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June 18, 2013: Still Standing

June 18, 2013

I sent a birthday card to an unaccepting family member yesterday, signed with Mara and my names. It’s another way I’m standing for our relationship. Mara and I both want to wish him a happy birthday. It’s his choice whether to accept the card and the good wishes — or even to open the card. (It has both of our names in the return address. Full disclosure so he can make an informed decision.)

I was talking to another family member who doesn’t accept Mara recently, and she told me about a phone conversation she had with an old school buddy who lives in another state. Turns out her friend has a son who is about my age, and my family member sort of wistfully mentioned that, if we had stayed in Milwaukee (we moved to California when I was 3 years old), maybe her friend’s son and I would have gotten together. I didn’t know what to say, so I just didn’t respond.

It almost seems as though she is going through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. She has already been through a lot of anger over my relationship with Mara, and probably depression, too. I don’t know what the “If only we had stayed in Milwaukee” comment would fall under. I guess I’m trying to analyze this too much. And I’m not going to speculate that there will be any acceptance in this scenario.

It’s kind of interesting that the people who accept Mara aren’t making a big deal over her transition or our relationship. Yes, we’ve gotten some great feedback, including the standing ovation at Mara’s Landmark Forum and a several people saying they admire my commitment to her. But then, life goes on, and they relate to us as they always have (although we’ve actually gotten closer to some of our friends since coming out to them).

On the other hand, the few people in our lives who don’t accept Mara are perpetuating their opinions, fears, objections and judgments, dropping comments here and there and amping up their demonstrations of affection toward me — like maybe they think they’re losing me to “the dark side” and are trying desperately to “save” me.

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