Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Parents Problem

In a couple weeks my parents are coming to visit me for a few days. While I'll be happy to see them, because I do love them, I am dreading their arrival in *my* city. I am still not ready to tell them, so the freedom to be me that I have been experiencing this summer will be pushed way back into the closet. I'm sure that when they get here it will be easy for me to revert to closet Pink Elephant around them, but knowing its coming makes me really uncomfortable.

I will not be introducing them to my new friends. I haven't told anyone that they are coming or even that I am not out to them. I find myself trying to pack in all sorts of activities so they don't really have the opportunity to ask about my personal life. ("Work has me too busy to date").

Yes, I realize there is an obvious solution, and that I should just tell them I'm gay. However, it won't just be my parents; it will also be my aunt and uncle. I suppose I am using my aunt and uncle as an excuse to avoid telling my parents, but really it doesn't seem fair or appropriate to just blurt it out to everyone at once. Also I hope to get more comfortable being an out gay man socially before I am out to them. Is that really just a lame cop-out? I don't know. Part of what upsets me is that even though I feel like I am making a lot of progress, on the parental front I am no better now than I was a year ago. I find that really frustrating.

I was hoping that venting here would make me feel better, but my stomach still tightens when I realize they are coming.


Icon said...

Last April I was on a long weekend trip with a str8 friend, to whom I was not out. All whom I mention are private pilots. I allow my friend to fly my airplane. The trip was to a large flying event in Florida. We went to supper one evening joined by a gay couple who are also my friends. During supper, my str8 friend asked how we other three know one another. I told him that we are all members of the National Gay Pilots Association. It was as smooth and graceful way as I could ever have hoped for to tell him. Maybe you, too, Pink, will be as lucky.

Matt said...

I don't think it's a lame cop-out. I can tell you that, in retrospect, I shouldn't have been so worried about it. But I know you can't possibly believe that from where you are.

So, it's an important part of your PERSONAL process to make sure you're doing it all correctly. I agree that it would be tough on your parents if you came out to them with your aunt and uncle there. They will need to deal with it on their own terms. And for your own mental well-being, you don't want to be doing it in a way that will make it even harder on your parents.

That's my two cents, anyway.

Lewd & Lascivious said...

Well said, Matt. Pink, Matt is right--this is your life and it should be the timeline that is right for you. There isn't one right way to come out, just like there's no one right way to fall in love or do anything else important.
Don't feel bad--you're definitely not copping out. You're trying to be considerate of your parents, which is the right thing to do. There's a time and place for everything--I don't think I'd bust out with any breaking personal news in front of my aunts/uncles/cousins, much less something this dramatic!

KipEsquire said...

My parents and I are in a delicate, carefully crafted, "never talk about it" equilibrium.

But ever since they retired to the other side of the country (about two years ago), into an age-restricted development, they realize that having a son who actually calls them every week and flies out to visit three times a year might not be so bad. Their neighbors' (straight) adult kids don't do that. Not one.

Heads up: Do you have (straight) siblings? Because if not, then you also may have to deal with the "I'll never have grandchildren" wailing and gnashing of teeth. That was definitely the worst part when I was younger.

Good luck!

Pink Elephant said...

Thanks everyone, knowing that my insticts may be more than just an excuse to avoid the topic makes me feel a bit better. Also, intellectually I know that though uncomfortable, perhaps even for a while, it won't be as bad as I fear. Yet I still have that fear of rejection by the ones I love, irrational as it may be.

I do actually have a married sister, so she provides a convenient dodge for the grandchildren discussions. "Why are you asking me about grandchildren? [Sister]'s the one who is married!"

Anyway, thanks again for the encouragement.

Anonymous said...


You will know when the time is right, and not before. Everyone develops their own process and timeline for doing so. Don't hold yourself to some calendar. You will know in your heart when the time is right, and who knows, they just may surprise you with their reaction. For many, they still remember that blood is thicker than water.

Matt is dead on, having an audience is not the time for having that chat.

Andronicus said...

Do it when you are about 90 percent ready, because you will never be 100 percent ready. Give yourself a push when you get there, and you will feel cleaner and better once you come out.

I came out to my sister a few months before the rest of the family, and that helped for me. Oddly enough, the sister came out to me as a lesbian a few years later.

I do think it is important to make a commitment to yourself to come out to them, though, so that you have something to work toward.

Jason said...

I remember all the times I wanted to do it. Times during breaks in college where it would be perfect to do it. I remember all the times I got close to doing it... but just couldn't get the words out. I remember hating having to act different, to lie to them, to have to keep them out of what was an important part of me. It was all so very frustrating. And it always felt like I was getting no closer... just stuck in the same place.

But the truth is... even if it didn't seem it... each time I was getting closer. Each time I was feeling a little more comfortable with who I was.

Don't worry... you are getting there. Every day is a step closer, but there's no rush on it. You'll find a time to do it. It'll still be a big jump, it always is... but you'll find the time when you're ready to take it.