Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What Is The Use?

An excerpt of an e-mail from my mother to my twin brother (on which I was copied), on June 4, 2001:

I am feeling very dizzy recently, and am in very bad mood with all the things not to my liking. I hope you and Paul will take good care of yourselves, learn to help & care for each other. Father and I were very happy to know that Paul was very supportive and generous to offer his help when you were out of job. Siblings ought to support and love each other and not to fight among themselves .

What is the use of being brothers and sisters if there is no love with one another?

My parents have planted suspicion and selfishness to us their children, that one suspects the other of double-crossing each other, of greediness with the inheritance, kicking the daughters out of the inheritance,and criticizing the daughters for not helping out with their problems, that Love is not cultivated within the family. I hope this will not be the case with you.

Also, I hope one of these days, the 3 of you will find a partner to begin your life with. My heart aches with all these unhappiness.

It is hard when you have to take care of the others, when you yourself are not in very good condition. But as the host, I want them to feel that they are welcome in our house.


I found it very interesting that my mother used the term "partner" instead of "wife" in the second to the last paragraph. I believe that in 2001, I was only gay to her through innuendos. I think that this was a signal to me even then that she knew about me and my brother, and in a way, was accepting that this was the way things were.

Even though I never outright lied to her about my sexuality since I moved to Chicago, I never said out loud "I am gay" (even now). Because I haven't said so, I feel that I can't share my life fully with her.

Isn't it strange that that my reticence is what prevents us from being completely open with each other? I used to think that she has to accept who I am before I could share everything with her, but looking back now, she was open, but I wasn't.

Maybe I was (am) still ashamed of who I am. The roots of shame are very deep and hard to untangle...


Dave said...

First of all, nice to find you are still blogging. I've been catching up on your past posts and you have not lost any of your wit over the years.

This is a tough one... It was shortly after I moved to Chicago back in 1998 that I got a note (mom didn't have email yet...) that made the "partner" reference and so I answered her (in writing) where I told her my whole story of coming to terms with being Gay. In doing so I discovered it wasn't shame, but fear that had held me back. Fear of disappointing her and Dad, fear that having "lied" (or more accurately not having told the whole truth...) had hurt them even more than anything else.

I think there is some truth to the school of thought that says that "Mothers always know..." Yet I would remind you of what you already know. Coming Out is a life-long process. And it is never about other people knowing or not knowing, it's about your own feelings. The parent-child releationship is complex enough with out having what seems to be a life- defining / changing / threatening "secret" to manage as part of the equasion.

I guess what I am saying is, it sounds like Your mom knows, and her overriding emotion is a hope for you to be happy. A very "mom thing" to feel. What you do with that fact should be based entirely on YOUR comfort level not anyone elses.

So I'd but the "Shame" thoughts aside and cut yourself some slack :)

Hope you well


No Milk Please said...

Dave, thank you very much for your thoughtful comments. My mom does know. But she chooses to "not think about it", I guess.

Coming out is a lifetime process and it goes two ways. I have to be open as well as she has to be accepting.

The two threads in this post really are the ties that bind a family and what keeps us apart...

♥N said...

I am sure she is just waiting for you to come to her.

As a mother myself (although my kid is only 4), I know I would be waiting.