Yesterday was a monumental day for me. I came out to my dad.
It's been on my mind for a very long time. It's been intensely on my mind for days. Sunday, while at work, I was thinking of the right words to compose an email. A co-worker of mine told me his story about sending certified letters to each parent and sibling to come out to them. So I thought maybe I could pour out my heart in a letter to my dad via email. It seemed wrong for me. It seemed a little less personal, a little "Dear John." It also made me feel cowardly. I will admit that I have always been afraid of telling him and telling him to his face makes me nauseous. The next best thing was finding the courage to tell him on the phone. A phone conversation is present, in the moment, and as personal as you can get if you're not there in person.
I was in the shower, saying out loud the words that I could put into the email. Then it occurred to me to call. I got out of the shower, dried off, and put on some clothes. I walked into the living space of my apartment. I grabbed my Blackberry then put it back down. My hands were shaking. I grabbed my Blackberry again and went to the address book and found "Dad". I put the phone to my heart, hands still shaking, and took a deep breath. I then lifted the phone back into view and pressed "Call Mobile". He answered on the second ring.
After the hellos were out of the way, I asked him if he had a minute because there was something I needed to talk to him about. He said yes. I immediately began to cry as I told him that I had needed to tell him something for a long time, but had been consumed with fear about it. I apologized for crying. My emotions overflowed like a Coke that had been shaken and put back on the counter just waiting for someone to come along, open it, and release to pressure.
I said, "I'm gay."
He said, "I know."
I said that I knew he knew, but that I needed to tell him. In my heart I needed to respect him enough, face that fear, be courageous, and tell him the truth. He told me that he loved me and that I was always welcome in his house. My greatest fear about coming out to my dad has always been that he wouldn't want me to come home. That fear was alleviated yesterday.
He told me that as a follower of the Bible, he didn't believe it was right. I acknowledged his beliefs and then told him that I had always felt this way. I brought up the two girls that I dated in high school. I told him that I never slept with either of them and that I never wanted to sleep with them. I dated them because it was something I was supposed to do. I told him that the feelings I have right now are the feelings that I've always had. There was never a moment of choice. The feelings are inherent. They are from birth.
I told him that I remembered Christ convicting my heart and me asking him into my heart to save my soul from hell. I can see that in my mind even as I type these words. I don't believe salvation is something you lose and neither does he. I was gay when that happened and Christ still saved my soul. He did not turn his back on me. He loved me just like my family. That is a gratitude moment!
When I was born my parents were very young. There has been much discussion over the years of my dad's lack of presence in my young life. I told him that he is not to blame for me being gay. I asked that he please believe that and not take on the guilt of feeling if he had been in my life more as an infant that I would have been straight. It doesn't work that way. He took me hunting and fishing as a child. I didn't like it. I always liked clothes and jewelry and perfect hair much more. Always!
The last part of our heart-to-heart was me telling him that I was tired of the relationship that we have. I was tired of just calling him on his birthday and Father's Day. I was tired of it being "okay" that I didn't have a close relationship with my dad. I said to him, "I don't want to wake up one day with you gone and regret that I never had a relationship with my dad." The time for change was yesterday. The first step was admitting the truth and as my mom said to me later, "Now we can move forward as a family."
In 1997 I had the courage to tell my sister. In 2006 I had the courage to tell my mom. On October 26, 2009, I had the courage to tell my dad.
With the pressure released, the Coke is normal again.