11 February 2010

Letter to Mom and Dad, First Draft

Dear Mom and Dad,

I know that letters aren't always the best way to communicate, and for that I apologize.  But I don't apologize for what I need to say because it's really important to me, and I would say it in person if I could.

Both of you have said to me repeatedly that you feel like I'm avoiding you, pulling away, becoming distant, or something along those lines.  I would say that you are correct.  Mostly this is because I don't always feel comfortable at home.  I'm not sure how to respond to the questions you usually ask, such as how my day has been, what I've been up to, things like that.  My understanding is that you don't want to know that real answer, and therefore I have a large part of my life that I don't share with you, and don't feel like I can share with you.

Regardless of if you're ashamed or angry and just don't want to acknowledge it, the reality of the situation is that I am gay and I have a girlfriend.  I'm not in a relationship with her because I'm rebelling or trying to make you upset or because my marriage failed and I'm trying something new.  We've been dating for six months and we're really happy.  She's important to me and we're planning on being important to each other for a long time.

That doesn't mean she has to be important to you.  You don't have to ask about her or invite her over.  But you do need to know that my life includes her and I can't go on omitting so many details when you ask about where I go or who I'm with.

I'm not angry and I'm not trying to pick a fight.  If anything, I'm sad.  It's been very difficult for me to not tell you about my life right now, because I'm happy and stable and things are going so well, and I want so much to share that with you.  You're my parents and I want you to be a part of what goes on in my life.  But I respect both of you and realize that you have to deal with this in your own way, in your own time.  However, I have accepted myself as I am, and I have to start being more honest, because I don't want to be ashamed of who I am. 

If this is a problem, I can find somewhere else to go.  I would hope that we can find a way to not be awkward around each other, find some common ground, and have things work out as best they can.

I love you both,


Any thoughts?

06 February 2010

Choosing Life

"I assured Ross of our love and understanding, our unwavering support and loyalty, but when, in absolute despair, he said, 'what's the point of going on?  I can't ever marry in the temple and have a family.  How do I get to the celestial kingdom?  What happens to me?' I had no answers.  I still don't.

"I could not advise him to keep coming to church, to hope for peace in the next life.  There are graveyards full of young Latter-Day Saints who have tried.

"I choose life for my child.  I would rather have him alive, living an authentic life, true to who he is, than to live a stalwart steadfast lie that backs him into a suicidal corner."
(Diane Oviatt, Oakland LDS Stake)

04 February 2010

Crushed - February Theme

My first real crush was for a boy.  His name was Preston and he played the trumpet.  I noticed him when I was in 8th grade and he was in 9th.  I thought he was absolutely beautiful.  And that's about as far as it went.  8th grade was the year that everything kind of fell apart. 

But I have another first crush, and her name was Valerie.

Valerie and I met at work.  I was 21, newly married, both young and naive.  She was 30, never married, a devout Jehovah's Witness with a goofy sense of humor.  I don't remember the exact moment when we became such good friends, but we did.  And once I knew I could trust her, I opened up to her and she helped me through some really difficult parts of my life.  We became really close.

When I look back now, it's obvious to me that I loved her as more than a friend.  I wanted to be with her every second of every day.  I thought about her constantly, wondered what she was doing, who she was with, when I would see her again.  I would have rather been with her than at home with my husband, and I even consciously thought that on a few occasions when I was at home with my husband.  I treasured every hug.  I loved being special to her.  And I was.

We met weekly for a Bible study.  She knew that I struggled with my own religion and she wanted me to have a closer relationship with God.  I knew her religion was important to her, and sharing it was just as important.  I was curious about her beliefs more than anything, and of course I jumped at the chance to spend extra time with her, but I also learned a lot from her. 

I never thought about her in a conscious sexual way, but I was definitely attracted to her.  We had a connection that was very deep and very meaningful for both of us.

A few years ago, she moved back to Pennsylvania to help take care of her parents.  I haven't really talked to her much since then, but I still think about her.

As I've gone through the process of coming out and coming to terms with who I am, I've actually wondered to myself if something really could have happened between us.  I think there was something about our relationship that scared her, because I remember her saying once or twice before she moved that she was afraid we were getting too close.  Of course hindsight is 20/20, but I've found myself also wondering if Valerie might be gay as well.  I know that her religion was pretty much her entire life though, so if she is, I don't think she could come out for that reason.

Regardless, I wish her the best, because I've never stopped loving her.

02 February 2010

Groundhog Day

Happy Groundhog Day!

This is a day that is pretty important to me, and one that I'll always remember. It's not because of the cute little groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil that predicted six more weeks of winter today. It's not because of the Bill Murray movie. It's not because it's a week before my birthday.

It's because last year, on Groundhog Day, I came out to another person for the very first time.

What a nerve-wracking experience! Of course, I couldn't just say "I think I'm gay," I had to write it, because I was embarrassed and ashamed and terrified. I look back on it in my mind and I read through the journal I kept at that time and the overall feeling is just pure panic. I was so overwhelmed by it all and I thought that if anyone ever knew that I even thought I was gay, they would automatically hate me, reject me, berate me, and I would be left alone forever.

Thankfully, that hasn't been the case. Also thankfully, I'm not in that space anymore of hating myself for who and what I am. And I think that makes a difference in how other people see me, because if I don't make it a big deal that I'm gay, it doesn't have to be one.

I can't believe it's been a year already. I'm grateful that the person I did come out to was so understanding and supportive. That first step is huge and I felt every bit of how daunting it was. But I'm glad I did it, because I know I wouldn't be where I am if I would have chickened out. And things now really aren't all that bad. There's little difficulties still with the family, but other than that, life is pretty good.

Six more weeks of winter or not, Groundhog Day is bright and sunny for me, and I'm sure it will be for the rest of my life.

Do Tell

The first headline I saw on my homepage today read like this:

Top Uniformed Officer: Gay ban should be lifted

The top uniformed officer is Admiral Mike Mullen. This is my favorite quote from the article, in case you don't have time to read it.

"No matter how I look at the issue," Mullen said, "I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens." Noting that he was speaking for himself and not for the other service chiefs, Mullen added: "For me, it comes down to integrity — theirs as individuals and ours as an institution."

I really liked it and it kind of cheered me up a little bit today. It's good to know that the military that I so dearly support is looking into returning the favor in some way.

01 February 2010

Good News

My newest niece was born yesterday morning! She is three weeks early and a pleasant surprise! Through the miracle of technology, I've been able to see the pictures that my brother-in-law has posted on Facebook. She's such a cutie and I can't wait to meet her in person!

The really great thing is that there is no threat of losing her. When it comes to my other niece and nephew, I don't know if I will always be in good standing with their parents, which is something I've mentioned before. It's an interesting thing to play around with a 2 and 3 year old and have so much fun while having so much fear about it in the back of my mind, wondering if perhaps this is the last time I'll see them.

No such fear with this new little one. Her parents have already met my girlfriend and want me to be in their lives no matter what. Unconditional love at its finest. They don't necessarily agree and they love me anyway.

It's nice to finally have some good news.