Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Follow up to coming out

So some people have been wondering how everything has progressed since I came out to my parents. I am sorry guys if this post is not the most concise or clear. It's just kind of hard. Just talked to my mom. And, yeah, I am crying right now as I write. Perhaps, however, in being honest about how much this hurts, it will encourage compassion for those who know someone in a similar situation.

So initially my parents' only response was "We love you. You're our son. Nothing changes that. We miss you and just wish we could talk to you more."

I felt so relieved and loved and accepted and just warmed. I thought that no matter what, and I had two really amazing parents. I still know that I do and that this is not easy for them to accept.

Last week, however, my mom finally asked me all of the questions she had been wanting to ask me and I think realizing that I had a boyfriend really hit them in a way she didn't like. Like maybe it was more real.

Basically, my mother is convinced I will never be truly happy, that I am turning my back on the pattern God has set of a man and a woman, she is worried people will take advantage of me or that I will get AIDS. I did have to respect my mother's vocal resolve to stick to the tenets of her faith, but I also told her that I coudl not live my life for her and her desires. And it's true. I just can't. I can't give my life over to the desires of someone else. It is beyond me.

She apparently came across my blog somehow and was appalled to realize that all of my friends read it. I guess she thought it was like a private journal (My mother's comfort with the Internet is hit or miss). So she actually knew about Brandon before I told her and has been shielding my father from this news. She said it made her very sad to learn about this.

I have always been a source of pride for my parents--a top student, a well-behaved child, talented, a spiritual leader. In the last few years, since I had a nervous breakdown on my mission and had to come home early, I feel like I have been a source of disappointment and shame for my parents. Even then, though, I knew my parents were proud of me in many regards. Then I changed my major to art. Then I distanced myself from the Church. Now this.

How do you go to being the apple of someone's eye to being someone who just makes them sad? How do you live with dashing every hope your parents had for you? Crushing everything the sawin your future?

My parents expected me to become a great psychologist, a bishop or stake president, marry a Mormon Selma Hayek and give them beautiful grandchildren that would be sealed to them for time and all eternity.

I told my mother I still want a family; I still want a loving companion and children. I have no idea if that was any mollification.

Tonight my mother told me she told my father I have a boyfriend. I asked her what his response was. "He was very sad, John."

I understand that my parents are sad. I understand why my parents are sad. I don't know that I can ever really expect them to be happy for me. Their religious teachings tell them they cannot be.

I am happy. I have been happy. Why can that not equal my parents also being happy? If only it were so simple.

I love my parents so much. They are such a part of my soul. To inflict this kind of pain on them . . . is so bitter and hard.

What can I do? Live a life of solitude? Stand in an organization, professing to believe something I do not, morally conflicted always? Is that what is required of everyone in growing up? To eventually accept that there are no easy answers to happiness, and that basically all avenues are forever also weighed down by sorrow?

How can I live my life feeling that everyday I pain my mother's heart? For those of you who know my mother, you know how true this statement could well be.

She has suffered so much. I have suffered, too. And my father. I don't even know about my father. He has also suffered and I fear that whatever pride I, as his son, may have inspired may now be dashed.

When I came from my mission, rather than tell people that their son was mentally ill and emotionally distraught, they told everyone I came home because of migraine headaches. What stories will they tell now to cover up this shame? What fantasy will have to be conjured and projected to cover up the disgrace that is John Quintana.

I am now the disgrace. The disgrace of the family.

Ha! To add insult to injury, only one of my siblings has shown any support. The other two have not called, emailed, anything. All I know is that they have been murmuring behind my back all these years. Some happy, eternal family! That was bitter, I know. I apologize if it came off harsh. But the irony of what is supposed to be this loving, supportive family unit to be perpetuated after this life and on into the eternities is just so rich.

I guess it is easier to muster some anger and resentment at them than it is to accept the deep, likely irreparable wound I have inflicted on this family. Just by virtue of being me.

I have always felt like the odd man out in this family, never really understood. Let's face it, even in college I was something of an out-of-the-box, too-analytical-for-comfort thinker, but I don't remember the last time I have felt so misunderstood than I have tonight as I tried to explain where I am and why I wouldn't marry my ex girlfriend even though at one time I did love her. My mother has no real idea of my feelings about the church or how committed I am to living my current life. I don't believe she ever will. I don't know that she can. This has been a long and difficult journey, from which she has been entirely excluded. Her approach and perspective on life are so entirely different from my own. In so many ways we inhabit different worlds. And now I can't even share joys like how excited I am to go listen to an opera in the park with Brandon.

Well, I have been crying for like an hour now. I am exhausted. I don't even want to think about this stuff anymore. Every time I think about something new: my dad, what my mom must be feeling, what it will be like when I see them over the holidays, . . . it just hurts all over again. For those of you who have read this entire mental meandering, my commendations for your patience and indulgence.

Thank you to my friends who have listened to me and supported me in this time. I know I am a friend who at times really needs a sounding board and a shoulder to cry on, I hope I have been a good, decent friend in return.

1 comment:

Billy Reano said...

I can feel that inner conflict you have been having through your post. You know, I support your honesty with both yourself and your parents. Especially with this issue being so prevalent nowadays, I am sorry that some of your family members haven't been so supportive.

Your parents will understand eventually. The rest of the family will eventually follow suit. They love you, no matter what. Take care.