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We've got a long way to go

but why?

By Matthew GranthamPublished about a year ago 5 min read
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We've got a long way to go
Photo by Mathilda Khoo on Unsplash

We’ve got a long way to go.

How often have you heard this time? I heard it just the other day in fact when discussing LGBTQ+ education but what does that mean? How do we know how long we ‘have’ to go? Could it not be a short way to go? Why do we HAVE to go this long way? Is there an easier way? Where are we going?

Perspective is everything. Perception is ever changing.

Perception isn’t reality, contrary to the saying, but our perception can change and is sometimes wrong. Often wrong actually. The way we perceive something is based on our own history and environment and all the rest, but our perception has changed, and will change again and that affects our perspective. My perspective as someone, now over the age of 30, is completely different to what I thought 30 looked like even just before I was 30 and is also completely different to the me that I once was. I sit and look back and I know, that I was a different person then.

I was reborn at 30.

Annoyingly I had heard from my friends that their 30’s were the best years they’ve ever had and now I get that. I know who I am, I know what I stand for and what I can’t stand. I know a little about my triggers and soft spots and I know when to address them, I know my boundaries and I know how important communication is. My perspective on life has done a Madonna and reinvented itself without me realising. I learnt a little about andropause recently and before that I learnt what neurochemistry is (both I would recommend a quick google of, and to delve in on deep) and it’s fascinating to know that we go through so many physical and mental journey’s through life and not until we arrive at our destination, do we see it. It’s those moments of reflection that can change our perspective so we can perceive things differently going forward.

Funny thing is I don’t know if I’m using these two words correctly. Perception and Perspective. Funny little words that I can’t quite distinguish in my head even thought I had the definitions in front of me, they’ve blurred into one and to me, I don’t know what meaning is correct which I guess is ironic…

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Something that I’m trying to stick to in life. It applies to quite things like just because you can eat that last slice of pizza, doesn’t mean you should. Or, just because Karen has sworn and spat at you doesn’t mean you should do it back but my main focus in life on this point is, just because I have an opinion on something, doesn’t mean I should share it.

I was talking to someone a little while ago and I had to try really hard not to share my opinion and just listen because it was an offloading, not a time for feedback, but I feel the need to share it with you because I like thought provoking ideas. She said ‘I struggled to hear that my brother was gay, but then when he told me he also slept with woman, I didn’t know what to say but I do get that being gay doesn’t just mean that you only sleep with men but he’s always just been my big brother’.

There’s too much to unpack here and assumptions are part of human evolution, but they can be damaging, hence why I didn’t share my opinion as it would have included assumptions that we’re likely untrue and so I listened, but I did ask myself what her perception of ‘gay’ is. I’ve thought of gay and straight as a spectrum, one day you might 100%, the next day 80% and maybe throughout life you can go from one end of the spectrum to the other, I’m yet to find out as gay is the only way for me but I have many a straight friend who thinks (without this conversation) that they are 100% straight and that’s it, anything less than 100% is gay and awful and not to admit to and be ashamed of. Maybe as a gay man I am more open to the idea that not everyone is 100% either way and the word is just an identity that society asks us to fulfil and I’m self-aware enough to know that that’s not truly the case but I’m comfortable and confident in saying I’m gay to appease.

Gay to me means something different to everyone else and I think that interesting – why? How? What about it is different? – I don’t have any answers for these questions but from that conversation continuing I could grasp some ideas for these answers, but it wasn’t the time for me to share them, but it did get me thinking; perception is everything.

When someone asks me ‘how are you?’ and I say ‘I’m fine yeah, and you?’, I might be using the word ‘fine’ to say ‘I’m fucking awesome, I’ve had the best day today, mood is fantastic and I want to spread that positivity’ or it could mean ‘feelings I’m not expressing but don’t ask me, leave it alone and continue your day obliviously’. The person who asked us this question could take either of these depictions of the word or somewhere in between and then they will choose how to respond. Words come so naturally to us, we say things we don’t mean all the time and we say things we do mean all the time but how they are received changes depending on who we talk to, how we say and where we say it. This is not new information, but we have zero time to compute and respond in an average, everyday conversation, but we hold our words to account quite highly.

I wanted to share my opinion with this lady and there’s multiple reasons for that but just because I can, just doesn’t mean I should and so what I did instead was thank her for sharing that with me as it a time of vulnerability and that’s important to recognise, not my human need to share my story and my ideas to get to a solution / explanation as not every situation asks for that.

Perspective. Perception. You.

Think about that next time something gives you more questions than answers, create time to reflect.

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About the Creator

Matthew Grantham

An aspiring writer from the UK

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