Friday, January 28, 2011
Coming Out, Part 3
My mom finished reading the letter first. She is the speed reader in the family and tears through volumes of books every year. She had a look on her face that I could not quite read - one of wanting to express motherly love and sorrow at the same time, all while controlling her emotions to remain objective. She wanted to talk right then, but I insisted that my dad be able to finish reading the letter before we talked.
To make chit chat for a bit, my mom then casually asked who my fifth grade teacher was because I had mentioned in my letter I had consciously known I was gay since the that grade. I was again thrown off by a question from my mom. At first I thought she was trying to place blame on why I was gay and it had something to do with my poor fifth grade teacher (I knew I was gay well before that, I just didn't know the word associated with it), but I realized quickly that she just wanted to have some context of the stage in my life when it all began. I casually replied to her query right as my dad finished reading the letter.
Seeing him lift his head I was all of a sudden acutely conscious of how much I needed their acceptance. I needed them to acknowledge what I had been through and who I really was. My parents are my best friends. I do not know what I would do without them. I had waited so long to come out because I didn't want to disappoint them or cause them any strife or harm.
At that moment I was the most vulnerable I have ever been in my life. The risk was taken, my deepest secret exposed. I had opened up the tender inside of my soul taking what seemed like the greatest leap of faith over the widest chasm of doubt of my existence, and I would either fly or fall. I recalled all of the stories I had heard of friends coming out to their parents, the rejection, the heartbreak, the closemindedness, and said one last silent prayer before the trajectory of my own story was determined.
My dad, with his metered voice said, "I have considered before now and made the decision long ago that my children will always be welcome in our home no matter what. Horizon, you will always be welcome no matter what. You are family."
I was flying. My heart lept for joy. I would not be kicked out. I would not have to run into the night with tears in my eyes. It wasn't a tacit endorsement of what my life might become, but it was a positive beginning point.
My mom conveyed similar wonderful support quoting my letter that I was, in fact, the same son she knew that morning and that nothing would change that. She told me that her fear was that I would want to abandon the family because of being gay. I exclaimed that my biggest fear was being cast out of the family for being gay! (It just goes to show how important family is to us, that both of our greatest fears was losing it.)
In that instant, the burden I had carried my whole life. the weight that pulled me down, was shared and instantly became lighter. The knots inside my stomach loosened and I found myself breathing again as if I hadn't taken a breath since I entered the room. It was so wonderful to be exposed to the light and finally be my true self without the fears that had so traumatized my whole existence.
We talked some more, but for the first time in the longest time, I was happy.