As the relatives and extended family start to filter in, I begin to get that paranoid, uneasy feeling that I always get around the holidays. Everyone seems to interested in my life and what they can do to make me as happy as they are. Because I’m still “single”, they know someone they can set me up with…it usually starts with “there’s a nice woman that goes to our church….a nice woman that I work with….a nice woman in my graduate class…a nice woman in our neighborhood…bible study….gym”.
Another relative will say something like “he’s so picky…good luck, I tried to set him up….”. And on and on the conversation goes. And if it isn’t about my love life, then it’s about my educational status or career. “You are done with those medical boards aren’t you….did you put in an application to this program….did you apply to this hospital…why don’t you come to our state, there’s a great program over here….”. This all stresses me out. I don’t know why they would think finding a residency is easy, because to me it’s just overwhelming and I would rather it not be discussed as my blood pressure sky rockets and when thinking about the possibility of not getting into a program, I may just have a stroke.
My favorite cousin Dennis isn’t here yet. But some of my cousins are already here. They’ve gone out and are waiting for me to join them. And as much as I love catching up with them, I also feel like I’m taking a step backwards hanging out with them. They don’t know this me…the me that does have a love life. The me that is becoming comfortable with myself. The me that has one foot out of the closet. But mostly the me, that gut feeling tells me would be ostracized for being myself.
I think that it’s easier said than done…to be able to think that if they don’t want me, then screw ’em. But there is a big part of me that needs them, needs their acceptance. I don’t know what I would do if they shut their doors to me. I think I would die a little inside. And yet now that I have found myself and taken a step forward, I feel like I’m taking a step backward when I once again have to pretend. All this is the suffocating part of the closet.