I'm coming out. No, not like that, guys. I still like me a nice side of man m--wait, no, I can't finish that sentence. My grandmother might be reading, and I need to maintain my perfect first-born status within the family. For the record, I NEVER have anything to do with man-ANYTHING. EVER.
No, I'm not coming out of the closet to answer all the chicks that have been hitting on me lately (if that were true, can you imagine the self confidence I'd be floating on right now?). But I bet you're all wondering what spurred my uncharacteristic, sappy and altogether BORING (come on admit it, I know everything you're thinking before you've even thought it) post yesterday. Truth is, I had my first ever verbal (I reiterate: what the hell do you say when it's a written-verbal; as in, via-the-interwebs-but-it's-like-I'm-talking, verbal? Someone educate me. Or make up a word) fistfight on facebook yesterday. And not just any old fisticuffs, no -- it was with a family member. Pause for your stunned silence.
(Can one have enough parenthesized sentences in a single paragraph? David Foster Wallace, come save me.)
This is how it went down: so I'm perusing the interwebs late Tuesday night -- early Thursday morning depending upon your affinity for cocaine -- and I come across something that gets my granny panties all in a twist. Something that I just find personally offensive, internationally prejudiced, and globally trivial. This facebook missile just happened to belong to a family member. And the longer I stared at it, the less I could convince my self of its overall unimportance to my well-being. I knew I should just look away and take my dignity with me, as if "taking the high road" ever helped anybody expel a little sexual frustration-based rage (sorry, Grandma). To wit: it really pissed me the fuck off.
So -- in the most tactful manner I could summon and using my largest big-girl words so as to appear "intelligent" -- I drafted a response. That then turned into two responses. And then three. And then I went to bed feeling a little less frustrated and a whole lot more SUCK IT.
But here's the thing, and the reason for my coming out party: I have never spoken any sort of self-truth to this side of my family. I've always been pretty mum about who I am as a person, aside from the shallow surface that I bring to Thanksgiving dinner. I keep the peace by avoiding controversial topics, my opinions regarding my belief system, or anything that even skims the surface of "who I really am." Maybe that's the reason I haven't been around to watch anybody fry a turkey, lately.
I have always known there was a rift between us -- as soon as I developed enough brain cells to form my own thoughts and ideas, I could feel the strain between "me" and "them" pulling more taught. I don't think it's a malicious thing, it's just that we're different. We all know that I'm different and that we don't really understand each other, though no one cares to say it out loud. And this is why I'm choosing to jump out of the closet. I MADE YOU A PAINTING. IT'S SEXUAL AND VIOLENT (please, someone call the reference so I don't look like a total whackadoo).
The first part of acceptance in any relationship is accepting yourself, first. It has taken me a long time to accept who I am. The second part is sharing it and coming to peace with the fact that even if the receiving party does not reciprocate the love you have for yourself, that's ok. Even if they don't agree or want any part in it, that acceptance you have of yourself is all that matters. You can still be cordial. You can still interact. You can understand that you are different but still spun from the sheep's wool. And you can move on.
Just like it has taken me a long time to come to terms with myself, it has taken me even longer to bring that out into the world. And for some reason, families make this trek even slipperier. That need to be accepted by your family will always be there (there's that tribe thing again). But the more I can learn to love myself, the less it matters in the long run.
I look forward to sharing more of myself to them. At least now when we feel the discomfort, we will know where it comes from. Maybe we can talk about it. And maybe -- just maybe -- someday it'll make things a little bit more interesting. One can only hope, right?