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4 comments | Monday, September 11, 2006

So moving to Atlanta has turned out to be a blessing and a curse, and I knew it would be. While I’m extremely happy to be living in a cheaper city surrounded by a group of my closest friends, I’m less than pleased about how close I am to the city where I grew up and all the drama that awaits me every time I return home.

If my family were not still residents of Montgomery, Alabama I swear I would’ve never gone back after I left in 1998.

So yesterday after church I decided to make the 2 hour drive up I-85 south to visit my family for the day, unannounced.
I knew my mother wanted to see me, and I was beginning to feel bad about the rush visit I had last week when I made it down for just a few hours to help my best friend and roommate Bennie move the rest of his things .

One thing I always look forward to is my mom’s good cooking, she can throw down!

After the meal was over and I was so full all I wanted to do was take a nap, I was informed that we had to go and visit my uncle who is in a diabetic coma. It was hard seeing my uncle lying almost lifeless in his hospital bed having to have everyone do small things for him that he once did for himself such as brush his teeth .Seeing him in this state made me appreciate life even more than I already do, and it confirmed for me that I never want to hang on if my health ever failed to such a degree.

The visit had been pleasant and drama free until what happened next

Enter my very funny and outspoken grandfather. To know him is to know that he say’s whatever is on his mind regardless of who it might offend. I know this to be true about him, so what happens next didn’t really bother me because it wasn’t a first, but the reaction from the onlookers is what set me off in my mind.

GD: Darian where is your girlfriend?

Me: I don’t have one grandaddy.

GD: What?! You don’t have one?

Me: Nope

GD: Why not? You’re up in Atlanta all by yourself. Don’t you think it would be a little easier on you if you had a girlfriend?

Me: I’m not by myself grandaddy, I have great friends and a career I love.

GD: Well if you don’t have a girlfriend with you the next time you come home you might as well stay in Atlanta.(very little humor behind this statement)

Me: Well I guess I’ll be staying in Atlanta because I won’t have one.(still in a very respectful tone)

Meanwhile my mother leaves the room to keep me from seeing her face turn blue and my sister stays for a minute so I can see the look of disgust on her face, she then exits only to return minutes later to stare at me with her eyes of disapproval.

I wanted to answer my grandfather’s question truthfully, but then I had to ask myself what good would it do? This is an elderly man who was raised in the old south and has no awareness of the gay community at large . I’ve learned that I have to pick and choose my battles and I just don’t think that was a battle worth fighting.

Every part of me wanted to stand up and give my “I’m black, SGL, and proud speech, but that would have caused some real drama and I was in no mood.

I thank God for growth because years ago that incident would have enraged me to the point where I would still be in an argument as you’re reading this post.

This time I just laughed out loud and thanked God for allowing me to be comfortable in my skin. I know who I am and I love myself. I just wish my family allowed themselves to love all of me too.


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

darian, you know i love you dearly, but baby what you have to understand is that the elephant is on the table...and it is just going to sit there until you move it. it's not up for debate. until my grandmother and i had that talk, it was always ok for the family to say "what was on their mind" at my expense. but when se saw me as her unchanging baby, she began to protect me as such. don't get me wrong, she does not agree with my sexuality, but what she does do is love me in spite of it -- she loves me because of it. it was the catalyst for the relationship we have today. it is why i do not dread being closer to home or even visiting. it is not uncomfortable for me anymore.

i can sit in her lap and just lay there and know that all she has for me is unconditional love (and a strong arm to push me off her lap when i start getting on her nerves).

you are proactive about so many other things in your life darian, why not be proactive about the the moment that could change your family's dynamic forever. prepare the underpinnings for the one question they all have -- why--the precursor to the desire to gain understanding, and an opportunity for the divine (God) to come in and provide some semblance of understanding to your family.

you are always on my mind darian...love you and see you soon!

September 11, 2006 2:44 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

wow, i wish I could write like jonathan...he pretty much sums it up!

Darian, I think you know what you have to do. Baby, the time is coming near for you to STAND UP! Check your fear and anxiety at the door, look your parents and family dead in the eyes, and tell them you are an intelligent, successful, beautiful creation of God. A man of God who unapologetically loves men and will not subject himself to any more slighting or shaming for that fact. You say that you are confident and comfortable in your own skin...tell them that and refuse to back down or change for their comfort.

And after you've told them, show them (if they are willing to look). Show them that being gay is not just about sex. Show them that, as an openly SGL man, you can have love, friends, God's grace, and a spectacular life.

I know it feels odd and even wrong to place ultimatums on our families, but hell if it means your happiness, mental strength, and spiritual growth it's worth it.

Sure, you run the risk of rejection, repulsion, or even disowning. I honestly believe that you being honest, open, and strong-willed in your character will garner their respect over time. If it doesn't, that will be their burden to bear. You have a network of friends and associates to lean on for love and support, as well as a man who cares deeply for you as you are and craves your happiness and well-being.

Crap, now I'm starting to get emotional :). Listen to your friend and move the elephant off the table. You may have to go through some shit initially, but God willing, you'll be clean on the other side.

I'm going to pray for your strength and resolve, and I'm going to pray that God remind your family that it is not their right or responsibility to judge and condemn...it is their duty to love, nurture, and cherish their brother/son unconditionally.

September 11, 2006 5:43 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Darian, I have to say, I think you did the right thing with your grandfather... I absolutely agree that he is from a different time and space and may not get it.

Now, your mother and sister, on the other hand... it is time to get busy and let them know. If I am correct, you wrote your mother a letter, right? It may be time to TALK and assert yourself. You will know when the time is right.

Believe me, I have been there. I was so hurt when my mother, who happens to be one of my best friends, did not talk to me for 2 months after finding out that I was gay. She found out 9 years prior but decided to ignore the information. It took me being in a loving relationship to bring it up again. I had to finally come out and say, "Love me and accept me, because I love and accept myself." They don't have to agree, but respect is very important. Respect for them as well as yourself.

Be prayerful. You will know when to "move the elephant off the table."

September 14, 2006 10:27 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

AWWW. And you're right. Some people it's just SOOO MUCH EASIER with.


September 22, 2006 2:47 PM


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