Monday, April 16, 2007

Of Trying to Be a Better Man

(with typical enthusiasm:) "Hello?"
(me:) Hello. How are you?
(cold and defensive:) "Hello."
(me:) How are you mom?
(equally cold and defensive:) I'm fine. You haven't called me in a long time.
(me:) Well, I'm calling you now.
(normal tone:) We're going to pick up your Aunt Jean at the train station at 2:15. It's her first time returning home since your uncle died.

...and the conversation continued... not once to include a discussion of anything relevant to our situation. Yes, I made a few "us" & "we" comments (referring to Ted and myself) but those were skirted over and largely ignored. So thus is the relationship I have with my dear 69 year old Pentecostal mother. My first conversation with her since January 21st. But it's a start. And I'm trying not to be too bummed-out over it because I know that given all the time in the world, she is not going to surprise me by coming around. So I might as well take what I can get and just be grateful that I never have to lie to her again. That's what's important to me I guess. No more lying.
***edit inserted hours later**** I just reread what I wrote earlier today, and I must seem really self-absorbed to include only the first line of my moms conversation. I should have also mentioned that we did have a heartfelt conversation about my aunt, and she had the opportunity to tell me more about how my aunt's been coping with the loss. I was just a little saddened by the fact that after 3 months of not talking, she couldn't at least ask a few questions of me. (I mean about anything other that just "How's your job?") She hasn't really known much about me for 10 years. But again, I guess my last big announcement is probably a lot to handle... she probably doesn't want to hear another thing in case I have a freezer full of babies, or some illegal gay prostitution ring operating out of our apartment like she suspects of all gay people. tee hee hee I'm already in a better mood.

I'll also add, that there is an actual positive side of this Sunday's phone call. And that's an open (albeit awkward) line of communication between my mother and I now. Which has kind of taken on a new dynamic with boundaries. She didn't say one offensive thing to me on the phone, and although she wasn't interested in dealing with anything serious, she did enjoy talking to me and listen as I spoke about trivial things. Like cars and vacations. (y'know... the pryings of the secular world... Ha) She never does that. So it may not be perfect, but my mom might actually be a part of my life. And if she respects my boundaries about "my beliefs and my being" versus "homosexuality is a sin", then maybe her silence is her way of offering peace?? That'd be something positive. *****end of edited entry****

****a paragraph is now missing it caught the "too depressing" computer virus and was quarantined****

I mope, and elsewhere in this horribly sick world another shooting massacre occurs at a school. 31 people dead for no reason in Virginia. Truly... I am fortunate and blessed by comparison. Incredibly so. I hope the families of the victims can find peace at the end of the grieving.

On to other things, more pleasant things, namely Six Feet Under. Ted and I have all 5 seasons of this genius HBO series on DVD, and we just finished watching season 1 last night. I was surprised to see how many episodes I had missed, considering I thought I'd missed 1 or 2 (from the entire series) tops. I love this show, perhaps more than I've ever loved any television program, movie or book I've ever immersed myself in. It never, ever ceases to amaze me with it's tenderness and just how "bang-on" it is with the human condition. It's one of those shows with such richly developed characters, I'd be hard-pressed to come up with a definitive answer to which one I relate to most. Because at one time or another, I think I relate to each and every one of the core characters. I do think Claire is my absolute favourite though. She's got such a good head on her shoulders, but is just so disenchanted with the world she lives in. She's a good person with deep convictions and a functioning moral compass, and yet she's constantly on the outside, looking in. (She's also the youngest.)

I've loved Six Feet Under since the first time I saw an episode. It doesn't hurt that I watched it in marathons on the movie network because I was cooped-up with my back out and nothing to do but pop Advil and pray for death when I first started watching it. That's a great way to form an addiction on so many levels. But it's funny how a show essentially about a family living in and operating a funeral home can be so much about death, but so much more so about life. I'm really enjoying the revisiting of this favourite show. It's full of some genuinely, hysterical humour too. For those who might not have seen it, and assume it's contributing to my mopey disposition as of late. Hah... I can't even deny the possibility of that, but if it is, it's worth it.

****Since it's hours later... I have another song in my head. After George Michael. ****

Song in my head "You Have Been Loved" by George Michael.

She takes the back road and the lane
Past the school that has not changed
In all this time
She thinks of when the boy was young
All the battles she had won
Just to give him life

That man
She loved that man
For all his life
But now we meet to take him flowers
And only God knows why

For what's the use in pressing palms
When children fade in mothers arms
It's a cruel world
We've so much to lose
And what we have to learn, we rarely choose

So if it's god who took her son
He cannot be the one living in her mind

Take care my love, she said
Don't think that God is dead
Take care my love, she said
You have been loved

If I was weak, forgive me
But I was terrified
You brushed my eyes with angels wings, full of love
The kind that makes devils cry

So these days
My life has changed
And I'll be fine
But she just sits and counts the hours
Searching for her crime

So what's the use of pressing palms
If you won't keep such love from harm
It's a cruel world
You've so much to prove
And heaven help the ones who wait for you

Well I've no daughters, I've no sons
Guess I'm the only one
Living in my life

Take care my love, he said
Don't think that God is dead
Take care my love, he said
You have been loved

****Now This is Shameless pop. But well done, clever and infectious. Given how much I enjoy Scissor Sisters, this is not a far stretch. The lyrics make me think he's offering up his commentary on internet relationships****

"Grace Kelly" by "Mika"

Do I attract you?
Do I repulse you with my queasy smile?
Am I too dirty?
Am I too flirty?
Do I like what you like?
I could be wholesome
I could be loathsome
I guess I'm a little bit shy
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you like me without making me try?
I try to be like Grace Kelly
But all her looks were too sad
So I try a little Freddie
I've gone identity mad!
I could be brown
I could be blue
I could be violet sky
I could be hurtful
I could be purple
I could be anything you like
Gotta be green
Gotta be mean
Gotta be everything more
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you walk out the door!

How can I help it
How can I help it
How can I help what you think?
Hello my baby
Hello my baby
Putting my life on the brink

Why don't yo like me
Why don't you like me
Why don't you like yourself?
Should I bend over?
Should I look older just to be put on the shelf?
I try to be like Grace Kelly
But all her looks were too sad
So I try a little Freddie I've gone identity mad!

I could be brown
I could be blue
I could be violet sky
I could be hurtful
I could be purple
I could be anything you like
Gotta be green
Gotta be mean
Gotta be everything more
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you walk out the door!
Say what you want to satisfy yourself
But you only want what everybody else says you should want
I could be brown
I could be blue
I could be violet sky
I could be hurtful
I could be purple
I could be anything you like
Gotta be green
Gotta be mean
Gotta be everything more
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you walk out the door!

3 comments:

Misster Kitty said...

Hey there John. Wow. I can feel it in your post. I am instantly transported back 16 years ago when I came out to my family. I'll spare you a lot of the details (as I tend to ramble in my comments on other blogs...) but sufficed to say it was no picnic. As a matter of fact it was a large part of the reason I moved 1000 miles away from my family.

... but before I left I had bought a book and read it myself, called "Coming Out. An act of Love. - an inspiring call to action for gay men, lesbians and those who care" Yea it's a long title, and it's a little too huggy feely in places for me , but it did help me. And even thought by the time I left ,my parents would at least acknowledge comments of my 'trueness' ... they's still not reply directly... so I offered to leave the book with them and they could read it, or not. To tell you the truth I don't know if they actually read it, part of it or none of it. I know they did seek their own counselling with their minister (Anglican) and to their surprise all he would say when they asked questions was, 'Did you love him before he told you?" to which they answered 'yes', to which he returned, "So what's the problem? He's still the same person. He hasn't changed. And, he told you because he loves you" I know... that's incredibly simplistic, and entirely 'Hollywood' but that was for the most part what happened.

Even with that it was a couple more years before I saw much of a difference. But as I told them when I did come out, it was because I loved them, I didn't want to lie of give 1/2 truths any longer. I had had 22 years to cope and come to terms with it myself, so I didn't expect them to embrace it overnight. But I promised that there was no going back, no more hiding, it was full disclosure to any question asked. (They didn't stray from questions about the weather for a couple years... LOL)

They did come around completely, much to my surprise! So much so that 2 years ago I took my partner Didier home for Christmas (THE holiday in my family) I think I was the most nervous. lol Not only was it the first meeting they had with a boyfriend, it was at Christmas AND we stayed in the same room under THEIR roof. ALL of which I was 110% certain only 5 or so years before, would NEVER happen.

I can't promise that your parents will follow the lead my parents took, but never say never. There is only one truth you know, and that's the one in your soul. You can never ever completely know with 100% certainty what anyone else's truth is, not even your partners. But then, that is where we have faith. And like George Michael said (rather well)... "ya gotta have faith" For some that's a sacred word, reflecting their religious devotion. For me it's my trust, love and belief in the people I care about in my life... Biological Ffamily or Chosen Family.

In case you want to look for the book I mentioned... the author is Rob Eichberg Ph.D. ISBN: 0-525-249-5 Dutton Press. God only know's if it's still in print, the hardcover I bought was originally printed in 1990

MAN! I ramble. Sorry 'bout that. Didn't I say I wasn't going to ramble...Someone tell me to shut it!

ok, well... Hugs to you and Ted and the pooches.

Keltie said...

My immediate thought was that the silence was, indeed, your mother's version of an olive branch. I only think this based on what I've known of your mom, of course, but it does sound like she still loves you and is feeling around for a foothold in your relationship where she can still be your mom without driving you off.

I could be wrong, of course, but it seems to me that it's very important to BOTH of you that you still have a bond.

And thanks for the comment in my blog yesterday. It meant a lot.

*hugs*

Cor said...

I have a much more direct approach. Don't wait for your mother to come around, teach her how you want to be treated. If she doesn't ask how you are, tell her. Say "Ted and I are fine, we we we we. Things are wonderful"...blah blah blah.

If you keep treating your relationship like a sensitive issue, then she will continue to pussy foot around it.

People in general have to learn to say "the way you are treating me is unacceptable".

If she isn't going to step up to the plate by herself as a mother then drag her there by the short hairs. Mothers shouldn't have a choice. And if they DO choose.. well then walk away with your head high.