Thursday, 10 November 2011

A letter to my father

I was thinking recently about writing a letter to my father. That thought came to me when I realised that he is no longer talking to me. To be honest he never was very good on keeping contact. He doesn’t generally like talking on the phone and he would never text. It’s a common family joke that he must be one of the worst customers of mobile phone companies. He never even comes close to finish the few free minutes and text messages he’s given by his contract.

Since I moved to England my mother calls or texts almost every single day. I know it’s a bit excessive. We don’t talk for long. She just wants to check that I’m fine and occasionally she’ll ask whether I had dinner (?) and how are my job and the weather. It’s a typical Greek thing. She does the same to my brother. After she watches the day’s evening news, she picks up her phone and calls her children and sister. It’s a ritual she follows.

During these calls she’ll occasionally give the phone to my father making him talk to me. He normally doesn’t have lots to say. The vast majority of times, he’ll ask me how happy I am at my job, how’s that going and give me a series of the same advice every single time. He’ll mention that I should be responsible, punctual, well-mannered and try to maintain a somewhat offensive stance. That means that I should try to get involved in as many projects as possible and try to always be enthusiastic and positive about my job.

We never talk about personal things. He will never ask how I am personally and if I’m happy in my life. According to his life theory, if you’re happy in your job, there is nothing else to worry about. There is no room for such ‘silly’ things like insecurities, fears or stress. I don’t even think he understands the concept of personal counselling or psychologists (sorry Dr. Spo). While I was growing up everything that had to do with feelings or sentimentalities were left to my mother. Don’t get me wrong. My father does love me and my brother. He will just not show it much. I had a very nice childhood and I am very grateful for it.

Throughout my life I’ve tried and mostly succeeded in making him proud of me. I had good grades in school. They have never seen me drunk and I’ve never taken drugs (apart from a visit to Amsterdam). I’ve never been in serious trouble. I studied, found a decent job and I’m mostly in control of my life. That means that I’ve ticked most of the boxes that most parents ask of their children. I do owe to him any integrity I have as a person.

However, he never saw coming that I could be homosexual and he hasn’t forgiven me for it. Since I came out two years ago, there is a huge elephant in the room that we might share. The situation hasn’t improved with time. On the contrary, since he learnt that I was packing to move in with JJ he hasn’t spoken to me on the phone, at all which is a record for us. Even now, that my mother is in the hospital for an operation (it all went well and she’s recovering) he only texted me to tell me that my mother is OK and she will call me whenever she can.

I have grown a thicker skin and I can live with my father not generally speaking to me much, maintaining a non-personal relationship. I’m beginning to realise that probably he doesn’t know me that much to see how happier I am as a person now. Maybe I didn’t let him to get to know me that much or maybe he didn’t try as much as he should have. There is no point in telling him now of my sleepless nights as a teenager and young adult and all these worries I had then. I don’t want to tell him how better-off I am as a person since I came out primarily to myself and accepted who I am. If I told him all that, it would be like apologising or defending myself. I don’t feel I need to do that…

Anyway, I might not giving him enough justice. I’m trying to see things from his point of view. I’ll give him all the time he needs. We’ll see how things turn out…


  1. hi Nik,

    somehow this post reminds me of a french-canadian film called Crazy. Have you watched it? do have a look if you haven't.


  2. Tell him you love him. Use these words: "I love you". It will soften his heart and mind.

  3. keep going, like Uncle Scrooge's nephew - eventually he took the invite to come to Christmas Dinner.

  4. I hope your dad wakes up one day and realizes that you don't need "forgiveness" from him or anyone else for being gay. People who've done something wrong need forgiveness. I don't imagine that he thinks your brother needs forgiveness for being straight; he shouldn't think anything different about your sexual orientation.

  5. Although I think that most people will understand in the end, perhaps your Dad is just one of those people that will never "get it". It's sad to say that, but if that's the case, at least you might be able to agree to disagree?

    Ideally, time and education will help him realise that being gay is really quite uninteresting and it really doesn't matter one bit.

  6. @cn I'll try to find it. Thanks for that.

    @Cubby Maybe they will. You're right...

    @Ur-Spo Yes, there is nothing else to try really...

  7. @gp That is very true.

    @Stephen_Chapman I never thought of the possibility that he may never understand. I'm hoping that he does.

  8. It was always difficult for me to talk to my dad. I ended up writing him a letter when I was in college about all sorts of issues I had while growing up.

    He called me up crying and our relationship has been much improved ever since.

  9. My Dad never understood. I came out when I was 17 and he was convinced it was a phase. 12 years later and that phase of getting naked with guys still continues!

    He is civil to me, but will not talk about my life. It made me sad for a long time, but now I dont worry. He is not a bad person, just a bit stupid when it comes to anything outside HIS norm.

  10. @cb That's not a bad idea. I will be something to think about... Maybe send him an email.

    @Andrew You came out quite early. I didn't know what was going on at that age.
    Being civil with my father is not bad. I wouldn't mind that...

  11. Aw. My parents and I are in a similar stalemate. I tried to invite them out here to see just how great my life is, but things didn't work out. :-/ I'm flying home for Thanksgiving next week, though (without my boyfriend). We'll see what comes of it.

  12. @Gauss_Jordan You're braver than I am. I wouldn't think about inviting them. It would have been a recipe for disaster!