Telling My Parents - Part 2 of 3

I'm not exactly proud of the quality of the writing but I'm glad to actually be getting this all down. I promise I'm almost done! In other news, judging by the post times of all of my posts so far, I think my most productive time is 2 to 4 AM...

One of the first things my Mom asked was something like, “Who are you attracted to?” I responded, “Like, specifically?” I wasn’t sure what she was getting at. “It seems kind of early to talk about that…” Thankfully my dad added, “Yeah, that’s not really relevant…” And with that, our discussion began.

We talked about possible causes. I said I couldn’t recall any instances of abuse in my childhood; I tried to explain that I felt loved and cared for by both of them. We talked about the process I’ve gone through since beginning to address the issue last September. I became emotional only as I described the difficulty of figuring out how to live as a Mormon with these feelings. I talked about my new friends and how they knew what I came home to do. “I have at least seven people praying for me right now!”

My mom didn’t understand much at first and I expected as much. Some of her first advice was, “Well, through prayer and scripture study you can overcome those thoughts.” I told her that was a nice thought but that she was wrong. She was genuinely worried for me and apparently frightened at the implications of what I was saying. “Can you promise you'll never act on it?” she asked. “I don't think you'll ever truly be happy if you pursue a gay relationship,” she said while looking at me with hope that I agreed. I completely agreed. “At the same time, though,” I explained, “and this will be hard to hear, I need to know that you would love me even if I did make that choice.”

My dad had little or no experience with the subject and knew so. He at least knew what not to say, though, and everything that he did say was helpful and insightful. He realized and helped my mom realize that I’ll likely deal with SGA for the rest of my life. He said he didn’t think that my basic dilemma in controlling thoughts was much different from anyone else. There was nothing wrong in finding someone attractive—for example, if he saw a woman with “big boobs”—but that the trouble came in dwelling on inappropriate thoughts. As an aside, I commented, “I don’t get what’s so great about boobs.”

I introduced and gave them copies of the Elder Oaks and Elder Wickman interview and In Quiet Desperation. After talking about the book I assured them that I wasn’t suffering from depression, that I wasn’t contemplating suicide and probably never would.

Our talk was interrupted by a phone call from a realtor wanting to show our home to a client, so we had to scramble to leave within ten minutes. The difficult part of my trip was over, though, and I felt great. It already felt like I had a much better relationship with my parents. I hoped we would have more chances to talk—and those chances came. Whenever my mom and I found ourselves in the same room, for example, we would talk quietly about things. I love her so much for her willingness to try to understand me. She would say things like, “When a thought comes, can’t you just say, ‘No, this is bad! Go away?’” or “Can’t you convince yourself to think a woman is attractive?” and I would try to patiently explain things.

That night my mom was ironing clothes in the sewing room and I joined her to talk(my little sister began to wonder why we kept going to that room…). She told me I probably shouldn’t ever be alone with a guy—and I told her how unreasonable that seemed. I reminded her of something she had said about a gay man we had seen on TV over Thanksgiving and how much that hurt me.

We talked about telling people. She assumed it would be smarter to not tell anyone but I explained how much good had come through telling everyone that I have so far. I revealed my desire to tell the older of my younger sisters before leaving on Monday. I said she might have already suspected it in the past, citing various incriminating facts about myself (lack of interest in sports, lack of girlfriends, etc). This led to a discussion with my mom about other common gay characteristics and gaydar basics.

The next day, I enjoyed an uneventful morning at church with my family and early dinner as the time to take my dad to the airport neared. According to plan, with an hour remaining, my parents and I made our way back down to the sewing room for the best part of the weekend.


drex said...

Another cliffhanger? Jerk. ;) I'm really enjoying the details, even if it has taken a bit longer to get them out. Then again, with the delay I'm facing on my vacation entries (and now the backlog of other stuff, too), I suppose I can't really talk. =D

Abelard Enigma said...

This is worse than waiting for the next Harry Potter movie

But, I'm really glad for you that you are able to have such a frank discussion with your parents. Of course they don't understand - I don't think I really understand it myself. You very fortunate to have such great parents.

salad said...

yeah, I'm not a fan of the cliffhanger, but when you consider the fact that some really important things have happened to me a Drex recently and we haven't blogged about them yet, I suppose I can't really complain. Yay for parents reacting better than we expect!

Gimple said...

I guess we broke what your mom said right away, "never be alone with a guy..." LOL! I'm really glad that everything is working out. It is always such a blessing to have them want to understand! I'm really glad that we can be friends!

Hidden said...

I want a new post on "the basics of gaydar."

Also you should reassure your mom about the one-on-one thing. It's just not true... and we both know that.


Stephen said...

Would your mother have told a straight man never to be alone with girl? She sounds like a really, really sweet and caring person, full of love and concern for you.

The great news is, only one part left. No cliffhanger at the end of that one!

-L- said...

I think making analogies between appropriate gay and straight circumstances is a good idea, but we should also recognize that it is limited. So, where Stephen points out that men and women are alone together all the time without any problems, that doesn't work too well in other ways. For example, although I've blogged on the problems with this, there are circumstances where showering with other men is not reasonably avoidable (for example, in junior high) despite that such an expectation would never be placed on straight people.

And even though it's disputed, I tend to believe that associating with other guys in affirming friendly (non-sexual) ways is a real source of positive reinforcement and strength to a gay man (not some temptation to be avoided), so that doesn't translate either. So, while I recognize that men aren't typically sent to girls' camp (except the bishopric), I still think it is a GOOD idea to have gay guys work with the young men. This isn't always true, certainly, but... oops. I'm making my comment into a post. Sorry, Calvin. ;-)

playasinmar said...

We can thank Bryan Singer for filming this line of dialog,

"Have you ever tried not being a mutant?"

My Best Is All I Have said...

Congratulations on coming out to your folks. I think that was the most difficult thing that I have ever done in my life. It's nice to read how well they handled it too. You've got a good family there.

Charlie said...

You didn't actually tell the "older of your younger sisters" did you? And she's a smart cookie, she might have suspected something. Don't worry though, at least you know about it--unlike what's his face on Arrested Development. :D