tell me it gets better

Sitting here at NowI’mPissed’s Brooklyn apartment, I just experienced a real-life metaphor of my life. See, I’m pup/house-sitting for her for five days and I get the whole apartment to myself. Located in the Prospect Park area, this apartment is delightful in many ways: it has two floors, two bedrooms, an impressive size flat-screen television, quaint backyard, and two lovely dogs. I feel like an all-the-way grown up person here; I’m taking care of the dogs, I’ve stocked up the fridge with food for the week, and I’m being careful with all major appliances I’m using. But as I’m sitting here, my dad calls me and starts, out of nowhere, drilling me on my spiritual life: Are you tithing at church regularly? Are you going to church regularly? Where are you in Psalms? (We’re reading along in the Bible together) As I hung up the phone and chic, adult Brooklyn life deflated, I started to feel the walls of my life closing in on me. See, the Brooklyn life, while amazing, is just playing house. I am not paying the bills for this apartment, I do not have a job to be able to afford this apartment (or any apartment, for that matter), and my dad calling was a wakeup call, a reminder, saying: I STILL OWN YOU. My life, as a gay woman, is just playing house. While I may be out to my friends here and while I may live life as a gay woman here, I’m still not out. I’m in. I am so in.

My mother and my father (especially my father) are very conservative, very Christian. I, too, am Christian. I love God and I believe in Him. But I am gay. God loves me, I know that, and though he may not agree with my lifestyle (or maybe he does…who really knows?), I know that I am not going to go to hell for it. My parents, on the other hand, would find my homosexuality to be an end of the world ordeal. They would shun me, say I’m not walking with the Lord, say that I’m falling away, say that I’m this and that and they will probably disown me – my father, moreso than my mother. My parents have been divorced ever since I was a baby, and my mom has since remarried and had another daughter who has recently come out of the closet as bisexual. So, I think my mother would digest this better than him, but still, it would devastate her.

Which is why I’ve decided to wait until I’ve graduated college and gotten on my own two feet financially. As of now, my father pays for school, pays for my dorms, and gives me money each month for transportation and food. I’m a dog walker for some extra money, but that would never be enough to live on should I tell my dad about my sexuality and he cuts me loose.

His phone call today jilted me into reality of how under his control I am and will be for some time. I want to scratch my nails down my face, I want to cry, I want to scream. I feel so suffocated and there is just no way out. I actually just stepped outside into the backyard to catch my breath, to breathe in the fresh air because I feel like the walls are closing in on me. Each day, I can take it less and less and I don’t know what to do. The only thing I can do is wait.  But the light at the end of the tunnel is so far away, and it’s not getting any closer. Sometimes I want to just say, FUCK IT, and spill the beans, but I know I have to wait. I want to establish myself, I want to be a writer, an editor, a publisher – something in that realm – and until I am sitting at a desk, working for the man, I will be living for my father. Funny, huh?

So tell me, does it get better? Does freedom, when finally achieved, feel as good as I’m imagining it feels, as I’m hoping and anticipating? Because it better be. Though I’m dreading the email I plan to dually send to my mother and my father, outlining the last couple years of my life and what I’ve really been doing with my time and who I’ve been with, I know that directly after it (save for the months of hearing them tell me how I’m deceitful, sneaky, lying, immoral…), I will be free and living for myself.  But until then, I will be enduring anxiety attacks, blotchy red spots all over my neck and chest, and anxiousness for the life I hope will develop into some sort of successful resemblance of my “playing house” life. Until then, it’s all dress up.

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~ by angiesyounglover on July 9, 2009.

9 Responses to “tell me it gets better”

  1. Bless it. Growing up is good news, bad news. Yeah, you don’t have to answer to your parents, but you have to pay the bills. And go to work each day. And put with the bullshit from the man. I wish I could make it better, but never having been in your position, I don’t know how it feels. But, young one, you don’t have to be so upset. Just go with the flow, yo. It’s none of your parents’ business who you are doing. Seriously. My parents didn’t know a third of the shit I was doing. And, when the time comes that you tell them, just send the email and be done with it. You don’t have to explain or apologize. Do not engage with the drama. [At least you have email. I had to call my mom on the phone.]

    P.S. Note from your editor: You better NOT be paying for pills.

  2. ah whoops!

    going with the flow means lying to my dad – something i have never really done before. and it’s just not lying to my dad, it’s lying to him about you and my happiness. it gets very tiring. but i see what you’re saying and i cant wait for the day to just be “done with it.”

  3. I’m so sorry you’re in this position. I know how painful and difficult it is, and I admire you for showing so much courage. You might not feel brave, but you are. While you’re not out to your parents, you aren’t *living* a lie. It’s not like you’re dating men or pretending you have a boyfriend, right?

    Anyway, I’ve been there and have experienced the ups, the downs, and everything in between on both sides of the closet door. I get it. While it won’t always be easy, yes it does get better.

    Have you considered going to a gay friendly church (I think there are lots in NYC) and/or visiting your local PFLAG chapter? I bet getting that support would really help. PFLAG parents are great. A bunch of them bake cookies every year during the holidays and bring them to my university’s GLBT center for the students. How sweet is that? Now if I could just get them to make cookies for me…!

    Hang in there~
    xo
    SF

    • I didn’t even know the PFLAG route was an option. How sweet that sounds! I did, however, look up a handful of gay-friendly churches last night after reading your comment and there are, indeed, many. Even lutheran/evangelical ones – which are the kinds that I’m used to going (weird, right?), so I’ll definitely try that out. Thanks, SF!

  4. Don’t forget that your mother-in-law is a caring nurturer.

  5. You’re welcome AYL. And no it’s not weird at all. It’s New York for heavens sake! But I do think it’s very cool that there are so many gay-friendly churches and other LBGT resources it the ciy. Believe me, it’s the kind of thing you don’t truly appreciate unless you also have the experience of living someplace less diverse. Good luck and keep me posted!

    xo
    SF

  6. I really want to give you a big hug right now. Like your wise girlfriend said, getting older has its fair share of good and bad. But the freedom is totally worth all the other adult bullshit, IMO.

    Your story reminds me so much of my BFF from high school. His family has always been very conservative and religious, and he was closeted for many years. He didn’t come out to his mom and sister until about 5 years ago, (he’s 30 now) and honestly, I think it went a lot better than he expected. His mom was disappointed, but she still loves and accepts him just the same (as a good Christian should). She doesn’t understand his sexuality, but she doesn’t hate him or treat him differently for it.

    His sister, on the other hand, was a stank bitch about the whole deal. She was mean and hateful to him, refusing to talk to him or reply in kind when he told her he loved her. She even had the audacity to tell him that their dead father would be so disappointed in him. As you can imagine, I wanted to strangle her bitch-ass for that. But with time, she came around. Their relationship isn’t 100% yet (mostly because she’s incredibly immature and ignorant), but it’s sooo much better and loving than it was when he first came out.

    So, I guess what I’m saying is it probably won’t be easy, but you’d be surprised how accepting people can end up being. And if your father really looks within and turns to God for guidance, I think he’ll see the light. Good luck and until then, don’t let it stress you out so much.

    • wow, that sister sounds like how my sister will probably react. once we had a discussion about gay rights and she insulted me beyond words because i was pro gay rights. she called me stupid and ignorant. she told me that it goes directly against what the bible says and that there is no justifying being pro gay rights. she said i had changed at college and that she didn’t know who i was anymore. she has since apologized – though stands still on her beliefs – but it was so weird and scary to see her react. it was kind of a preview, i think, of what is to later come when i come out. yippee. my mom will probably be the same as your BFF’s mom – disappointed but still loving. and my dad…is it terrible to wish that my dad was dead ONLY so i wouldn’t have to hear or see or experience his reaction? honestly, it would be a big load off.

      i doubt, though, that if he looked to God for guidance he wouldn’t go the route of the Matthew verse about specs and planks in eyes, but instead: God will pull you out of your sin in time. Good grief.

      Thanks for the vitual hug! :)

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