Since “National Coming Out Day” I decided that writing out my thoughts and feelings might help me to heal the pain I still suffer by my father’s rejection so many years ago. I wrote a letter to a boy I liked at school when I was in the 7th grade. I had a secret crush on him. It was really more like a diary entry for my eyes only; but boys didn’t have diaries then, they were for girls. Remember dad? After writing the letter I hid it under my mattress; but that wasn’t safe enough, someone might find it. So I hid it where I thought no one would find it. Remember the door dad? The bedroom door you kicked a hole in when you were mad at mom? Remember, she later made you take it down, and you hung it on the tool shed? I stuffed that letter up inside that door thinking that I could always re-read it whenever I needed to and no one would ever find out my secret. Throwing that letter away would have been like throwing my love away, throwing a part of me away.
You were a giant to me then, a scary giant that blocked out the sun. Remember you grabbed me with one hand and started jerking me back and forth by my arm, while waiving my letter in the other. Remember dad? Remember the yelling? I felt like everyone was watching and reading my letter while you waved it around in the yard. Like the letter you crushed me, like you crushed our relationship. Remember dad? You dragged me to the barrel you burned leaves in and made me throw it in yelling: “It is too perverted and disgusting to put in the trash.” Remember dad? I tried to please you, to be the son you wanted. You dreamed of the athlete; I first failed at baseball, then football. I didn’t want to burn in hell like the leaves, like the love letter to a boyhood crush. Remember dad?
Many years have passed dad; you know I’m gay, we know what that means now. You said you still loved me, remember dad? Remember, years later when you said: “I love you, but I’m old fashioned and don’t accept your lifestyle.” I’m a man now, you are my father. You brought me into this world and I thank you. Remember this: “I love you, but I’m proud of the man I have become, I’m proud to be a gay man and don’t accept your conditional love”. So when I can’t make it for the holidays, remember why dad.
I have scars from those childhood experiences but to anyone who reads this: “Always remember, it does get better.” Help is available, you are loved, and you are worth it. Always remember that.