Tuesday, December 29, 2009

140. To tell, or not to tell...

So, I had a ‘sister-bonding’ day today… it was awesome. At least I think so. I think my youngest sister might have been bored after a while, which I suppose is understandable. I mean, I was delighted with the ‘let’s just sit around and talk for 6 or 7 hours’ plans we had, but she is 17 and so I can understand how she might have gotten a bit bored with the fact that we didn’t ‘do’ anything. And I admit to being rather annoyed by the fact that our one planned activity (we were going to go and see Avatar – which is playing in Bermuda! In 3D!!?!) didn’t end up happening because Dad just didn’t believe me that we’d have to be there early in order to get tickets. By the time we got there, not only was it sold out, people were lined up to buy tickets for tomorrow and later on this week. Oh well. It was a great day for me otherwise.

One thing, of course, did come up… they very much want me to come out to my (our) dad. The older of my younger sisters says it gets hard keeping this secret, which I can understand I guess. She says dad talks about me and blames himself for the fact that I don’t have a boyfriend. He says things like that he wasn’t there to tell me I was beautiful and so I don’t believe a man could love me and that’s why I haven’t had a boyfriend all these years. If I’m completely honest – and why bother with blogging if I’m not going to be honest – there’s a certain level of satisfaction in hearing that. Oh, don’t worry, it’s not like I ‘blame’ him for my being gay, but I am kind of upset about some of the stuff he’s said to me over the years. For the most part, I am very protective of my dad and what people think about him, so I don’t even like to say these sorts of things, because I don’t like the idea of people thinking bad things about him (I don’t know exactly why I’m like that… it doesn’t really make sense given our history), he has been somewhat hurtful over the years. Oh, not intentionally, but he has said things that have stuck with me and hurt a lot… in reference to my appearance mostly. The worst of which was that he was glad I was intelligent because ‘it compensated’. That was a long time ago… 20 years ago or so, and thinking about it still makes my throat get tight… and apparently makes me well up with tears because that’s what just happened as I typed that out.

So, yeah… as much as I don’t like to think that I’m a vindictive person, part of me is glad that he feels some remorse over the way he dealt with my appearance. I wish I didn’t feel like that, but I do.

Oh, and then there’s the sex stuff. Ugh… my dad is obsessed with sex. Oh, I don’t mean that in a creepy way, but he sees sex as this huge benchmark or something…. for example, at one of those shameful/awkward family gatherings I mentioned in my last post he was talking with my cousin (his niece) about her son and how mature he’s getting, and my dad’s comment, to underscore how grown up this boy was, was “…and I bet he’s even had sex”… as if that is the way to prove that this kid is now a man. I’m honestly not a prude… at all. Sex talk doesn’t make me uncomfortable, really, it doesn’t (usually... ) but so many of dad’s conversations with people end up being about sex. He does seem to think that if sex isn’t a part of your life then you don’t really belong. I remember trying to explain to him years ago about the whole ‘waiting until marriage’ thing, but he actually doesn’t believe that it happens. I told him about friends of mine who waited and he actually said to me “oh, they were just saying that to you, one day they’ll tell you the truth…” If I remember correctly, that was the same conversation where he tried to explain to me how men don’t know if they are in love until they’ve slept with a woman… ugh. Okay, I’ll stop going on about this now, it’s upsetting.

Anyway, like I said, my sisters want me to tell him, the older one thinks he’ll be relieved and stop blaming himself… I don’t know if I’ll do it. The idea makes me nervous… physically. My stomach gets all tight. And the thing is, I’m not even sure that it would help… he might just start blaming himself for my being gay. I know my mother blames him for a large portion of it – I know, I know… it’s ridiculous and insane pop-freudian-psychology, but I can see him thinking that very easily… especially if he decides to talk to my mother about it, which is something I can also see happening very easily. That’s actually one of the reasons I don’t want to tell him… I don’t want him and my mom discussing me being gay… my mom would be incredibly upset, she doesn’t want me telling anyone, and my telling my dad would be a huge blow to her, because it would make it so real… plus I’ve never really done that with her, sit her down and tell her. She keeps finding out. Oh, I’ve told her, but never as an intentional thing, just as a response to her suddenly ‘not remembering’ that I’m gay. I don’t know if that makes any sense, I’m writing this post at 5 in the morning…

So I don’t know if I’ll do it. I don’t know if I’ll get a chance, honestly, but even if I do, I don’t know. I don’t think he’ll be okay with it… I think he might pretend to be, but it would bother him. Even if he doesn’t ‘reject me’, which I don’t think will happen, I don’t think it will stop him blaming himself. And I’m afraid of him talking to my mother (even if I ask him not to…) or to my stepmother (which would mean ending up with the entire island knowing… that woman does not really think before she speaks). And I certainly don’t want to suddenly be talking about having sex with women with my dad, or being pressured to now have a relationship with a woman by him…it all gives me anxiety. But… well, my sisters want me to, and I love them. Who knows. It’s 5:20 in the morning, I’ve been up for about 2hours trying to sort this out (well, an hour or so was spent trying not to think about this, but I gave up and started writing this post). I have no idea what I’ll do.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

139. An Almost Completely Non-Christmassy Christmas Eve Post

So, I’m in Bermuda for Christmas, and of course, it is beyond wonderful to see my sisters again. It always amazes me how we can just sort of pick up where we left off. There is no loss of love… but there is loss of time. As much as we are immediately comfortable with each other, there is some sadness in me in the moments I realize how little I know them, or when they are so excited to know that I remember something they said last time. I do wish I could have been more a part of their lives. One of them is thinking about coming to Canada for university though, and I’m very excited about the possibility. We started the application process today. Fingers crossed! She has amazing marks so I’m sure she’ll get in, it’s just a matter of her ultimately choosing to go there over some of the American schools she’s also planning to apply to.

Anyway, that is enough about my sisters… well, it isn’t… I could go on and on about them, but I’m sure it would bore all of you (the few of you who are still reading, that is). But I will tell you about an interesting encounter I had my first night in Bermuda. There was a family gathering at one of my many Aunts’ house. I always dread those not only because I hardly know anyone there, but because I know my Dad is so embarrassed by how little I know his side of my family. So I feel awkward, and then ashamed of my awkwardness. It’s never fun. This time, however, there was this guy there who I have never met before (at least, I think we’ve never met, it’s possible we met many years ago) who immediately pinged my gaydar. I spent the evening trying to get to talk to him, and managed a few times to have some brief conversations, which only made him ping even harder. So towards the end of the night made my way over to him with the express purpose of coming out to him somehow, in this sea of family, which he caught on to and before I could even flash him my pride necklace he said, in his Bermudian accent “Oh, I been clocked you from when you came in…” which pleased me, but before I could say anything, his sister – who had in no way registered (except in the “oh, it’s too bad she’s probably my cousin cause she’s cute” kind of way) – who I hadn’t even noticed was standing there piped up “yeah, we clocked you right away… I’m unclockable though…” I was shocked. We then managed to have a very brief, and very encoded conversation about how many members of our family are gay (because it was so encoded I’m still not sure exactly what they were saying)… it was exciting. We made very nebulous plans to get together while I’m here in Bermuda, so I’m hoping that will happen, but it will definitely have to wait until after Christmas. I’m looking forward to it though. Sadly (but not unexpectedly) neither of them lives in Bermuda now, the sister lives in Canada and the brother lives in England. Gay people do tend to leave this island… it’s not very hospitable.

Case in point… I was just at another family gathering… another awkward, shameful family gathering, and in addition to all the awkward shame, I had to listen while my father made a series of homophobic remarks. I have to give him some grace… he has no idea about me, and he did grow up in a very sheltered, isolated place (he once asked me in all seriousness what the word “Jew” meant… he honestly didn’t know), but it still hurt to hear him refer to some supposed lesbians he saw the other night as “some butches” in the most disgusted tone he could manage. (it was that remark that made me decide to write this blog… I was feeling so hurt, holding back tears actually, and felt the need to process it… hence this weirdly non-Christmassy blog post on Christmas Eve)

Tomorrow is Christmas though, and I am really excited about giving my sisters their gifts. I was super excited about giving my dad his gift, but right now I’m feeling hurt so I’m not as excited about that right now, I hope that goes away by tomorrow morning for the gift exchange. I imagine it will… sleep can work wonders. And hey, maybe in the next few days I will meet up with some other gay Bermudians! That would be exciting.

Anyway, I’ll end this now… I think my processing is done. Merry Christmas everyone!