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Location: Midwest, United States

"Power lines, my travlin' partner on this ride. Dripping, pulling - up and down, in this sing song, their lullaby blends with the swaying train. I curl myself into this journey; folding myself up into this pocket of time. Old familiars greet me - that swing set in the back yard, the ruins of an old church covered in new birth and old - mixed with unremembered newness." Journal Entry, October 13, 2005~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~All words are copyrighted by GoGo on a Page/gogoroku.

Friday, November 24, 2006

chapter thirty: what did you say?

Sitting on the couch, watching “Please Don't Eat the Daisies" with my Dad, my brother is fiddling with some electronic thingamagig while my sister sits next to me.

“I like Doris Day”, my father says rocking in his rocking chair. Doris’ character just finished a fast paced dialogue with another character and we chuckle.

I came out to my parents years ago, while sitting at the dining room table. My hair was shaved and my Mother wasn’t pleased that I had no hair. I remember pulling in my breath, filling my veins with as much oxygen for my rapid beating heart, and came out. “Mom, Dad, if you don’t like my hair I wonder how you’ll feel about the fact that I am gay?” The response is genuinely my family, “We love you, no matter what, we will always love you.” and then the work began.

“Doris is going to sing,” I say to Dad. I get excited because though my Dad and I have little in common we both have agreed that music will be the string that connects us.

“You two are weird liking old movies,” my brother interjects moving over to Dad to show him the electronic thing.

“Your switch is upside down,” Dad tells him. “Which wire do you think you’ll have to disconnect?”

“This one”, my little brother responds then goes back to sitting crossed leg on the floor working on his project.

“And your sister and I like Doris Day. That doesn’t make us weird.”

Since coming out, my parents have asked me not to tell my brother or sister. They were afraid that if people “found out” they would get teased and beat up. Though I have learned that the way to understanding is to let others do what they will do and not change the self to accommodate, I respected their request. I don’t believe that folks should just understand something the moment they are exposed to it. I don’t hold it against my parents that they are afraid of me because of my sexuality like I don’t hold it against myself all those things I need time to understand for myself. Committed to the long-term relationship with my family, I am patient with this journey of understanding and question their pretense with love and care every chance I get. THEN I process my feelings with close friends who are on a similar journey with their family.

“Do you think the store clerk is gay?” My Dad asks me as we watch Doris pick out fabric for the new home.

“I don’t know. Do you think he’s gay because he is a male working in a fabric store?” I answer, patiently.

“Well, you know if this movie was made today, they would make the character obviously gay.” My Dad responds, pauses and then says, “Do you ever get mad that people make gay people stereotypically gay on TV?”

I am shocked. I don’t know how to respond. There are so many ways to respond. “I…I” I try to say something, becoming very conscious of my sister and brother in the room. Very conscious that this is my father’s attempt to be open about me, very conscious that I feel responsible to do things right with all of this and not knowing how.

“I get so mad when they make fun of gay people on TV.” My Dad ignores my stumbling while we both keep our eyes on Doris running and talking and singing. “I hope it doesn’t hurt your feelings when they do it on TV.”

I am quietly dumbfounded and caught off guard. My brain wants to control this moment, my heart tells me to let it be as is, to trust it will be okay.

“Why would it hurt [GoGo]’s feelings, Dad?” Little Bo chimes up. He has completely taken his electronic thing apart and is starting over.

“Because she’s gay, you squirt”. My sister who has been engrossed in the movie the entire time speaks up and tells him.

I can feel my mouth is opened, eye brows raised, and I think I stopped breathing.

“Oh yeah, I knew that.” Little Bo says at me then looks at my sister, “Don’t call me a little squirt, just ‘cause your older doesn’t mean you can call me names.”

“[Little Bo], why did you take the whole board apart again? You just had to remove the wire and flip the switch,” Dad tells my little Bo.

"Because I want to do it the way I want to." Bo tells Dad, rolling his eyes like he couldn't possibly understand. Go Bo! Little Bo is on the verge of moving from kid to teenager and suddenly he seems to know more then anyone else. I remember those years.

“I thought you weren’t telling them I was gay, Dad?” I kind of blurt out in a whisper, like Bo and my sister wouldn’t hear as Doris begins to sing “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” to a school yard of kids.

“Why wouldn’t I? There is nothing wrong with you being gay.”



Blogger Stonetree said...

Nice. Congrats.

3:52 PM, November 24, 2006  
Blogger twitches said...

What a great story. I think. Awkward and unexpected, but the undercurrent of pride and a growing acceptance of who you are. It's sweet, ultimately. Right?

6:05 PM, November 24, 2006  
Blogger GoGo said...

yeah. they've come along way, baby.

12:59 AM, November 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot imagine your shock as you sat there and witnessed this conversation occurring around you!! I am sitting here just smiling and laughing to myself..... how awesome is that?! WOW. Very cool.

10:21 AM, November 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lovely story. It makes me glad to know there is that kind of acceptance out there. I become very angry when kids I know use the word "gay" as an insult to one another. It starts so young they don't even know what it means. The other day one of my kids used the term "retard" and I corrected him sternly. "Mental" also pisses me off as an insult. Glad your brother and sister weren't poisoned young.

12:50 PM, November 29, 2006  

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