Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It Gets Better: as brought to you by Bare a Pop Opera

This year I made the resolution to come out to my parents. I mean, I turned 25, it was time. My friends had all been really supportive when I told them I was not out and their stories gave me a lot of hope. For although they went through some rough times with their parents, when I looked at their current relationships with their parents, I was envious. Flash forward to six months later. Now, I have a great boyfriend and he means the world to me, but I still have not come out; they're missing out on this important part of my life.

On my day off, I'm listening to Bare a Pop Opera-
Set in a Catholic boarding school, the show centers on a group of friends during their senior year. Altar boy Peter (Michael Arden) is in love with his roommate Jason (John Hill), one of the most popular kids in school. They are carrying on a closeted romance but Peter wants to go public with their affair, at least to his mother (Kaitlin Hopkins), whom he loves dearly. Jason isn't so keen on the idea, as he feels that his entire world would crumble if word of the relationship got out. Things get more complicated when Ivy (Jenna Leigh Green) makes a play for Jason. Her rejected suitor Matt (Aaron Lohr) discovers the secret that Peter and Jason have been keeping and it's only a matter of time before things start to spin out of control.
I really like the song "You and I" because the chorus describes the way I'm feel when I'm with my boyfriend. I decide to listen to the whole album, which I have not listened to before. Big mistake. Soon after "You and I," the boyfriends are fighting about coming out, and then there is a song between Peter and his mom, and he has the courage to come out but she keeps changing the subject, and suddenly they are singing about my life and not theirs, and I find myself crying in my bed... I turn Bare off and lay there quietly until my roommate's cat comes over and starts purring in my ear. That's when I realize, I have to come out now. But, I want to tell both my parents at once, impossible over the speakerphone. I need to do it now, I may change my mind in the time it takes for them to get off work extended by time difference (New York to California). So, I write a letter, and put it in the mailbox, and here it is:

Dear Mom and Dad,
First of all, I need to tell you that you are the most supportive and loving parents, but there's one thing that I have been terrified to tell you.

I'm gay.

I'm sure you know. You have probably known, and or, have excepted it longer than I have-I came out to my friends sophomore (I was 19) year of college and told Jeanne and KC(sister and brother) sometime during my first year of living in New York (I was 22)-but I have still been afraid to tell you because:
1. I feel that it is unfair that I have to. Straight people don't have to come out as being straight. But this thought is really a defense mechanism. We don't live in a society where gay is accepted as being natural, which I believe it is; I did not choose it and I did not grow up in an environment that influenced me to be gay. It's just who i am and If I have to tell people, then that's what i'll do.
2. I don't know how you feel about gay people, excluding myself because I believe, as your son, that you love me. I have never been able to gage how you would react. Dad, you alternate between making harmful comments toward gay people and accepting them. Mom, you have been pretty silent on the matter. And then there is the matter of religion. In catechism, the pastor told me it was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. I fought religion for a long time, but I don't believe that being gay is a sin which I have to repent. I can be a good christian and be gay, Jesus loves me for who I am. But, I don't know where you both stand and it scares me.
3. I'm afraid to lose my parents. I've always strived to be a great kid and I feel successful, but I also struggled with guilt because I was gay. Was it a fault? Did it make me a bad kid? It doesn't. i'm still the kid who didn't party in high school, who worked hard to make good grades and who appreciates everything that his parents gave him; how they raised him.

But, My number one reason to tell you is because I don't want you to miss out on my life and right now, you are. I don't talk about boyfriends or broken hearts. You don't get the pleasure of saying that someone is not good enough for me, or, "What were you thinking?" I'm sure you have known and have been waiting for me. I've waited long enough, too long. I want you to know every part of my life.

You have always told me how proud you are of me and maybe you still are, maybe you are ashamed, maybe you have already accepted it and are waiting on me, maybe you won't accept it. That does not change the fact that I love you both, I am honored to be your son, I view you both as roll models and people always comment on how well I've been raised.

Take whatever time you need, the books say it's different for everybody.
PS. I mean, after getting lost skiing in a snow storm, hiking for hours through four feet of powdery snow, hoping to God that your mother-crawling behind you on a snowboard, you can't do anything to help but blaze a trail-and you will find civilization, breaking into a freezing cabin with no way to tell your dad that you're safe, hoping that he has not lost hope, crying when you and your mom get each other to the road to be rescued, and seeing your dad crying as you pull back to the ski resort. How hard can it be to come out?

It was a long weekend after that letter went out but then I got these:
Dad: Thank you for putting into words what I've always known.
I love you Robert,

Mom: Hi Robert.
Got your letter. I'm so glad you (finally) told us directly. We always thought you should tell us rather than us asking you. Heard through the grapevine (Jeanne) that you have a boyfriend (Is that the right term?). Your being gay does not change how much I love you and how proud i am of you! Love mom. :-*

Under all my fears and walls that I put up in order to avoid coming out, I knew that my parents knew I was gay and more importantly, I knew they loved me. I hope that this reaches people out there who are scared.

1 comment:

  1. I'm really happy for you Robert. Just the one time that I met your parents they seemed like really great people and it was obvious how much they loved you. So glad you finally got there.

    Joe :o)