I have to admit that ever since I realized I was gay, I have been unconsciously distancing myself from my family. I have always been the baby of the house, the one who stayed home more often than the one’s who went out. Who never seemed to get into trouble or rebel too hard. But hiding this part of me did take its toll on me.
Hiding not just the fact that I am gay but also so much more, like never feeling any sense of belonging within the heteronormative society, never envisaging that ideal of a married life that my parents expect for my future. Hiding how much feminist ideology and LGBT rights meant to me and affected me on a personal level. To them I am the mildly scandalous kid whose bra-burning tendencies and interest in social issues they have come to accept. I can’t tell them yet it means so much more to me.
While laughing at the dinner table over mundane things, I have always felt this invisible distance. This loss that they don’t know so much of about me. I was almost getting too comfortable with the hiding and getting good at creating distances. Then my mother sent me to a different city to study, I don’t think she expected me, as compared to my sister, to be the one to call less often. I don’t think I expected myself to be the one to leave so easily. I didn’t want to give up my family like this. Maybe that is why I took the step of coming out to my elder sister.
I always knew she would accept me but I expected her to be indifferent about it. But she wasn’t! I was going to tell her when she came to visit me over the weekend but in the whirlwind of things to be done and places to be, I ended up not telling. I was bursting inside. I had run out of reasons to not tell her. I couldn’t keep her out of loop of my life anymore. So I messaged her and quite simply told her I liked girls.
Her reaction was amazingly accepting and adorable, for lack of a better word. She just went “Omg!” and then told me how she sort of knew it already ( she had read my diary, the cheeky devil!). She then asked me if I minded her accidentally telling this to her friend out of excitement whom she was chatting with when she got the message. Out of excitement! I think that word dispelled all doubt that I had of her being indifferent to my sexual identity. We talked a bit about the specifics of my bisexuality and if I liked someone and later even her friend personally congratulated me on coming out.
I think after jumping around in happiness after this conversation, it was later that it really hit me. I was finally out to someone in my family. Someone knew. And accepted it. That barrier I had created was breaking and the distance was getting reduced. I wrote this a few hours later.
“What does it feel like?
Normal. Happy. Like I can have a normal life now.
I can travel. I can do pop art. I can have crushes. I can still do social work.
I can live my life. I don’t need to be the sad person anymore. I can be upset about other things people can be upset about. I can be myself. I can do this. I will. I will be able to survive and live my life.”
Coming out to my sister gave me something I had not experienced in a long time. A bit of security. That I had a place to go to if ever rejected. That some relationships would remain happy if I came out.
I can’t say that this is the end of my troubles though. It is going to be hard. My parents are already joking about us getting married and saving up for it. I can see it in their eyes that they have taken it for granted that we will want to get married. I will have to fight. Not just for myself but also for my sister. She deserves to have a choice in framing her future too. I will have to fight myself. My emotional issues have been taking a toll on me and I am finally thinking of maybe getting help the next time my sadness gets the better of me instead of pretending I can fight it off myself. It has been getting worse but it will get better too. But every moment now feels like a recovery and I am glad for that. Especially those moments when I know my sister is there for me and I can hold onto the hope, that maybe everything will be fine.