One of my friends got “outed” recently. Apparently her crime was that she was friends with people whose lifestyle seemingly contradicted the morality code of the organization she worked for. Let me remind you, she didn’t actually engage in any questionable activities. She was guilty of being in relationship with people who engaged in things her organization disapproved of. She is guilty of taking a soft stand on a controversial issue. This is not a fictitious event.
Like most employees and and organizational types she had felt that she was part of a tight-knit community. These were friends and honorary family members. She feels the sting of rejection and it has become apparent that her friends were judging and rejecting her. She has been, albeit subtly, shunned by her tribe.
Ask an ex-Jehovah’s Witness what it’s like to live outside the fold. Ask a Christian who cannot be a part of something she once loved. Ask the gay kid trying to get by. Ask the husband rejected by his ex-wife’s family. Ask anyone who ever had to swim against the current. Ask the hero who fell from grace.
Anyone who tells you that it’s better being a round peg in a square hole doesn’t know what they are talking about and isn’t a round peg. Being an individual is painful in a society that is glutted with conformity and compromise and pretty rock stars buying illegal monkeys, superstars with perfect teeth and no moral backbone. The pressure to conform is intense and real.
What a wonderful thing it is, and a curse, to be an original – (stolen so long ago I can’t remember the author)
5 thoughts on “Outed”
Feeling rejected, outed, can be one of the worst feelings ever. Speaking as someone with severe depression, with big problems isolating myself from others, being rejected was one of the things that drove me deeper into isolation. It took me a long time, and a lot of treatment, to realize that the only people’s opinions that really matter to me are those of the people who I care about and who care about me. So, just recently, when a friend said that she felt her recent actions had disappointed her family and her friends, I said to her, “the people who really care won’t be disappointed – they’ll be worried. And anybody who is disappointed – screw ’em.”
Better to stand alone with your moral compass intact than to stand with the crowd and compromise your ideals and values.
I remember that 30 years ago, in my catholic high school, divorced teachers could stay, but as soon as they had a new relationship, they had to leave. Now, 30 years later, nearly everyone has left the chuch, and the tides have changed.
Nicely put both Scott and Simone. I was pretty much pushed out by abuse from family. And I see the rest of what you’re saying too with the friends I had chosen so long ago. I began to see the bullshit and even the abuse in some circumstances. I woke up to the toxicity and no one else was interested in noticing it let alone changing it.
You have two choices, 1.) Stay and conform and normally that will probably mean being scapegoated and manipulated at the very least or 2.) Walk away.
A powerful point in a few short paragraphs, well said. I have been ex-communicated from a church, rejected by my ex’s family, and my very own parents too. I know and understand what you are talking about and what your friend is going through. And it is not enough for them to reject me, they must create divisions between myself and my very own children, which leaves me without a ‘tribe’ of any kind and very alone. Anyone who chooses honesty and authenticity will be disliked and rejected by one tribe or another (or all of them). It seems to me, in the day and age we live, that people prefer to live and interact on a level of shallow flatteries and bullshit, rather than being real, honest and authentic. They seem more comfortable having everyone kept in little boxes where they know there will be an equal exchange, such as – “I piss in your pocket, and you’ll piss in mine.” Yes, being an individual, and you’re authentic self is indeed painful sometimes, and doesn’t come without a price.