By Jody Valley
Q: Jody, I have read your column for years and really look forward to it every week, so I know that you don’t advise that we come out during the holidays; however, I think I have a good reason to do that this year. Let me tell you my rationale, and then you let me know if I’m right on, or not.
First of all, my family is located just about everywhere that you can imagine. It is extremely unlikely that they would all be in the same place and any one time. But, it will happen this year, maybe never again. We are having a great family reunion for the holidays this year. There will be three days when everyone will be in the same place at one time! It’s a very exciting time for us. It is also my great grandmother’s 85th birthday party. Needless to say, we are all excited for this event. My parents have been trying to put this kind of a family reunion together for six years and have finally gotten everyone to participate.
What I am thinking is that it would be a good time for me to let my family know that I am lesbian. As I said, everyone would be there, so I could answer any questions and we would all have time to process this out. I would do it on the first of the three days, and we could have the rest of the time to deal with it. I know three days would probably get the job done; first day, blast of news about my sexuality; second day, talk about it; third day, kiss and make up–or just celebrate my happiness for knowing who I am.
To give you a little information about my family, they are, on a scale of 1-10, probably about a 5 on the functional scale, when you add up all the individual components. In other words, we are not the worst, but we are far from perfect. Having everyone together, at once, at a time of everyone being excited and happy to be together, I’m thinking they will be on their best behavior since they will all want things to work out during this time.
So, Jody, what do you think when you put it all together? To recap: Everyone will be there; they should all be in a pretty good mood with holiday spirit and family togetherness; three days to process; and, I haven’t mention this yet, but I don’t intend to do it at Christmas dinner, probably at the first family together occasion (great grandmother’s birthday) which would be a planned lunch on the first day which will be at a local restaurant in a room to ourselves (another good thing in that it won’t be public). Sound like a plan to you?
A: It’s a plan all right; a plan for disaster when it comes to family reunions and holiday joy! It’s amazing that you sum all that up and see success, and I sum it all up and see a catastrophe. I’m also concerned that you seem to understand–through reading this column–that I am against holiday “outings,” but you don’t seem to understand what I’ve been saying.
First, your family’s holiday reunion is NOT about you; it is about the entire family getting together, along with your great grandmother’s 85th birthday. (And, your announcement was going to be at that time!) Your plan is an All-About-You event. I can’t say that too many times. You think that this reunion is all about “processing” your sexuality? This whole plan comes from planet narcissism! You are totally dismissing your family’s needs and inserting your own. For your and your family’s sake, I hope you don’t bring on this holiday tsunami. (Try a January family letter.)
PS: Judging from this plan, your number on the functional scale is bringing down the family average.