Harmony Is...Acceptance
February 28

Harmony Is...Acceptance

Acceptance is power. In All You Need Is Love, Dewey accepts Mr. Waters, his teacher/role model, with all Mr. Waters’s differences from the norm, and in doing so, Dewey is able to begin walking a path that ultimately leads to acceptance of himself. In his 1969 Texas suburban life, Dewey is isolated—from the world events and from anyone who is different. Mr. Waters’s faith in Dewey’s acting ability opens up the world to Dewey in a way he never thought possible. I, too, was empowered by acceptance. As a teen—one who, like Dewey, grew up in the 1960s in suburban North Texas feeling isolated—I knew I was different. I had no idea that I was gay or even what that was, but looking back, I was the quintessential stereotypical gay boy. As I matured, I grew to accept that I was never going to be like all those macho types who roam the earth. And, I might add, many of those macho types are indeed gay, but their growing-up process was different than mine. That’s another thing I’ve accepted. Anyway, as I realized that the world was going to have to accept me for who I am, that led to my accepting me for who I am. No longer was I going to walk in fear—although caution is important, and is a different thing from fear. I decided that the world would have to accept me, for I was not going to change. And if they—that ubiquitous “they” we all talk about—didn’t want to accept me, that was their loss. I believe that acceptance of self was the first step to accepting that I was gay and that there was nothing wrong with that. I was not broken; I needed nothing fixed. I was me, and as “they” say, God doesn’t make mistakes. Yes, acceptance gave me power. It made me a better person, and it later made me a better teacher, for I realized that I, as a teacher, not only needed to accept my gay students for who they are, but accept each and every one of my students for who they are, all individuals, some with traits I might want to work to change, but traits that were a part of them. That acceptance made me understand them a little bit better. I challenge everyone to look into the souls of those around them, and whether you like what you see or understand what you see, accept what you see. Only then can you work to accept those unique persons and thus accept yourself. You—gay, lesbian, bi, straight—are all unique. And I applaud you for being so. What a bleak world it would be if we were all the same.

Authors