Monday, April 16, 2007


I attended Mass for the first time in 10 years, changed a flat tire on a golf cart and came out to my stepfather, (in that order).

My brother, his girlfriend and myself descended upon the "valley of the sun" along with my cousin and his wife (who knew they would be on the same flight?) right on time and reported for duty at my Grandfather's house soon thereafter. Immediately we were all enveloped in a wave of hugs, kisses and "it's been so long so since we've seen each other" comments exchanged amongst the relatives. It had been a loooong time since we've all been in the same place at the same time and it felt good to see everyone, especially considering the circumstances.

Friday night was spent eating, drinking and watching old home movies with the family. My retired uncle had spent a considerable amount of time transferring old Super 8 film stock to a digital medium and everyone gathered around the television to hoot and holler at the old footage.

In a period of little over an hour we watched as my grandparents raised 5 girls, who in turn got married and started families of their own. I actually got to see my parents when they were still in the honeymoon phase (which was slightly odd for my stepfather, I think) not mention raw footage of both my brother and I while we were babies.

Whenever my baby mug flashed across the screen I was loudly reminded by my relatives of how much I resemble my Grandmother. It was a bittersweet evening to say the least and everyone was having a good time but the cloud of the impending funeral seemed to hang over every one's head and we called it a night around 10PM.

The next day everyone awoke to a beautiful spring morning in the desert. On the way to the church I tried to think about the last time I stepped inside a church and came up blank. Family and friends were milling about the courtyard and my brother and I were handed the words we were expected to speak before the audience. My brother was up first and performed admirably.

Random Catholic hocus-pocus ensued, another cousin made the trip to the lectern and then it was my turn. I'm told my voice held out but once upon the alter I was literally shaking as I read the words I was given, which was a series of prayers.

I kept reminding myself to speak slowly, clearly and avoid the gaze of my Grandfather, Mother and her 4 sisters so I could avoid the waterworks. My eldest cousin who was charged with the task of delivering the eulogy didn't fare as well. He almost kept it together but when he got to the point of explaining my Grandmother's love for my Grandfather, he lost it, which in turn made nearly everyone in the church also lose it.

The ceremony drew to a close and we exited.

Once back at my Grandfather's residence we did what most any large Catholic family does following a funeral...we started drinking. From noon to midnight we rekindled dormant family relationships, swapped common memories and generally whooped it up.

In the early afternoon one of my uncles suggested us cousins involve ourselves in some kind of activity other than drinking, so we loaded up my Grandfather's golf cart with a huge case cooler of beer and headed over to the bocce ball/basketball court/putting green area. Cases of beer were consumed, the volume of sarcasm increased and I got sun burnt.

In the process the golf cart developed a flat though it was still capable of limping home with my ex-cop uncle behind the wheel, (something tells me his girth combined with the load of the cooler exceeded the load capacity of the a the EZ-GO cart).

No one was interested/sober enough to try and repair the damage done save my uncle and myself so we took it upon ourselves to appropriate the jack from Grandpa's Town Car and remove the forlorn wheel (this took at least an hour) and inflate it at a gas station.

Once that task was completed I was in dire need of a shower and I pleaded for a ride from my Stepfather to take me back to my Mom's place to get cleaned up.

He obliged and on the ride back he remarked that I seemed to have a lot on my mind, (rather the understatement). I did my shower thing, felt refreshed and over some Heineken's I referred back to what he said in the car. "There was something I wanted to talk about this weekend but was unsure of the timing" came out of my head and I went with it...

I simply said "well, I'm gay". It might have been the effect of the beer, the sun, my Grandmother's passing or a combination of all 3 things but I threw it out there. His reaction was entirely positive, which was a relief, especially when he confirmed that my Mother had her suspicions, (although that might sound more ominous then it really is).

I wanted so bad to tell her and my brother, but there was never a moment we had private where I felt comfortable to speak my mind.

Perhaps I'm working up the familial food chain, but I now feel much more comfortable telling my Mom and my Bro, not to mention my Dad.

Whew. I think this is progress.


Hamilton said...

It is a great progress indeed. I don't know why it should have been a big deal to begin with. If you think about it, we are just born this way and I don't know why we, straight or gays, all make a big fuss about it. It is natural as eating, drinking, and having sex. I just don't get it. This weekend, I attended GLAAD media award and I just felt so comfortable around those people and it was so inspiring. We all are indeed making lots progress around the world.

Today at dinner table, my parents were watching some chinese drama and there was a lady who had a compulsive disorder. She had to clean everything she touched. My mom said wow it is a really bad disorder. I told her that there are 46 pair of genes and constitute almost 5000 genetic sequences. Each sequence controls a part of us either it is emotional or physical. Disoder is a mere arrangement that differs a bit in some sequences when a person is born. Nothing is unnatural in that perspective since it is really just how the genes arranged by random draws. Then she said isn't gay the same thing. I said yes, it is really nothing unnatural about it and there is a big population who just happened to have certain genes arranged in that order. She said I see. I was kinda glad because at least she is asking and thinking with logic instead of irrational common phobia and traditional thoughts.

anyway just wanted to share haha.

The [Cherry] Ride said...

Congratulations on coming out to your stepdad.

Will said...

Wow, thats a good step in the right direction. I hope he doesn't go ahead and tell your mom before you get the cahnce.