At 2 years old, my parents divorced due to my Dad’s realizations that he was homosexual. From that point on, my sister and I were raised entirely by my mother, and my father moved two hours south to begin a new chapter of self-discovery. Of course, with me beginning my cognitive years, I was far too young to understand the impact of a divorce on a family. The amount of stress & confusion my mother must have felt during that time would be enough to break the average soul, and when time proved that it would not break her, she turned into one of the strongest human beings I’ve ever known. She handled the divorce and my dad’s outing seemingly coolly like Jackie Chan would handle 700 enemies with ease. She is now happily married to someone she has been seeing for over 15 years.
My mother got full-custody after the divorce, and my sister and I lived a relatively normal life growing up in a small town in northern Maine. My mom made her living by being a social worker. Every other weekend my sister and I would travel 2 hours south to Portland (the major city in our state) to visit my father for the weekend. I remember absolutely loving his presence as a child (and I still do to this day). He had a natural knack at teaching us to be ourselves, because he himself is so true to himself. He taught me the importance of imagination & creativity at a very early age. He taught me how it is 100 percent OK to be yourself, and to never let someone tell you that you cannot do anything. He brought us to open-mic shows, theatre events (which he usually played lead roles in), & exposed us to many political and social events/rallies. These were things that we would never get exposed to while living in northern Maine. The culture back home was so dry and boring. My father served as the vehicle to find art & open-mindedness that every child needs. He had a way of making my sister & I roll on the floor laughing until our stomachs were tied in knots and we became red in the face. I remember the sights and smells of my father’s apartment as well. Hot glue guns, wood shavings and paint were scattered throughout his living spaces. He was a struggling artist, living in single-bedroom apartments in Portland & working as a teacher for the Gifted & Talented programs in nearby schools.
By the age of 6 or 7 my sister and I were involved in gay pride parades, saw a handful of full-grown men in dresses, and also saw my father live happily with another man. I grew a natural acceptance and awareness of gay life. I never said the word 'faggot' in school like the others, and the idea of disliking someone due to their sexual orientation just never made sense. Meanwhile, my mother was in the beginning stages of a relationship that would go on to turn into a happy marriage of 15 years & counting. Both of my parent’s lives were changing for the better after the divorce. Though the initial pains must have been excruciating, the payoff of their honesty certainly came in time.
Most view divorce as a taboo or horrible thing, but last year my sister and I had a conversation discussing the positive aspects of the divorce. We discussed that if our parents stayed together, just for the sake of their image in the community, then our lives would be drastically different (and in a horrifying way)! We would have undoubtedly been taught that denying yourself is A-OK, we would have subconsciously picked up on the methods of unhealthy, dishonest & conflicting relationships. This whole ‘stay together for the kids’ mentality is absolute garbage and needs to be addressed.
Why do many adults convince themselves that it is an OK idea to lie to themselves & their family by displaying a phony image of happiness & contentment? It’s seen in many drama television shows & movies these days. Most people seem to accept dishonesty as a natural characteristic of a human being. It is not! Allow honesty to reign supreme over any other aspect of your life, and you’ll find that this experience of life can be awfully light & easy-going. The beautiful thing about a divorce is that the individuals involved are able to be honest enough with themselves to recognize & accept the fact that the dynamics within their relationship were not what they had imagined. They are fearless enough to accept change and move their lives into a more positive and healthy direction. Rant over //// -J