Sunday, May 8, 2011

I won't live any other way, I won't go backwards now

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. 

15 comments:

  1. I hate to hear that your family members did that to you last night. In their hearts they probably meant well, but it has been my experience that the family members simply don't know any better. It is true what they say...ignorance is bliss!

    Truthfully, our family members may say they accept us, but in the beginning I believe it is more of them not knowing what to say or do. It does not make it easier for you and me, but in the end it will make us stronger.

    You know who you are meant to be in this life. You have worked hard to understand and accept who you have become. That is not easy to do for many in the LGBT community. It is a fight I still struggle with at times.

    I hope you know that there are those of us who absolutely love you for who you are. You are beautiful! You are wonderful!

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  2. I'm so sorry you got those calls. That hurts.
    And I'm glad to hear that you are coming to like you. And letting go of old destructive beliefs.
    Hugs!!

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  3. Oh, Kiley :( I'm so sorry to hear about this. I'm more glad, though, that you're able to hold onto who you are.

    You're beautiful, you ARE awesome, and you're more in tune with yourself than far too many other people.

    It was cowardly what they did--how they did it and how they said it.

    You're worth so much more.

    <3 <3

    So much love your way today.

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  4. I'm so sorry you had to suffer through that. I might have been nice enough to struggle through one call, but a second call like that would have resulted in me either hanging up the phone or clearly putting them in their place.

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  5. I am also very sorry to hear this. I hope this isn't bad advice since no one but you knows all of the many small and/or significant things that have happened between you and your family, but....I think sometimes family members really do mean well in their hearts, but I also think at times they simply feel far too comfortable forcing judgment on those they should support no matter what. I can tell you that in my experience I have never pleased ALL of my family and friends simultaneously, so I think you have it exactly right. Try to do no harm to others, but decide what makes you happy and live for that. If some choose to act slighted when you live life with integrity then they should take responsibility for their selfishness and deal with it themselves. If their love is sincere they will get over it.

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  6. i'm so sorry you had to listen to two phone calls like that! *hugs* i think you have it right too, there's no greater thing you can do than be YOU.

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  7. @Joey - Your comment made me cry. I really want to come up to the Bonaroo (sp?) festival just for an excuse to be in your state and come see you.

    @Jen - Thanks for the hugs!

    @Lisa - Thank you! It was cowardly of them to just go along for so long and then just dump on me on that phone call... Why pretend for close to a year and a half?

    @El Genio - You are right. I should have said more or hung up. It was not ok to just take it...

    @Wave - I think you are right - they really meant well. They are taking the church stand on the issue without actually examining it... I think the fact that I know they meant well was the only thing that kept me on the phone... I told them to be more direct and honest next time. Silence felt like acceptance...

    @Emily - Thank you! :)

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  8. Your choice of comedy therapy was a great one. In addition, blast Pink's F***ing Perfect for yourself from me! *Hugs*

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  9. Kiley, I really like what you say here: "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."

    How very true and important this is to realize and internalize. It is so easy to look outward for a sense of self and acceptance. But ultimately the only thing that really brings that peace is to find it within.

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  10. I really wish people would just keep their mouths shut and accept others for who they are and who they say they are. What was she/he hoping to accomplish? Have you say "Oh, you;re right, I'm not gay, I was just pretending..."??? hug

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  11. I read this yesterday and it was upsetting to me, so I can't even imagine how you were able to hold your composure on the phone. Kudos to you for maintaining civility. I can only surmise the family member is scared that the whole eternal family applecart is being upset, but they are just going to have to get over it. It took my Grandpa YEARS to accept his own gay son(my uncle), and now he is where he ought to have been years ago, that is, acceptance and love without caveats, which makes it easier for everyone to be around him. So I guess what I am saying is, for some it might take years...but if my grandpa can change, good god, anyone can! Positive vibes headed your way from the tundra.....

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  12. @Michelle- Yeah the comedy really made me feel better. It was laugh out loud funny which was super nice. Plus it was LGBT comedy so it made of the stupid a lot...

    @Wendy - This phone call was actually an important learning experience. I learned how much I had healed and how strong I am becoming. It is a good thing that these phone calls did not happen last year, or even six months ago. They would have destroyed me. They didn't destroy me this time. In fact they did not even keep me down that long. Today I woke up feeling good again. The inner self is stronger than before...

    @Becca - The calls actually felt like some kind of "intervention". Its almost like these family members realized this is not a stage... It dawned on them that this might be a real thing... They freaked out. Funny you should say what you said though - they DO THINK I was just faking it or something.

    @Desert Dispatches - I think that sense that they can change is what helped me to bite my tongue. I think that with time they will change... Those phone calls were driven by fear... (Though I did have to call this person today to get some information. They brought it all up again, not in any serious way but there was a few comments. I was not so quiet this time. I was a bit snarky back.)

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  14. Family are the people who treat you like family.

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  15. Phone calls can be darn right unpleasant.
    For my part, when I get one, I say, "okay, goodbye" and hang up. If they want to talk to me, they don't get to abuse me. Some types of love I can do without.
    Sometimes it seems like it's 3/16 of an inch forward and 30 yards back.
    It took over 10 years, for my biological family to use my partners name. When they would rarely acknowledge her existence, she was referred to as "that person."
    But they did finally learn her name.
    So hang in there. Live your life.

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