This week I woke up to a text from a friend. Her son is gay, 15, and living in a midwestern suburb. It’s a community where being gay isn’t “cool” yet, no matter how much sitcoms like Glee try to make it seem that way. His Mom texted me because this poor kid is so damn sad. He has fallen in love for the third time, and this is the third one who “likes him but is not ready to be out.”
“What do I say?” That was her question. A mom who cares so much and loves so big wanted the right words from me. She wanted an answer to help her son soothe that ache of loving someone and not having it reciprocated.
“As a lesbian writer who spent years in the closet, I have to tell you this is one of the hardest questions I’ve ever been asked,” I responded, after hours of pondering. So many of the questions I’m asked every day about recruiting are very black and white, but love? Never.
Gay or straight, you’ll never forget what it felt like to love someone and not have it reciprocated, or at least not in the ways you wanted. It’s the worst. But rejection, unfortunately, becomes a regular occurrence as we get older - in relationships, at work, and pretty much every aspect of life. It’s a fact: we don’t get to decide everything.
The bravery is in moving forward in your truth, whatever that is. The beauty is in asking yourself hard questions to find answers, your why, and how you’re going to keep going despite the losses.
It took me a long time to learn how to ask myself those questions. I guess that’s why this answer was so hard. See, I came out twice. First, when I was 16. After my own rejection scenario, I “decided” I wanted to be liked more than I wanted to be gay. I went back in the closet until my 20’s.
I think that’s how this kid is probably feeling, so this is what I told his Mom.
I told her to remind him that his love is not wrong; the judgemental opinions are. To remind him to be brave and march on when bad things happen. To tell him to keep learning who he is and always to ask himself hard questions.
I hope you march on and answer your hard questions, too.
But you have to decide what those questions are. That’s not for me to tell you.
However, if you’re asking great questions to write a job post? Well, that I can help you with. This week, I wrote a post about asking great questions at work with a bonus free template from my favorites folder. Get a copy before you write another job post. 2 more things worth clicking on are below, too.
CEO, Three Ears Media