Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Hardest Thing I Ever Did

Normally a title like that, when uttered, would yield a quick "That's what she said!" But this post is serious.

So December of 2009 rolled around and in fly Ellvin and Grace. Their arrival marked the "no turning back now" point. They were really here for my Uncle Arthur's wedding, but also to provide me with the support they promised.

And so on December 4, 2009, after a home-cooked Taiwanese style hot pot dinner, I locked myself in my room. I was gathering the courage to bring up the inevitable. After several visits from Grace to tell me that it would be all right, we formulated a plan. She had some wedding pictures that she wanted to show my parents, so we used those to get them to the table. The only problem was my mom was feeling under the weather and already went to bed. So, selfishly, I woke her up and told her that Grace had some photos and we were looking over them at the dinner table. She got up and met up with us downstairs.

So my parents were at the table flipping through the photos. Ellvin was sitting across from me giving me weird "I know what's about to happen" eyes. Grace was to my left. Tim was passed out on the couch, but there in spirit. And finally, allowing the wealth of support to wash over me and give me the courage to open up.. this secret I'd been keeping from my parents for my entire life.. I spat out, "Mom, Dad, I need to tell you something."

My mom set down the pictures and both parents looked at me in alarm. Anything that starts like that, in that tone, with that shaky of a voice, is serious.

I then proceeded with the speech I had laid out for months: Obama's great "How I am going to come out to my parents" speech.

"I just need to tell you guys that I'm gay." Breathe.

My dad's eyebrows went up skyhigh.

"This is something I've known for a long time now. I want you to know that there's nothing wrong with me. It wasn't anything you did. It's just who I am. And I hope you can accept me."

Grace's hand fell to my shoulder as I started to tear up. My mom's eyes rolled back, clearly annoyed. She said "Not this again." My dad looked away briefly processing what his son had just told him, but then returned his gaze. He stared at me, not saying a word; just analyzing me as if searching for his son; who was this person in front of him?

Then my mom blurted out what I was afraid of. She said "Well you told me years ago but I didn't say anything to your father like you said."

My dad was taken aback. How come he was the last to know? I'm sure it hurt him. "You knew?" he asked.

I intervened, "You were the hardest person to tell this to. I'm sorry."


Grace broke the awkwardness around the table. She offered up some comfort about how she has many gay friends and that it's not a choice.

My mom then said, "Well, I'm okay with it. What else can I say?"

We started chatting around the table about the usual; signs that I was gay and what not. My mom even offered up some family history of someone who was probably gay, which was news to me. I guess they don't talk about that ancestor much.

My dad at this point still had not said anything. I was hoping that the conversation around the table would help him deal with the news. Late into the night he had this to say:

"Well I still love you. You're my son and I'll never stop loving you. I need time to let this sink in. I'm going to bed."

He then gave me a hug and went off to bed. We all decided to call it a night. Then in walked Tim, ready to provide support! Hahaha.

So even though some things were left in the air, I cannot tell you how soundly I slept that night. It was an amazing feeling getting everything out in the open like that. It's quite a triumph. Chances are I'll never have to do anything that painfully difficult again.