There are days when I feel defeated. There are days when I feel my work is in vain. There are days when I feel like giving up. Yesterday was one of those days and then this e-mail landed in my inbox and completely dissolved those feelings. God has a way of always showing up on time.
I know that you don’t know me and I may never have the pleasure of meeting you in person, but I must tell you that your work is truly inspiring and life changing/life saving. From the first words you say to the last smile that you give in this video it is as if you are speaking to my very soul, reaching out to me personally. Everything that you mention completely parallels my life and current circumstances. I too come from a small, church on every street, blatantly homophobic, military town.
My family and I talk (barely), but we never mention the dark, taboo topic of homosexuality, even after 12 years of my coming out. I too long for a deeper connection with my parents and younger siblings; but I fear it will never come. My mom is emotionally stuck between self blame and disappointment, and my dad fluctuates between disgust and denial. My two young adult brothers are more open minded than my parents (only because I played a major role in their upbringing after our patents got divorced), but their respect and adoration for me has dwindled to near nonexistence.
I am constantly reminded by my extended family that I need to keep my life obscured so as not to embarrass/tarnish my family’s name (it’s not like I am overly flamboyant to begin with and if I was SO WHAT). It’s like they all want me to run back to the closet and locked the door behind me, thus hiding their dirty little secret. It is getting so that I am so afraid to even allow myself to fall in love or allow someone else to love me, for fear of my family causing him the same anguish and pain. Most painful of all is the fact that my family is actually pleased that I am alone! It pains me to know that the people that share the same chromosomes that I have and come from the same blood line that I do would rather see me alone, depressed and hurting, instead of happy with someone that I love and who loves me for who and what I am, only because that someone would be another man.
Like you mentioned this makes holidays and other family get togethers especially difficult for me to deal with. Even as I am writing this my family is gathering in town for our 4th of July reunion. My two younger brothers and all of my cousins will have someone special with them to share in the festivities, but I’ll be alone and miserable. No one has come out and said that I can’t show up with a boyfriend, but I am sure that you can imagine the looks and words that I would get from an overly religious, homophobic cookout crowd of at least 80 people. That’s 160 eyes piercing through my soul and 80 tongues projecting every hurtful, dehumanizing, gay bashing comment in existence at me; not to mention threats of physical harm from a few of my older male cousins.
If I choose not to attend the gathering at all then I am told I think I am “too good” to associate with my own people and comments like “how are we suppose to accept him for who he is if he isn’t around” will be made. So you see it is a no win situation! I don’t want to drag this comment on; in fact I didn’t mean to ramble on as much as I have (God knows that I need someone I can talk to though).
Darian just know that your words coupled with your bravery and sincerity kept me from taking the life of a very special person whom I am just learning to truly love and realize how important he is to the world. You have helped to give me the strength to live and hope that things won’t always be this rough and a better relationship with my family might not come today, but if I keep loving them and showing them that I am the same man I was before I came out to them, then soon they will open up their hearts to me again. Please continue to do what you do; touching and saving the life of so many young men. You are truly a hero to whom I owe a debt of gratitude to for saving my life.
Thank you so much!