I finally decided to share this. This letter is a little over five years old when I originally sent it. I see a lot of people with the overwhelming desire to come out to their parents, family, loved ones, etc. Originally I didn't want to do this but things as a whole are put into a different perspective when your caught by your parents. I felt like it was only a matter of time until the rest of my family knew the truth about me but more importantly I wanted to be the one to tell them. Keep in mind I had no clue before licking all those stamps if they already knew of everything that went down in our family. There are some wordings of lies in this version of my story that I'm not happy about. Those being acted like everything was okay in the end with my father. It's not but I couldn't be the one to throw him under the bus to his own family. Not a single mention of physical abuse either in those regards. Think of this like the "tamed lion" version of my story "9 Lives" some of you are already familiar with. There's a lot of loose ends tied up in this one as well. It's not my best writing but I did take a lot of time to try to explain myself as clear as possible. I wanted them to understand that there's nothing that they could of done to avoid me turning into the person I have and that I'm okay with that. Time to come clean if you will. And yes of course it's long, it's me after all. Ha! Enjoy.
Greetings from the West,
I been wanting to write something like this for a very long time but told myself if I did I would never have the nerve to actually send it. Times have changed now and I think this is a good year to do it. I realize a lot of my extended family really has no clue on who I am. They know my name is Dan ...son of Craig and Cathy but that's as far as that goes. That's really kinda sad when you think about it, that I managed to avoid any personal inflictions all these years. To go on all this time and no one even knows who I am. I mean when you think about it, what would happen if I were to die? What would people say at my funeral? "Oh Dan was a kid of what's their name family." Well I thought I would share some of my life with you and reasoning for my absence. This will also answer all those questions that I'm sure have been in the back of your minds such as "do you have a girlfriend yet?", "when will I have grand kids?". All of this will be answered and more. I also want to apologize for this not being a typical Xmas card as I'm sure the pastel blue card with the happy snowman on the front really didn't prepare you for this.
Now how to word all this is the next question. Do I give you some long drawn out story or do I cover basic vital points and let you piece it together how you see fit? I think I'm gonna attempt to wing it and hopefully keep your attention without boring you too much.
What a lot of people don't understand is that my older brother was my best friend growing up. I looked up to him in many ways and unfortunately the direction he was heading was not one to follow. I was young though, so naive that really all I cared about was him wanting me around even if it meant disregarding knowing wrong from good. Jon got into a lot of shoplifting too, as did I. From there it progressed into this death metal rebellious stage and staying up till all hours of the night behind a barricaded door from our parents screaming F' Authority in the back of our minds. Like I said, young and naive. Now Jon's main reasoning is he just stopped caring ...he use to come home with perfect straight A report cards and everything was perfect like out of some cheesy tv sitcom. All that wore off though, he said his faults went more noticed then the times he was on top of things and from there it was like nothing mattered anymore. I didn't really understand this until much later in my life as I was just some kid wanting to hang out with his brother mind you. Things took a turn for the worse though, we all know it, we all hate it ...yes it's the dreaded D word ...drugs. This should really come as no surprise to anyone who really followed Jon's life. Now I wish I could say this really made no difference but everything that seemed harmless at first took a turn for the worse. He changed, just everything about him. I no longer wanted to be around him as to someone my age at the time ...he scared the hell out of me.
Our parents finally took him to a mental hospital to get help. I spent a lot of my weekends as a kid visiting him on family day and such. I received a lot of flack in school from the other kids for having a insane brother. As Jon worked through recovery in there, I began to lose myself at home. I stopped caring about a lot of things as well, I had lost my best friend, my brother ...and I didn't know who I was anymore. I was forced to go to church constantly which only added to the problem. I was always told "oh Jesus needs you, you have to have Jesus, this is the only way" and I found myself accepting Jesus just to get people to shut up and leave me be. Did I ever believe though? I can't say I did. I was angry at him more then anything, for what happened to my brother and didn't see any reason to believe. But with our parents it was always God this, Jesus that, you gotta do this but they never understood all the forcing was just pushing me further away. You can't tell someone if you don't go to church you are grounded, what reaction do you expect to get from that? Mine was hatred which is not a very good means of getting someone to want to follow in your example. I know you're thinking what does this have to do with anything and the answer is a lot. Religion was a HUGE part of our childhood, constantly reminded of it. I swear for my mom it was a life source, it's good and all to have something to believe in but you can't force those beliefs on others. That's where everyone who tried, really didn't know what they were getting themselves into. And then telling me after my car accident when I was seven that I have Jesus to thank for being alive ...don't corner me like that. Seriously looking back at all that was spoken to me, preached, prayed for at such a young age and all I can think is why was it so important to you? It seems all to common like the father who runs a business and wants their son to continue on in their shadow by taking over the business. I guess what I'm saying is the biggest part where things went sour in my life was when people stopped caring what "I" wanted and tried to live my whole life for me. Losing my brother/best friend only further added to the problem. I felt like some puppet trapped on strings with no choice in anything. And people wonder why I lost it, I was driven to madness.
So while I struggled with that, Jon struggled in the hospital from ripping his braces off with his bare hands to pulling a toilet out from the ground in attempts to attack a guard. Nice. *sarcastic* Eventually he was diagnosed with a chemical imbalance in the head ...just what we need huh? (again being sarcastic) Now we know the problem but at the same time we can no longer fully blame anyone for the problem ...well isn't that a b***h. I more then anything just wanted him back with us to try to salvage our dysfunctional family back together. Not happening though. When he was released to us, things picked right up where they last left off only further drowning in a cesspool. Jon got back into drugs and I'm not talking some petty drugs ...hard stuff. He would turn violent as ever on most his highs and I was often the target as well as our father. I guess that's what you get when you try to step in and interfere. I went back to my life of ...well nothing. Remember now, I hated life at this time as it wasn't really my life I was living. I also went to a lot of punk concert shows around this time where I would get insanely drunk and beat the crap out of people in a pit with inflicting bruises to myself as well. Did I care? No. I actually wanted the pain, it was like I felt invincible to it. Besides what did I care? Jon often beat me up, kicked my ribs in, whatever it took to get money out of me, anything worth pawning for drug money was quickly snatched. I turned very suicidal at this time which my parents don't know. I started to cut myself and more times then I care to admit cried myself to sleep with a knife in hand wishing I could do it. Yeah, very dark times indeed.
I swear this letter will pick up, just give me a chance here. A continued routine is really all it was ...Jon on drugs, me alone in my own world, parents without a clue, and yeah ...life went on. So lemme fast forward to the Xmas Eve incident now. This caused a big impact in my life as I had never seen anything like this in real life before. Seriously how do you erase a attempted murder from your head and not only that but one aimed at your own dad? You can't, believe me I have tried. There really is no need for the graphic details to be shared but this really put a twist on things. When John was sentenced to jail for three years after this, I don't know what happened. It was like I lost sense of everything and apart of Jon stuck with me ...like I became him. I drank a lot through these times, anytime I felt someone was reaching out to help me ...I countered with a four letter word just wanting to be left alone. In a way I blamed my parents for Jon, I turned bitter towards them. Not only that but I started failing in school ...getting in school suspension, getting in fights, and constantly being yelled at or grounded. Then the times of going to church and getting in trouble there as well ...I kept messing up. I struggled with a lot of identity issues too, trying to see where I fit in. I didn't really piece this together until years later but for some reason I had this strong desire to feel loved from my mom. This is embarrassing to share but in a way I just wanted to be little again ...like it offered the ultimate escape of what was pinning me down. When my parents got the internet I did some research on this subject manner and found out I'm actually what they call a "infantilist". You can imagine how much of a mind rush this was for me to know I wasn't alone in feeling like this as there are literally thousands of us in existence. I started experimenting with this new found discovery, trying to bring myself to some form of peace or innocence as I was sick of the suicide thing. Of course I was eventually caught by my mom who freaked out and all the ridiculing and shame came with it. Not only that but practically anyone who knew me was told of my secret. I went back into hiding in fear and suicide attempts came back to. I would constantly burn my supplies in a attempt to rid of this whole infantilism desire but only found myself coming right back. My mom didn't understand it which really gutted me the most because I wanted her to help me through it, to share the info from the web I found out in hopes she understand as to why I'm this way. Wishful thinking.
From here, I lived my life online. I felt like everyone in real life was against me and so I let it be. I joined discussion groups of people who were like me and discovered some other things about myself that I had never really thought about. I started to get feelings for someone and you're thinking "YAY FINALLY" considering the girlfriends I had failed miserably. These feelings were for another male though and I was terrified of this! I was always raised gay is wrong, you'll burn in hell, faggot this, faggot that. I didn't care anymore though, I hated living at home feeling like I was everyone's joke. I couldn't do it anymore. I decided to ask my mom for help with questioning her thoughts on gay people. No need to repeat her response but it crushed me good. From there she told my dad and I was driven to running away from home at the age of seventeen. If only it were that easy because when I arrived in California from taking a over two day bus trip, the FBI was waiting since my parents reported me a runaway. Just great. They sent me to juvee hall for two weeks where I finally convinced my parents through means of phone calls that I would change. Lies on my part as I just wanted out. When I got back home I got in a huge fist with my dad over everything, you can imagine how much pent up anger I had from sitting in juvee just wanting to live my own life. We got into it bad though, blood shed, holes in walls, and visit from the cops. The visit worked in my favor though where they told my dad to just let me go. He finally did and so I moved back to California at a new attempt at life.
I told you this would be long. Well from here, the person I was interested in didn't work out as he was seriously off his rocker. He ended trying to guilt trip me into forcefully being his boyfriend when I told him I wasn't ready yet as I had a lot to sort out in my head first. I mean cmon, I just left home ...I recently told my parents I was gay ...how should I feel? They got all pissed though and turned drunk and abusive which had me leaving without turning back. I moved in with their best friend Phil who has pretty much been a second father to me. I still live with and have Phil in my life to this day, a true God send he has been for me. He answered a lot of questions for me, helped me with a lot of my troubles and just has always been there for me ...even the times I mess up. I spent a lot of my young adult life (18 to 21) experimenting with drugs, though fun at the time but pointless now. Then of course Jon's unfortunate funeral (drug overdose) soon after. Though I have to say his whole pleading insanity and winning was expected but whoever thought his next best option was to put him on a job program working for Burger King would help him? What were they thinking? Maybe it was news to them but Jon hated his life, the only time he was happy was when he was on drugs. Of course it pains me to know he's no longer with us but at the same time I know he's better off this way. I never cried at the funeral once, ...I watched so many people go up to his casket and bawl. I just stared at him with this lump in my throat as it was open casket (never do that again!) or at least prepare us for that shock! I wrote Jon a letter though and I put it in his shirt pocket in the casket. I basically said I forgave him for everything and how much he meant to me and I will never forget him. I didn't grieve until weeks later when I finally broke down and lost it. Phil helped me through that. I plan to get inked in memorial to him at some point where I feel it's time.
As for now? Those that don't know I'm 24 (29 now) now and still living in California. I have a partner in life whose name is Mike who is 25 (30 now) and going to college for his degree in Petroleum Geology (graduated!). We have been together for over three years (nine years) now. We both share a place with Phil (live only with Mike now) as well who works for the Pepsi factory out here. For Barbara & Ernie to know, we have a pure breed almost three years old (older of course) siberian husky girl who goes by Nanaki. I will send some pics to everyone in a later letter as well as pics of me n Mike for those that request. I do plan to start college this coming year. Also I want everyone to know though things sucked in the past, my present is nothing like that. Through time I've worked out a lot with my mom. It took her a couple years to talk to me again after coming out but I hold no grudge. I'm just grateful we can talk to each other without it feeling like we're walking on glass. That and that she fully accepts me. She no longer has to go through her life anymore not knowing if I'm even still alive which I'm sure gutted her pretty bad. I no longer have to live some secret life of a lie. Now my dad on the other hand? Slowly but surely, we're making progress. Oh and no I don't blame God or anything anymore. I just simply choose to accept what happened for what it's worth and move on with my life. Now if only I could of done that so much sooner. I guess that covers everything. One last thing, this entire letter was my idea. I'm pretty sure my mom would of killed me if she knew I was planning to send such a thing.
Actually I should be more clear here because I really don't want anyone calling my parents bad parents or something. This took me a long time to come to terms with by the way so if anyone is going to be pointing any fingers leave that to me. Now my mom. Well mom you're a lot more complicated then a simple one liner answer. Someone explained to me that religion is like any drug. We're all adults here, so stay with me here and mom, forgive me for this ...you know I love you. So continuing on, there are people who feel better about themselves because they are better than others because they are God's chosen people, instead of seeing that the God they are worshiping accepts everyone. You did what you felt was right to you at the time mom but in your push for me to take a dose of your drug, you didn't see it only had a negative effect on me. Then when I came to you with my drug of choice and needing help in understanding it further (infantilism thing) ..you pushed me away. We never got a chance to reach out to each other because we both wanted entirely different things. Makes a lot of sense huh? Well I may be wrong, I may be right but I really see no harm in trying to piece together this puzzle.
Okay, now I'm done ...seriously. I hope everyone is having a good Xmas, drinking lots of spiked eggnog, and the what not. Feel free to write me back but keep in mind come the weekend after New Years we're moving to Anaheim, CA (did 3 years ago). All for the better of course. And if you read this far, thank you for your time.
I lost count of how many times I drafted that letter. I think it's important to put full effort into something like this because you want them to see this is serious to you. Respect comes with time and if you don't put forth your own time, then don't even bother. This method worked for me and I wish you the best if you decide to go the same route. Oh and for those wondering all the responses I eventually did receive from all my extended family were ones of support.