Sunday, April 19, 2009

Talking With My Parents After Coming Out


I'm out to my parents as gay; I'm accepted to grad school in NYC; and I lose my job, health insurance, and apartment in 2 days...and I think I'm ok with it all.

My parents came down from Montana the other weekend so that we could have time to talk and reaffirm the facts that we're family, we love each other no matter what, and that they're proud of me as their son. I'm so very fortunate that my parents have received this news so well. They have their concerns and they had a little counsel for me, but they were all ears for the feelings and awakenings I shared with them. Over the weekend, we had about 4 hours of quality conversation about homosexuality and faith and virtue.

My father is the bishop of the LDS congregation in our little Montana town, and consistent with what you would expect from him, the counsel was to remain faithful to the commandments of God as we have them through Church leaders and the scriptures. What I didn't expect from him was so much listening. My father has always been a leader and he's perceptive, wise...and quite conservative. He shared his feelings and thoughts as fitted the conversation; but along with his input, I recognized that he was intently and thoughtfully listening to my sharing of experiences and my lessons I learned over the past year. Not only did he listen, but he responded to these experiences and lessons in a manner that was original in comparison to his past. What I mean to say is that his responses weren't derived from the religious conservative standard that is often his platform; rather, his responses were clearly coming from dialectic thought and true-life experiences.

Since she read the letter, my mother has expressed nothing but care, concern, and a desire to help and love and support. She's expressed her belief in Church teachings and her faith in God and His involvement in our lives, but she also made clear that no matter what happens in the future, I'll always be her son. Over the last weekend, my mother was continuously open to and engaged in understanding the experiences and ideas I was sharing. She, along with my father, agreed that there is so much that we don't know and that some of what we think we know for certain is, in reality, only assumed. I can feel how hard my mother is trying to understand what is happening. She is also so very desirous to be involved in the experiences and changes along my path.

It is very clear that I'm fortunate. I don't think that I could have scripted this better than it happened. I'm so grateful that my parents are so open to understanding the changes that I'm going through.

I recently was accepted to graduate school in NYC at Long Island University. I'm headed to AZ in two days for work. I've got an indescribably rare friend and confidant in Hillary. I've got such a wonderful family that is so open to me. I've got good health and great opportunities to bike, run, and swim. I'm free to write my story as each day dawns. Sometimes, I feel quite intimidated with all the stuff that I (and everybody else) face...but, with all these things, how can a person not feel an electric anticipation and excitement for the future - whatever it brings. Yeah?

17 comments:

D. said...

LOVE YOU!

Bravone said...

Roberto, Someday I would love to meet your folks. Although we all come to earth as unique individuals, often our families have a tremendous shaping influence on our lives. From what you have said about your family, they must be really special people. Their love and acceptance of you is also a reflection of the goodness you radiate to them.

You also have really good friends who think the world of you. You tend to bring out the best in people by your sincerity and honest concern for others.

I am so excited for you at this stage of your life. Congratulations on graduating from college and getting accepted to grad school. Your summer job and Plan A are also awesome steps toward a bright future.

My life is blessed because of our association. Thank you. Love you.

Alan said...

Congratulations all round. And thank heaven for the Internet, you will still seem close. I love NYC and am jealous that you'll be there! Don't stay, though, come back when you're done. We all want you close to us.

robert said...

suuuweet!

Eternity said...

Just wanted to wish you the best of luck as you begin this next chapter of your life. Thank you for sharing your experience with your family as that also strengthens and helps the other families out there. Know that you are in my prayers and thoughts.

Bror said...

Glad to hear you are doing great. Big hug from me.

Austin said...

You are coming to Az!?!?!
What part?

The Faithful Dissident said...

Just found your blog and have been reading through some of your posts. I was really impressed by your honesty in the letter to your parents.

I'm not gay, but since I'm not a "normal" Mormon by any means and have never really fit the mold, I feel a very strong sense of empathy for members of the Church who happen to be gay. I've gotten to know some really great people through blogging and have gotten some different perspectives from the different paths they have taken in dealing with their homosexuality. I honestly don't know what path is right -- perhaps it depends on the individual -- but I believe that as a church, we've only scratched the surface of homosexuality and there is a whole lot that we simply don't know.

I'm going to add your blog to the list on on my blog. I blog about all sorts of different subjects in relation to Mormonism, including homosexuality. You may be interested in some of my posts.

drakames said...

Did you think your parents would be the accepting type before you told them, or did you think they would flip out?

Robert said...

D. - I love you completely man...not in a wierd way, but in an admiring and respectful and friend way. Really D, you're so great - believe me on that, because you are. :) Love you man.

Bravone - I would love for you to meet my folks too. I'm going to tell them that if they have the chance and desire that there is this incredibly awesome friend of mine in IF that they've got to stop by and meet...him and his family. Plan A baby! and open communication. :) You and me! ;) Love you man.

Alan - I'm completely with you on the excitement thing. I'm so thrilled right now...after I got off the phone with my graduate advisor yesterday and I was walking across campus, I was so happy and excited that I couldn't help but to shout out...and everyone looked at me and I was a bit embarrassed...but at the same time, I was like, "Ha! If y'all even knew, you'd be jealous." So, yep, I'm excited...and really grateful too. I'm pretty sure I'll come back - I'm too attached to these western mountains and forests to stay away too long. :)

Robert - Thank you so much man. I love that we share the best name out there. ;) Thanks robert. :)

Eternity - Honestly, please believe that your prayers are felt...your support is so real and noticed...and appreciated to the fullest. I really mean it, every affirmation of support and love brings about such a real feeling of strength and optimism regarding the possibility for achieving my goals. Thank you Eternity.

Bror - Thank you man. I love hugs, most anybody that knows that will agree - be they virtual or real. Thank you man. :)

Austin - I'm coming to the greater Phoenix area...mostly Mesa, but I'm not sure where I'll be living. I might stay with a friend on the east side of Phoenix.

Faithful Dissident - I'm taking my last test in a couple hours...then I've got a ton of blog reading to do...yours is definately on the list. It gives me such a hope and belief in the goodness of people when I meet somebody that is trying in a real way to empathize with others when their problems are not the same. It just shows that you've got an intimate awareness of the reality of others' person-ness - you're responsive to the heart/soul reality of the people around you. Sometimes we forget that the people around us are as real as we ourselves are and that their worries, fears, sorrows, excitement, joy, and vibrance is as real as ours is, even if all we feel is our own emotions and thoughts and desires...and not theirs. Thank you for you post Faithful. I'm excited to find your blog. :)

Drakames - Oh, I was so worried that telling them would forever change our relationship. I have always been so close to my parents...well, ever since I grew out of teenage rebellion. ;) I was worried that things would forever become awkward because they wouldn't be able to honestly and in a truly responsive way open up to what this all means or might mean. So, yeah, I was really worried that they would in a silent way flip out and not completely accept me anymore as their son and a friend. I used to say that I would NEVER tell them. I was set in stone regarding that issue; but, all of the sudden, something told me that the time to tell was here...and so, without anything changing or necessitating it, I told them - and I'm so much better off now for it.

Wyatt said...

Congrats on your recent move to NYC! I graduated from NYU and I LOVED living there. You're going to have so much fun. It's crazy weather but the people are so nice and so interesting at the same time.

I love your blog by the way.

Good for you.

I look forward to reading more : )

Silus Grok said...

On a completely unrelated note … I've in love with your radio stream. Wonderful music! I've been listening to it for a week, now.

goodtobefree said...

Thanks Robert. You're letter and your chronicles your parents response has inspired me and I find myself more than ever moving toward a similar situation. Thank you.

Ben said...

Hi, all I can say is that your letter to your parents was inspiring.

Kaira said...

Thanks for sharing, really feeling great for you.

Robert said...

Wyatt - Oh, man, I LOVED New York City. What a beautiful place and yes, the people really are quite nice. At least that's what I've found. I ended up coming back west because the school program wasn't going to get me where I needed to go, and it was going to cost a lot of $ and take a lot of time...so, I'll reapply next year to programs that will get me to licensure. But, oh yes, I really loved NYC for the time that I did spend there. So, so awesome. :D

Silus - Hahaha, I'm there with ya. When I sit down to work on a computer, the first thing I do is get my music playing and then I'm good to work. Haha, I'm glad you enjoy it man. :)

GoodToBeFree - Wow man. So, you're getting ready or moving toward coming out? Congrats man. When I first came out of denial, I swore on my life that I would never, ever tell anybody from my family or friends...and now, a year later, I've told several of them and the experience has consistently been that being open like this has strengthened our love for each other and our relationships. Take your time and think long about it. Consult your friends as much as you can (if any of them know about this) and trust your feelings. There is a right time and when that right time comes, that's when you want to tell them. I really hope you are free and that you feel good that way. My best wishes and love are with you man. Here's to family. :)

Ben - Thank you man. Thank you a ton. I worked long and hard on it and when it was finally finished, it rang true to be the right things to say to them and the right time to say them. I'm just soooo grateful on how things turned out. May you find more and more inspiration down the road. :)

Kaira - Thank you Kaira. It's only because of the support and kindness from people like you (fellow bloggers) that I had the courage to write and send the letter. Believe me, believe me, believe me - I really feel the support and love that you share. Thank you. I definately hope and wish that you feel the appreciation and love I feel for you. :)

Silus Grok said...

Congratulations and good luck!