Topical Thursday: The Letter

I somehow managed to log into my old MySpace account (is that still around??) and found an old blog that I wrote.  It was basically a copy of a letter I sent to my parents. I thought I’d share it with you.

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Dear Mum and Dad,

 

By the time you read this, I am on my way to the other side the planet.  I am writing this now because I do not know how else to tell you.  This has been on my mind for a very long time and I just feel that by hiding it, I would not be living my life to the full.

I do not know how you will respond, which is why I decided to let you know now so that you can calmly collect your thoughts.  I know that you have questions that you want to ask of me.  I hope to answer them as much as I can.

I want you to know that this is not a phase or a choice.  I knew that I was different when we were still living back in the Philippines.  It took me most of my life to come to grips with the fact that I was gay.  I am convinced that being gay is the way I was born, and nothing you or anyone else ever did “made” me gay.  My natural orientation and preference is toward other men, and as for its being a “choice,” my only choice, as I see it, has been whether to be open and honest about my feelings, or to continue to deny and hide them. Being gay is simply part of who I am — and a part I’ve been longing to share with you for quite some time.

I have kept it hidden for a very long time.  There were times where I wished it didn’t have to be that way and I was petrified of anybody knowing or finding out.  I buried myself with my studies just so that I didn’t have to think about it.  But hiding who I truly am was slowly killing me inside.

It was only recently when it became harder for me to distract myself from the issue.  I needed to share what I had been thinking to someone.  I had been speaking to my friends on the internet who I’d known for a while.  But I felt that it wasn’t enough.  One night I was speaking to Megan.  I felt that I didn’t want to lie to her anymore, so I came out to her.  It was the hardest thing I had done.  At the same time, it was as if a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  It was through her support (as well as my friends, one of whom I am visiting in America) where I considered telling you.

I know that if I told you in person, I would not be able to say what I needed to say, and things will end up messy.  So I had planned it this way.  I knew it was something that had to be done.  I had considered not telling you at all and keeping it inside me until the day I die. Many advised never to tell my parents I’m gay — but several factors helped make me realize that that wasn’t a viable option.  You are too close and too important for me to keep such an important part of my life from you. It is a tribute to you that we are such a close family, and in all other aspects of my life, I have always tried to keep you informed of what I’m doing and what’s important to me. Up till now, I have by default excluded you from this part of my life, but it has become painful to keep something so important to me hidden from you. I love you, Mom and Dad, and I want to give you the opportunity to share this part of my life with me.

But there are other factors behind my decision to tell you.  I had ideas on how each of you would react to this news you have just received, but as I mentioned earlier, I honestly have no idea how you will respond.  I figure I could either tell you or I could not, but I know that if I held it all in, only to find out much later in life you would have been loving and supportive all along (and from the love you’ve shown me all my life, I think I owe it to you to believe that you are capable of continuing to love and support me as you always have), the regret would be too great, the feelings that we missed sharing so much of my life would be disheartening and overwhelming.

And there are still more reasons. One of my worst fears has always been that of you hearing rumours from somebody else; as long as the big secret was kept from you, I would always have to watch my back, careful of who I told, and perpetually worrying that somehow you’d find out from someone else, perhaps in a less-than-flattering manner. I don’t think that it would be fair to me, and that would not be fair to you.

On another note, there is also the issue of telling family friends and relatives. To be honest, I have been focusing much of my thoughts to this point on telling you, and I have not yet thought much about which friends and relatives to tell, or when. But this is something I think should be discussed as a family, and it is a decision I want to make as a family — in other words, I would appreciate at this point you not discussing with people who don’t already know (in most cases, I want to be the one to tell them), but on the other hand, I won’t go telling everyone you know without first discussing it with you. If and when we are ready for others to know, we will cross those bridges only then.

Mom, Dad, I know the coming weeks and months will be difficult for all of us, as we struggle to come to terms as a family with the news I have just shared.  Please understand that I am not trying to hurt you, rather, I want to try to bring you into a part of my life that you may only now be realizing you have been missing from. This is by no means an easy task, and I am ready to be patient. There is so much else to say, so much that I will have to leave for later. But I want you to remember, Mom and Dad, that I’m the same person today that I was yesterday — I still am the loving and caring person you’ve known me to be — only now you know a little bit more about me. And we now have before us a tremendous opportunity to become closer than we ever have, a chance to share all my hopes and aspirations for my life.  I still love you and will always love you just the same, and I hope that you can continue loving me and being happy for me as you always have. And remember, whenever you have questions or issues you feel you’re ready to discuss, please don’t hesitate to call me and ask me anything.  Really, I want to be there for you, to help you through this, just as I hope you will be there for me.

I will always love you.

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