Friday, August 6, 2010

Coming Out to My Parents

Most of the text of this post come from my Father’s Day post on Cocks, Asses, and More.  However, parts of this post are relevant to my Coming Out series and also to the last of my poetic posts that I will have up tomorrow.

I know there are at least a few dads out there who read my blog, so I also wanted to tell you about my father.  Just like mothers, fathers can drive us crazy.  Most of us may not have been as close to our fathers as maybe we should have been or should be, but all of us have a father somewhere. 

We are very different in so many ways.  He is very outdoorsy: he hunts, he fishes, and constantly works outdoors.  I was always a bookworm, who liked books better than sports.  I’ve learned to like the outdoors:  I walk nature trails, I like to hike, and I even like to fish occasionally.  Whereas my father worked outside all his life, I prefer to work inside, research, writing, teaching, etc.  There are a lot of other differences as well.  We can generally have a conversation for about 15-20 minutes before we get into some type of argument.  My father has never felt I was right about anything.  I can be agreeing with him, and he will fuss at me for agreeing with him.  No matter what I say, he will say the opposite.  The other day, I made a remark about a house being painted white (it used to be gray), he argued with me that the house was painted gray, just a lighter shade.  Everyone else I know says the house is white, but he still says that it is gray.  It’s that sort of thing that drives me crazy.  Needless to day, we barely get along.  I love him nonetheless, I just don’t like him sometimes.  He can be very cruel and frustrating.

To switch gears a little bit, I want to tell you also how great my father can be, without me ever knowing it.  This is part of the reason that I forgive so much of the misery he causes me.  When my parents found out I was gay, it was a very traumatic experience for all concerned.  My mother had suspected for quite a while and was being very nosy.  She checked my email.  She didn’t like some of the emails that she saw.  Most of them, if not all, were fairly innocent, but there were some like an ad from Showtime about “Queer as Folk” and maybe another one from gay.com. I was over at my grandmother’s checking on her, when my mother called me and confronted me about it.  I was tired of denying it.  All of my friends knew, so why shouldn’t she.  I knew she wouldn’t like it.  She had confronted me several years before about it, and I denied it then.  I wasn’t ready, and to make sure that I never was, my mother told me, “If you would rather have a dick up my ass, then be part of this family, then get the hell out and go ahead and leave.  We will have nothing more to do with me.”  When this time came around, we got into a huge argument.  I yelled, she yelled, and I left.  I was still dependent on them for some things, but I could live without them.  My mother went to bed and cried for the next two weeks.  BTW, this all happened two days before Christmas, while I was home on Christmas break.  We still went to all the Christmas events with our family, but I refused to talk to my mother.  When my father got home the day all this happened, he talked to my mother about what was wrong.  She told him.  She tells him everything. This was one of the times when he sided with me.

He told my mother, that I was their child.  She could not stop loving me, just because she did not agree with my lifestyle. He would continue to love me, and she would have to do the same.  No matter what his children did, they would still love them (it may have helped that my sister married a complete and total jackass, who doesn’t physically abuse her, but abuses her mentally).  Then he  came and talked with me.  He told me that he didn’t care what I told my mother, but to tell her something or she would die in that bed in there (you don’t know my mother, but she would have).  Then he told me what surprised me the most, “I should have taught you how to fight the urges.  I am sorry that I failed you.”  It is the only time my father ever apologized to me for anything.  I never asked about the urges, but I am pretty sure I know what he was talking about.  He knew exactly how I felt.  He had been there himself, but he had chosen a different path.  Maybe that is why they still believe it is a choice.  But I see the misery in him almost everyday.  I went to my parents and told them both that I was celibate and would remain that way, and I had never acted on my sexuality (yes it was a lie, but it was one I think was and still is for the better).  They made me promise that I would not tell anyone else in the family, and I have agreed to that. Our family has become a “Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t discuss” Zone.  It is not my preference but it is what I must deal with for the time being.  If I ever find a man to live my life with, I will deal with the other consequences then.  I don’t think I could hide from my family the love of my life (if he ever comes along).

They still consider my being gay a lifestyle choice, I never will.  I would have never chosen this myself.  I would have chosen to live a more open life, but that is mostly not possible where I live now, and especially not with my job.  But I know what makes me happy, and after a lot of prayer and meditation, God told me that love is what matters most in this world.  I came to understand that if I lived a lie and married a woman, I would make her and my life miserable (somewhat like my father has).  If I was going to be alone, then I would be alone. At least I wouldn’t be hurting someone else.  I realize that some people had more pressures to get married and have a family and come out later in life.  I do not fault them for that, it was a different time and different circumstances.  But in this day and age, I felt I could not lie to myself or anyone else and spend a large portion of my life as a lie.

I had been thinking of posting this on this blog for a few days now, but something happened today that really pissed me off and I was forced to just shrug it off.  If I calm down enough to write about it in a sensible way, I will.  I will say this though, discrimination, small town attitudes, and fucked up conservative values are a pain in the ass.  I will never understand why a person who is a good person (which I most certainly am, I strive everyday to treat people they way I want to be treated, even if they don’t always treat me that way).  We should all accept people for who they are and what they are.  See them as a person, not a label.

7 comments:

Thomas (Tom) Rimington said...

I could not have articulated your feelings any better, my friend...

Other than I suspect my Dad always knew before his passing in '79, and my Mom as well, until I came out to her in '05...

I kinda thought she always knew (We were best friends as I was growing up) in my non-boyish manner...

She totally accepts me and my partner today...

Great post man..

Tom

JoeBlow said...

Thanks for your comment Tom. I'm glad that your mother is accepting of you and your partner. I think all mothers should be that way. I don't think my mother ever will be, but I still hold out hope. We were best friends as well when I was growing up, she is still the person I can tell most things to, as long as it doesn't concern my sexuality.

Wilfried said...

It touches me really what way you had to go since then and it reminds me to my coming out which was different of yours. I have six sisters and told it to one of them. Can you imagine what happened?
Unfortunately my dad passed away before my coming out but today I think he was going the same way like your father although he made six children afterwards. When I talk to my friends about coming out most of the time I listen that mothers are the more understanding in a family. I your case seems to be different. But I think you are right to give your mother time. And your decision to not deny anymore is absolutely correct and understandable. I wish you luck to find a partner who is loving you.

JoeBlow said...

Thanks for your kind comments, Wilfried. I do hope that my mother will come around someday, but I won't hold my breath. I just hope that I do find that loving partner one day.

Willie said...

Joe, You will indeed find a man just for you. I know how that sounds but i was almost ready to give up hope when out of the blue the man i have wished, prayed and fantasized about came into my life.
We are a match and now we are engaged. This is something i always wanted but never believed it would happen. Hang in there and keep your faith in God even when it looks like nothing is happening.
Always be true to yourself and who God made you to be. We are not a mistake and we didn't choose but you will never convince everyone of that. I wish the best for your mom and your family members accepting you but even if they never will, you accept yourself and that is more important than anyone else's acceptance of you.
God's blessings to you.

JoeBlow said...

Thanks for the words of encouragement, Willie. I am being patient. I know that he is out there somewhere. Right now, things are a little more complicated, but I will get to that in a future post in a few days.

kenweb said...

when I came to my parents at 16 al my mom said was she had known since I was 12 and dad said took you long enough to tell us and they supported me ever since