I used to believe I was only as strong as my friends were. In high school, I surrounded myself with people I knew would get me into places – parties, bars, secret lunches. Being with a strong group made me feel stronger, but it seems like everyone today is sort of confused by what strong actually means.
The gay community is filled with cliques, just as it is in other communities. I know I’ve had the same close friends for a long, long time, and it’s only recently I’ve allowed myself to receive the companionship of others. Nowadays, friends come with an unwritten contract – be loyal to me and I’ll be loyal to you. But in today’s world, everyone wants to feel like the life of the party. And in order to do that, we have to migrate from clique to clique, sometimes leaving our oldest friends feeling neglected.
The high school mentality never leaves, no matter how many times we proclaim it does. It’s a survival instinct. Humans learned that in order to ensure our existence, we must associate ourselves with strong leaders. When we’re “in” with a seemingly better clique, we’re rest assured everything will be okay. It’s a constant cycle of self-hypnosis.
But the thing is, we’ve already survived. The human species (you know, the branch of life in which we’re apart of) has withstood the tests of time. But the disposition still reigns supreme inside us. We must survive, survive, survive. Always, trying to survive. It doesn’t matter how many times our instincts tell us to try and one-up, associate ourselves with what’s popular or throw people under the bus for our own benefit, we’ve won the biggest lottery the universe has to offer: LIFE. That says something.
We can’t keep focusing all our thoughts towards maintaining an image fueled by others. Close friends are extremely important, but what makes mine more valuable than yours? What made the popular kids in high school so important? Why are we so anxious to be a part of these groups? Why do we feel sad when we’re not included in their antics? It’s a basic human trait to yearn for the things we think we need because we assume we’re “less than” without it. Trust me, these things should be LAST on our list.
Focus on doing what’s right rather than what’s popular. Listen to what your heart tells you before listening to the opinions of others. Be true to yourself and own it without being infected by other people’s ideas. If you don’t know who you are and what you stand for, how, then, can you be confident enough to offer the world anything?
Cliques aren’t bad things necessarily, but they promote the idea of separation. We unconsciously want to be a part of groups we think will get us ahead in reputation, but the truth of the matter is it’s the ones who make their own paths that eventually become leaders. It’s a human instinct to follow – the world will never be lacking followers, believe me. What separates the regular from the divine is the ability to lead, and in order to do that, you mustn’t define yourself by a clique or a group. You must sense where you need to go, and march to it.
Everyone wants to be liked, but more importantly, everyone wants their lives to mean something. You, yes you, have a reason for being here. You don’t need to try and survive anymore – you’re here! Alive and breathing. What needs to happen now is a search for a reason – a way to make your time on earth meaningful to others.
Don’t be separated from each other, because we all happen to be here at the same time and same place – that’s no accident. All we have is each other, and it’s because of community humanity survived in the first place. It’s also the only way for us to thrive in what we’ve accomplished. Together.