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 I’m not sure I’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 I’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, I’m afraid of me. Afraid of what I’ll say, and, frankly, afraid of where I’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 I’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 I’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 I’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 I’ve figured some things out, I don’t have all the answers (I am, after all, only 19. I’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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