Family Is What We Make It
SINful friends, thank you all for being here. Thank you all for following, commenting, and (the VAST majority of you) for writing compelling blogs that inspire me and help me understand myself as I evolve and navigate my way through this crazy world. Some of you have been around since the very beginning (I’m looking at you two, Mr. No Name and Josh) and many of you hopped aboard shortly thereafter. More of you are recent followers, and maybe haven’t read through all the archives to get my full story. If you haven’t, please poke around, as I started fresh and raw within the first week and haven’t stopped since. Asides aside, you SINful friends are part of my community, and some of you feel like brothers and sisters after just these first few months. You’re family. Out “in the real worls”, though, what exactly does that mean?
As I’ve mentioned in several places already (here and here) that I grew up in a religious conservative household. Some of that early education may have been evident in my more recent post in which I assaulted the religious argument that homosexuality is a mortal sin. I paid attention — close attention — to everything the Sunday School teachers, the various pastors, and even the pastor who was the teacher of my Confirmation Class in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. I know, from all of this, that my personhood, my innate self, my very being is considered a living aberration by most Christians. This fact was never more evident than when I came out to my relatives.
Granted, I timed things badly. I realize that now. I timed my coming out to coincide with my leaving my wife of 3 years. I dropped a bomb on everybody who knew me, and followed that assault with another bomb while they were still assessing the damage. I get that. I handled myself poorly. That fact notwithstanding, the rift created has thus far been irreparable. My Retired U.S. Air Force Officer turned LCMS Pastor of a father considers my Bi/Queer nature to be a taint, but he’ll accept it if I never act upon it. My mother feels even more strongly against me, and is locked in an inner battle between being a Mother who loves her Son and being a Strong Christian Woman who believes that anybody who is not straight is doomed to eternal Hell. I hope someday she finds the strength to let Maternal Love win that battle.
My brother, my aunts, uncles, and cousins have all broken contact with me. I’ve not heard directly from my parents at all during this calendar year. I’ve not heard from my brother in over a year. They all know how to reach me if they wish, and have been told so. The silence has been deafening.
On the flipside, I have received nothing but love and support and found nothing but support and empathy from several of my friends. My high school sweetheart and her father have been my sounding boards multiple times, to the point where it feels like I finally found the supportive, wise father I’ve been missing all these long years. Another of my good friends has been reveling in his own journey of growth and discovery, and his questions and comments throughout have been chock full of the kind of optimism and wit that drew me to him over 10 years ago.
Not least by any means has been the deep, unconditional, unwavering support of Mrs. AP. She’s held me while I’ve wept, she’s kicked me in the ass when I’ve been a stubborn ass myself, and she’s pushed me to challenge myself and grow as a partner and as a man. She has been my salve, my inspiration, my muse, and my everything. I never knew a person could be so perfect for me until I met her.
Mrs. AP has faced no shortage of struggles with relatives as well, and in our years together I have witnessed some rather harsh emotional abuse from Mrs. AP’s mother; abuse that is later denied or conveniently forgotten. It has been unpredictable and, sadly, slowly increasing in frequency and hostility.
What I have learned in all of this is that relatives are not necessarily family simply by virtue of being blood-kin. Family consists of those who love us unconditionally, who offer support when it’s needed, and who encourage us to grow into the strong, secure, independent individuals. Family lists us up, carries us, and strengthens us. Family does not, ever, beat us down.
I was not able to choose my relatives but I have chosen my family and looking at you, SINful friends, and those around me I say I have chosen well.
Stay SINful, friends.