I have a question for you. It is one that I have been asking myself for years. As of yet, I haven't been able to voice it. To anyone. It's a hard question. It's hard to ask, and it's hard to answer. But these kinds of questions, the hard ones, are the ones that need to be asked. So here's my question: why is it easier to tell a stranger than your own family that you are gay?
I think I've found the answer to that. Like I said, it's a hard one. The answer: because your family actually matters.
That's it, really. That's how it goes. It's hardest to come out to your family, and often friends, because they are the ones who really matter to you and you just can't stand the thought that they will think less of you. That somehow you will stop mattering to them. That they will hate you for who you love. That's what makes it so hard. And that's why I never told.
I never really came out to my family. If anything, blog posts like these are where I am most honest to them, and about them. I think they will understand why that is, though. For me, they'll know, a lot of things are easier to write down than say aloud. At least with writing you don't have to be there when they read it. No matter if you think, or even know, as I do, that they won't care and that nothing will have changed but that they will have gained a better understanding of you, that they still, always have, and always will love you just for you are, it's still easier to press click, or lick the envelope, or hand in the note and walk away, than it is to be there when they read it.
But then, after that, you have to let them tell you what they think. Because they matter and their thoughts matter and they deserve and need this chance just as much as you. I know what my family thinks. They've told me. And I've let them. It's hard to be there when they read these personal notes and thoughts and confessions, but it's also hard to wonder what they're thinking and never let them say it.
So you have to let your family tell you that they've read it. You have to let them talk, too. Because this is hard for them also, knowing you've kept this big thing from them. But they are so proud of you for knowing that it is okay to tell them. Because they still love you. If anything, they love you more. And they need to get to tell you that.
Maybe they'll write it, too. Maybe they'll post on your Facebook and say, you were brave to say this but I'm so glad you did. Maybe you'll sit and talk in a parking lot for a while, because it's easier to talk sideby-side rather than face-on. Your family might even say, as mine did, thank you for saying what I couldn't find the words for. Thank you for knowing that we care. Thank you for caring enough to tell any way you could. We love you, that hasn't changed.