Coming out to Your Parents – Part 1 of 3 – Why?
December 20, 2012 in Uncategorized
Many people around here in the Middle East seem to be under the impression that the United States is the birthplace and haven of atheism. I smile to myself when they talk about how atheism is all a conspiracy the American government and public is taking part in to subjugate the rest of the World. Fucking Amerikans!
You, my dear American friend, beg to differ.
Chances are you come from a religious household and live in a religious neighbourhood that is part of a religious city that is situated in a religious state in the Bible Belt. Chances are you were not born to an atheist family, but simply grew into it, leading to sometimes overwhelming feelings of isolation and inadequacy. If there are a few people you trust with your stance on bullshit, some probably admonish and even shun you. I say ‘if’ because many of you did not even bother to tell any of your friends. At school, you, in all likelihood, begrudgingly participate in bible class because everybody feigns not noticing all the faces you make during it. You have to put up with all the nonsense some of your teachers and classmates keep spewing out of their big fat lie-holes because lord forbid you say anything back. You hate to have to stand by and watch as the people you care about share hate and ignorance amongst themselves. It makes you feel powerless.
The snag is: you are eventually going to graduate and leave them all behind. You may change schools or drop out altogether. Ten years later, you will not even remember many of their names. Knowing this makes it easier. Your family, on the other hand, your parents in particular, they are your family; even if you cut ties (which many teenagers cannot afford to do), they are still the family you have grown to be part of. And especially if you live with them or around them, they cannot be ignored. Most teens i know live with at least one of their parents. Their parents are responsible for everything from what they can eat to how late they can stay out and whom they can stay out with.
It sucks not being able to be yourself around people who play such an important role in your life. It sucks when the place you are supposed to call home is just another one of the many, many stages on which you have learnt the principles of Theatre so exhaustively. It sucks that even though your parents may have been the first people on earth to teach you that lying was ‘wrong’ and that you have got to stay true to yourself, you have to deceive them, not about who you were talking to last night or whether you are through with all your chores, but about your most deeply-held convictions, the ones that make you who you are. It just sucks, that is all.
You need closure. You do not want to just hang there. You need to know whether your parents hold the wishes of a millennia-old mythical creature above your well-being, whether they would disown you and kick you out, physically or verbally abuse you, ground you, feel disappointed, or simply listen to you if they found out you abandoned their (ancestral?) religion. If they turn out to be sane, you will have the support of two very important people in your life. They can help a lot. They could save you years’ worth of trouble. If they turn out to be insane, at least you learnt they should play a smaller part in your life from now on and that you need to design your life to exclude them. Whether you are the kind of teen who loves their parents or the kind who fantasises about suffocating them to death on a regular basis, sometimes clinging on to something old is just not worth the trouble. The memories you cherish will not be affected.
That said, there is a time for everything. If you are dependent on them, it might be in your best-interest to keep stumm for a while. And even if you do decide to lay it down for them, you have to choose your setting and diction carefully. Because the way you say it makes all the difference.
Stay tuned for my take on the ‘whether’s and ‘how’s of coming out to your parents. Do not hesitate to share your opinion/experience with the topic at hand down below. Thanks for reading!