I’ve been incredibly intimidated to write this post. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of love, disappointment, fear, comfort and insanity.
First things first: I met a girl. She is beautiful, and awe inspiring… and when I hold her my heart feels like it’s jumping on a trampoline. When I lay my head against her chest, I’m assured that she feels the same way. We’ve spent the last month doing a passive aggressive love dance… making out, pretending like it doesn’t mean anything, making out again, kissing with intensity and then laughing it off later.
And then there was last week. Last week she introduced me to her friends. I was so nervous, and as we sat there on the couch together she brushed my arm with her fingers and slipped her hand into mine. My stomach somersaulted because I realized that for the first time, I CARE about someone I’m involved with. I genuinely care what her friends think of me, I care about her feelings and if she feels good when I’m holding her. I hold her. I’m letting my emotions creep into this and its SCARY, and different, and new. It’s wonderful.
We’re both insomniacs and we’ve been spending every other night together pulling all nighters… watching infomercials, driving around, buying candy at the 24 hr Walgreens, etc etc. Over the past couple weeks my mom has been expressing concern that I’ve been spending so many nights away from home with someone she hasn’t met, so she took the liberty of facebook stalking my girl (she learned her stalking skills from me, so it’s my own fault). She saw that my girl is gay and asked me on Saturday if I’ve been questioning my own sexuality. I was stunned and speechless. I had not planned on coming out and I wasn’t prepared to do so… but I also wasn’t prepared to lie about it.
“I’m not questioning it Mom... I’m gay.”
She looked at me and after a long pause, sighed and said “Oh…. Okay. This is going to be hard, and it’s going to be a challenge, but we can do this. I still love you baby.” By this time I was sobbing and hugging my mom like I was a 5 year old with a skinned knee. I begged and pleaded with her not to tell my dad, who walked downstairs in the middle of all this and saw my slight mental breakdown. He mentioned something about car payments and awkwardly shuffled away. My mom asked that I tell him but told me she would respect my wishes if I chose to wait. I couldn’t ask her to keep a secret that big, so I told her I would tell him myself. My parents left to go out to dinner and I wrote my dad a letter, packed a bag and left.
The letter went something like this, only about 3000 words longer:
I love you, I trust you, and I’m about to hand you my heart. Please be careful with it. I’m gay. I know this is not what you want for me and this is not how you pictured my life. I know you support homosexual reparative therapy, but I ask that you please respect me as a person and as your daughter when I tell you that this is not something that can be changed. I wouldn’t change it even if I could. This is who I am. I’ve known this for years but I’ve been terrified to tell you because I’ve been afraid of your reaction, of the backlash my telling you this would bring. Please know that this does not change who I am. This has always been a part of me, it’s just a part I have been hiding from you. I know that our relationship is about to change, but I’m ready for that. I love you and I hope that someday, with a little bit of that liberal perseverance (haha) and a lot of faith, you’ll still walk me down the aisle. I won’t be coming home tonight. I want to give you time to think about and process this. I love you so much and that will never change, no matter what.
I left around 6pm and picked up my girl. I didn’t hear much from my parents that night, and I slept at my girl’s best friend’s house. The next morning I got a text from my dad asking me to come home and talk, but I was too scared to face him. I went to work and somehow made it through my shift without messing up TOO many times, and came home around 10pm that night. I walked in the door and my mom looked at me and simply said, “He’s upstairs.”
I walked up the stairs, knocked on the door to his room, and went inside. He stood up from his bed and hugged me, and started sobbing. I cried too and we just stood there for a minute or two, holding each other and crying. We sat down on his bed and although he said he still loved me and wouldn’t kick me out or pull my funding for school, he told me he believed my gayness was just cultural influence. He said that men aren’t indispensable, that maybe I don’t like ALL men, but…. Worst of all, he said that if I prayed enough and read the bible, I could be “changed”. The God that my dad seems to know is SO different from the God that I know.
I left again that night and stayed on my best friend’s couch. Her parents were incredibly supportive and let me know that whenever things are hard at home, I always have a second home with them.
And so that leads me to what I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving: I am thankful for love. The love of my girl, of my friends, of my surrogate families, of my siblings, of my mom, and of my dad (despite our differences and the endless fights that are sure to fill the coming months). I’m thankful for everyone who came out before me, who paved the way for me. I’m thankful that I was able to come home for Thanksgiving. And I’m thankful for YOU.