Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Meet the Family

My family members are a big part of my life, so if you want to get a handle on who I am, then you need to know about them. They're a slightly interesting bunch, so I'll take my time describing them.

Mom and Dad: I really, really love these guys. I'm probably alone among teenagers when I say my parents have never embarrassed me, and, to tell the truth, most of my friends think my folks are cooler than I am, which is pretty much a fact. They're a lot older than most of my friend's parents. Dad's in his late fifties, and Mom is in her early sixties. Not that you'd be able to tell, though. Both of them look years younger than they are and they definitely don't act like senior citizens, but I'm getting ahead of myself here.

My parents are both artists. Mom's a painter, and Dad's a potter. They met in college in the sixties, where they were both art majors. Now, you do the math. Art major + 1960s = hippie. Yep, they had the long hair, wore the cool threads, and were involved in social activism. Mom did peace marches and heard Martin Luther King, Jr., give his "I Have a Dream" speech in person. Dad, well, he was in a band. Dad has kept at his craft ever since he graduated. His pots are pretty well-known in our community, and his work has been featured in several galleries up and down the East Coast. Mom put her painting on hiatus for a while to become an elementary school art teacher. She retired just this year, and she's already gotten back into the swing of things. I tell you, the way that woman can turn a blank canvas into a beautiful landscape amazes me.Our house is a testament to my parents' work. Paintings line the walls, pots are on every surface, and there are exotic knickknacks everywhere. Mom designed the house herself, so it's very modern-looking. It's also a mile off the road, and there's a three-acre pond right in front of it. Needless to say, it has been an awesome place to grow up.

Mom and Dad are devout Christians, and they've raised their three kids, of which I'm the youngest, to be the same. Granted, they're a little different from the standard Southern churchgoers. Mom loves to wear shawls, bangles, and dangling earrings, and Dad has ridden his custom chopper (black with red flames) to Wednesday night Bible studies more than once. They've taught my siblings and me to think for ourselves, and we've each been encouraged in our individual endeavors. Whoever said that people who struggle with SSA have a broken relationship with their parents was not talking about me. That's for sure. I've yet to tell them about it, but I'm sure that when I do, they'll be accepting. It's just hard to pluck up the courage to do it, but I'm in no hurry at the moment.

Rusty: My brother. He's in his early thirties, and he has a wife and a daughter. He's currently living the American dream. He was an English teacher for a while before becoming the assistant principal at my high school, which was interesting seeing as everyone there knew he was my brother. That led to some fascinating experiences. Rusty has been great to me. I can talk to him about anything, and I have. I came out to him early this summer. To be honest, he was a little more accepting than I hoped he'd be. He thinks that homosexuality is reconcilable with Christianity (basically, he doesn't think it's a sin), and he thinks that my choice to not act on my SSA comes from self-loathing or a desire to conform to society's norms. He should know me better than that, but I think he just wants to make sure I'm happy. I have to admit that acting on my SSA would be an easier path, and it may make me happier for a while, but it's simply not for me. Rusty knows I think this way, and he's respectful of it. I know I can count on him to be there for anything, so I have to be grateful for that.

Libby: My sister. Mid-twenties, blond hair, green eyes. Yeah, Libby definitely got the looks of the bunch, not to mention the brains. She graduated from college with a marketing degree and a strong background in biomedical engineering. Not that she's done much with it, as she's currently a bartender in a fancy Raleigh restaurant. I don't blame her for that since she's making more money than Mom did while she was teaching. She has served people like Michael Jordan, LeAnn Rimes, and Tammy Faye Bakker (she said the last was quite the odd experience). She is also interning for some big real estate lawyer, so she's rubbing shoulders with some Raleigh elitists. She has been an au pair for a wealthy Italian family in Florence, spent some time in Puerto Rico, and is basically enjoying all that life has to offer. Mom and Dad worry that she is too materialistic, isn't taking the time to expand her faith, and isn't going to settle down, but I'm not too worried about her. She's finding her own way in the world. She's rarely home, so I don't get to talk to her too much, but we have a pretty good relationship.

Thelma: Last but not least, my dog. She's a seven-year-old German shepherd mix that still acts like a puppy. I'm really going to miss her when I go off to school, so Mom and Dad better take good care of her.

Well, that's my family. I couldn't have asked for a better one.