The song now playing is "Ben" by Michael Jackson.

A Letter from the Heart

October 16, 1997

Dear Dad:

Chances are you'll never read this because you don't get online. In fact, you stay as far away from computers as possible. But I don't know how to talk to you in a way that will "make" you understand. And I need to get out what I have to say because it's eating me up inside to not say it.

First of all, I love you. This letter isn't meant to hurt you or to upset you. It's meant more to introduce you to me. Not the me you want me to be. Not the me I've shown you for almost 38 years. But the me who is now. This letter isn't some sort of revenge cause I'm mad at you or because I blame you for all the things I had to deal with growing up. While I know you think my spiritual beliefs are laughable, they are very real and comforting to me. I picked you and mom as parents for some reason and I've learned a lot from you. For that, I'm grateful and I thank you. I don't blame you for anything that is wrong, past or present, in my life.

I know we've had several discussions in the past about why I never got my PE and became a licensed engineer. I know I told you that I discovered too late that I didn't want to be an engineer. What I didn't tell you is that I became an engineer because I thought that would make you the proudest of me. Because that's what I thought you wanted me to be. Because that's what I thought you wanted to be, and never could, so I was going to do it for you. I recently came to a very hard realization. I've spent so much of my life trying to please you. Trying to get to the point where everything was as perfect as you want it to be. But I don't think that's possible. I'm not sure why, but no matter how hard I try or how good I do, there's always something wrong with it. In work, I could draw a perfect drawing and have no mistakes and, if nothing else, you'd tell my my writing was too small or my lines too light. You can't seem to let anything go without some criticism, no matter how minor. I'm not mad at you for it. It's just how you are and I have to accept that. I think I'm finally beginning to do just that. I have come to the realization that I cannot be as perfect as you want me to be and that trying to be perfect is going to drive me in one of two directions. I'll either go crazy trying to achieve the impossible or I'll end up hating you. Since I don't want to follow either of those paths, I'm just gonna stop trying to be perfect. I'm gonna do my best and if that's not good enough for you, you're gonna have to deal with it because it's the best I can do.

I think the reason you're doing it (or at least I like to think it's the reason you're doing it) is because you want us to be the best we can be and you want the best for us. What you don't seem to understand is that what you feel is best for me and what I know is best for me are two different things sometimes. I've tried to do it your way and it's not worked. I've been frustrated and angry at times, both at me and at you. And I don't want that to be part of who I am. So while I appreciate your input and your advice and will give careful consideration to your suggestions, I'm going to do what I feel is best for me and not worry about whether you agree with me or not. Because I'm the one who has to live with me and with my actions 24 hours a day. I'll be the one who has to answer for my actions, and I don't think "My dad said I should do this" is a good excuse for doing something I know in my heart is wrong or at least not right for me or my kids.

Okay, now on to more personal matters. About seven years ago, maybe eight by now, I began to question my sexuality. My spiritual beliefs led me to the conclusion that the gender of the body isn't going to stop Love. I knew that I loved Jordan at some point in my life, but I also knew that should my marriage ever break up, if a woman came into my life, I could fall in love with her. It's called bisexuality and it simply means that the gender of my partner doesn't matter. It doesn't mean that I must have one of each partner in bed at the same time. It isn't the equivalent of an orgy and there are many, many bisexuals who are in a committed, monogamous "heterosexual" marriage. Jordan was aware of my sexual orientation and had no problem with it. It in no way led to or was part of the reason for the break up of my marriage. I lived for a long time behind a mask, especially once Jordan and I split up. When I went online, my bisexuality was not a secret and I found acceptance and support. While it was greatly appreciated, it made wearing the mask in real life so much harder. So I slowly began the process of coming out. Every adult in the immediate family (meaning siblings and parents) except you is aware of my orientation. Please don't get mad at mom for not telling you. Both of us felt that with you having to deal with Grandma, you didn't need the added stress this will undoubtedly cause you because of your beliefs. I thought long and hard before writing this letter, but knowing the chances of you reading it were so slim, and knowing that even writing down what I'm feeling will help me release my frustration, I wrote it.

Even before I came out to the family, a lady did come into my life. But because I was still "in the closet" and she was married, I didn't allow myself to admit the love I felt for her. As always happens with these types of feelings, it eventually came out. I was overjoyed and elated to find out she felt the same way about me. But due to many reasons beyond my control, that relationship didn't work out. I remember trying to discuss it with you once-- when I told you I had a friend who had been abused and I was trying to help her and I had found myself on the receiving end of her abuse towards me. At sometime during the conversation, you looked at me and said, "It's your personal life and I don't want to know about it." That's another reason this letter is being written-- because I have to get it out and you don't want to hear it. So I'm getting it out at a place where you won't hear it.

I guess that's all I want to tell you now, Dad. I know this will probably hurt or upset you. That was NOT my intention. But I find myself hiding again behind a mask, a mask I can no longer wear. I'm kinda scared that someday you'll find this letter and I'm kinda scared that you never will and that I won't find the courage to tell you to your face what I've told you here. I hope that this doesn't destroy our relationship. We've been able to disagree before and still remain father/daughter. I hope that can continue.

I love you, Dad.


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