Letter to my father

Dad,

I have been think­ing long and wide about our rela­tion­ship. I some­times want­ed to just budge in to your room and spill my hearts out on things. On how the blog­sphere have been treat­ing me, on how things have been work­ing for me, on how bad of a son that I am, your only son. I want­ed to open myself to you in hopes that you could under­stand what, exact­ly, I am doing and think­ing.

I haven’t called to talk, and I decid­ed not to talk about it when we were hav­ing din­ner togeth­er with mummy’s cook­ing. I can think of a few rea­sons, but frankly I do not know which is the real rea­son.

I have not talk to you because I am afraid of los­ing you and mum­my again. The last few years has been hard on me, but no time in my life it has been hard­er to me in the recent months when every­thing just come to me in such sud­den moment. I don’t want to endure that pain, the lone­li­ness, the anger, and the empti­ness of being some­body like me. I am afraid that you will turn your back on me.

I think I haven been talk­ing to you about this because I am afraid of sound­ing unsure about my life and my faith. It is very odd, because I can talk inces­sant­ly to per­fect stranger about myself, my con­cerns about the future, and the hurts of my past. But when I want­ed to sit down to talk with you, I freeze. Instead of a mod­er­ate intel­li­gent, some­what self assured 19 year old, I become a stum­bling, bum­bling, con­fused pre-teen who is in trou­ble with his par­ents again. I can­not explain myself because there is too much to say; I can­not defend myself because I can no longer speak on your terms. So I end up stut­ter­ing and, flus­tered, I become defen­sive and com­bat­ive. I haven’t talked to you because ¢Â€Â™m not sure ¢Â€Â™m able to talk to you.

I am also afraid of not hav­ing all the answers. You, it seems, have it all fig­ured out. If you have any doubts, you’ve nev­er reveal them to me. Your prin­ci­ples have been seam­less­ly woven togeth­er into a bul­let-point­ed, proof-texted devo­tion­al les­son, you allow me no room to won­der, to ques­tion or to doubt. This makes me feel as though I can’t talk to you until I com­bat each point, each assump­tion, each con­clu­sion, each text. Until I can match each prin­ci­ples of yours, word by word. I am not pre­pared to do that, so our con­ver­sa­tions are between one who knows every answer and one who is strug­gling to fig­ure out a few of the many pos­si­ble answers to our com­mon ques­tions. You must give my mind room to breathe and process when we talk. I would like it to be okay with you that ¢Â€Â™m strug­gling. You could tell me that every­one strug­gles, but you don’t. Instead, you tell me the answer (your answer), and get upset when I don’t unques­tion­ing­ly accept it.

I am, in short, afraid of you. My father. And, ¢Â€Â™m afraid of me. Afraid of what ¢Â€Â™ll say, and, frankly, afraid of where ¢Â€Â™m going, since I go there large­ly alone (you will not accom­pa­ny me, I trust). I would like to be able to lean on you, but I don’t think I can any­more.

Ear­li­er, I said I have too much to say to get it all out. What is it I want to tell you, though? That you’re wrong? That the things you’ve taught me are wrong? Some­times, yes, that’s what I want to say. But it’s more than that.

I can’t sep­a­rate my faith from my Expe­ri­ence. Take the expe­ri­ences ¢Â€Â™ve had with my friends as an exam­ple. In the same way the things I read change me, my friends and col­lege-mates change me. You are afraid of this, too. I know that. But it can­not be helped. When you and Mom told me I could not come home, when the stress of near grad­u­ate school, loss of fam­i­ly, and near loss of faith land­ed me in the streets, my friends were there for me. I was cared for, loved, and affirmed by those you believe are lead­ing me astray. Per­haps they are; I don’t yet know. But I know that when I was at my low­est, they held me, stood by me, and gave me what you would not: affir­ma­tion.

Anoth­er thing I know in my heart: I am gay. You will not accept this. You still believe I can be cured. You still believe that ¢Â€Â™ve made a mis­guid­ed lifestyle choice. You believe it impos­si­ble to be gay. I can live with the fact that you believe these things. I can­not, though, abide your absolute refusal to con­sid­er the pos­si­bil­i­ty that I might have actu­al­ly thought this all through, that I might actu­al­ly deserve your respect, that I might actu­al­ly be more than a petu­lant, mis­guid­ed child. I can­not abide the fact that you nev­er ask me how ¢Â€Â™m doing, that you’ve nev­er expressed con­cern that I might be hurt­ing, and espe­cial­ly that you’ve nev­er acknowl­edged that you might have caused me pain. You’ve nev­er apol­o­gized for the com­ments you’ve made about gays and AIDS, you’ve nev­er apol­o­gized for the things you said to me after I first said the words “I’m gay,” you’ve nev­er acknowl­edged that you may have over­re­act­ed through­out that first year.

I can’t tell you that, while ¢Â€Â™ve fig­ured some things out, I don’t have all the answers (I am, after all, only 19. ¢Â€Â™m young and could some­times use advice.).

I don’t know where we go now. I don’t know how we come to terms with our dif­fer­ences. I don’t know how we rebuild our rela­tion­ship after the last sev­er­al years of pain. I hope we can. Maybe it will just take time. But until the time comes when we can be tru­ly rec­on­ciled, what do we do?

All my love, Your Only Son

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