Saturday, October 5, 2013

Dear Family, I'm Gay & Blue Whales

I thought I'd have some epic chronological story about coming out, but I just don't know that I have the energy to extract the data from my brain to author something like that for you.  It seems I've been through so much that my brain haphazardly filed everything away.  Let me try to at least construct the Cliff's Notes on my story of coming out to my family.  (Do people even know what Cliff's Notes are anymore?)

So, the family party seems like a decent place to begin.  Everyone except my sister's family that lives on the east coast was there.  We had fun.  We all laughed.  We talked about celebrity crushes... oh man... that was odd.  I knew that that conversation would never go the same way for me ever again.  I told them Rachel Weisz, which certainly was a celebrity crush of mine in the past, but if I had been honest, these days it's definitely Matt Damon!  I was looking around at all the smiling faces, and I worried, what if this is the last time I get to do this?  What if it's never like this for me again?  I pulled out my phone and took covert pictures of everyone around me.  I have been to dozens and dozens of family parties like that, but I will always remember that one.

That night I personalized a letter for everyone.  Each of my siblings and my parents.  I poured so much into those letters.  I felt completely emotionally drained after writing all of them.  The next day, was the Monday that I had set as my goal.  I was determined to make it happen.  I locked myself in my room.  I set up an email to my sister that doesn't have Facebook, and I set up a Facebook message to each other member of my family (attaching an extra file to my message to my mom, for her to print out for my technologically-challenged father.)  I poured through each one... making sure it was just right.  I went to the one for my mom... hit a button... and away it went.  I hit send on each other message, and on the email.

There!  I had done it.  I came out to my family.  What I felt more than fear, was that I should be feeling some emotions.  I didn't really feel anything too strongly.

But that changed when Facebook informed me that my mom had seen it, and I got a message back from her moments later.  I was scared.  Until I read, "So how do I print these?"  She had read the message on her phone and thought I'd texted the letter attachments to her.  So, maybe both my parents are technologically challenged.  :-)

Anyway, she then read it, and texted me a brief message about her love and support.  Then Facebook said my brother read it a while later.  An hour after it said he'd read my message, he called.  We had a good short talk, and he told me he loved me and understood where I was coming from.  Then my sister sent me a text... no wait, two texts... no 3...4.... oh... that's right... 37 texts all at once!  (I have two technologically-challenged parents, and apparently a technologically-challenged sister!)  She actually thought she was going to type it out on her messenger and then email it to me, but instead it came in 37 texts that came in in random order.  I got the gist of what she was saying though... she loved me, and was surprised because we'd talked about women I dated before, and that she knew the gospel would bring me happiness.  Then I got two emails from my other two sisters... each saying they knew the gospel would bring me happiness, they loved me, and had no problem that I was gay.  The next day, dad called to tell me he loved me.  (He's not a man of many words and pretty much left it at that.)  I also got a call from my brother-in-law.  He's the kindest man I know.  I'll leave it at that.

So, it wasn't a dramatic experience.  Everyone just made me feel so relieved.  And for, I think, the first time in my life, I had said  "I love you" to each member of my family, and had heard it from each of them, too.  Each of my sisters expressed that they were worried about my feelings about the church, because in my letters I explained that I was considering leaving the church behind, but that I hadn't made any concrete decisions as of yet.  I started to feel somewhat pressured by them already, but I just deflected and didn't engage on those conversations with them.

Point being, I'm through it.  I came out to my family, and I'm fine.  I still have pretty much the same dilemma to sort out.  Do I continue looking for answers from the gospel?  Or do I look for answers from the world?  How am I supposed to move forward?

...I figure that... I'll just figure it out as I go along.  I'm not in the hurry I may have previously felt like I wanted to be in.  I honestly don't know what's in my future, but my sister gave me some good advice that stuck... I should move forward remaining cognizant of my spirituality.  I am a spiritual person, she said.  I should still keep that as part of my worldview, whether it includes the church or not.  I appreciated that she said that a great deal.

Moving along chronologically, I have indeed gone on a trip.  I am presently blogging this from a hotel room in Southern California.  It's been great to get some warm weather and avoid the first snow of the Fall/Winter (Fwinter?).  Today, I went out onto the ocean and saw a pod of blue whales feeding on top of the ocean!  It was an incredible experience that I'll never forget.  There were a few gay couples on board the ship, too, and I found myself watching them quite a lot.  I just want to know what it's like to be able to just be out to the world like that.  I had the thought today that we gay folks are kind of like the blue whales.  Blue whales were hunted nearly to extinction, but then were protected by laws when it was found they were being unfairly forced from this world.  I find myself a bit like a blue whale born into the world after protections have started to be established.  What would my coming out have been like if I had done it in decades past?  Certainly I wouldn't have gotten, "It's no problem that you're gay," quite as thoroughly as I have from my family.  Maybe even if it had been five years ago it would have been a little rougher.  I'm just grateful for my family's love and support.  I worry about whether they'll really be as supportive if I do, in fact, leave the church... but I can understand that.

I doubt this is the post I was hoping for after all of this, and maybe it wasn't the one you were hoping for either.  Who cares?  I'm happy.  I'm happy that my family knows.  Now I just need to figure out how to deal with each of my friends.  I get to sort out what's next for me.  It's kind of exciting.

13 comments:

  1. I am so happy that things went so well. You seem to have a wonderful family and I hope everything continues in a positive way. I am proud of you and the courage you have shown.

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  2. That's awesome everything went so well.

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  3. You've made it over a major hurdle in your life. Time will tell how people will respond to you being gay. The Church has always been the foundation of my life. I don't have any idea how I would function without it. Life would definitely be different for me if for some reason I became separated from it. I hope you can find a way to keep the people and things that are important and supportive in your life and still be who you are. Hang in there....Adon

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  4. Good for you! I'm really happy for you.

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    1. Thank you, Trev. I'm happy for me, too.

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  5. That is so awesome, Graham! I'm glad it went well - I had a gut feeling it would :) We should chat one of these days.

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    1. Thanks, Nathan! (Accept my invitation on gchat and we shall! ;)

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    2. I think I did... :-/ I'll double check! :)

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  6. Really glad it seems to have gone so well!

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  7. I am so happy for you. Being gay is not something to be ashamed of and should not be the cause of ridicule. We have equal rights as humans and it seems that you are gay, happy, and contented. :)

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