Sunday, December 26, 2010

"feel as if you're holding my hand"

“Feel as if you’re holding my hand.”
I wrote this on Thursday evening. After reading it you might see why I was at first hesitant to post it as an entry.
Speaking with my mother, I told her that I don’t feel comfortable coming home. She asked why. Let’s backtrack about two minutes in the conversation. Last week I sent her the link to a recent posting over at Kirtzono. I thought it would be good for her to read the post because it contains a letter from a mother of another gay frum Jew. When I asked her about it, she shrugged it off. She said that it didn’t mean much to her, but that she found it “interesting” that such a blog exists. She steered the conversation to other topics.
I told my mother that while a friend of mine asked me to come home for Shabbos of another friend’s Auf Ruf, I probably wouldn’t because I don’t feel comfortable at home. Of course, she took it as an insult, and replied that she couldn’t take off work every time I come home. I told her that obviously wasn’t the issue. I started to get emotional. We started arguing, I said I couldn’t talk, she hung up. I was crying.
I came out to my mother five years ago. In that time the only real conversation we’ve had about my being gay was a few months ago when I forced her to sit down with me again and I told her for a second time that I’m gay. She asked me why I don’t want children and suggested that I marry a lesbian and have affairs on the side. Apparently she knows someone else that does that. My father, though I’m not close with him, is more accepting and understanding. He is also the holiest, most learned and most respectable man I know. Tonight, crying, I called him (something I, unfortunately, don’t do all that often—call, not cry, thought I don't cry often either).
I told him about the conversation I’d just had. I told him how it made me feel (rejected, heartbroken, angry). Though hard of hearing, he somehow managed to understand me between my sobs. “Feel as if you’re holding my hand,” he said to me as he tried to console me and promised to speak with my mother.
 I’m calming down now, but this is my struggle. Like a refugee, I feel like a man without a country, homeless. If I do not feel comfortable in my own home, and factions of the Jewish community reject me and try to change me…where am I to go?

1 comment:

  1. Benjy,

    You're always welcome by me. Its because of the isolation and lack of a home that this little blogosphere exists. You're out to your parents, and while they know, they're not really all that accepting. I came out to my parents years ago and they were so hostile that it made me go back in the closet to myself for years, and now I don't feel comfortable sharing with them that I'm gay. I'd never think of telling my old frum community; I don't know if I'd ever have a place for Shabbos there again.

    You are not alone. Your father seems like a wonderful man. There are more of us out here going through similar experiences. I can't say it gets better because I'm just as wrapped up in the here-and-now as you, but I can say that there are plenty of us out here rooting for you. You need a place to go? I'd love to have you.