Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mommy Issues #2

I just received a comment on my first "Mommy Issues" post from ChelseaNoob. And I just want to thank him for sharing his story with me. He has recently come out to his parents and offered some advice to me about coming out to my own parents.

But I think the biggest problem with coming out to my parents is the communication factor. At times I really do just want to come out to them and tell them how I feel and everything that's going on in my head. However, I fear that may be an impossible task. My primary language is English and I do all my thinking in English. I know what I want to say to them... but it's all in English. My parents' primary language is Chinese. When I speak to them, I try my best to speak to them in Chinese. But even in everyday language, I sometimes can't find the words I need. So coming out to them in Chinese is definitely out of the question. But I wouldn't be able to speak to them in English either, because they probably wouldn't understand half the things I'm saying to them.

It's a dilemma. I feel that when I do come out to them, I want to be able to speak from my heart, and not have something scripted. It's just another reason why I'll never be able to come out to them.

7 comments:

James said...

Whether or not you come out to your parents, I think it says many good things about you that you're taking so much into consideration.

Even with native-English speaking parents, sometimes I wonder if coming out to them was the best thing to do. There is such a generational gap there already, it's really difficult for them to see things my way on any level.

We all are with you Doug, whether you choose to come out to your parents or not. I hope that the support you have here and irl is a help to you.

Seth said...

Coming out is difficult enough, but the language barrier ads a whole new level of complex. I can't really advise you on that. Except for one thought - could you sort of "script" it, to a degree - basically translate what you want to say (in English) into Chinese, in advance? So that you would have less difficulty trying to come up with the right things to say in the heat of the moment?
Just a thought. I don't mean cue-cards or anything, but some kind of rehearsal.

S said...

I'm also Chinese American (well American Chinese) and Chinese is a foreign language. There are so many things I've always wanted to tell my parents but I also didn't know the words. My parents wouldn't accept it but they would understand it and probably expect it. I think, if you get the basics though to them they can fill in the blanks. The hard part would be convincing them that it is okay, and not something they or anyone should be ashamed of. Get some help from friends. I'm sure you know someone who knows the language better. Best of luck.

Aek said...

爸妈,我想告诉你们一个东西。我不知道这么说;我爱男人,我不爱女人。 "Dad mom, I want to tell you something. I don't know how to say this; I like boys, I don't like girls."

How's that for a start point? It's actually pretty impressive what you can convey with a VERY limited vocabulary.

Or you could just say: 我是一个同性恋者。 (wo2 shi4 yi1 ge4 tong2 xing4 lian4 zhe3) I know you speak Cantonese, but I'm sure you could figure it out . . . if not, www.xuezhongwen.net is a WONDERFUL resource.

At any rate, I totally understand how you feel and where you're coming from. It's a pretty high barrier there. :-/

Wet Kyle said...

The closest I came to telling ma was watching the movie Billy Elliot with her.

Both have passed away naturally without me telling them.

I think parents know more than we give them credit for, but to admit that they know would sorta give their acceptance to it. And that not the message they want to send.
So they stick their head in the sand and draw a blind eye. Just like me.

Seth said...

ps: you have no title visible on your blog page. or is it just not loading right?

Will said...

Man doug, that sounds complicated. I obviously am not a role model in that it took me til 29 to be able to come out, and before that I was completely closeted to everyone, not just my parents. You seem like you're out to close friends and you're dating so in that way you're doing a lot better than I was.

And while I may have made it sound like I woke up one day and decided it was the right thing to do, there were actually a lot more forces at work that made it seem like suddenly now was an ok time to come out. I didn't really put the dots together, but I think one of the big things was my brother and his wife just had a child; I know it sounds crazy, but there was definitely some pressure taken off me when that happened. Is that crazy? The other thing is I'm at the age where all my friends are starting to get engaged and married, and it just hit me that I think I want that some day and before I never really thought that was something I could do, but now it seems quite possible.

Bleh I'm rambling again. Doug- you seem like you have a good head on your shoulders, I think you'll make the right decisions for yourself and we all support you no matter what you do. Keep us updated and good luck in everything.