Letter to Jared

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Today I am responding to the letter Jared wrote me yesterday, which you can find here. In case you’ve forgotten, Jared is my new partner in crime. We’ve discovered we’re both children of gay dads {insert happy dance here, raising my glass to no longer feeling so alone}: his is deceased, and mine is…um, reading this blog.

Dear Jared,

Thank you so much for your letter. I love this dialogue we’re having, and that I’ve found someone else who identifies so closely with having a gay parent. It’s been lonely over the  years. When I tell people my dad is gay, I’m often met with blank stares, odd questions or a sudden change in subject.

You asked about my relationship with my dad and I’ve realized it’s been a journey full of unexpected twists and turns, but always with love at the end.

He came out when I was 15 and my emotions ran the gamut. I felt everything from anger and resentment to confusion and curiosity. His timing couldn’t have been worse, as I was just beginning to forge my own path and learn who I was. It was like everything I’d ever known turned on itself. Only a few vivid memories of this period in my life remain; the rest is a blur of little things: smudges of charcoal in a sketchbook, tumbling waves stealing treasures from the shore, or a lone bird feather lying in the dirt.

bird feather

My first futile attempts at self injury happened around this time. No one knew, and even I was unaware there was a name for what I was doing. I used a clumsy pair of scissors, creating an external physical pain to try and numb the internal torment.

After I left for college storm clouds rumbled as I began feeling the full effects of my dad’s disclosure. Depression settled in with a heaping side dish of self-doubt and an identity crisis of my own. I figured if my dad was gay and capable of pretending all those years, then maybe I was just pretending, too? A close friendship had me very confused and questioning myself. Ultimately I couldn’t keep my secret in anymore. I told my friend I had some strong feelings for her; subsequently I lost her, got her back, and then since the inception of this blog have lost her forever.

My dad and I have a pretty average relationship these days. We’re not super duper close, nor are we estranged. He lives in Mississippi and I’m in Kansas, so we talk by phone twice a month and see each other a few times a year. Saying this makes me feel sad and guilty because your father has passed and you don’t have the same opportunities I do. I’m sorry for that, Jared. Though my dad and I have had our issues, I’m lucky he’s still around and only a phone call away. My heart aches for you and your loss.

There is so much more I could say, but this is only one letter. And hey, if we are going to write that book? We’d better save some of the juicy stuff!

Cheers!

Erin

 

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  • http://twitter.com/momma23monkeys momma23monkeys

    Although you said it was difficult to hit publish I am so glad you did. Thank you for sharing a bit of your experience with us.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Momma23monkeys,

      Thank YOU for reading & commenting. It helps me to know I”m being heard…

  • http://www.carolschiller.com Carol

    Thank you for sharing this Erin. It’s so easy for those of us in liberal cities (like Seattle where I live) to take for granted the sea change in acceptance of gay marriage – and with it gay parents – that has taken place recently.

    Indeed, for my kids, their friends with 2 mommies are no big deal. We forget that for kids and parents who grew up before this era, coming out meant huge adjustments and real costs for everyone. I’m really, really looking forward to your book.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Carol,

      You are so right. There are certainly areas of the country (and the world) that are more widely accepting of this kind of thing, and therefore the repurcussions are far less. I wish the wave of liberal-ness would come this way! ;-)

  • http://writingwithchaos.com/ Kelly K @ Writing w/ Chaos

    That is book I would like to read.

    I cannot imagine how upside-down your world became with your dad coming out. I mean, he was a dad, right? They aren’t “supposed” to do that, especially when you’re a teenager. I think accepting your child is gay would be far easier than a parent. After all, children are growing and changing and finding themselves. Parents, especially your own, are supposed to have found them already.

    I am glad you have found a balance now, and he is still a phone call away.

    Sharing about the cutting, the depression, the doubts – they are so often things people hide or are ashamed of that when someone does go through them, they believe they are alone.

    You are not alone, and by sharing this, you have shown others they aren’t either.

    A close friend of mine has battle with depression, following her acceptance that she is gay. Cutting was an coping mechanism she often used (and it isn’t fully in the past), and one so few talk about.

    Do not doubt your words, your writing, or yourself.

    You are strong and amazing – sharing this continues the demonstration of how strong.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Kelly,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I wish more people understood the cutting, and I wish I could say I haven’t done it since then. It is a very sensitive topic so I do not cover it on my blog often…I think most people just equate it with suicidal attempts and do not really understand the emotions behind it….

  • http://twitter.com/galitbreen Galit Breen

    Erin?

    This -all of this, the letter and the BOOK and the raw- is pure stunning. Pure.

    xo

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Galit,

      Are you for real?

  • http://makemommygosomethingsomething.com/ Kimberly

    This is going to be an amazing book.
    I’m just so sorry that you had to go through all of that during a time when you were finding yourself.
    xox

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Kimberly,

      Thank you, sweetheart. I love you. I’m so grateful you stopped by.

  • http://www.postdivorcechronicles.com LeeBlock

    We’ve talked about this…so I don’t need to say anything here…xxooxxooxxoo

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Lee,

      I love you! xoxoxoxox

  • http://www.nancymcampbell.com/ Nancy C

    I have been following along with you and Jared and you have found this shared moment of mutual understanding, hurt, and triumph.
    And yes, write it. Do it. I’m so proud of you.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Nancy,

      Thank you.
      Sigh. I just have no clue what I am doing/where I am going.

      xoxoxo

  • Gooddayregularpeople

    You both are going to help so many people. There is a hesitation before we take that step and jump off the cliff, but the freeing fall afterward: you know you’re finally flying.

    Can’t wait to read your book. The one you were meant to write.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Empress,

      I love this analogy. Yes. I think I am already in free-fall mode, but not sure. Or maybe just standing on that edge. Looking over in fear.

  • http://janasthinkingplace.com/ Jana A (@jana0926)

    Your honesty about your fears and insecurities show that you are human. We all are. When faced with situations that throw us for a loop, our bodies and minds long to find answers. Your sharing will open the door for those who are dealing with this in the present to realize they are NOT alone. Write the book. Do it. I can’t wait to read it. 

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Jana,

      You are a kindred spirit. I have been away from twitter today mostly, but am wondering if you are going to write something/link up to Write on Edge? You should, if you haven’t already….xoxooxoxox let me know!

  • http://www.literalmom.com/ Missy | Literal Mom

    You’ve left me wanting to read more.  And more and more and more.  Fascinating, deep, moving, emotional.  All of that and MORE, Erin. 

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Missy,

      Really? I guess I’ve always thought this stuff is only interesting to those of us that have gone through it. I wonder if it’s really a book people will read.

  • Leighvslaundry

    How amazing that you have found each other. I can feel the healing in these letters, as if both of you feel a little bit lighter from knowing the other’s experience. What a gift! Understanding your own sexual orientation can be confusing enough for a young person, I can’t imagine the emotional tailspin it would cause to find out that your own dad is gay. You two are so brave to share your experiences. Can’t wait to read that book!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Leigh,

      You are a doll. Thank you so much for coming by and reading. I appreciate your input and your kind thoughts/comments. xoxoxooxxox

  • Anonymous

    I cannot wait for the collaboration between the 2 of you. It is going to be monumentally healing for so many people. I think when our parents do something that huge we are forced to realize they are just human. We are forced to remove them from this pedestal we set them on as young children and despite teenage doubt and confusion they remained. Your father’s admittance to what he was did not mean he didn’t love you as much as he always did, but I could totally understand how you felt lost. I think to myself what if. I think I would feel that if his whole marriage and ‘straightness’ was a lie that maybe I was just a lie to propagate the lie even further. The icing on the cake that fell apart when you tipped it out of the pan. So to speak. That hurts my heart for you that you would have possibly felt that. 

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Angel,

      Your analogy is perfect. And you’re onto something about when we realize our parents are human. Not always as easy as we’d like it to be…sigh.

  • http://bocafrau.com/ Susi

    I can’t even imagine how I would have dealt with something like that when I was 15. It’s such a volatile period for any teenager, really. So, trying to deal with a big announcement like that can throw anyone into a tail spin. It is so great that you have this blog and now Jared to share what you felt/feel. My dad and I don’t have a close relationship anymore either. Since my parents divorce I tend to stick to my mom and he lives his own live pretty much cut off from all of us. We talk occasionally but that’s about it. Like you said, we are not estranged but not particularly close either.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

       
      Susi,

      I can’t thank you enough for continuing to read along with us. It’s a shame the effects that divorce has on a family, let alone throwing the gay wrench into the gears. ANd you’re right—15 is such a volatile age. Sigh. I have two younger brothers and have often felt like the black sheep of the family, the only one who had trouble dealing with it…

  • http://twitter.com/jlweinberg jlweinberg

    Erin, I love the way you write. Honest, precise, human. As a reader I feel very lucky to be privy to the unique bond that you share with Jared. Together I believe you are going to reach a lot of people who would otherwise be alone.  

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Jennifer,

      The feelings are mutual, sweet new friend! Jared and I actually spoke by phone yesterday for the first time. I was nervous at first but he totally put me at ease and we had a lovely conversation. The first of many, I hope, as we go down whatever path this turns out to be. I hope you are right about reaching a lot of people…thank you so much for your support, and for reading!

  • http://www.thevirtualasst.com Michelle Mangen

    Here to tell you I <3 you and carry on being the fantastic woman you are

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin margolin

      Michelle,

      You’re pretty fantastic yourself, and I can’t thank you enough for all the support you’ve given me…So when are you coming to KC? ;-)
      xoxoxo

  • Juliecgardner

    Your honesty is humbling.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Julie,

      And your comment? Mind blowing.

  • bywordofmouth

    Knowing you, meeting you, hanging out – and of course doing duckface … you my dear, have the strength of a warrior, your shield is not to hide you from the world, but to help you push your way thro what you see as the enemy and raise your sword in victory.
    And you will, that book deal will be your prize and all your fears will be vanquished!
    (and no more wine for Nicole tonight! – just kidding. maybe!)

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Nicole,

      SO was the genuine comment above blurred by alcohol consumption? Damn. Because I thought you were serious for a second and was about to get all verklempt again!

  • Sweaty

    I’m drawn towards your story, Erin.  I love that there is no pretense in your writing, only honesty and genuine interest to help yourself and others with similar circumstances get a better understanding of what it means to have a gay father.  Because it’s not just a matter of being pro/anti gay, it has a much larger impact in the way you view yourself and the world, how you handle trust issues, how it’s shaped your perception of relationships, etc.

    I’m excited for you and do hope that you’d be able to carry out your plans on working with Jared on writing that book.  Thank you for sharing your story!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Sweaty,

      Thanks for making me cry big messy tears with snot. I don’t even really know you and for you to leave a comment like this? omg. thank YOU!
      have a lovely weekend, new friend!