Closed book – appearing – love

MONDAY, 14 FEBRUARY 2005

05:47

What I have BECOME is for the people I love a closed book. And it would simply have been an extremely useful and accurate metaphor were it not for the fact that it is also literally true.

* * *

It is not about love, it is about appearing. And, like many things in life, it is not a problem … until it becomes one.

My parents and my two sisters appear to me as they see themselves – they appear to me as who and what they are, in their own eyes. I appear to my family not as I see myself, but as they see me by default. In the absence of data on who and what I have become, they stand in relation to me in a way that is acceptable to them, in a manner that enables them at the end of the day to say, “We know him. He’s our brother (or son).”

What I have become, and therefore what I am, is endured as a result of old data (and possibly for the sake of maintaining the memories from which the old data is compiled), and because of manifestations of who I am in speech and action that are reminiscent of who I used to be; manifestations that are consistent with an earlier image of me (or that is supposed to be me) that they still adhere to.

As with a book that cannot be flipped open by the author and forced in the face of the reader, so it is with what we become. We must be “read”. And, like a book rich in contradictions, clever metaphors and a developed, fuller character, this takes time.

I will stand with my arms open ready to embrace them when my family reach out to me again in their own time.

* * *

Why, would someone ask, would your family reach out to you? Because they have lost me. How did they lose me? By not recognizing and accepting the person I have become, but only enduring me because I remind them of a manifestation of myself that they can relate to more easily.

I still believe that my family loves me. Acceptance, however, requires tolerance, an open mind, and the ability to look someone you love in the eyes and admit that the person has become something you do not understand, but to also understand that you do not suddenly become a stranger in their eyes.

[030615: This estrangement of one family member from other members of the family with whom he had previously had close ties may be due to, among other things, sexual orientation, change in religious affiliation, or a change in political beliefs. In my case it is mostly about change in religious affiliation, and a generally more humanistic outlook on life and humanity.]

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