Sunday, June 29, 2008

In Hiding

It'd be so nice if they knew; but then again, would it?

My dad and I recently spent a week together on our motorcycles riding to and from and around AZ. Camping, talking, advising, cliff jumping and everything else fathers and sons do. I was indescribably excited for this week; but during the week, things started to feel short-changed and when it was over, I was really upset. From the outside and maybe for him, the week was great. We did anything that you could have wanted to do. But there was something very real putting distance between us. This thing that is 60% of my life (I'm trying to bring that down...) I couldn't say a word to him about it or ask for his thoughts or philosophies.

I used to talk with my parents a lot-each one,twice daily. I know it sounds excessive, but they were always really nice calls and we always had good stuff to chat about. Up until April (when I "came out") there wasn't a part of me or a worry or a joy that I didn't share with them. Now, we talk twice a week, and our conversations seem to take place because they're supposed to. It's not their fault. My mom has asked me if something is wrong...she wonders why we don't talk much anymore. My sisters and cousins,who I see often, have asked the same thing wondering why I'm not as energetic and outgoing and happy as I used to be.

As I've described, I tried to tell my sister. That didn't go well. Today, I spent the whole evening with my dearest cousins, but a large part of me wasn't there... I've come to understand what Calvin meant when he said that if he continued on without telling his parents, he felt he would explode. I'm slowly isolating and distancing myself from my family, and they're asking me "why". SGA would explain so much and they would understand so many more of the things that make me feel empty or full.

This evening, with my cousins, I did a little imagining of what it would be like if my family knew.........
It was horrible. People would walk as if they were on egg shells. I would be the "gay cousin" that had everybody confused for so long. If my parents knew, I would go from being their only son to their gay son. They wouldn't alienate me or shun me. They'd love me; but, I would no longer be their only son, I'd be their gay son. Everything would change. The distance between us would grow, not diminish. It would grow cause I hated myself for being the problem and because they wouldn't know what to say...so they wouldn't say much at all. The gay bashing would be stopped at the tips of the tongues and the resulting silence would be mystery to none, rather would serve to remind everyone as to why we don't make those jokes anymore. There would be a homosexual in the family, and so things would have to change...........
I know that I could keep it at just telling my parents, but that would start nasty secret keeping that would be really rotten whenever more of the family was together and either shared their views on homos (you'd be surprised at how often this happens) or asked some "why" questions of me wherein the answer would be "well...cause I've got this gay problem."

I was really starting to consider telling my parents and maybe some others... No, not after tonight. Maybe I can fix this distance problem without disclosing anything. Our relationship has been excellent in the past. It just seems that now, the hardest issue I've ever known - the one that kicks my butt; the one that's been the source of the greatest fear, shame, and uncertainty of my life; the one that I need help most in - I have to hide...
.
P.S. My imagined outcome of "what could happen if..." is just my best honest guess at what coming out to family would cause. My family really is incredible, they think that I'm going to be and do great things. They really do give me a lot of credit, maybe I'm not giving them enough. I'm just too afraid that what used to be so amazing could be lost for good. The less risky thing would be to try and bring things back to the way they were without telling them about this struggle.

8 comments:

Abelard Enigma said...

I completely understand where you are coming from. My wife knows that I'm gay. At some level I would like others in my life to know - but at the same time the thought terrifies me because, as you point out, our relationship would be forever changed.

btw, welcome to the Mormon queerosphere. I've added a link to your blog on my blog, I hope you don't mind.

Sean said...

I went through the same situation when I was first coming out too. I only remedied it when I told my parents. As soon as they knew, the whole situation got better. I was more able to be myself around my family and I don't think they think of me as the gay son, but rather as just Sean. I haven't told any of my cousins, but the suffering of those relationships disappeared also.

Sure there might be some lies that have to be told to keep the rest of your family in the dark, but in my opinion it's ok to have those lies. This is because it's also important to have a strong relationship with your parents because they can be your greatest support.

Robert said...

Abelard Enigma - For sure I don't mind. Thank you for your comment. Meeting new-to-me mohos and reading their posts, whether they show frustration or optimism, is one big thing that helps me to deal with hard times and have a hope and belief for a good future.

Sean - Thanks for your thoughts. We should keep on hanging out. You'll have to tell me more about your story and experience in telling your parents. I'd really like to know...

I love you guys. Thank you. Here's to good moho blogging.

Aaron said...

You know... Its been really difficult telling my parents about my SGA. Sometimes it feels awkward and the first two weeks were wild, but you know, I have never once felt like their "gay son." Parents love us and "son" is the only label that they are really capable of seeing. Also, coming out to your parents doesn't mean that your cousins need to know. And, have you ever thought that this knowledge might help them with their worrying? You admit they know something is wrong. It might be nice to know what it is. I am sure they are a little suspicious its something big, especially with what you've hidden from them in the past !) Your parents might be freaked out about you but unable to ask. Now thats all just speculation to help you think, not advice... but, my bit of advice would be re-think telling your parents. From someone who has met your parents, they deserve, and have earned the right to hear the truth from you. And they will handle it well... in time.

Cadence said...

hey man what kind of bike do you have? I went on a 915 mile trip to the north rim of the grand canyon a week ago... I have a 650 kawasaki versys its pretty much an endro type bike... if you want we should go somewhere some time... have you ever been to the bonniville salt flats by wendover? let me know... take it easy...

SNAYJ said...

Yikes, your story and outlook made me feel very sad. You know, my parents don't know, but for me it has not been an issue. However, for you, it seems like it definitely needs to be resolved. Remember, sometimes our greatest fear is ourselves...realizing that you would have even more to live up to in your parents eyes! I will leave you with a quote from Harry Potter. "Dangerous times lie ahead, and soon we must make the choice between that which is right, and that which is easy!"
Pray my friend, that is the best advice I can give. Praying about whom to tell has been one of the best things in my life. Remember, always tell those whom you think will be able to help you. I am sure your parents would be willing. And your father has dealt with it before in his calling. Oh, and if you think that people where you come from don't deal with it, remember, that is where you come from!
Sorry, too much advice for one day.

Beck said...

I've decided that at this point in my life, my parents will go to their grave never suspecting my being gay. And that's okay.

Thanks for commenting on my blog. And along with Abe, I extend my welcome to the queerosphere and look forward to learning from your experiences.

Potentate said...

Good luck with it; good relationships with parents are rough to maneuver.