Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ending The Sadness of Their Charade

My southern family is in woeful need of being fixed. When I am with the family, I am the black sheep. When I bring my partner, you would think I am bringing over an unwelcome anxiety to meet the family. They are perfectly polite, but there is an unease that they all try to mask. They can be perfectly chatty, but they give off this vibe that my lifestyle makes them nervous. Conversations are sometimes strained and words are chosen very carefully around the young ones because they all really think my lifestyle is a choice. God knows that sexuality is something you choose off a menu on a whim. I must be awfully boring in my menu selections because I keep picking the same item.

It is always the same old routine with my family. FIRST, I get the dreaded phone call inquiring if I am home alone. THEN, if I am home alone I am asked if I want to join the family immediately for a get together. My family thinks this is perfectly acceptable to treat me this way. There always seems to be some underhanded wheeling and dealing going on so I can't bring my partner.

When I beat them at their game and bring over my partner anyway, my father inwardly gets the redass. He'll even mention it to me later at work, "Why didn't you leave him home? Why can't you just be with your family?" Yes, apparently it is perfectly okay to let me know that they really only want to see me.

If my father is the kingpin in this scheme, then my mother is the habitual apologist. My poor mother. In her most exasperated voice, she says "Well what can I do? I can't change your father." Mother, you can do a lot more. I am so tired of being laden with your guilt trips for not being around the family as much nowadays. Why would I want to be around a bunch of people who only wants to accept half of me? I think it is sad that they choose to pretend that the other half of me (the more fabulous half) doesn't exist. Or if he does exist... he's hidden away in a broom closet.

Tonight, my mother expressed her hurt that I already had plans on my birthday this Friday. She tells me that they were thinking about taking my twin brother and I to dinner. Perfect for you folks that my partner is in Europe right now, huh? How much would you like to bet if my partner was here, then they would do nothing for my birthday?

This is the agony I must endure with my family. They seem to think that their actions have no consequences on me. I am sorry... but you folks can do MUCH BETTER. For all the things they have done for me, I still deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

So, this Friday... I will be celebrating my birthday with a more loving family... my friends. They happen to love me unconditionally. My friends don't psychologically torture me by only liking half of me. I suffer in sadness because my family carries forth of it only being MY problem. I didn't choose this lifestyle, but I can choose to end the sadness caused by their charade.

24 Comments:

Anonymous NEKSMAN, Tim said...

Brett....I can relate to your situation...Two weeks ago I celebrated my 60th...a biggie...my family did not celebrate until much later...when they could work me in??? But I too have a great group of friends that had the party to end all parties! (both gay/straight attended) I am so blessed to have them in my life. My family was invited too but they would never attend as there would be gay people there. that is their problem not mine...I spent the better part of my life pleasing others, now it's my turn. Hang in there you are doing fine, don't let them get you down...let them own it.. Enjoy your blog!

June 13, 2007  
Blogger Kelly said...

I say have a great time this Friday... we are only young once and to keep who you are pushed aside for anyone is rediculous... besides, even if you went to dinner with the family, it sounds like there would eventually be some words exchanged that might not be too nice... and who wants all that tension when they are turning 29...I hope you have a great bday (and I am training my crew to be able to work the crowd and not get in the way of other photo crews...tee hee)

June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Jason said...

You have to do what is best for you. I've learned the hard way that you cannot change family, accept them for who they are, but continue to live life your way. The burden is on them.

Enjoy your friends! Hope you have a great Birthday bud with lots of sloppy kisses ;)

June 13, 2007  
Blogger Lacey said...

"This is the agony I must endure with my family"???? Um, not really. Try growing a set. Just say "no". They treat you that way because you let them Brett.

June 13, 2007  
Blogger Lewis said...

Man, you've really laid it out here....it sounds pretty lousy, full of games/drama/guilt. And that's never fun. We don't do games very well here....I pretty much call them out for what they are, and that doesn't go over very well....but I refuse to be caught in the cycle. Glad you're choosing other plans that you WANT to be doing on your 21st birthday...it is 21...right? I mean, you told me you were 18 when you got in my car.....Hehehe.
You have to break the cycle, make it different tomorrow than it is today.....in order to make your life more balanced and get rid of this guilt and game playing. I'm thinking of you, BC. Take care.

June 13, 2007  
Blogger patrick said...

Brett, I'm really glad you wrote this. Families are really complicated...and I'm really happy that you stand up for your life and your choices and your belief that family should accept everything...period.

I'm originally from Bama, but live in NYC now, and when I brought my husband home for the first time...it was the first time they'd ever seen me with another man. They acted very similarly to the way your family acted, even though they had expressed accepting me being gay. However, when confronted with it, it was different. I just kept bringing him home with me.

Then, 4 years ago, to have my family stand up at our wedding, and say the things they said, well...it was amazing. So, people come around and it sucks that they have to come around, but well, just keep living the way you want to live...and hopefully they'll come around too!!!

Happy Early Birthday!

June 13, 2007  
Blogger Brent said...

I get to see family for the first time after coming out, in a couple of weeks, woo hoo. I'm not looking forward to it. I'm sure my mother will say something to either me, my future ex wife or the kids. I'm going to be on guard the whole time. I have no idea what my brothers and sister will do.
I'm sure you are right about your family, but it also sounds like they may not like the Shrew. Is it possible that alot of this stems from that? Has it been different with other relationships?

June 13, 2007  
Blogger Creative Thinker said...

Brett -- Thanks for sharing all of that. I really feel for you. Parents can majorly mess us up sometimes and it is up to us to correct the damage. I am glad to hear that you will be spending such a special day with people that truly love you and, what's more important in your case, they fully support you. I envy you that you told your parents at all. I just recently came out to all of my friends, but I'm not sure that I can ever come out to the folks. I fear their reaction will be similar to your parents. Hang in there. Sounds like you've come a long way. Have a great birthday!

June 13, 2007  
Blogger seth (on the left) said...

Hey Brett: I am the dirty little secret that my partner's family has to deal with. They introduce me as a "friend" who came from Maine to help their son or some such rot. The neices and nephews don't talk to us because we are queer....its odd and so I know from where you come.

We can't choose our biological families, but we can choose our supportive families and you have a great family that will help you celebrate.

Greg doesn't confront his parents and family about their lack of social skills, when it comes to us, so the actions get perpetuated. If you really want your family to accept you, you have to confront them with your partner in the room. He is your husband, your mate, your better half.

Good luck bro and happy birthday

June 13, 2007  
Blogger Bigg said...

Every family is different, but I've crossed this particular obstacle by simply (but politely) declining any invitations that I feel are manipulative. I've gone so far as to say, "If you want to see me, come on over," so they know that they'll have to see whomever I'm with.
And if it makes you feel better, I had to go through this with my wife when I was married as well as my boyfriends - they didn't like her much, either.

June 13, 2007  
Blogger Addison said...

Congratulations, Brett, this is the hardest step. I know I had to do this with my father and just let him know it was an all or nothing deal, that I am not a piecemeal person. It happened at my brother's pre-wedding party when my dad made some comment about me drinking too much and I just had to tell him that if he wanted to be my dad, that 25 was a little late to start. If your parents can't understand how you feel, then maybe it's time you just told them that you have to do what's best for yourself and they can like it or lump it.

June 13, 2007  
Blogger Red Bricks said...

I have a much greater appreciation of you now.

thanks for posting

tom

June 13, 2007  
Blogger TonkaManOR said...

You had my sympathy until you called it your 'lifestyle'. Wow , way to feed the insanity.

It is who you are. Not a lifestyle!

June 13, 2007  
Blogger MiKell said...

Only YOU can tell YOU how to deal with this issue and YOUR family. Listen not to the nay-sayers, and do what you feel is right.

Solutions that work for some do not always work for others.

I wish you well.

June 13, 2007  
Blogger Homer said...

Sorry boo that they are being 'noxious. Happy 45th!

June 13, 2007  
Blogger Matt said...

Sorry, Brett. I'm glad you're spending your birthday with real "family". It's sad that we can't all have total acceptance.

Very nice post.

June 13, 2007  
Blogger Jimmi said...

ah Brett that is really shitty and you need to confront them head on! You need to tell them you will no longer tolerate that kind of behavior. That is a direct assault on your way of life and it is an insult to you and your partner.

Now about this twin brother...? ;)

June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Heath said...

Hey Brett. I really enjoyed the challenging sets on Sunday...Good games! In response to your blog, just be honest with your family and tell them exactly what you posted in your blog. Let them know how you feel. I wonder if it is about you being gay or if it about your bf. From what you have told me in the past, Mike has not always treated you right, and your family may have seen this. I don't know. But, I am pretty sure they do love you a lot and do want to spend time with you. Like any parents, they want their child to be happy. If they see you are happy with shrew, perhaps they will be more accepting? Regardless, keep communicating with them. I believe eventually they will come around. And Happy Birthday!

June 13, 2007  
Anonymous Howard said...

Hey ther Brett , go out and enjoy your borthday dont let the "family" bring you down i lived with my ex for 10 yr and my family would not say anything against him
but now thathe is pout of my life Dear Mom said good you need to be happy so judt live life for yourself ... and have a few drinks for me

June 14, 2007  
Blogger Atari_Age said...

Late to this party...
Man, I always have to remind myself that alot of families can still be jerks to their gay sons and daughters. I don't mean the disowning families - that's worse than a jerk. But ones that sorta kinda accept it but they don't really at all and show it with every action.

Blech.

While saying "grow a set" is a little much - considering this IS family and that is a different ball of wax for every person, the point is valid that the solution is to stand up once and for all and face it head on.

They are your family.
YOU are THEIR family.
Both deserve respect.

One approach to offer to them:

1) Accept both of us or at least keep your bs to yourself"
2) If we feel like you're making us unwelcome in your presence, we're out of here.
3) If you can't accept 1 & 2, you won't see ME much again.

That may not make you happy at all - they are your family.

But, essentially, it's an ultimatum.

From your description - it's needed at this time.

June 14, 2007  
Blogger BRETTCAJUN said...

Thanks guys for all of you who have commented. My family accepts "me" as a person, but they don't accept me as a gay person in a relationship. I am supposed to be celibate I suppose.

I am going to "grow a set" and educate my parents of my concerns. It is high time I have a big discussion to them about this because it has worn on me so much.

June 14, 2007  
Blogger John said...

Everyone's right that said every family is different and you gotta figure out what works for you and them.

For me I did the "If he isn't invited/accepted, I'm not going" Even when my mother had a huge 50 yr. birthday party. I told everyone I wasn't going to go. I held out until the day before when my gay sister called me telling me my mom was about in hysterics over my not going and for me to get off the soap box, I proved my point. I went. My b/friend ended up having to work anyway. But, from that point on we were both invited to everything and things were good.

Wishing you the best bud.
John

June 15, 2007  
Blogger Timmy said...

Take care of your self, guy. Their ignorance is not your problem, and you should not let it become yours. Eventually they will come around, we can only hope.

June 23, 2007  
Blogger S. said...

I guess I don't realize how lucky I am. My parents have accepted Joel wholeheartedly into the family and it is awesome. i would have never thought it possible.

July 02, 2007  

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