I was one and did not want to be my friends either? I remember that the moment that exchange finished, I looked around and felt a weight building up in my chest. Everything and everyone around me could be taken away in a second if they knew who I was; what I was.
I think that the Greek society relies heavily on what others think of others. You are thought of, therefor you are. Even though I grew up believing that I did not give a shit about it, I can now see it has been ingrained quite deeply in me. I care about what others say. I know that you can not be loved from everyone, but I kind of wanted to be. Now, as so much has happened, I realise that this is shifting. I want to be loved by the people that matter to me. I know it is a cliche usually reserved for Celine Dion ballads, but I realise I need to love myself. Feel that I deserve to be loved, and I can be loved for who I am. Go to my 6 year old self, hug him and tell him that the people in his life will love him as he is. If they don’t, it’s ok. What people think does not matter. It’s what you think that counts.




9 thoughts on “What will the neighbours think?

  1. I’m a tad ignorant when it comes to understanding society outside the U.S.A., but I always regarded current-day Greek society as likely being open-minded about homosexuality, given a documented ancient past that was open to such things. So much for what I think may be true. I understand this much… it is our duty, in being lucky enough to wake up each day, to live our lives with love at the center. The universe has no mandates about who, what, where, when, or how… it just keeps surprising us with its beauty and a kaleidoscope of possibility. We should do the same.

    1. Hi Sue, I am afraid the current Greek culture is a bit more closed minded than its history. It seems as if a part (as I do not wish to generalise) is holding on to the machismo and homophobic sentiments that simply make people tell lies, live lies, and perpetuate a mix of discrimination and violence. I was attacked on the street for being gay (https://themagnificentsomething.com/2012/02/02/getting-personal-the-aftermath-of-being-attacked-lgbt-history-month/) so I have lived this first handed.
      However, I was really touched by your words, and I genuinely hope that one day we can all see life that way. We really should do the same…

      1. Yes, I remember reading your post early last year. It saddens me to know that this is our world. Unfortunately, I know too many people who have been the recipient of discrimination, judgement, and, at times, violence based on color or sexual orientation or other nonsensical reasons for considering others “different.” Such small minds. Such empty hearts. Such a shame. Especially when the targets of their aggression are individuals I consider to be some of the finest people I’ve even known.

        Peace to you and all those you love and care about,

  2. It’s easier said than done to forget what others think/say. I realised this when I came out to my mother and she took it badly, asking me to not tell any of our family in Ireland. Now I live in England and keep my life separate to the one in Ireland. Definitely love yourself, but just be wary that not everyone is open and loving, and it’s hurtful when you discover their prejudices.

    1. I absolutely agree, it is never easy and it is tricky to assume that everyone will be ok, because well, they might not be… When I came out to a friend in high school he just got up and left, and did not speak to me for more than a year. Now, when it comes to family it is much harder, and I can understand how your experience must have been really difficult, so thank you for sharing that with me. Hopefully change will come sooner rather than later…

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