eryc perez de tagle

I’ve been sitting here for the past 20 minutes thinking of what to say without it seeming like I’m sending a letter to the editor of a self-help magazine. I’m reaching out to you because I feel like, although we’ve never met each other, you can empathize better than anyone else can about these emotionally draining complications I’ve encountered in regards to coming to terms with my sexuality.  I’m gay, I can confidently say that. I know that. Yet, I still find that I can’t (or won’t) act as the person I’m meant to be. It’s like I’m living life as a double agent. I’ve got a group of friends who know about my sexuality. And then I’ve got this other group, my family, who still think that I’m completely interested in what they want; and that everything I’m doing falls completely in line with their expectations. And this dichotomous social life that I’ve set up is starting to blend. And as a consequence, I’ve found that hiding is much more convenient for me than putting myself out there.

The solution seems easy, doesn’t it? Just be truthful with my parents. Everyone has coming out horror stories, and a large majority of them end in happy endings. But, how can I tell my mother that I’m gay, when she constantly asks me if my best friend’s (who’s also gay) mother ever regrets raising a gay son. I can’t be truthful to the parents who wanted me to stop hanging out with my friend in 9th grade because people might assume I’m gay by association. Pretty ridiculous, right? And it sucks, it really does. So the problems I face are not internal, rather they’re external problems that I’ve internalized — taken to heart — and it’s killing me. My pursuit for happiness is not a fantasy that I want, but rather I fantasize about a happiness that my parents wouldn’t mind me having. I’ve done a lot of growing up and I’ve realized that being attracted to men is not wrong. I’m trying so hard to keep this homosexual label from manifesting into a rain cloud that hangs over my head, never ceasing to rain. Instead of trying to be something, I simply want to just be.

The way that I keep myself hidden has affected a lot of my past relationships. My relationship with my parents is pretty rocky, but I bet you could’ve guessed that. My friends often remark about how much they don’t know about me and I laugh it off. “Oh come on, you know more about me than anyone else does.” That’s only true because they know the small amount I’m willing to tell them. Now that I think about it, I don’t think anyone knows what my favorite color is, or where I want to be when I retire. Haha, trivial things, yeah. I feel so selfish, too. I can’t explain why.  But the way I hide my emotions makes me feel like I’m waiting for people around me to notice what’s wrong and pour every ounce of effort they can afford into helping me. I feel like an opossum, playing dead just to grab people’s attention. Bleh.

It’s not easy being two people at once. I feel like I’m on the verge of an identity crisis and I’m slowly approaching the point that being miserable is better, as long as everyone else is happy.

Before you ask, yes. I’ve had a boyfriend. That lasted a month because I was afraid my parents would somehow find out via Facebook. Silly, I know.

Welp, here we are. At the end. And I can’t help but laugh because it seems I’ve turned you into my therapist. But I guess I need an unbiased 3rd party that I can vent to. I don’t want you to feel like I’m expecting some grandiose answer, some response that will cause something to click inside my head and suddenly I’ll be enlightened and everything will be better. That’s a shit ton of responsibility to place on a stranger. I guess all I’m hoping for is some insight. Now that I think about it, I’d have to say the reason I’m coming to you is that your blog helped in that process of self-acceptance. So thank you for that. Now, just to make it so everyone else accepts me for who I am.

Cory F.

ps: I like to pretend I’m artsy, so I attached a photo that represents how I’ve been living my life for the past two years.

Don’t you want to be whole? A whole person? Don’t you deserve a normal life with a family that (for better or worse) knows who you are? Of course you do. Also, I think you know this by now, it’s not a matter of if you tell your family – it’s a matter of when. You can’t keep it up forever. What are you going to do, marry a girl and pretend to have a heterosexual life? That’s absurd.
Here’s the most disturbing thing  – you seem willing to let your own happiness be destroyed for the sake of not bothering other people. You said it yourself – you had a boyfriend and broke up with him because you wanted to maintain your ‘closeted’ identity. That’s really sad, Cory. Plus you had to hurt someone’s feelings and break up with them in order to maintain your precious little ‘secret.’
Stop doing this to yourself. You’re never going to be a whole person until you can be your real self, and ask for acceptance from your family. They may or may not give it to you immediately, but when you come out to them, their homophobia becomes their problem, not yours. Does that make any sense? Part of the power of coming out is that you give away the shame. You take the self loathing, and fear that you were raised to harbor against yourself, and you give it back. Then you can start the long journey toward feeling happy and whole.
I’m not trying to make this sound easy – it took a number of years for my own family to accept me for who I am. I came out in high school, which made high school and college pretty tense between me and my parents. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I felt that my parents had come to fully accept me for who I am. But that’s my point, Cory – you have to get the ball rolling on this. It’s going to take some time for the fallout to settle and for your family to adjust to this – you should tell them sooner than later.
I know it’s scary, and you should prepare yourself for some pretty awful treatment from your family – that’s true. But I wonder if you can imagine – it’s like a heavy weight is lifted off your chest when you do it. Even when the reaction is negative. Because once you own up to yourself, you become a whole person. A person with integrity. I know you want that. You wouldn’t have written if you didn’t.
You owe it to yourself, Cory. For once, put your own happiness first. This secret is eating away at you,  causing even more shame and self loathing. It’s a heavy load to carry. Put it down, buddy.
You can do it.
We love you.

3 thoughts on “Advice

  1. I love my parents a lot- always had a great relationship with them but I also felt I had to hide the big secret. They are good people but a choice to live a life so different than theirs was entirely outside their experience. And I say “choice” not because the wiring is a choice, but because the decision to live your life IS a choice. I found I was heaving into the toilet every time I was visiting them or they were visiting me because of the secret between them and me. They were starting to think I was always sick or something. When I finally told them- it was probably one of the most difficult things I have ever done. It was an awful weekend. And I wish I could say that twenty years later they were both now supportive and open minded. But they are who they are. I don’t regret telling them. I love them. And I like having it out in the open. They love me- they “don’t love my choices” but that’s OK. I don’t love all of their choices either. And that’s OK. I love them anyway. They do respect me. Life is an active affair full of active decisions. If you live life as a passive creature- a victim to all your circumstances you will never be happy. Life is about a daily choice to own the square foot of land you stand on without apology. I wish you the best of luck. (when I was young I memorized this poem “What we call Luck, is simply pluck and doing things over and over. Endurance and Will, Perseverance and Skill are the four leaves of Luck’s clover.”) Luck is a crafted thing.

  2. It sounds like your mom already knows. Moms have a way of sensing things like this. Sometimes they ignore it, but it’s there. Maybe the reason she said those things about your friend’s mother is because she is feeling that way herself. You need to tell her, and you need to tell her that your sexual orientation has nothing to do with her parenting. She was raised in an era where that was the case. Where if your child was anything but what society wanted them to be it was due to bad parenting. She was raised in an era where sexual orientation was a choice, and she may feel she failed you when teaching you how to make choices. She needs reasurrance from you that she is a wonderful mother, if a bit misguided. She may even be afraid that you blame her or that you hate her. If you love her you need to show her the wonderful person you are, the beautiful creative boy she helped to create. Give her a chance to adjust, and show her that you love her no matter what. Because you know what? Even if she doesn’t know how to deal with it properly, she does love you. If she didn’t she wouldn’t care.

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