23 February 2015

Square One

It looks like I'm not going to be able to sleep until I get this out. So here goes.

Hi, it's me again. Been a while. Having a bit of a problem just now and thought I'd see what help/advice I could get.

Basically, in summary, I've been out for about NINE years. Crazy it's been that long. And I've been out almost the same amount of time to my parents. It started rocky and they struggled, and I struggled, and we had fights, and tears were shed, but then we started making progress. I was able to share my experiences, including some that happened on my mission, that helped them start to understand me a bit better. We took baby steps. I sent them talks. I sent them thoughts, scriptures, things people had blogged that resonated with me. Eventually we got to No More Goodbyes level. Progress was slow, but it was there. We even got to Prayers for Bobby. My dad seemed to have come around more than my mom and I continued being open with him. I even shared some of my difficulties with dating, struggling to find a boyfriend, etc. All received positively. I even went so far as to bring a guy home so that they could see what me being in a relationship looked like. I *thought* we had achieved a relatively solid place of understanding and agreement.

When I asked my dad if there would ever be room for me and my partner at their table, I was told (with a few conditions/strings) yes. I have been so proud of our relationship and honesty over the past few years, I thought I didn't have any complaints. I've been re-evaluating some things in my life and re-addressing my faith paradigm and post-orthdoxy Mormon spaces and have been engaging with them in dialogue about it, all to the positive as well.

But then this weekend I was sharing some of my recent findings with the memoirs I've been exploring, like John Addington Symonds. I brought Oscar Wilde up as well as I just finished his biography. I was making a comment about my previous engagement/relationship with OtR and how glad I was that I had made the choice to NOT marry her, because it saved us so much pain and grief in the long-run. These marriages, and other MOMs I'd mentioned to them in the years when I was a more active blogger; well, the majority of them didn't end well. They asserted that the ones that worked we probably didn't hear about because they worked. I wasn't ready to disagree completely there, but then my dad basically confessed he still harbors a hope that I will "find a lovely girl to love and settle down with and make a life."

Knife to my heart.

Are you kidding? He really just said that? My mom also noted that in her mind that was the only way "I'd ever be able to have the type of family I was looking for." To which I shot back with the countless committed gay couples I know who are currently raising children. I then tried to clarify my point with them about my non-attraction to OtR. I gave examples of seeing how much she cared about me and loved me and not being able to reciprocate that, and how much it pained me. My mom then came at with the assertion that why couldn't marriage be more about the "best friend" part; that was her favorite part: having that someone to be around and make memories with and be there to support you and spend time with you. I wanted to assert a reply about marriages failing if thy don't have a sexual aspect, but didn't really know how to phrase that.

It got worse though.

As I went further into my "inability to perform" when it came and me and OtR and the physical, I told them the story of being actually, actively physically repulsed by her lady parts. Like wanting to throw up repulsed. Hi, Kinsey? Yeah, I'm definitely a 9. We need to amend your scale. Thanks. That's neither here nor there though. My mom's response to that was literally: "I guess that's why you're meant to do it with the lights off." Egads. I really want to believe she was being flippant about that comment. I do wonder though what I'm inadvertently exposing about my own parent's marriage by having these conversations.

That wasn't the worst of it though. My mom added later on in the conversation that, just for my information, when I made them watch Prayers for Bobby that the two boys kissing--" (I showed them the edited version I had from Dichotomy even) "--well that made ME sick to MY stomach. Literally."


I've been left completely reeling. I feel like the entire foundation of our 9-year relationship working toward understanding and common ground has just been pulled out from under me. Do they really misunderstand me and who I am that fundamentally? I feel like I've spent the last nine years with them thinking that I love mathematics and want to become an accountant while the whole time I've been telling them that I'm a writer in actuality. Like that's how far off the mark I feel we are now.

Has anyone else run into this? I feel like I have to start over with them now and re-establish in their heads the entire --everything-- we've already been through. You're repulsed by me kissing someone. You think I'm still going to marry a girl. I feel like I've just been invalidated in my entirety. Nothing I've said to you in the last NINE YEARS has made it into your brains!?

I'd really like to regroup and let them know how I feel but I'm at a loss how to respond (I think I may still be in shock as to what's happened) to the things they said to me. Has anyone had something similar happen? Any advice/angles that you found helpful in getting your parents to better understand you? I'm definitely looking for input on this one.



Unknown said...

Sorry to hear the dilemmas!

I've recently had some small wins where I feel like my parents are coming along slowly but deep inside, I know that if it was their choice, I would be choosing a different path. I don't blame them because that is what the Church teaches them - to never lose faith and one day... just one day if they have enough faith that God will look after their wayward children and they will come back into the fold.

I'm afraid I don't have any advice for you... it's rough and there's no other way to put it. I try to imagine myself in my parent's situation and while I hope I would be more accepting and open minded, I'm not sure if I would be if I hadn't been exposed to it myself.

We just have to press on and try to ignore those side comments and do what you believe to be true and what brings you happiness. Good luck!

Brandon said...

Don't back down on the honesty--you should realize that the fact that these things have come to light are because your relationship has progressed to the point where your parents feel comfortable being more honest with you. They could keep up a front and show every sign of being supportive, while still not actually understanding you.

It sounds like your parents want to be supportive. They just still have a hard time with some stuff. And that's okay. They don't have to enjoy watching two dudes kiss. They don't have to enjoy watching you kiss a guy. I'm supportive of my siblings having healthy functioning romantic relationships, but I don't want to see any of them locking lips with someone. Gross.

And you can use this to move forward with them even more. Tell them how tough it was for you to hear them say those things, and why it hurt, and how you hope things can be in the future, and why you want that, too.

Progress can hurt sometimes, but it's still progress. Don't get down about it.