A few weeks ago, while my #23til23 challenge was in full swing, I mentioned how I had written a letter to my extended family, coming out as both a lesbian and a blogger. I never actually finished editing the letter, and I never actually sent it, but the letter has been lurking in the back of my mind (and notebook), waiting to be sent. I had decided to wait to come out to the family until next week, as I didn’t want to steal my sister’s spotlight at her family birthday party.
This weekend, my family celebrated my sister’s 18th birthday (GAH! HOW CAN YOU BE 18 ALREADY?!?!). On the eve of her family birthday celebration, I was at V’s house, spending some quality time with her and her dogs, when my mom called.
More or less, she told me that my entire family had been having a V love fest, and how they had decided it was necessary for me to come out to the family so that V could be invited to the family bday party the next day…. and since it was 9:30 at night I’d better act fast.
Before I discuss this any further, I have a few observances to make.
1. V fits in really well with my immediate family.
Mom, Dad, bro, and sis like her. Mom and Dad even had me inviting her to the sister’s bball games these past few weeks, which means a hell of a lot to me. Not only does she get along really well with my family and sincerely support my little sis, but my parents are comfortable enough with my sexuality to have me and my girlfriend at a basketball game, in front of all of the families they’ve known since my sis was in elementary school. When this first started happening I got teary eyed. My parents are the best.
2. Grandma and V get along really well too.
My Grandma goes to a lot of my sister’s bball games as well. She is definitely from a different generation, but I’m really close to her. When I first came out to her a few years ago, I was worried our relationship wouldn’t be the same. While we haven’t directly discussed my sexuality, she’s been my #1 supporter. V and her REALLY hit it off at the first basketball game V went to, and Grandma told Mom “how pretty V is” and “how V has a 1940′s movie star name.” While Grandma won’t call V my girlfriend– and, because of her generation, I don’t ever expect her to really– she has told me how “she really likes my friend V” and “how she is such a nice girl.”
3. V is a keeper.
The fact that my family was having a family pow-wow love fest about V and calling me at 9:30 at night to come out to the family so that V could celebrate my sister’s birthday really blew me away. It left me flabbergasted, dumbfounded, and on Cloud 9 because it confirmed what I’ve known since I went on my first date with V: she’s a keeper. Family is of utmost importance to me, and she encourages me to spend time with them over her if the opportunity presents itself. My family really, really likes her, and Mom even said “it felt wrong for V not to be at the birthday party.” I don’t know what life has in store, and I know I’m border-line U-Haul lesbian for saying this after just under 2 mos of dating, but she definitely is a keeper.
Anyway. Back to the coming out story.
My family had been talking about how much they like V, how well she fits in with the fam, and how much it means to them that she’s been supporting my sis at her bball games. My sis specifically told my mom she wanted V at her party, which prompted the conversation that led to 3 missed calls while I was in the bathroom at V’s place.
When I called my mom back, I was basically told it was silly for me not to be out to the family at this point, and that I should let them all know that I’m gay and to invite V to my sister’s bday party the next day. I was overwhelmed with emotions (excitement, apprehension, happiness, joy, love, appreciation, contentment) at this conversation, but a bit nervous. Nonetheless, with my hands shaking, I texted my extended family the following:
“Hey, it’s Kailynn. This is an awkward mass text. I wanted to let you all know I’m gay and my girlfriend, V, will be at _s party. Mom, Dad, (brother), (sister), & Grandma all like her. Surprise? See you tomorrow, love you. Sorry for the awkwardness of this text.”
Naturally, I hyperventilated a bit after hitting send, screen shotted the text, and posted it on my Facebook with the caption “I just sent out mass text message to my family saying I’m gay and they’re meeting V at my sister’s bday party tomorrow, as per Mom’s request. Surprise?”
Within a few hours, the photo had 66 likes. People called me “brave,” “fantastic,” and “the best.” Even an ex I don’t really talk to much anymore congratulated me on “getting the last toe out of the closet.” One friend said, “And who said texting wasn’t an authentic & effective form of communication?” I received a few messages from Facebook friends thanking me for sharing my story. Some even said how nice it has been to watch my journey grow and evolve over the years. It was requested that I post some of the replies…which I did.
They looked a little something like this:
While I didn’t expect my family members to boycott my sister’s birthday party, I wasn’t sure what to expect from them. Some of them are (seemingly) very religious, and I wasn’t sure how my text message would fly. As you can see, everyone was really loving and supportive.
Once I posted the responses on Facebook, I received even more likes. Comments began to appear, saying how my coming out was “so our generation,” “inspirational,” and “could help a lot of people.” I was asked if I could share my story on a blog, but, let’s be real people… my blog gets first dibs on my story.
My story really is a story of “our generation,” or “Generation Y” or “The Millennials.” (These are people born between 1980 & 1995.) I’ve grown up in a world where I’ve seen the birth of popularity of computers, the internet, cellphones, and new forms of communication. While I love receiving hand-written letters and actual phone calls, people of my generation keep in touch through text messaging or social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or instagram. For those less advanced, email might be the communication form of choice. There’s also a constantly growing number of bloggers, such as myself, who use blogging to create an identity as a writer, stay in touch with friends, share thoughts on the world, and connect with others. Not only is my mass-text coming out a sign of this generation, but so is the fact that I posted the texts to Facebook, interacted with others about my coming out story, and am blogging about it. This is something someone 10-20 years older than me could not imagine as part of his or her coming out story, and I think it’s interesting to observe that this could actually be a new sort of coming out.
I didn’t actually feel like I was coming out this time around, mainly because I haven’t been “in” for years. I simply haven’t felt the need to share this part of my life with my extended family until now. I am, however, glad that everything is finally “out” in the open. My extended family really liked V, the party went off without a hitch, and we all had a wonderful time. It’s a relief to finally be me 100%, and even more of a relief to be doing it with someone so wonderful by my side.
2013 really is turning out to be a wonderful year for me.
Also…. I have the best family. EVER.