Going Home Again

In about two weeks, I will be heading to Alabama for Christmas. I have not been back since before the pandemic. I knew too many people who had gotten COVID, even if vaccinated, because of the vast number of people who refused to get vaccinated. My sister’s family refused to get vaccinated until my brother-in-law’s employer mandated it, and there would have been no way to avoid them if I had come home for any of those other Christmases. I was safe in Vermont, and I planned to stay that way. My mother, though, insisted that I come home this year, and since she was paying for the plane ticket (though I wish I could have gotten her to spring for First Class instead of Coach—she didn’t realize that I opted for Main Cabin Plus or whatever they call it), I agreed. I could not have afforded to fly home this year by myself. The ticket was nearly $1000! I have flown to Europe cheaper. Anyway, I am getting off-topic.

I have very low expectations for going home. Yes, they will be glad to see me, but I know my father will be an argumentative asshole—he always is, and my mother will make snide nasty comments—she always does. My sister and brother-in-law will be their usual redneck, annoying selves. My niece and nephew will be excited to see me as well as some other family members. It’s what I expect. My mother will try to control everything I do and not want me to be out of her sight. Sadly, she will have some control over me because I will be staying with them, I can’t afford a hotel room for a week, nor can I afford a rental car for the whole time. So, anything I do will depend on borrowing her car.

However, I have already told her I will not be under her thumb the whole time. I have a good friend with whom I plan to have lunch while I am home, and if he can still make it, she’ll have to live with it. She’s not happy about it, but I’ve already told her that she lets me go for a few hours to have lunch with a friend, or I am just not going home. For now, she seems to have relented. If she brings this up again and tries to prevent me, I will flat out tell her, “You either let me do this or this is it—period. Once you take me to the airport, don’t call me, and don’t expect to see me again. We will be done for good!”

My parents controlled my life for too long. I let much of my life pass me by trying to get their love and acceptance. I DO NOT NEED IT ANYMORE! They can love me the way I am and accept me for who I am, or we don’t have to deal with each other anymore. I’ve had all I can take. My mental health has been much better in the three years since I’ve been away from Alabama, and I have no plans ever to go back to the way it was. I have only low expectations for going home. I know it will be awful and tiring and emotionally draining, but I will give them a chance to act like human beings for once. It’s the last chance I will give them. If there are arguments or hatefulness, then I don’t need it. I’ll get on that plan on December 29 and not look back.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

4 responses to “Going Home Again

  • Rob T

    You don’t need people- no matter who they are – who cause pain and hurt in your life. You’ve come a LONG way from Alabama, have good friends in Vermont and online who love and respect the man you are today. You’re beyond nice giving them one last chance. Don’t be harassed or attacked, get out immediately if that is what you’ll face. You deserve better.

  • Steven Davis

    I’ll be thinking of you and praying for your time at home. Home and the relationships with family are often so challenging.

  • killian Smith

    Beautiful looking male model in this particular depicted captured image guaranteed!✈️

  • Beau

    One of the signs of a dysfunctional family is boundaries. Healthy families understand limitations. Unhealthy ones are constantly offended that they have limitations. Good for you for stating your expectations and setting boundaries! Invest your love with the kids. Remember, they too live in this family system and if they are not poisoned want something better. They see you as the gay uncle who got out and lives up North.

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