Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Coming Out (A Tribute)


When we were children, my younger brother and I never got along. “Like cats and dogs,” everyone said, and it was true. It was mostly my fault, although I blame evolution. Older brothers, it seems, just like tormenting their younger siblings, and I was particularly talented at it.

One summer, our parents enrolled us at tennis lessons. Before going to the courts I told him that he’s not allowed to speak with me, or be within two meters of my immediate vicinity. When he walked up to me sometime later, I told him to go away. He didn’t talk to me for a week.

There are times when I can be particularly nasty. We were having dinner, and he said something I didn’t like. I retorted, “at least I’m not gay,” looked at him, then snickered. His face grew red. He stood up and walked out.

Even as a child everyone knew my younger brother was gay. What talent I had in hiding the little things that betray my desire for the same sex, he seems to have missed out on. Our tutor was particularly cruel, telling me one time that I needed to look out for my brother, because he shouldn’t be allowed to grow up like that. She stressed the last word in the same pinched tone she reserved for rats or cockroaches. You didn’t need to be brilliant to know what she meant.

One night, I was perhaps 15, and my brother was 13, when he walked up to me, eyes teary and red. He told me he wanted to tell me something.

Even then, I knew what it was. And I waited for the expected confession.

“I am gay,” he said. And just like that, he was out. He told me he wanted to tell our parents, and I answered, in that nonchalant way I find so necessary (because I assumed indifference meant strength), that I didn’t care what he decided. It was all up to him.

But that was a lie. Because I did care, in that fundamental way people can care. “I wish I was him,” I thought, but I shot the idea down as soon as it came. “I’m not gay, I’m just confused,” I remind myself.

But I knew in my heart that I was envious of him. Because he was brave in that particular way I couldn’t be at the time. He asked himself the hard questions, and found himself strong enough to answer with the truth. I admired him in a way he has never known.

I love my little brother, though I have never told him that. It is just not said in our family. We love, but we do not speak of it.

So these words I write are a tribute, and a gift. To you, whom I admire, I wish you the best in life.

This is not my story, but sometimes I wish it was.

Initially written for theorg-y. Featured photo taken here.

93 comments:

  1. What a beautiful, beautiful tribute this is. I wish, it too, was my story. If your younger brother could read this, I'm sure he'd be very touched.

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  2. Picked up a line (while blogcrawling) that hit me:

    "The challenge is to be yourself in a world that's trying to get you to be like everyone else"

    He faced that challenge, and I soo envy him.

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  3. I think a lot of people get over the differences they have with their siblings. The choices are grow even farther apart, or settle your differences. I'm glad my lil bro and I settled the differences we had when he was small. We didn't get along at all the first 12 years of his life (m/f siblings 6 years apart in age don't have a lot of common interest when the younger is small), but we've been very close for the past 15 years. I'd like to think that both my little brother and the subject of this post both realize that they're loved, but that's on us to show it too, isn't it?

    Shannon

    http://threateningloveletters.blogspot.com/

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  4. I loved reading this.

    The best part is that the younger brothr, though troubled by it, accepted it.

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  5. This is a beautiful tribute and a beautiful story!! Did you write this?

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  6. @red: thank you. :-) i'll make sure he reads it.

    @nimmy: hahaha. thanks!

    @straight-ish: We admire another's bravery, and there is sometimes envy, but I think it is the good kind of envy. We attempt to emulate, and we are not simply motivated by greed.

    @shannon: I completely agree. We've only recently become close I think.

    @ali: Thank you. I appreciate it.

    @Mandaya: Hahaha. I don't need a tribute I think. :-)

    @Julia: Yup, I wrote it. Hahaha. Thank you.

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  7. Ganda FC! If I were him, sobrang matotouch ako.. kaya pabasa mo ha ;-)

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  8. This is so lovely. And I hope that one day you feel that you can tell your brother how much you love and admire him.

    And I am commenting on a post which is written in September even though I am still in August. That's very cool!

    Kate x

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  9. What a beautiful tribute to your brother and his courage, despite the cruelty and small minds of the adults in his life whose influence and opinion could have caused real damage. It is a good example of how adults need to think before making any kind of judgmental statement to a child/adolescent.

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  10. <3

    http://becca-mycrazystuff.blogspot.com/

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  11. It is lovely of you to honor someone who was brave enough to honor their true authentic self.
    xo The Empress

    http://rantersbox.blogspot.com

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  12. This is a really touching tribute. I can't seem to stop myself dropping by your blog - I could read you all day :-) Also, thanks for being the first to stop by mine - a lovely little surprise for a rookie blogger.

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  13. @Kate, Jennifer, Becca and Ranter's: Thank you! I appreciate the sentiments.

    @Fgrant: Hahaha! Thanks! Well, I hope you don't stop dropping by. :-)

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  14. A very poignant post.
    I love your blog!
    Thanks for sharing!
    gabriele

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  15. As I read this I grow to admire your brother. He sounds so brave, and I think that all of us wish at times that we were that brave. I'm the exact same way with my brother, rude and harsh to him at times, but deep down I love him. I think that the both of us should try telling our brother how we feel, or else it'll be too late, you know? I love your blog, and your writing, it's lovely <3.

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  16. Great photo, I am not only see a man coming out from wall but also see a man who big step into big world

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  17. Wow. This is BEAUTIFUL. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you.

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  18. amazing courage for a 13year old!

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  19. ang ganda. ipinabasa mo na sa kanya?

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  20. @Gabriele and Spaz: Thank you too. I appreciate it.

    @Talia: I agree. Sometimes I forget how important words can be. And thanks.

    @Antinous: I think so too. :-)

    @Atticus: Not yet. Hahaha. Soon.

    @Meb: I didn't take the photo, but I'm sure the photographer appreciates the sentiment.

    @mybitter: Thanks!

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  21. what a beautifuly written story! you captured what i think is a common story among families--
    the lack of expression of love.

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  22. i would be remiss if I didn't agree with Koryn and take it a bit further by submitting my unsolicited advice. it is never too late to acknowledge/express a feeling of love, especially in one who took the external brunt of your own inner "mean older brother."

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  23. whew!you're such a good writer!napapabalik tuloy ako lagi haha.

    and sana malaman ng brother mo kung gano mo siya kamahal..how is he now?

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  24. lovely story! where were you all my life?! =)

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  25. Hey! Awesome photo - does your bro read your blog? Or is this a mea culpa he won't see??

    On another matter, I think I'll name my baby seal Digby. Has anyone else named theirs??

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  26. awwwwww. i <3 this post. you two are cute in that sense.

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  27. @Koryn, Joanne, Narnian: Thanks!

    @Mac: Thanks. He's doing very well. :-)

    @Flight and Red: Yes, I'll make sure he reads this. Hahaha.

    And Digby is a great name. Sounds like a sport.

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  28. Great writing! I think I just found another favorite. Thanks for introducing yourself. :)

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  29. Think that dito works well here!
    Very well said.

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  30. Wow, what a beautiful post and such a touching tribute. I really hope your brother gets to read this post.

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  31. This is one of those, "if only I knew then what I know now" moments in your life and I'm glad you're feeling that way. I'm glad that your brother’s courage affected you in a positive way even though you were afraid to admit anything then. I'm proud of anyone who has the courage to come out to their family and friends because even though more than half of America is now pro-homo (yay!) there are still a lot of hateful people who cause so much pain. Good for your brother. Good for you.

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  32. @Jules, Gemel, Dyche and Denise: Thank you.

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  33. It must have been tough for your brother. I have grown up with gay relatives. A few of my cousins are and I was exposed to it very young. I imagine it could be difficult to come out at such a young age, and to really know then as well.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog.

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  34. Here's the post-Theorgy comment:

    Your brother is far braver than most of us. He's going to grow up awesomely, despite the perceived challenges that comes with the homosexual life. Hope you find ways to support him as best as you can.

    And now I'm following your blog.

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  35. Alam mo FC, ang sungit mo talaga. Evuhl devuhl. Buti hindi ka na ganon ka-sungit ngayon.

    But generally, I think there's a natural tendency for older siblings to be tough to their younger siblings. Most especially when the younger sibling has something that you don't have, in this case, acceptance and bravery.

    And lastly, that's what I gleaned from this story. That truly, acceptance first comes before courage. I now see your brother as someone who's more than just another person in your house. He becomes more real with his own story. Astig men.

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  36. @rocky and miguel: Thank you!

    @hoykolokoy: Hahaha. I'm sure you can relate (sort of). Thanks!

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  37. I have a very similar relationship with my older sister. I will never hear the words 'I love you' pass her lips, but oh how I wish I could. That would make my day!!

    So being his older brother and all I think it is about time you break the code of not saying 'I love you'. You will never regret it!

    Thank you for commenting on my owls. Very sweet. x

    xx C

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  38. Hello, Fickle Cattle. I really like your writing style, and I try to check your blog regularly. I'm glad to see that you are gaining followers, and you deserve it. I just wanted to ask if you have read my book, God Loves Bakla, which would probably be very interesting for you. Sorry for the shameless plug, but you'll probably thank me for it later on. More power and love to you! Raymond

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  39. @Charlotta: No prob, and though I might want to do that, he'll probably think I got sick in the head. Hahaha. We try to show it in other ways though. Thanks for dropping by!

    @godlovesbakla: Been reading nothing but law books and some random blogs lately. I'll check it out after the bar. Thanks!

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  40. oh my, this is a very sweet story about brotherly love (although you we're at war most of the time. heheh. sabi nga nila, all's fair... konek?)

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  41. @Jeremy: Hahaha. Thank you, I think.

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  42. Good luck sa Bar exams! I'm a lawyer, so I know how nervewracking the whole affair is. Just take it one day at a time, one exam, one question, and everything will be alright.

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  43. Love the person breaking through the wall. Although we all have things we hide, it must really be hard to feel the need to hide something so fundamental to living...

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  44. @godlovesbakla: Thanks! 1/4 done!

    @ashleigh: Thank you. And I agree.

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  45. As an older Brother, I hated my younger Brother. We where 6 years apart and he was all I was not. Good in sports, popular, and the "apple" of my Father's eye. But I was the smart one and always brouhgt home the best grades. Never got into trouble (well, almost never...) Later it was my younger Brother that first understood I was Gay. We did not talk about it but he never rejected me. Now we are both much older. I am 69 and he is 63. We do not share much but he will alwyas be my Bro!!

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  46. @GWM: Thank you for sharing. :-)

    @Nicos: Thanks!

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  47. A bit off-key and a sort of tribute to my most beloved man - my brother.

    I found my youngest nephew's baby picture (he's now five) and reminded his father (my brother) that his son looks exactly like me when I was a baby. Now that the child has grown into his fifth year, he's starting to show more similarities to me. I asked him, my brother, what if Zach grows up to by like his uncle - a big, muscular and dashing gay man (with me grinning widely). He smirked, "Damn, then there will be another one in your population. I might as well point him towards you when he steps into his teenage years. You can 'guide' him."

    "Yeah," I said. "Ill teach him how to knit in the morning and lift weights in the afternoon."

    My brother just simply rolled his eyes and shook his head. We'd joke about it, about my being a big gay male and my occasional dalliances, and with me annoying him most of the time with my stories.

    I am glad I have him for my best friend. The kind who knows what I am thinking of even before I say it.

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  48. @palma: I think my brother and I became friends when we grew up a little. When you're young it's difficult because of all these issues (petty, but at the time they were so important). Thank you for sharing.

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  49. Hala! perhaps your little brother still have a little angst for you for what you did, and he will never forget it because, honestly, you're mean FC, but I can't blame you. I admire you now for posting this, because I'm sure when your little brother reads this, he'll shed a tear or two, not for the pain but for being so proud to be your brother.

    Kudos to you and to your younger brother! Keep well! Wish you both goodluck and happy life ^_^

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  50. @Life: Hahaha. Thanks dear. Nice seeing you around here again.

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  51. I'm always here reading your blog. . . Its just that, I don't usually post a comment. Most of the time I'm speechless or I'd rather keep my comments and sentiments to myself coz, i might offend you or your readers. Thats the least thing I would want to do anyway.

    Told you before that you inspired me to write a blog, but unfortunately, i guess I'm not inclined to that, I'd rather be just a reader because I'm not fond of writing, nor good with it.

    Being your avid reader is enough for me.

    I don't want to have problems receiving suicide notes and stuffs that I don't like...lol

    keep the fire burning dear and good luck on your next blog... hope its a good one ^_^

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  52. I'm so happy that you found me so I could read you - wonderful tribute.

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  53. @Bipolar: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

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  54. you write so well. i envy you. i have a lot of backreading to do. thanks for sharing your beautiful stories.

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  55. This made my day...I don't have brothers, but got 2 sisters...I pray for the day they accept me for who I am...thanks for this...

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  56. whew! scores of comments! congrats. awesome blog! u write so well.
    thanks for leaving some comments on my (in mint condition) blog.

    -i'll revisit to backread. take care u ficklecattle! :)

    http://clandestineplanet84.blogspot.com/

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  57. @PoMeLo: Thanks! And I hope you keep on reading. :-)

    @Hi: I hope they will too. :-) Thanks.

    @Clandestine: No prob. Thanks!

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  58. Beautiful post. Thank you for dropping by mine :)

    Jaclyn

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  59. What I find interesting is that you seem to be able to express your thoughts -- such as your admiration and jealously of your brother's honesty and courage -- better in writing than you can face-to-face. I am the same way. This is why I blog, to let people know how I'm feeling and how I'm doing when I can't say it in spoken conversation.

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  60. @Jaclyn: Thank you. :0)

    @Wendy: I agree. I've always been a writer more than I've ever been a speaker.

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  61. oh this is indeed a very nice tale. if you still haven't figured out your sexual preferences, remember that it's a whole spectrum out there (as in, one could say "i'm 35% hetero and 65% homo"), and bisexuals do exist as well. ;o)

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  62. @iris: I have actually. Mostly gay I think. The straight part is practically negligible. :-)

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  63. That was beautiful and I can relate to the end where you said "we love, but we do not speak of it."

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  64. This is very beautiful. You have a gift for words. Your honesty is refreshing.

    http://acownamedcujo.blogspot.com

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  65. You did good. Actually you did great. Most of us cannot even be strong enough to applaud those who do good, much less do it ourselves. Hang in there. By the way, thanks for reading my blog.

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  66. I thought it was sweet. Sometimes, some people are just strong enough to not care about the consequences...but come out better for it.

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  67. There is love while there is life. There is regret when opportunity is gone forever. Now is always the best time. Make the most of it.

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  68. I admire and envy your pure honesty here. It's beautiful.

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  69. I have been browsing around since your recent stop by my lonely little blog, and happened upon this story. Several things strike me here. One, that everyone assumes that there was something wrong with the younger brother because he was "OUT" before he even voiced it. But the simple fact is, he was the one that didn't fear being himself, he was always brave, it just took him 13 years to find the words to express his courage. It says that this is not your story, so I can only presume not your brother, or perhaps I misinterpreted that. Either way, I think it's magnificent that you can at least give him recognition for his bravery here. Perhaps someday, the courage to voice it will come as well, or even a little point (link) to the page would do.

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  70. Holy crap, there are a lot of comments here.....you probably won't even notice this one! But here goes anyway...I had tears reading this post. Some things I can identify with, such as being the oldest of two girls (although my sis was really on top of the meaness scale when we were kids). But mostly, the fact that we didn't tell each other about our love for each other then, either. The family was just full of stuff "we just don't talk about". It can change, and you can do it, but I won't say it will be fun or rewarding all the time. But try, because life is to damn short not to come out with it. "You know I admire you" is not that hard. Do it my e-mail or texting if face to face it too hard. Don't let the family dynamic become your fate ~ change it.

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  71. Such a moving and complex post on so many levels. Your brother was an amazingly mature and brave kid for 13yrs old - I'm guessing he grew into a remarkable adult.

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  72. What a beautiful piece! Thank you for visting my blog since that is how I found yours!

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  73. Your story blew me away. I give your brother credit for admiting his secret and I do hope you are not ashamed of your sexuality either.
    It is terrible how some people can be when one is not the "norm". Who is to say what or who is the norm.
    Enjoy life my friend to the fullest and ignore ignorance.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my blog at
    www.angelulu4.blogspot.com my Haiku Loving.
    I will enjoy reading your blog.

    Take care! Laura (Keku)

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  74. Thank you for leading me here.. One brief comment on my blog lead me to this beautiful, touching tribute.. My son was 13 when he left a letter under my pillow telling me he was gay.. He signed it.. "I hope you'll still love me." If it was possible, I loved him more. That was 6 yrs. ago and he has grown into such an amazing young man and I couldn't be more proud.. I am honored to be his Mom..
    Thank you for this..

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  75. Amazing. It's a story something we all wished could have said.

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  76. that was really great.

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  77. hey, loved reading this. it was cool in a sort of way. do you remember me, you are one of the first people to ever comment on my posts, back then when i was whining like a little bitch, lol. Thanks for the good words, and sorry it took me so long, i am stupid like that, lol. http://theseven-piecestone.blogspot.com

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  78. Gave me chills....

    I am the mother of a gay child. I am a very open, talk to me, person.

    He laughed, giggled, and proudly told me he was gay when he was 17 (even though I knew wwwaaaaayyyy before that). He blushed and giggled some more when he told me which male celebrities he thinks are cute when I broached the question.....


    I've embraced him wholeheartedly, love who he is, as a person.

    I wrote a post called Doesn't GAY mean happy?.. I hope you will read it.

    Thanks for sharing

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  79. Indeed man, Your little bro ironically had guts telling you that.


    -Brax

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  80. well written. i hope you can invite your brother to read this... it would be like coming out of the closet with your love for him.

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  81. I love this piece! Where is the photo originally from or who took it?

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  82. I think your brother showed his love to you by telling you first. Nice post all together.

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