Hi. I hope this letter of mine reaches you in good health.
You can call me Closet Man. I don't know if you know me. Certainly by face, but I'm sure my name will be lost on you. Nevertheless, I know you. When I see you on the floor, you have given me the occasional smile that you give to someone you don't know but are being polite to. That's a nice trait, by the way.
I am not exactly asking for advice here. Just a reason to write to you and pick your brain, maybe. You see, I think we might have the same problem, but in different degrees.
I am gay. And my family just recently found out about it. How did they find out? I didn't tell them. Our nosy neighbor did. Apparently, her son saw me with a couple of my closest gay friends in Malate in BED. Why her son was there, too, apparently wasn't as much a scandal as me being there.
Both my mother and father confronted me about it. I came home from my shift the other day and found the both of them sitting in the living room, looking all somber, waiting for me. My father told me to sit down in this voice that suggested to me that I was in deep shit.
They told me what the neighbor said and asked what I was doing in a bar frequented by gay guys.
My mind whirled with plots and lies that would convince my parents that I wasn't gay.
But deep inside, there was this releif blossoming. Finally, I thought, they know. And that's when I decided that I admit everything.
So I told them I'm gay.
My mother immediately broke down in tears and said she couldn't believe it, not a word.
My father was silent, smoking furiously, not saying anything, not a word.
And there I was, in front of my parents, telling them to believe everything I said, every word.
That's when my father slapped me and shouted, "Hindi ka na ba nahiya sa sarili mo? Paano mo nagawa sa amin ito ng mommy mo?"
I was stunned. My father had never ever hit me before. I think my mother was shocked, too, because she stopped crying and was just looking at the both of us, her mouth open.
What's funny is I had the sudden almost irresistible urge to laugh at that exact moment. I mean, it was just too much drama. It was like a scene in some soap opera show. Life does imitate art, I guess.
Anyway, I told my father that I didn't decide to become gay to bring shame to our family. I told him it just happened.
"Nangyari lang? Ang kabaklaan, sakit yan anak! Kayang kaya mong pigilan yan!" was his reply.
"Dad, hindi ito sipon, buhay ko ito," was my answer. And you know what? I was still seeing this moment as being utterly funny. And corny na kasi ng mga sinasabi namin nung moment na yun.
Eventually, the scene ended with me running to my room and stifling my laughter on my pillow. A lot of people might think me weird for finding the situation humurous, but hey, cut me some slack. At that moment, I was feeling so much relief in having outed my secret that I guess I was just way too full of endorphins at the time.
Besides, it has always been a belief of mine that one should always laugh at one's problems. The alternative is just way too much drama.
Right now, my parents and I are civil about the whole thing. I guess they chose to deny all knowledge about my sexuality and I have chosen not to talk about it either. Unhealthy, you say?
Maybe. But it's a hell of a lot better than my parents not knowing who their child is, don't you think? Now, if only I can come out to the people in the office... I don't know why I find it harder to tell my officemates about me than it was with my parents.
Dear Closet Man,
You're right. To a certain extent, we have the same problem. But we dealt with it in different ways.
You chose to stay with your family. I chose to leave.
I don't deny that denial seems to be the common band-aid for such cases. I admit, my family and I bordered dangerously in that state one too many times. But in the end, I decided that I couldn't handle it. I left.
The price I pay everyday for the freedom I acquired is the desolate sadness I feel being without a family for almost five years now. Sure, I can do everything I want now. I can go out with friends whenever and wherever I want. My salary is my own. It's a dream come true for most people. But then, everytime I go home, an empty house is the only thing that welcomes me.
If you think you're in a bad state, try for a different perspective, believe me. You could be doing a lot worse right now.
As for not coming out to the people on the floor, I'm sure they already have an idea. Alam mo naman dito sa PeopleSupport, halos lahat na lang bading. Magbato ka lang diyan sa floor, ang tatamaan either a) bading or b) closetang bading (although pansin ko ha, dumadami na rin ang tibo dito sa atin). And kiber na sa kung anong isipin nila di ba? Basta maganda tayong lahat.