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Enduring Family

He sat in his car just outside of the house he grew up in. He had arrived a half hour ago. His body trembled but not due to the cold wind pushing through his car window. He could feel his heart beating through his chest.  His anxious thoughts raced, lined with memories of rejection and pain. His mind was now rolling through scenes of past family holiday celebrations when under his father’s orders he was told that he no longer was allowed to enter the home because “he decided to disgrace his family and choose to be a faggot”.  The urge to take a hit of his pipe was so strong, he hadn’t felt this desire so intensely in so long. At Monday’s NA meeting he had received recognition for his 6th year of sobriety, but all those steps he had taken towards his sobriety had no footing at this moment. He was sitting in front of the place that taught him to feel shame and hate himself and his Gay identity. The place that forced him to dive deeply into the darkness of the closet to disappear behind the smokey curtain of drugs and alcohol. At 15-years old his father punched him in the face because he had found a copy of Freshmen magazine under his bed. At 16, he was forced to participate in a conversion therapy group at the church he had attended since he was a child, he still has the burn scars from the electroshock therapy he endured in the hopes of purging the gay devil out of him. After his 18th birthday, he came home from his last day of high school to find his father throwing a suitcase filled with his belongings out the upstairs window down to him while yelling that he no longer had a son and that, I could no longer have a faggot living in my house !! ” He could still feel the stabbing pain of that day that knocked the life out of him and sent him into a drug infested world that was cruel and unsympathetic to a gay youth from the suburbs.

Many years have gone by since that life derailing adolescents occurred. His father and him have both grown and evolved from those dark ages. They both had arrived to a stage in their relationship where atonement has been requested and received. His father has responded “party of two” on Joseph and his wedding invitation. The cold in beginning to chill his bones, “oh finally” he pushed through a deep sigh of relief. Joseph had finally arrived. He wiped his tears as he opened the car window to wave to Joseph. Holding the apple pie he had baked in one hand and Joseph in the other, he rang the door bell. Its the first holiday dinner that he has attended in almost ten years and now he is attending it with his fiance.

Happy Holidays!

Remember, take a deep breath and be kind to yourself AND believe in the power of self-love, it is the ONLY thing that will help you get through this season.

Alejandra Luna LCSW, Mental Health Therapist/LGBTQ+ Specialist

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