Friday, September 3, 2010

The "G" Bomb Has Been Dropped! Coming Out, Conversations And The Aftermath


This happened several months ago, but I've been putting off blogging about it for some reason. I guess I needed time to process and really comprehend what happened and what was said. As far as my sexuality  and relationships go, my mother and brother have known for some time, but my father has not known the full story, so this post is mostly about he and I, although my mother was also present. For a long time we've been very distant, loving each other but not knowing how to deal with one another. I'm not sure where to start, so I guess I'll start at the beginning.


One of my fondest childhood memories is waking up when I was around five, and running into the kitchen where my parents were having breakfast. I would grab the paper, sit on my father's knee, and read it to him. My dad would smile with pride, and gently rub me on my head, his own special way of showing love and affection, as he was not the touchy or feely type. If ever there was a sure sign that I'd done good and earned his approval, whether it be getting good grades or winning an award, rubbing the top of my head was it.

But as the years went by the distance grew on both our parts. It could've been the stare of disapproval when I flailed my wrists while talking. Or it may have been the resentment I felt watching him and my older brother sitting together watching sports while giving only a passing observance to my interest in music, or talking about one of his girlfriends, or when he saw my long nails and combat boots and commented that people might think I was "one of them gay boys."

Dealing with my burgeoning sexuality and all the religious, personal and emotional conflicts it caused, crippled my ability to be myself around my dad, who I knew wouldn't have anything good to say about it.  I wasn't prepared in any way, shape or form for his reaction. So I simply distanced myself emotionally from him, keeping conversation superficial and brief.

Then came college, and thankfully an escape. I needed those four years to rebuild my identity, to question my beliefs and gain back some of the self-confidence and inner peace that had eluded me for most of adolescence. But with graduation, and subsequently moving back home, I knew I couldn't run from my demons, 'cause them bastards wear track shoes.

Actually, coming out to my father came courtesy of Facebook. He'd known about me and my current boyfriend's close relationship and suspected somthing was going on, but didn't know for sure until he joined and saw my relationship status (I assumed that since my mother knew I was in a relationship, he knew as well but hadn't confronted me about it.). I got a call from my mom saying he wanted to talk to me, but when I heard his voice he couldn't speak at all. He was crying, an act as unbelievable to me as Jonah living in the belly of a whale.

But sadness soon gave way to anger, and our conversation quickly grew heated. He explained in a steady voice that there had never been a homosexual in our family, and if that's what I wanted to "do," then I would have to find a lawyer, change my last name, give him back his house keys and leave. He asked how could I do this to him, to our family. There were also other things said, but I won't go into them. As angry as I was with my dad at the time, I know those remarks don't totally represent him as person.

I pulled my cell phone from my ear and looked at it in shock. This had to be a dream. I know this man did not just tell me in no uncertain terms, that I'm disowned! And that I doing this to him as some kind of fucking rebellion! I quickly got dressed and drove to my parents' house. I don't know how I didn't get into a wreck, because I so angry I barely paid attention to the road. As me and my father yelled back and forth-- him about how wrong I was and how I was going to hell, me about how I wasn't going to burn anywhere--my mother furiously trying to keep the peace. Even though I was burning with rage, I felt almost detached. I'd never talked back to my dad in my life, certainly not in this way. It was always "yes sir" and going about my way, even though I had so much else to say.

After we both calmed down a little I really began to open up. I explained the reason for my distance was because I felt I could never be my true self around him, so I'd spent most of my life putting a front for everyone else's happiness, and that I couldn't and wouldn't do it anymore. I was gay, in a relationship and was going to go live with my boyfriend, and that was the way it was going to be. He responded that he hated what I "did" he still loved me. I could've continued arguing that gay is what I am, not something I do, but that would've never resolved anything. I knew going in that I wouldn't come away with my dad wanting to march in a pride parade. But I simply wanted what my brother already had: to be treated and recognized as an adult living my own life and making my own decisions, even if they are ones that he and my mom might not always agree with.

That was a little two months ago. Since them, our relationship has improved for the better. I come home more often and call more frequently. Our face-to-face encounters are no longer a meeting of the ice kings but of a father and son, trying to understand each other and share their lives together. Things are not perfect, (but when are they ever?) but as I feel his embrace or his hands rubbing my head at the end of each visit, I feel five years old again for a split second. I go back to seeing his smiling face and eyes that shine with affection. I also see something else that I missed the first time around: unconditional love. Hopefully we can both do our parts to honor that memory and continue to create  new ones, just as honest, just as pure.

1 comment:

°º§DƏLLA§º° said...

OOooh PRAISE! I loved this entry. I sure do hope you can be civil and be good to each other. I have a father that I am very distant with and everyone knows im gay except him outright.

He knows it but I simply do not care for him that much. I feel the need to not tell him anything that he can not put together on his own. We function around each other mostly so I definitely know what you are talking about.


Although, he is trying very hard to have something with him lately, but I feel im too old now. Im 21, Im done. Only difference is, I have an older brother and an older sister and my father has never been close with any of us so I am glad that at least you feel comforted and loved. It is not easy but it's worthwhile.

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