Monday, December 27, 2010

How Do Your Parents Feel?

    So I was sitting in the local Starbucks today reading Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville (excellent book I might add) when a elderly lady sat down on the bench next to me and struck up a conversation. Pretty soon, after about a half of an hr talking, she noticed that I had a wedding ring on and asked whether or not I was married, I of course answered affirmatively - since the Canadian government DID legalize same-sex marriage back in 2005 contrary to what some people in Ontario think (long story about that comment) - and she then proceeded to ask me where "she" was. Me, not being ashamed that I am married to a man, answered that he was at work at the moment. She was rather taken aback by this revelation and asked me how I could do that to my parents. I answered that it really doesn't matter what my parents thought about the subject and that I was gay, so of course I would not marry a woman. That part of the conversation ended, though we did continue talking for about another hour.

    This concept though was rather troubling to me, and one that I thought I would discuss on here, for I notice that many people in the gay community are asked very similar questions. How do your parents feel about that? Did you ever think how this would impact them? etc. To be quite blunt, the answer is actually very simple. We are adults and it really does not matter at all what they think. Yes they are our parents and we should "respect" them in their positions in our lives, but no longer are they an authority over us. We are our own responsibilities, and as such we need to act like it.

     Though I do value my parents and enjoy their company (they are in fact coming to Toronto for a visit in two days), I no longer view their feelings as binding upon my own. I will do many things that hurt my parents, and they will make choices that hurt me, but does that mean that they are doing such things to directly hurt me or that I am doing things to directly hurt them? Not at all, we are just living our lives making the choices that we view are the best ones for us. We can take advice, we can engage in debate on the subject, yet in the end we must live with the consequences of our own actions.

    Now it must be said that our actions do have consequences for other people. For example, yes my decision to marry my husband does have a consequence for my parents. They had to decide to welcome him into the family or reject him. Thankfully they have opted for the former, but there are many people in the world whose family has opted for the latter. But our actions should not be based upon the reactions that we might receive from others. For too long I was one who desired the approval and acceptance of the people around me. After I became so emotionally exhausted by doing that, I just said to myself, "You know, am I living the life that I am supposed to live, or am I living the life that others want me to live?" By letting our lives be a direct response to how others may feel about things, we have eliminated the person within us. Instead of having our own spirit, our own likes and dislikes, we become enslaved to the priorities of others.

    So to Mary Jane - the woman at Starbucks - no I do not care what my parents think. For if I did, then I would not be my own adult, I would show my incapability to make my own decisions, and I would once again be starving for the approval of others. That is not emotionally healthy view of life, and instead  it leads many people to unfulfilled and unproductive lives.

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