I’m pretty worked up right now. See, I just told both of my parents to go screw themselves. They haven’t bothered me for the last few hours, so I’m going to go ahead and tentatively say that perhaps they’re going to give me a little breathing room. See, my father, God bless him, has always been a bit of a bully. I remember one Saturday night many years ago where he started screaming at me because I told him that I was going to wait until Sunday to work on my math project. I had had a busy day. I had just gotten my purple belt in my martial arts class (I’m pretty sure about that, anyway—tests were long and grueling, and if you failed, the instructor made you tear up your diploma just so you know you fucked up) and was watching The Godfather, Part II to unwind. My father asked me why I wasn’t doing my project. I told him that I hadn’t had much free time today, so I would rather do this at the moment. That’s when he went apeshit.
I recoiled in horror. Then I stopped the movie and went to my sister, who was on the computer. I asked if she could get off the computer so I could do my homework. My father approached and laid a hand on my chest. “Finish your damn movie,” he said. I went to my room in tears.
I had been sobbing on the bed for no more than a minute when there came a knock at the door. I wanted nothing more than to be alone, but my father would not let me. I opened the door, then backed away. “Oh, please,” he said. “Have I ever hit you?”
He sat down. I lay down on the bed. I told him I was getting mixed messages. He told me I needed to toughen up, because “I’m busy” is not a valid excuse for shirking your commitments when you’re the one who took so many on to begin with. Fair enough, but there was still Sunday, wasn’t there? I had done math projects before. They could be done in a single day. We hugged. I went back to watching the movie. He left me alone…for the time being.
I present this story not so that you will feel sorry for me, but so that you will understand what a tyrant my father can be. He is not without his redeeming qualities, but he also thinks of his family as his family, and his house as his house. He’s a bit of a patriarch, whether he wants to admit it or not, and when my mother says that she feels she has to tiptoe around me sometimes, what she’s really saying is that she’s too scared to stand up to him. I’m not going to deal with that anymore.
I thought about telling my coming out story here, because my father didn’t handle that too well, either, though he stopped just short of any sort of physical or emotional violence. He just wouldn’t stop demanding that I tell him what he already knew, that’s all. So I never did tell him. I just went on living my life much as I had before and let him and my mother sort that shit out on their own. If you read this blog regularly, you probably know that I spend an inordinate amount of time on YouTube. Gay YouTubers seem to live by an unspoken code that states that you have to make a video entirely devoted to your coming out story. I’m not going to do that here. I’ve already told as much as I feel comfortable telling. I really am a very private person, but I don’t mind sharing some details of my life in a public-yet-anonymous space like this one. I just have more on my mind than telling young LGBT people that it gets better, that’s all. I mean, yeah, it kinda does get better, but at the same time, sometimes, it really sucks. And if you think coming out is going to solve all your problems and that everything will be okay once you do, boy, you have a lot to learn.
I don’t have to be married to see that something is wrong with my parents’ relationship. I’m not anticipating a divorce or anything, but they need to communicate with each other and not with me. My father was right when he told me that a solid relationship depends on understanding that you don’t tell your partner everything and that there are some aspects of your life that you might still want to keep secret, either because they just won’t understand or because they understand all too well. But either way, honesty, like all things, is not absolute. It’s an uncomfortable truth, but I 100% believe it.
I am not going to tell my father that the way he treats me is acceptable. It’s not acceptable, so I’m not going to say it, because it isn’t fucking true. I have too much to learn, too many mistakes to make, too many uncharted waters to explore because I remain utterly clueless in those areas to spend my time worrying about whether my parents are worried about me. I have said all I need to say; I can’t go reassuring you just because you need reassurance. God, sometimes my anxieties get so intense that I can barely even sleep. And I’m not a danger to anyone.
I have a ways to go yet before I can look back on my youth and smile at how naïve I was back then. I’m still in the thick of it. I’m not ready to settle down and don’t have the time or the patience to apologize to anyone. I thought the problem was that he’s not ready for me. But maybe I’m not ready for him either.