Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Showing my true self for the first time
Driving to my parent's home: my feelings hidden behind disbelief, my soul trying to escape from my body, a greater and unknown force dictating my actions.
Hello everyone, today I will recall one of the toughest, weirdest day of my life. Tha's the day I came out to my parents. They were actually the first ones I told the "news". From what I've read so far, it doesn't seem to be a popular choice. Most people will come out to really good friends or siblings first. How I interpret it is that they want to build a certain confidence or ease before telling their parents. For me, it just didn't seem to be the way. I can't say I'm really close to my parents. We see each other regularly, at least once every 2 weeks. But, I have never felt a great connection with them. On one side, my mom wishes so much to be close to her kids, it can be suffocating. She tries too much. On the other side, there is my father, who doesn't seem to want a close relationship with his kids. He's from a generation of men who have been raised to be tough and to learn that a father's role was to bring food on the table. Bringing love is not what he was taught to do.
I feel bad writing this stuff about my parents... But this is objectively what I think... But I have to tell it for you to understand what was going through my mind at the time.
So even though I don't have the best relationship with my parents, I needed to tell them first. I'm still not sure why. A need is not always explainable. I think that somehow, I owed them to be the first to know. They raised me and gave me all they could for me to become a grown man. They transmitted me some of their values and they also unknowingly helped me discover some values that they didn't have. So they helped me build the man that I am today. However, that man that I am, they did not truely know him. That's probably why I needed them to know first. So even if that was probably the toughest choice, I had to tell them before anyone else. That was scary.
I suppose it is tough for everyone to find the moment to come out to their parents. I actually did it the second time I had planned on doing it. I had first planned on doing it on Thanksgiving night (early October in Canada). Thanksgiving is not such a big deal in Canada, but it is still a holiday. We don't celebrate it in our family (I actually don't know anyone who celebrates it, even if I was raised on a farm!!), but I thought that I could go to my parents home after dinner and tell them. But I didn't go. I didn't feel it. I had not repeated my scenario enough times in my head. So I decided that the next friday night, I would go. I had fixed the date, so I had 4 days to prepare myself.
Every night, I was repeating my scenario. My scenario was actually just from the moment I entered their house to the moment I told them I was gay. After that, I simply had no clue, but I only needed to have my setup ready. I wanted to focus on common wishes and hopes for myself. To bring them on my side before telling them. So I would talk that they want me to have a girlfriend and that they wished me to be happy. Once in a while, my mom was telling me to try to get a girlfriend and etc, so I knew that it was a concern to them.
Every morning that came, I told myself: "I can't believe in x days, I'll be telling my parents". Every day, I thought about how my parents would react. I was a bit worried about my father's reaction. At worst, I thought he would try to beat me or urge me to get out of his house. At best, I didn't really know (or I don't remember...) I wasn't really worried about my mother. I knew that is she "disagreed", she would not be violent. So I was preparing myself to be sure that if things went wrong, I would let them know that I understood that it can be difficult to hear, but that I would be patient if I needed to.
Since I had not set the date with my parents, I was not even sure that both of them would be there. My mom would probably, but my father could have been elsewhere. Somehow I didn't think of what I would do if that happened. I didn't want to set the date with them, because I knew that they would have been worried. It was important for me to tell them both at the same time, because I didn't want my mom to keep the secret to my father once she knew and I didn't want her to tell him in my place. So I don't know what I would have done. Happily, they were both there, but I'll come back to it later.
So the week went pretty well, until the friday afternoon. My nerves got me that afternoon. I was at work and I was feeling very bad. And I was looking bad too. One of my colleague noticed it and I told her that I knew how I looked and that at least I knew why, without telling her what was going on. The work day ended and I returned to my home.
From that moment, it seemed like I was not controlling what I was doing. I felt like a witness of my life. What happened next was a bunch of events that happened one right after the other, without any break.
I made a dinner.
I ate it
I brushed my teeth
I changed clothes
I prepared to leave
I got out of the house
I entered in my car
I sat in my car
I left my driveway
I did the 10 minutes ride to the village my parents live in
I turned on the road my parents live ( a road I've taken so many times, but this time was so different)
I arrived at the last curve before my parents house
I turned in my parents driveway.
I got out of my car
I entered in my parent's house.
I precisely remember all of these events even if I didn't even feel in my own body. Something else was driving my actions. But doing all of the above actions, there was always a common thought: "I can't believe I'm doing this."
Once I was inside the house, I saw that both my parents were there. They both came to see me from where they were. They realized that something unusual was happening. I don't know what I looked like, but I was not looking good, that's for sure. I had a lot of difficulty to contain my emotions and I was on the verge of crying (I had hoped that I would not cry and stay strong, but that was not meant to be). My mom very rapidly asked me if something was wrong. I don't remember what I said. She asked me if I had a problem at work. I said no. She asked me if I was sick. I said no. I told her to sit down and we all sat down. My father had a worried look that I had rarely seen him wear. My memories are a bit blurred, probably because of all the emotions and thoughts that were going through my head, so I'll try to recall the events the best that I can. From that moment, I don't remember if I was looking at them or if I was looking to the floor. So I began talking, trying to tell them what I had repeated all week long. I was probably already crying.
Me: I know that you're worried that I don't have a girlfriend.
Dad: No ( I suspect that that was a lie!)
Me: I know that you want me to be happy and have a beautiful life with a family..... That's also what I have always wished for myself...... But,..... it won't be possible the way we all wish it..... because............ I'm homosexual.
I think that I looked at my mom, and she was kinda surprised. I think it was simply sinking in. I looked at my father and he looked pretty OK about it. He said: "We're seeing more of it these days." That was a pretty reassuring thing. I took it as if he thought that it would not be too tough for me, because it is more socially accepted then before. It was also easier for him to accept it because he had been exposed to homosexuality, even if he probably didn't know any gay up to that day.
Than my mother began to ask the classic questions: Since when do you know? Do you have a boyfriend? Have you ever had a boyfriend? How do you know? Are you sure??
To this last question, I told her that I was sure. As I told her, I thought that I wasn't sure anymore!! I wondered again why am I gay if I did fall in love with some girls?? What's going on with me? But I didn't want to tell them because I didn't want to make things too complicated and I didn't want to give them false hopes. So I promised myself to think about it the next day.
My mother was trying to convince me that maybe I was not gay or maybe that I was bisexual (and that I would hopefully chose the girls!) I was telling her that no, I know how I feel and I feel how I feel and I can't change it. She then asked my father, who had been pretty quiet (as usual); "And you, what do you think about that??" He replied: "Well, if it's like that it's like that". I was so relieved. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. That was so unexpected. My father was testifying that he was OK with me and my homosexuality. It meant a few things:
- He was not homophobic
- He knew that a dick doesn't lie, contrary to my mother (that's understandable, she doesn't have one!)
- He knew that sexual orientation is not a choice and that it cannot be changed on demand.
- He accepted me.
I learned a lot about my father that night and I told him that I was really happy with what he was showing me (it is not in my habit to deeply thank my father, but that was a very special moment).
After that, we talked a bit again, there were some silences too. I don't remember what we were talking about. Than, I decided to leave and one of my parents asked if I wanted to have a boyfriend. I said yes, eventually, but that I was not ready yet. But for sure I wanted one because I don't want to stay single. And than my father made me laugh. He said: "How are you going to find a boyfriend, it's not written on the forehead [that a guy is gay]!?!" I laughed and replied: " I know!! But I don't know yet how I'll find one, I'll see when I'll be there."
So I was approaching the door and as I was going to leave, my father said: "When you arrived, we thought that something much worst was happening, we though that you were sick... but it's just that." That made me just so happy, I again thanked him a lot for his attitude. I told them goodbye and I got out of the house. I sat in my car and took a deep breath. Then I left. It was around 8PM and I didn't know what to do. I decided to go see my best friends, whom I will call Jack and Janice (they're a couple). I spent the evening with them as if nothing happened and then I went back home.
You have maybe noticed that there was no obvious "love-sharing" moments with my parents. They didn't tell me that they loved me whatsoever, they didn't hug me or kiss me. That's very typical of my family. When it gets to deep emotions, we don't really know how to react. But the way they reacted, mostly my father, that just made it for me. I couldn't ask for anything better: my parents didn't dislike my true self.
Please never hesitate to comment or ask any question!!