Lines In The Sand
So Johnno's mother sent him an email asking what type of gift I would like for Christmas. He forwarded it on to me and I sent back a quick reply--but not before I struggled with my own urge to email her myself.
I want nothing.
This upcoming week to Seattle is going to be diffcult for me. I plan on being cold, I expect to be awkward and will be doing my best to try and keep myself polite, civil and fair. This trip not only plays into my uncomfortabilty of being around parents and families in general but also to my abilty to keep up a good poker face.
But the truth is I don't want to.
The problem is that Johnno's parents have been sending him mixed messages about the 'gay thing' and, by default, our relationship. Between being sent off to stay at his sister's house (Instead of the parents' home), the debacle of the air matress (His parents planned on only providing twin mattress for us to be sure we slept in different areas), and his parents' inabilty to tell Johnno themselves but rather using his sister to text or call about these developments--I have been trying to prepare myself for an unfriendly environment.
This isn't to say his parents will be rude--I met them back over the summer and they were kind and nice to my face--but I am really bothered by their stance on us as a couple. And it became worse when I found out his father told Johnno the following
"I am glad that you are happy but we cannot be happy for you in this..."
In other words, his parents have said that it is great that Johnno is happy but not great that he is happy because of his relationship with another man. It is not about me personally but about their inabilty to accept that Johnno is gay. Something they have know about for about ten years and have struggled with. And I know it is not my place to start anything or make a scene--I am doing this trip for Johnno, to see Seattle, to meet his sister and various friends, to go to the places he loves and be apart of something that is such a huge part of his past.
But I do have a line in the sand
I have decided that I will not be accepting any gift from his parents. The idea of them giving me a Chirstmas present when I know that they wish I did not exist in their son's life is just something I cannot bring myself to do. If Johnno and his parents want to dance around issues then it is their right but I cannot allow myself to be willingly dragged into the fray. To accept the gift is accepting a part in the farce--it is the ultimate WASP powerplay to try and cover about guilt or discomfort with material things. I grew up with that shite.
But the few people I have explained my stance to have said that I am not being fair. That I will be making things awkward, I will put pressure on both Johnno and his parents, that I will appear ungrateful. It's not like I plan to stand up, damn the gift to Hell, and then toss it directly into the nearest fireplace--I plan on discretely rejecting the gift, or more likely, giving it to Johnno to open and take for his own. I don't think I am being unfair--Johnno knows and understand how I feel about this subject.
I just feel like I have struggled enough with polite "acceptance" in my life--the fact is Johnno's parents' don't respect or accept their son being gay which means that they don't respect of accept me either. And while they are entitled to their beliefs, I am also equally entitled to mine. I don't want shite from people who don't respect, care or understand me. I think that is fair.
And as it is, I will be biting my tongue for most of the trip. It is very hard to see Johnno be hurt by his parents' careless and ceaseless disapproval. He is an amzing guy--sweet and funny, laid back and outgoing, someone who most people like and love. To see him so casually hurt by his family is hard enough for me to swallow and to ask me to swallow fake generiousity is just too much to ask.
I like presents but not at that pricetag.