I had a really horrible couple of phone calls last night.A family member called me said some really hurtful things and then called back about an hour later and piled on even more. Really, they repeated the same few things over and over again... I did not say much. I just listened. None of the words running through my head would have been productive nor would they have been heard.
The thing that was most irritating about the phone call was the tone of voice used. Cutting statements delivered in a sweet and loving tone of voice… I won't go into all of the details but here are the highlights...
- “Honey, you weren't raised like this.” (Yes I am sure that all children who grow up gay were raised that way purposely… “You. You will be the gay one. No pink princess shoes for you. Here are these tennis shoes. Go run like a boy…”)
- “We love you no matter what but we don’t like the decisions you are making.” = Gay is a decision and we love the sinner but hate the sin…
- “Life is supposed to be a struggle.” = It would have been better for you to stay in the church and be miserable than to leave and find happiness…
The calls caught me completely off guard. There was no sign or warning that these family members felt this way… In fact there were signs the other direction. There were signs of softening and acceptance.
I love these people and I am sure they held back saying these things because they knew what could happen if they spoke their mind. It is hard after hearing such things to not want to cut yourself off. It is hard after hearing these things to not build walls.
In response to the phone calls I cried and then watched like five hours of LGBT stand-up on Netflix. That was the smartest best therapy ever. Gay people are cool. There is no way around it. We are awesome. There are very few people brave enough to live authentically like gay people. The whole process of coming out and accepting yourself makes you strong.
I have fought so hard to accept myself. I have fought so hard to let go of destructive beliefs, and points of view. I really have reached a point where I like me. I have a reached a point where I would not change who I am. I have reached a point where I am happy most of the time. This has not come from other people. This has come from me working on me. My happiness can’t depend on others. My sense of self can’t reside in the acceptance of others.
At some point I think that every gay person and many of the people that leave that church have to ask themselves whether living a happy and healthy life outweighs hurtful relationships… If walls have to be built they have to be built.
These phone calls last night just reaffirmed the importance of the tattoo that I wrote about a few weeks ago. “Yo soy yo.” = I am me. There is nothing greater to cling to than that! I can’t be anyone else. I won’t be who others want me to be.