How It Got Better #1: Talking
Jul 20, 2011
[The first of a proposed series.]
I was angry with my friend;
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe;
I told it not, my wrath did grow.1
I was sixteen the first time I told anybody. I went to confession to Fr. T, who’s known our family for years. I don’t think I went in there planning to spill the beans, but it came out anyway: I’m gay. He said, Do you want to talk about it?
So we did, once every week or so over the next I-don’t-know-how-many years. I learned so much. I learned how angry I was, for one thing: so angry that I had no idea I was angry, like a fish doesn’t know it’s wet. Angry at God, at my father, at myself. I learned how hurt I was, too. Same deal there. Fr. T would ask me how I felt about something and I’d respond with some elaborate logical answer — not what he was asking. I think I still remember the first time I was able to say: fucking awful. It felt good to say.
Talking to Fr. T helped me learn that I could talk to other people, too. In college I learned to let down my guard a little bit, and opened up to a roommate about feeling lonely. I opened up to a couple of friends about my SSA, and then to my older brother. Eventually I was able to open up to the rest of my family.
The more you open up, the easier it is. The more times you experience the compassion and love of friends and family, the more possible it becomes to believe that there’s nothing inside you so shameful that someone won’t understand. Eventually you stop thinking about it as shameful at all.
You start to see yourself as your friends see you, and as God sees you: wounded and struggling, yes, but always beautiful, always worthwhile.