So, the following is an email that I wrote to a friend of mine who was in tears yesterday over some issues going on within their family. Although they aren’t being identified, they encouraged me to post it on my blog.
So I firstly wanted to apologise in case I seemed somewhat uninterested or dismissive of your emotional state before class tonight (well, last night) – that wasn’t the case at all.
Secondly, I wanted to check in and see if you’re okay?
I know how hard it is to be in a situation like yours. I know how hard it is to see one person you love be so cold and hateful towards somebody else that you love.
I can empathise with your situation, and all I can say is that one day, it will get better. It always does. It might not happen tomorrow, as much as you might want it to; it might not even happen next week, or even this year… but at some point it will.
Being somebody who doesn’t believe in religion, I’m not in a position to understand what the views of homosexuality are in your faith, nor do I claim to understand said views. Regardless of whatever religion, I always find it incredibly hard to understand anybody who has an issue with homosexuality.
I think that it would be incredibly hard for you to be in the position you’re in, because yes, you love your brother and yes, you also love your father, but he doesn’t love his own son.
I’m not even sure if that’s the right term. Love. He might ‘accept’ your brother and his ‘lifestyle’ for whatever reasons, but does that mean to say that he doesn’t love him. He is his own flesh and blood. Is he really that against it, that he would go as far as to say that he doesn’t love his own child?
If that’s the case, that’s just simply cold and arrogant. And something I find hard to believe.
I’ll let you in on something that I don’t discuss – I’m not even sure I’ve discussed it with Hulk, so it’s not something for you to repeat to others…
I don’t have a relationship with my father. Ever since I was a kid, we always clashed. ALWAYS. I never really knew or understood what it was, but we generally left each other alone – he did his thing, and I did mine (usually with mum).
Now, mum and I have spent countless hours rehashing out all my unresolved ‘daddy issues’, and one of the things we concluded was that he was simply scared of me. He was scared of me because I was completely different to all the other boys my age. I didn’t want to play with trucks, or go to the football, or go fishing with him. Instead I wanted to go to dance classes, and play with cabbage patch kids and barbies and twirl around the house in mum’s netball skirt.
even back then when I was 5 I was fucking ‘gone with the wind fabulous’ (and if you don’t understand that reference, jump on youtube and search Kenya Moore Gone With The Wind Fabulous… she’s from Real Housewives of Atlanta… it’ll make more sense then!)
So, where was I… right… so because dad was such a man’s-man, he expected me to be his little mini me… just the way he was with his father, and so was his brother, and so was every other male he grew up with. And so was every other father-and-son he met over the years. That’s what he was expecting. That’s what was ‘supposed’ to happen.
And I broke the mould.
And because I was so the complete polar-opposite of what he was expecting, he literally flipped out and didn’t know what to do. Nothing had prepared him for that realisation. He didn’t know how to behave around me, or talk to me. He thought it was just a phase… and when he realised it wasn’t, he started to get desperate.
He would force me to play with my brother who was obsessed with trucks and cars (daddy’s little mini me!!); he would force me to watch football games on tv; he would force me to hang out with him up in the shed; he would drag me, literally, kicking and screaming with him when he went fishing… all in some kind of desperate attempt to ‘fix’ me, and knock some sense into me.
Boys didn’t behave the way I did. Boys didn’t like the things that I liked. I was different. I wasn’t like any of the other boys. He couldn’t handle that.
The other aspect of that was that because I was so different, most of my time (and support and encouragement) came from mum. Therefore we would spend significantly more time with each other, and he got incredibly jealous of that and it drove him crazy.
Mum was a lot more understanding and accepting of me being so different as a child. Rather than almost have a heart attack and fly into a rage when she saw me jumping on the bed in my cousin’s fairy princess dress, she simply told me to stop jumping on the bed and twirl around on the floor instead. Then she made me a crown out of tinfoil to really complete the outfit.
When I wanted to get a Strawberry Shortcake doll, she didn’t fly off the handle and scream at me telling me there was something wrong and that I would be getting a Tonka Truck; not at all, she asked me which Strawberry Shortcake doll I would prefer.
When I was obsessed with Barbie and the Rockers, she would make sure that the babysitter brought them over with her so we could play with them until it was time for me to go to bed.
That’s what I know, and because of that, it’s shaped who I am, and the outlook and attitude I have on life, and parenting and acceptance.
When I was 20, my father and I had a massive falling out. A fight so massive, it happened over the phone and went for hours and hours and hours one night, until I cried myself to sleep and didn’t wake up for 2 days. That was the last time I spoke to him.
That was 10 years ago.
He knows he broke my heart. He knows I want nothing to do with him ever again – I even renounced his surname (and his family in the process) as a result of our blowup. For a couple of years afterwards, he would send cards / letters to mum’s house, and she’d forward them to me (because he didn’t know my address in Melbourne) and they were always full of some bullshit about how sorry he is for hurting me, and how much he loves me and wishes that one day I would be able to get past this, and we could at least start talking to each other again… and just that would make him happy beyond belief. As much as I despise him and will never forgive him, I know that he still loves me. He always will, I’m his child – his first born – which is always so strong and significant.
Now, he knows that I’m a scorpio, but I don’t think he ever understood or bought into the traits of any of the star signs… one of them being that as a scorpio, I can hold a grudge… and here we are 10 years later, and I’ve not forgiven him. I never will. I don’t think any child could forgive a parent for what he said to me.
How does any of this relate to your situation?
Well just like my father, your father seems to have some very rock-solid views from the 50’s. THat’s what he was taught. That’s no doubt what his parents views were, and it’s also the views of his religion. And who is he to question his religion??
But this isn’t about faith, as much as it is about his own son. His flesh and blood. There’s something quite telling about a man who can’t even love their child, regardless of any other circumstances.
I think it’s very typical for parents to be very unaccepting of their child’s lifestyle if it’s anything other than the norm – but regardless of all of that, they still love, and always will love their child.
In terms of the dramas between your brother and your father, it’s not going to be easy. Your father is a man, and men are stubborn and they don’t like to talk about or even acknowledge their emotions. Perhaps that’s something that needs to change. You mentioned that your mother knows… maybe that’s something that she needs to discuss with him one-on-one. She might be able to talk some sense into him.
It makes it harder knowing that your brother has a disability, and I can see how that could be used as the excuse to explain your brothers lifestyle, but at the end of the day, they both need to realise that it’s not a choice; it’s not something that be prayed away; it’s not something that can be ‘fixed’. Your brother isn’t broken, he just likes guys. He doesn’t need fixing, he needs understanding. He’s already got it hard enough having a disability… adding the dramas of being gay on top of that.. lordy, I’m feeling sorry for him!
Your dad needs educating. He needs to hear a voice of reason. He needs to know that it’s not a disease – your brother was simply born this way. It wasn’t a choice. It’s genetically predetermined when he was a foetus.
It sucks that you’re caught in the middle of it all, and it’s not going to be easy for anybody involved in a situation like this, moreso if it starts to become volatile at all, but all you and your family need to know is that there is help available out there – you just need to be willing to ask for it.
He also needs to understand that his views are dated, and that whether he likes us or not, we’re here to stay. We’re not going anywhere. Ever.
And of course, if worse comes to worse, you can always talk to me about it.
Meanwhile, I think I’ve rambled on for long enough… it’s getting closer and closer to 2am and my eyelids are getting incredibly heavy, so I think it’s time for this little black duck to get some shut-eye.
So remember, I’m here if you need. Otherwise, I’ll see you in class.