Where Happiness Belongs

This weekend I spent a lot of time with my family. Some of them came down to relax, and others because these vacation homes are the easiest way to get everyone together. Having family around is both awesome and stressful for me. I love my family and would do anything in the world for them. I’ve listened to them laugh and even caused that laughter on several occasions. I’ve given my shoulder for them to cry on and let them lean on my not so strong body for support.

Their happiness means everything to me, even at the expense of my own. One night last weekend, I was watching my cousins all splashing in the pool. I stood at the glassed doors to the lanai and peered at them. The closed sliding door made the sounds of happiness somewhat inaudible, but I could still hear the peals of laughter. I watched as my cousin’s new boyfriend stared at our close knit family. My cousin holding his hand so that he wouldn’t feel so left out. She gave him reassurance that he belonged there.

I felt a bit of pain knowing that I would never be able to bring my boyfriend to this type of get-together, to watch the festivities that my family often held. He would never know the anxiousness of meeting everyone for the first time. He would never get to hear them tell stories about me as a child, teenager or college student. He would never feel the eyes staring at him as he made his way around our carefully set up buffet tables. He would never be pulled aside by any one family member to have the dirt on me dished in quiet whispers meant only to help him come to the conclusion that he picked the right person to fall in love with.

I know from several statements made about another family friend who has outed themselves that my own outing will not be well received. And it hurts me to know that I won’t ever get to let them see this side of me. This side of me that I’m slowly learning to accept. A side of me that has helped me to learn about accepting others for who they are and who they’ve become. This side of me that has drawn strength from some of the obstacles I have faced and will face in the future.

I sat in silence watching my cousins splash each other and laugh. One of them caught sight of me standing in the doorway and motioned for me to join them. I smiled and shook my head, motioning back that I was fine. Through the glass door, I could see their happiness. But it was this door that kept them from seeing my own.

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9 Responses to “Where Happiness Belongs”

  1. "Joe" Says:

    I know what you mean, but never say “never.” More importantly, stay in the present. Don’t jump ahead to future stuff you know nothing about. Get hold of that boyfriend, first. That’s where to focus.

    The rejection of ourselves we have dealt with internally begins to become external. It sure it tough for me. I’m out to my brother, but while talking with him on the phone the other night, his voice got much more stern and curt if I brought up “my” stuff. It’s fine as long as I’m somebody else.

  2. Lemuel Says:

    Do not shut the door on the possibility that one day you will bring your husband to such a gathering and he will be welcomed and accepted. Perhaps it will not happen now, but someday it may. Times for and attitudes toward gays have changed drastically in the 40 years of my own adult life. In my youth I could not imagine being so bold and open as to write and share what we do here on these blogs. Pride parades would never be tolerated.

    It may come at some initial pain, but you and your partner may be the ones that will break through the barriers to understanding and acceptance and lay the foundation upon which the generation after you may take its step.

  3. urspo Says:

    some of your statements need gnetle challenging – you can never bring your boyfriend home to be part of this? pishposh! it is possible and i hope it does happen.
    for a boost, try going back over your entry and change ‘never’ to ‘possibly’. it may give you some hope.

  4. Doug Says:

    People frequently react differently when someone in the family comes out vs. someone outside the family. They may initially be uncomfortable, hurt, angry, etc., but as they see you and your partner together over time, their attitudes may change. Anything is possible. Not easy, but possible.

    If you are sacrificing your own happiness for theirs, I have to wonder why. They’re family, yes, but you are as entitled as anyone else to a life of happiness.

  5. Steven Says:

    You have a lot of strength in the character that you have. Acceptance will be there for you when the time is right. I like Urspo’s recommendation

  6. Matt Says:

    I’m not one to talk … but one of my biggest regrets is never having told my Dad that I’m gay before he died – no matter what his reaction would have been. You’ll know when the time is right, but be sure to recognize the time when it DOES come.

  7. Kris Says:

    Never say never! I can feel ya on that one. My dad’s side of the family still doesn’t know though when we visited last month for a wedding, I told some of them that C- is a friend.

    If you do end up telling them, it might be a bit hard in the beginning but hopefully, they’ll learn to accept you. I don’t get it how sometimes they feel that we won’t be the same anymore just because we’re not straight like the rest of ’em.

    I have yet to tell my dad even, though my bro (his son with my my stepmom) knows about me. I’m seriously thinking of telling him before the year is over but of course, I’m scared shitless. I wonder what if he won’t love me anymore. But as some folks have told me, I might be misunderestimating him. I told my bro am thinking of just sending my dad an e-mail but all he said was that it’s up to me and not to be afraid of anything.

  8. Patrick Says:

    Just another vote for the “never say never” side. While my coming out was relatively painless, I have friends who came from backgrounds like yours, and they ended up having great relationships with their families, boyfriends included. Now, it was rarely an easy or quick process. And yes, some had the opposite experience, or have yet to enjoy a reconciliation. But as Doug says, be careful of sacrificing your own happiness to maintain your family’s comfort. Sure, you need to feel out the balance for yourself, and that balance may change over time. I’m a new reader to your blog; it sounds like you’re just beginning to come out, in which case be gentle, and allow yourself the time to get your own comfort in shape.

    I’m just repeating the good advice of people who already wrote, am I not? Okay, I’ll stop now.

  9. BruceCleveland Says:

    All I have to say…I have experienced…if a family has things to say about a non-family member’s coming out…IT is always a different story when it’s your family or your child…things change when the situation changes. I can’t tell you enough about my ex-parent’s…they went from being starch ass Catholics who frowned upon anyone different from them including gay people…until John came out of the closet with me in tow…These people in a matter of time went from disapproving to acceptance…they now have two sons who are gay and they will not let anyone talk badly about them…they are even sensitive to ask what the correct terms for things are so as not to offend other gay people. It’s different one the gay person is one of your own.

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