If you are following from last week, I wrote a letter to my parents and let them know where I stood on everything. If you didn't read it, this post may make a bit more sense if you take a second to hop over here and look it over, first.
It didn't go well. In fact, it went worse than my worst-case scenario.
In my letter I told my parents nearly everything. I told them about my suicide attempts, my time in therapy and on prescription meds, my attempts to be spiritually cleansed "by the laying on of hands," etc. In short, I spelled out that even though I had tried EVERYTHING to change myself, I am still gay and I'm finally coming to terms with it. And, frankly, if God is out there, I believe He is okay with it, too.
The initial response I got from my mother was a terrifying voice mail telling me that she didn't believe me, that she knew I have "struggled with things in the past," and that she would never show or tell my dad about the letter because it would "destroy him" (three times). She then went on to tell me we needed to schedule a time to meet in the next week to two weeks when we could be alone to discuss my problem.
Now, I realize I have been trying to process this part of my life for more than 15 years and that it's incredibly hard on her and she will need time to process everything, but why the hell would anyone tell their suicidal son that he would destroy his father and family if they knew he was gay?
I would be lying if I said I didn't think about killing myself again this week; it was truly emotional overload and I didn't have the capacity to try and process everything so I shut down and started slowly addressing one issue and thought at a time. Fortunately I didn't try to overdose again and I am still here, alive and kicking. The reason I didn't, honestly, brings me to the idea of coming in before coming out.
Coming out is a lengthy process and I am far from finished. Coming in, however, started years ago. I can't really pinpoint when I started to come into myself but I can remember sterling examples over the years that truly stick out; times when I began to see myself as a whole person.
Wonderful times when a friend would come out to me and I realized that I still loved him/her regardless of their orientation (shocking, I know). Painful times when I would literally cry on God's doorstep, pleading for change, and then realizing that He wasn't going to change me and beginning to feel okay with that. And still, other beautiful times when I began to process who I was and then verbalizing it on this blog (sometimes I go back and read my older posts and I shocked at how much I've changed and embraced myself).
There are too many memories to share here but I have realized something: I am me and that is okay. Regardless of what my mother or my father or my sisters or my neighbors or whoever thinks, I am me. And that has to be enough.
I know it's cliche' and I think it's on nearly every openly-gay-person-I-know's Facebook page but I want to conclude by sharing a quotation from Dr. Seuss:
"Be Who You Are and Say What You Feel Because Those Who Mind Don't Matter and Those Who Matter Don't Mind.”
And the song "Listen" from one of my favorite movies, Dreamgirls. I love soul music and I love the message of this song so much. I hope you do, too.
All my love,