I have been absent again. It's possible that I've just got too much other stuff going on to be successful at blogging the way I used to be. Lately, I've got a good excuse, which is that a flare-up in my shoulder has made it generally difficult to sit and id irritated especially by computer use, so I've been limiting my computer use to activities that are easily performed when flat on my back with my computer on my belly. Reading, and playing Puzzle Loop, mainly.

One place I've been reading is Making Space, and I wanted to draw attention to a recent post of hers by quoting the part that feels particularly relevant to me right now.

I thought that life was about struggle and hardship. I thought that the more I focused on the struggle, the more honest I was as a person. I thought that the more I endured and discussed and processed the hardships the more authentic I’d be. But, you see, there was always that part inside me that I couldn’t find, that I had hidden even from myself.

So when I found it, and the weight of not knowing myself was gone, I started to realize, ever so slowly, that virtue is not a function of self-induced suffering; and goodness is not a feature of following external dictates that bring psychic pain.

But still, I thought, well, when I come out farther and farther, the struggle will just be greater and greater and I just need to know that. Well, there have been some seriously scary explosions along the way. I’ve had to learn where to wall up and where to be open. And it turns out I had it exactly backwards before – the people with whom I feel most open are the ones I would not have sought out before; and the people to whom I felt I owed openness, it turns out I owe them exactly nothing.

I called my mother to tell her that Astasia and I are now engaged, and it did not go well. It was basically a trainwreck. Coming out has been, in my life, mainly a series of battles with my family. No one else is surprised, and no one else cares all that much. But my family, they are the ones who are supposedly deserving of my honesty and love. Over and over again they show me that they deserve only a pretend version of me. Well behaved but closed off, smiling but cold. They liked me better when I was miserable and they only want happiness for me if it can be on their terms, if it means I will change and be more like them. They've always wanted this, even when my gayness wasn't the issue.

Maybe my gayness was always the issue. I just didn't know it.

My mom says her love for me hasn't changed, and maybe that's true. She always treated me like this, whether the issue was wardrobe, hair, grammar, she was always so convinced that I could never be happy unless I conformed, and she certainly wouldn't support any happiness I experienced unless I experienced it through that conformity.

I keep telling myself that if they really loved me, they'd at least want to consider that they're wrong. They'd just try to see things from my perspective. Maybe I'm giving them too much credit. Maybe I'm expecting them to be someone they're not, the same way they're expecting that of me. Maybe I'm wishing they'd change into rational, thinking, self aware people. They've never been those things, why start now?

Maybe I just need to think of them as people with a certain handicap, to relate to them as such. The openness I keep begging them for is something they are not capable of.

In just a few days I have to visit them for christmas, and I am dreading it. Sometime before then I have to send my sisters a message telling them that I am engaged. I resent them all for introducing this stress into a very happy time in my life. I keep telling Astasia how much I hate them all, and she smiles and pats my head and says she knows.

My family forces me to compartmentalize my feelings about them in order to enjoy the sheer wonderfulness of my life. But I refuse to take responsibility for, as my mother fears, ruining christmas. If her christmas is ruined, that is all her.


  1. ...they'd at least want to consider that they're wrong.... The openness I keep begging them for is something they are not capable of.

    That's the problem, right there. A large part of religious indoctrination is an inoculation process that renders honest evaluation of one's beliefs nearly impossible. Fear of hellfire is a powerful tool for keeping the sheep docile.

  2. Hiya SWK, I'm just catching up on your blog and wanted to thank you (belatedly!) for the shout-out and the quote.

    I am working again on some major transformations in my life, and I have decided to say exactly nothing to my family of origin - except for my brother who has proved time and again that he can be trusted. There's also one cousin who knows a bit. But no one else will hear anything from me again. That's not to say I'm totally cutting off communication, but just that I'm no longer announcing anything specific about my life (at all, even my work) to them.

    I think for me, like for you, the situation with coming out to my mother just clarified some things that had been true all along.

    It doesn't mean life overall is negative, just that it takes such a different direction than the one the family of origin approves of, that there's simply no point in discussing it.

    My therapist likes to quote Katherine Hepburn: "Don't complain, don't explain."