Thursday, October 2, 2008

Out to my Family

Scott has posted about coming out to his family, and I think mentioned we did not know at what point we would tell my family.

It all started about a month ago when my sister was over one day and our conversation led a certain direction and I told her. She thought it was strange, but did not really react. She did say that she wasn't sure she would bother telling her husband. Then she was over again with her teenage daughter when I was stressed about a meeting we had scheduled with our bishop. That then led to her filling in the daughter and telling the husband as well. I guess it was kind of weird for him, and he wondered why we are bothering to tell anyone if nothing has changed (we've heard that before from one of Scott's brothers--they don't know what it is like in the closet, do they?). When I asked her what she thought of telling mom, her reaction was about what I was thinking: that mom might worry a bit, but "I wouldn't tell Dad. I don't think he would react well."

Then on labor day, we dropped by my brother's house. My sister-in-law was telling me with disgust about a lady she knows (that I know of) who recently married her girlfriend in CA. I shrugged at the news and said, "good for her" instead of sharing in the disgust. She looked a little shocked, so I quickly asked for Scott's permission and then told all. She first said "You're kidding, right?" and then looked a bit uncomfortable and shocked as I filled in some details to verify the information. Her attitude quickly changed to one of love and support of Scott. She reminisced about how gay guys were some of her best clients when she sold Tupperware. My brother shrugged and said he knew gay guys at work, and it was no big deal. They both were concerned though as they said "You're not going to tell the parents, are you? Dad especially would not react well." I have not heard from them since, but I haven't called them either, which is not unusual.

A little over a week ago, my mom was telling me about how the lesson in Relief Society (plan of salvation lesson) made her think that she will not make it to the celestial kingdom. I told her that I had recently decided that getting into heaven is a lot more gray and less black and white than I used to think, that God will judge us individually for our circumstances and what is in our hearts. Our conversation continued about how neither she nor I has ever really "enjoyed" attending the temple and one thing led to another and I shared with her how I am struggling with the church's involvement in CA politics. And of course, that eventually led to my telling her about Scott. We were talking in one room (while Scott sat beside us reading a book, every once in a while interjecting a comment into our conversation) while my Dad was playing a board game with our kids in another room.

The conversation with my Mom didn't skip a beat. She immediately began talking about the 1978 manifesto and then about how coffee was on the list for pioneers to pack in their wagons, so how did it end up against the Word of Wisdom? Anyway, as our conversation wound down (because the game finished in the other room), I told her she could tell Dad, and she said, "I don't want to tell him. Do you want to tell him? I don't know how he would react." I said "no, I don't want to. Not right now." Anyway, we left shortly thereafter and I worried that she would worry about me and not even have my dad to talk to about it.

Then, today, she and I chatted a bit about the topic on the phone. I was sharing with her how grateful I have been to have Scott in my life this week, for his support through my anxiety and hysteria. She shared with me that she had told Dad the night I had told her. This was very interesting to me, because we had them over for dinner for a child's birthday on Sunday and my Dad was very complimentary of the meal Scott prepared. And then he mentioned again on the phone a couple of days ago about what a great cook Scott is, etc. When I told Scott today that I found out my Dad knew when they were over, he thought that was interesting, because he said that my Dad had been more complementary to him personally than usual.

With tears in my eyes, I said to him "That is my Dad's way of letting you know that he accepts you for who you are."

And with that, we are out. There are no more secrets at family gatherings. It feels liberating and weird all at the same time. Only time will tell how everyone is really feeling, if we ever happen to find out at all.

7 comments:

Beck said...

I am so grateful that this has gone so well. I think the indirect comments from your dad to Dicho are truly sweet. Though they don't address it directly, the message comes through loud and clear that you and Dicho are very much loved for who you are!

Damon In CO said...

Serendipity,

I can't tell you how happy I am to hear about the acceptance you and Dichotomy have experienced from your extended family! It's good to know that there are families out there who will be supportive.

I have been wondering...since coming out to your RS Book Club, have you heard anything circulating in the ward? If not, I have to say it's remarkable how those in the group have honored your privacy!

Also, I was wondering how "In Quiet Desperation" was coming for you. As you know, I am not a huge fan of the book, but I was wondering of your opinion...sometimes I worry that I am just jaded.

Again, I can't tell you how happy I am to hear of the success you and Dichotomy have had in coming out. Your last comment made me think...you said being without secrets is free and weird. I think it's rare that we shed all of our insecurities about our secrets and bare them to the world. A feeling of freedom is unusual because it is rare.

I can't tell you what a smile I wear on my face for you and your family right now.

Where has Dichtomoy been lately? Seems like his posts have slowed a bit...not just his but Becks too...if it weren't for you I'd be very lonely in this blogosphere.

Love Y'all-
Damon

Dichotomy said...

I've also been grateful that our families have been so supportive. The most "negative" response has been "why do I need to know this?", but even that has been accompanied by love and acceptance.

DAMON: I'm still here :) I just haven't felt like I've had much to say lately.

I'll let Serendipity answer your questions herself, but my own impression has been that the book club people haven't said a word.

Silver said...

Very glad to see things going so well in telling your family. We have not made that choice as yet, maybe someday. I suppose families are all different. My mother-in-law is very unstable emotionally with many bouts of depression. We fear putting her over the edge and adding more to her plate! So, they know I struggled with porn addiction (now overcome and in remission), but they don't know the details of my sexual preference and for now It doesn't matter so much.

I too find hope in your Dad's response to Dicho and his kind comments. I related because I often cook at her family gatherings and they rave about my cooking. It was sweet to hear that.

I admire the pace and the courage of your "coming out" in so many venues. I personally could not be so open, so soon and I reserve my privacy for a few dear friends and loved ones.

I love reading your blog and dicho's. You are both so expressive and open. I have been blessed by what you share. Thanks!

Serendipity said...

Damon,

I have not heard anything from anyone as result of the book club conversation. The only follow-up at all was the next day with the one that lives in my neighborhood. She walks with my kids to school in the morning, and I walk them (and her child) home in the afternoon. The day following the book group, she met us after school partway and walked with us. The children went ahead of us as we stood on the street corner from which each of us would go a different direction to go home. We talked about the night before. She told me she had shared the news with her husband, and they discussed when the right time would be to share it with their son. Since he is only 9, they have decided it best to wait for now. She then asked with concern about how our family is really doing, and then expressed that she and her husband consider us to be good friends and the gay thing did not change anything.

As for the other 3 people at book group, our relationship and conversations with them at church are the same as always, friendly and caring with no sense of any judgment or weirdness.


I read only the first chapter of IQD. It was rather depressing. If the mother knew that her son intended to kill himself, isn't there something else she could have done? Even though he was a grown man, I think if he had been my son, I would not have left his side, day or night, while I thought he considered taking his life.

Because of the recent struggles I have had in my own life, I have not had the desire to pick up the book and read any more. Instead, I am reading "Emma" by Anita Steinsfield. I know that it will not be free from depressing stories, but so far I am enjoying it.

Lastly, if you feel alone in the blogosphere, maybe you should start your own blog. :) I know we would all like to get to know you better.

Beck said...

DIP: I did get past the first few pages and got into the Matis's story and it was very sad and made me weep only. It may be too painful for you and not necessary and so don't feel any requirement to read it.

DAMON: I haven't gone away, but my blog, like DICHO, isn't a scheduled daily entry. It is based on real life and real situations that ebb and flow and cannot be predicted or planned. Good angsty posts come from real situations and real struggles. I'd love to see you start your own and join in the conversation more with your own thoughts on your own blog. We always need more encouragement. I second Serendipity's suggestion to push you to start your own.

Damon In CO said...

Hi Serendipity,

Thanks for answering all of my nosey questions. I appreciate the encouragement from you (and Beck) to start my own blog.

Honestly, I am not sure how interesting it would be. My life is relatively dull in regards to my sexuality. I've made my decisions and although I am not closed to a relationship I also haven't had one. :)

Moreoever I just started a new job that keeps me hopping all day. Which is why you may have seen me back off on my posting. In about a month I am also going back to school, so I am doubtful about my time to do it.

However, we'll see...I have played with the idea. To be hoenst though, I don't even know how to set it up...we'll see.