It’s hard to keep all the thoughts in your head from wandering off and getting lost. Most of the time it’s like they come crashing in, stomp around for a while, and then while I’m looking at something else galumph away, never to be heard from again.
That’s another way of saying that there are a lot of things that I’ve wanted to write about over here, but often lose track of.
Thanksgiving came and went without much hurrah. It was a small crew that assembled last Thursday at my sister’s house—my parents, both my sisters, the husband of the one, his two kids and his dad. My sister and I did the cooking, so it was fun. And there was no drama, except for an impromptu bout of chair throwing when my sister’s father-in-law brought up some politics.
He’s a delightful fellow—naturalised Italian immigrant. He came from socialist Italy, and is very worried for this country because he sees our leaders throwing away a largely good thing in favour of an experiment that failed in Europe decades ago. “I want to tell them all,” he keeps saying, “but nobody knows history.”
This Thanksgiving was probably the most stressful for me, though for completely different reasons.
I was stressed out because about two weeks ago I was ignobly outed to my entire family.
On 16 November, after getting home from orchestra rehearsal, I got an email from my mom at 10:14pm saying that they’d received an anonymous email from someone with the subject, “It concerns your son.” What followed was a string of insane emails sent from my end and, looking back, a string of surprisingly sane replies from my parents. They just wanted to get the story from my end, dialogue, discuss, and love me.
At first I couldn’t believe that my parents could be anything but furious, upset, or disappointed, convinced that they were going to try to ship me off to Exodus (or something like that) or blackmail me into “getting help.” But so far they haven’t done any of that, and have been unexpectedly open to dialoguing about their son being a homosexual. I’ve assured them that I’m not into “the scene” or the “lifestyle,” and while they’re not accepting this with open arms, they’ve at least made every effort to show that they’ve accepted their son.
I guess I’ve been rehearsing for this moment for so long, afraid that they would somehow find out, that my reaction went completely according to plan. And so I behaved exactly as I’d expected them to react that I couldn’t hear or see that they weren’t. In my mind they were the crazy, fundamentalist parents that every gay child fears—the ones who throw the Bible in their face, call them all sorts of awful names, accuse them of rejecting God, scream that they’re going to hell, etc. Fortunately my family is pretty used to my insane mood swings though, and it’s not like they didn’t wonder or have an idea.
At Thanksgiving my family was just happy that I hadn’t rejected them. How’s that for a reversal of fortune.
So who knows where this will go with them. I still don’t know if they’ll ever accept someone that I bring home into their family like they accepted my sister’s husband. They don’t agree with my “choice” and both my parents think that I’m “confusing my pre-adolescent mind with the adult mind.” I don’t have much time right now to elaborate on that, but I’m at least familiar with the theory from my psychology days—that being that I didn’t bond properly with the same sex as a child, so I’m now trying to fill that need as an adult. It’s all very Freudian.
At the end of the day, I’m glad that I don’t have to choose between family and being happy. I’m still not entirely happy since I’m a firstborn and therefore almost pathetically chase after their approval, and will forever be my parent’s experiment child. There is still a lingering doubt that God doesn’t entirely approve of me either, so I’m trying to distinguish that feeling from my parents disapproval of my “lifestyle choice.”
Sigh. There’s that word again.