The last few weeks have been incredibly challenging. I had no idea that what I wrote in my last post, Out At Last, would create such a polarizing response. I am glad that I naïvely thought no one would read it because I really wrote the truth from my heart. Before I posted it, I read it to my dad, line by line and asked if he was ok with what I wrote. This is his story as much as it is mine. He gave it the title and together we posted it to this little blog. The act of posting our story, put it out in the universe, took it out of the hushed whispers we spoke about it in. My dad and I sat in the library at the nursing home in silence wondering what we had done. Even with the expectation that no one would read it there was still a real feeling of vulnerability. We had exposed our truth and it was out there, floating around in the universe. I have tried explaining how the internet works and what this blogging thing is to my dad and the others at the nursing home. If you want to feel like an idiot, try explaining Twitter to someone who doesn’t know what the internet or social media is. “Ummm… you put your thoughts out there to the world but you can only use 140 characters, each letter and any punctuation is a character and it well, it connects you to other people…but it uhh…I don’t know.” They will look at you like you are crazy and you will think you are wasting your life doing the dumbest stuff. I told my dad I posted the blog to facebook and within a few minutes we heard the notification dings from my open laptop, with every ding he became lighter and more excited. I read aloud every comment and my dad and I wept cleansing grateful tears. We are so thankful for the amazing outpouring of love and support for us. My dad and I felt so loved and we are blown away by the kind words and encouragement we have received. Feeling empowered,I tweeted the link out and friends of mine shared with their friends and before I knew it thousands of people had read our story. The editors of The Advocate and Our Lives Magazine contacted me about running it and thousands more read it. It is still totally mind blowing.
My dad and I felt on top of the world and felt so loved, so when he asked me to send it to his sisters and his other children, I sent it in an email without giving it a second thought of how they would react. I was in complete shock when I received the first of many disgusting hate filled emails. They wrote some of the nastiest, ignorant, bigoted words I have ever read. The fact that these words were directed and me and my dad was shocking to say the least. I was completely stunned that someone would write such horrific things and that the people who wrote them are in my “family”. I will not spread more hate by repeating any of the things that they had to say, but just know it was awful. As self-assured and confident as I am, it had me shaking reading these things. It wasn’t even the words, it was the belief behind the words and the time it took out of their lives to put that hate out to me. Unfortunately, I had checked my phone in between clients at my studio. So when Craig came in I was visibly upset. I shared with him what I had read and he gave me the best gift by saying something like, “Now you know who they really are. You were conflicted about reconnecting with them. They have shown you who they are.”
I told my dad about the emails but I didn’t want him to know the specifics because I thought it would be too painful for him. He insisted that I read every email to him. I had deleted them but I was able to find a few in my trash folder that hadn’t been permanently erased from my email and my mind. After I read them, he said, “Let em. They don’t unsettle me one bit. I know who I am and I know who you are. Let em.”
It did unsettle me. I wish I could say that it didn’t. I did work on it and saw I had been carrying around an unconscious guilt for the division in my family. Even though I logically know that this is not the whole truth, after some spiritual work, I see that I have been carrying this burden. My dad was already estranged from his other children when I was born, but children have a way of making every problem their fault. So knowing that my 52 year old father had to tell his other children who were in their early 30’s that he was going to have a baby, really made me know that I was unwanted by them from the moment I was conceived. My whole life they treated me with surface love but an underlying contempt. I was not “one of them” growing up and it was very hard on me. I now see that I thought if I did or said the right thing I could repair my broken family. Their hateful words released me of this burden. I am totally free from any responsibility to them. I no longer wish to be included and I no longer want them in my life. I hope that they can deal with their anger and receive a healing for their broken hearts. I now know it is not my responsibility to fix it for them. Their anger and their sadness showed me how holding on to those feelings can ruin your life. It stains every relationship and creates a separateness that is incompatible with love and happiness. I thank them for teaching me this lesson and releasing me from this unconscious guilt.
My dad still continues to pray for them everyday and he prays for reconciliation. He holds no burden or sadness and he knows if it is to happen it will be because of divine intervention. His total self assuredness is really inspiring. I am after him to share with me the secret of his unshakeable confidence and he says it is the Holy Spirit at work.
It has been hard at times, I have felt very raw and vulnerable. I have felt alone and at the same time I have felt totally embraced into this new family, a family of my own creation. I am so thankful for the positive and the negative feedback from our story. I have learned so much about myself and my dad during the last few weeks and it has been such a blessing. I know for sure that every coming out story is an important story to tell.