What Are You Afraid Of?

I’ve thought on this
Off and on for weeks.
Through the entire month
Of December.
Is it OK
For a 53 year old guy
To talk with a young lady
That may be only
Half his age?

It’s a question that
I can’t find
An answer to.
But as far as I’m concerned,
It’s OK.
And I’m not doing
Anything I shouldn’t.

What’s wrong with talking
With someone
When they want
To talk with you?

There are many other things
That I’ve thought about
For many years.
Like is it OK
To send pictures of flowers
To people that you know?
I mean,
Publicly?
Like by tagging them
In an album on Facebook,
Or posting them
On that person’s wall?

I would think,
Based on my experience,
That sending a picture
Of a flower
To a friend
Is a great way
To give a smile
To them.

But if that’s true,
They how come doing so
Has caused several friends
To leave?
And why is it
That I’ve been told
I shouldn’t do that
Anymore,
By several people
That I know?

I wear t-shirts
That have fairies
Painted on them.
Some of those shirts
Are pink.
Pretty fairies.
With little dragons.
And butterflies.
And lady bugs.
And flowers.
Sometimes even roses.
Great big roses.

I don’t see anything at all
Wrong in wearing shirts
That have artwork on them
That I like.

But, apparently
There are plenty of people
That have a problem
With me doing that.
And even some of them
That think that wearing pink
Means I’m feminine.
And that secretly,
I want to be a girl.

Where the hell does that come from?

I’ve thought about a lot of things
For the past 15 months.
And I’ve reached a conclusion
That surprised me
Very much.

I’ve concluded
That I do things,
And I say things,
And I behave
Just differently enough
To cause people
To become afraid
Of me.

It’s like that old saying
About how people are afraid
Of things that they
Don’t understand.

This caused me to think some more.
About how people act like they’re afraid
Of people that are different
From them.

I mean,
People form groups.
Like little clans.
Where all the members
A quite similar
In very many ways.

So I went once more
To my old friend.
The Mirriam-Webster Dictionary.
This is where I found
The word Xenophobia.

xe·no·pho·bia
noun
Definition of XENOPHOBIA – fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign

So, xenophobia is a fear and hatred of people
That don’t fit in
Within a group.

And it’s this word
That resonates with me
When I think of all the people
That seem to be
Afraid of me.

I’ve always know
That I am different.
That I don’t fit in.
That I say things
That upset everyone.
That I behave
In the wrong way.

I always thought
It was my fault.
That there was something
Wrong with me.

I know now
That it’s not.
That the truth is
I really am
Different.

But I’ve learned
I’m not alone.

There are other people
That I know
That are much like me.
That everyone
Avoids.

And I’ve learned too
That I get along
Very well indeed
With all of them.
And like me,
All of them
At one point believed
That they were
In some way
Flawed.

Only to learn
As I have
That there’s nothing
Wrong with them.
Just like there’s nothing
Wrong with me.

We’re just different.
That’s all.

If I post a picture of a flower
On your wall
Will you be afraid of me?

If I write something one day
That is just for you,
Will you be afraid of me?

If you are my friend,
Like you claim you are,
That why are you afraid
Of me
When I show I care?
When I care enough
To try to bring a smile
To you?

I just don’t know.
And I don’t understand.

What are you afraid of?

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