Sunday, November 25, 2012
Happy Thanksgiving From Gay LDS Actor
Yeah, I know it's a few days late, but it's been a busy week. Between the holiday, cleaning the house, and a freelance writing project, I've just been too busy to write a blog post even though I have a bunch of ideas for future posts. Who knows when they'll get written? You'd think being unemployed, I'd have more time to write. Jonah keeps me busy, though, and there's a lot of things to take care of here at the house, so there just hasn't been. Plus, I'm kind of lazy. I have to be motivated to sit down and write, and sometimes I'm just not.
Anyway. Thanksgiving. This is mine and Jonah's first Thanksgiving together in six years, I believe. Our first and only other Thanksgiving together was in the beginning of our relationship before we were even serious. Every other year I've worked in Utah. I made a very conscious decision to not audition for any holiday shows. While my pocketbook isn't too pleased, I am extremely happy to be home for the holidays and spending time with Jonah. It's been sublime. Jonah drives me crazy sometimes, but I am thankful to actually be with him so that he can drive me crazy.
I've noticed something else while I've been home. When I was living with Mom, I used to get this tight discomfort in my chest nearly every day. I was even concerned I might be having some sort of heart issue. Since I've been home, I haven't experienced that sensation. I knew caring for my mom was creating stress, but I did not realize how stressed I must have been feeling. While I hate to say it, I think there was a direct correlation between my chest issues and caring for my mom. I'm glad I feel more relaxed.
Leaving was really hard, but in talking with my mom, she sounds like she is doing well. And I know I am feeling better, too. I feel more relaxed, less anxious, and I'm finally with my guy, so things are good. I have wonderful siblings and family members who are carrying much of the load I carried, so I am thankful for them.
Thanksgiving with Jonah's family was really great this year. I feel like I finally know them and am comfortable with them. In earlier family gatherings, I didn't know everyone well, and I felt uncomfortable and overwhelmed at times. Jonah and I were kind of in the closet about his relationship with me, and so that made things awkward as well.
I think know everybody knows about us by now. I don't think it's ever been directly addressed by Jonah to the majority of his family members, but it seems that even though it's still kind of "don't ask, don't tell," everyone knows about our relationship and is comfortable enough with it that they now treat me like I'm a family member, and that makes me very happy. We've come a long way since the beginning of our relationship.
Several family members, including Jonah's mom, call me Uncle [Cody] when referring to me around the kids. That makes me feel good. It really is the little things.
Jonah comes from a large Hispanic, working-class, Pentecostal family, and of course, culturally it's a little different than my own mid-size Mormon family. At the beginning of our relationship, it really took me some time to get used to all the noise and the fact that any family gathering will last hours and hours, and even days sometimes. As someone who gets overwhelmed and fatigued by large crowds and noise, it was hard in the beginning. I've gotten used to it (although I do admit to sneaking in a bathroom or spare bedroom for a few minutes just to recharge.
Jonah's dad is in the beginning stages of dementia. My mom is probably further along in the disease than he is, but I know he drives his wife and kids crazy at times. He is also very hard of hearing, and so he misses a lot of what is being said. Sometimes he talks over people because he doesn't realize someone else is talking. I think sometimes he feels left out of conversations and that makes him feel a little lonely and depressed.
I actually quite like Jonah's dad. He just makes me laugh. He still has a pretty strong Mexican accent, so I don't always understand 100% of what he says, but I enjoy talking with him, and I get the impression he likes me.
While everyone was in the house, Jonah's dad and I were on the back porch alone, and he just talked and I mostly listened. He actually told me things I know he hadn't shared with some of his own kids, and I was kind of touched by that. He shared some stories with me from his life, and it was nice to just get to know him better. At the end of our conversation, he said in his slightly broken English, "We should go in. Thank you for hearing me." I thought it was interesting that he used the phrase "Thank you for hearing me" instead of "Thank you for listening to me." I think Jonah's dad just wants to me heard and acknowledged, and I feel like I was there for that, and it made me happy.
While Jonah and I were talking, I heard two guys cussing at each other nearby. Jonah's parents don't live in the greatest neighborhood, and I was a little alarmed. It sounded like it might escalate into something more serious. So I was a bit shocked to see that one of the guys who was arguing was one of Jonah's brothers. That's not something you'd see at one of my family gatherings. lol
They had food, food, food! Oh, my gosh! There was sooooo much to eat, and Jonah's Mom is such a great cook. They had pork, beef, turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, rolls, corn bread, rice, beans, tortillas, ambrosia salad, mandarin orange cottage cheese salad, green beans, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, pumpkin pie, cherry pie, and I introduced many in Jonah's family to Mormon funeral potatoes, which I made by myself for the first time, and which seemed to be a hit with everyone except for one family member, who said in bewilderment, "There's cereal on top of these potatoes."
I had a good time mingling with everyone and didn't even get exhausted by all the noise and energy like I usually do. Most of all, I had fun. It was a really nice Thanksgiving. Jonah's family comes from a different background than my own. I think a couple of his brother's have been in jail at one time or another and some of their language is rougher than I am used to. They're very hard-working, "get-their-hands-dirty" people, and the jobs I have held are either artistic or white collar work, for the most part. But they treat me very well, and I am appreciative. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving.
I got on the Facebook gratitude wagon this year and wrote a gratitude status for every day of the month. It's been great reminding myself of the many blessings God has given me and continues to give Jonah and me and our families. I hope your Thanksgivings were all terrific.
By the way, Jonah and I saw Rise of the Guardians this evening. I enjoyed it a lot. I may even write a post about it.