Krit, early 30s [but the curls is popping so he looks early 20s OOP] sits on his bed in his one bedroom apartment, handwriting the last of three letters. He signs off the final letter and folds it up into thirds before placing them all into a small box together with three small softcover books. He places the small box on the dresser and walks over to the bathroom to take a good look in the mirror. He’s not really sure what he’s staring at but after a few beats he gives a smile anyway. He runs the faucet and splashes water on his face to wash away the dry tears. He pats his face with a towel and returns to his bedroom. He sits cross legged with his back up straight in the center of his bed. He closes his eyes and takes a moment before he pulls his phone out of his pocket and dials ‘Mum’.
Krit: Happy Mother’s Day, Mum!
Mum: Oh thank you, darling! I just finished having dinner with the Laumuas. I wish you were here.
Krit: I wish I was too.
Mum: So tell me what you’ve been up to! Who have you caught up with? What events have you been to?
Krit: Oh I’m just taking a break from all that and laying low at the moment.
Mum: Well you didn’t move out there to lay low, Kristian. You need to get out there and work hard!
If you know Krit, you know about his hustle and doing whatever it is he sets his mind to so for his mother to hear he’s taking a step back was out of character.
If you know Krit, you also know how much love and respect he has for his mother – she means the world to him and his purpose in life has been to make her proud.
And if you know Krit, you know how much he’s like her in what makes them tick and in how they can escalate shit in a heartbeat and just cuz it was Mother’s Day, it wasn’t about to stop them from popping off!
Krit: Ok sometimes there are more important things to take care of.
Mum: Like what? You won’t be able to take care of anything if you’re not working!
Krit: You know what, Mum? I actually need to focus on myself right now!
His voice has a slight tremble to it. Something’s coming. He can feel it in his body.
Mum: Oh well I wish I had that luxury! I wish I were afforded that privilege. Do you think I ever got to just focus on myself, Kristian? You really need to grow up and stop being so selfish.
Krit: I’M DEALING WITH A LOT.
Silence. He took his mother by surprise. He took himself by surprise. And he begins to cry uncontrollably. It’s time.
Mum: Darling, what’s wrong? Talk to me. Say something.
All choices are grounded in either one of two emotions – Love or Fear. Krit loves his mother with all his heart but for nearly 33 years he’s been living in fear of disappointing/embarrassing/shaming her.
Krit’s heart races as he takes in a deep breath and through his snot cry he manages to mumble the words…
Krit: I’m gay.
Krit had this whole production planned out in how he was gonna drop his truth bomb on his family. His ass is so extra – he had bought 3 copies of Alice Miller’s “Drama Of The Gifted Child” with individual handwritten letters enclosed to his mother, his sister Leini and his brother Miki and they were all ready to be sent off to New Zealand. But that shit flew out the window. God was like “nah you gon do it now”. It was happening on the day that’s supposed to be reserved for spoiling Mothers. And thankfully Krit has his to comfort him.
Mum: Oh darling, you know that doesn’t change anything. You’re still my baby and I love you and I’m still so proud of you. Is that what you’ve been holding in?
Krit exhales. He feels a sense of relief.
Mum: And if any of my family has anything to say I’ll fight them! None of them are perfect –
Krit’s body tenses up again. He cuts her off mid sentence.
Krit: Mum! Listen to you. That’s the problem. I can’t look at this as an imperfection. It’s who I am.
She calms herself and moves to a much lighter tone.
Mum: Oh yeah I know, it’s just how some people view it.
Hey y’all, I’m a playright! Surprise! I’m playing. But I’m not playing when I say this is my story and from here the acts just get heavier and heavier. It all ends in light though so if you’re game for some of that, read on.
“And if any of my family has anything to say I’ll fight them! None of them are perfect -”
This sums up the reason why I never came out. I mean yeah there’s society’s homophobia but then there’s my Mum and her family and they take judgment and manipulation to new levels – I learned from the Kings and Queens of that shit, trust me on that!
Oooh and her ideas about homosexuality were TRIFLING. I still die when I think about how after she read one of my pieces, she sent me a text saying “you’ve gained another level of insight in your writing ever since you came to terms with your gender”. I rang her up straight away. “You know I’m not becoming a woman right?” After a long pause she was like “oh well I just didn’t know”. She really thought I was transitioning. I guess it’s a win knowing she’s down for that too.
Shame was my Best Friend for a long time and we went to the darkest of places together. The only spaces I would meet men was through online apps, using fake pictures cuz I didn’t want anyone catching wind of what I was up to. I took certain precautions. I never hooked up with islanders cuz our community is too small and that shit would get out in a minute and I only got with guys who were 5 or more years older than me to lower the probability of them knowing anyone I knew. New Zealand is small and with all the work I was doing in the university scene coupled with me knowing half the country, I was extremely vigilant to keep my DL game on lock. My go to therefore became older white men.
Now I’ve always been very open about my encounters with racism throughout my journey yet here I was living this double life where I frequently subjected myself to be treated like an object by men who often were ignorant and disrespectful [I accept I played my part in objectification too – all around this shit was for the birds]. In public I was calling out prejudice left, right and centre but in private, I overlooked all of that cuz I needed my fix. That’s what happens when you think you’re not enough and that’s all you deserve. You lose self-respect and punish yourself in all kinds of ways.
When you’re living the way I was, you really have no will to live. I wrote about hitting a rock bottom last year and while I experienced a certain degree of freedom from it, things got much worse. The level of unmanageability was insane to the point it was life or death. The stakes were that high. It’s either die or face my truth. Cuz our truth is the only way out of our shit.
This is what put things in motion to where I finally decided to get honest with my family but, more importantly, with myself. Opening up to my Mum about being gay was probably the easiest part. It’s been everything after it that’s exhausted every fibre of our beings. Picture me dumping all of the above on my Mum – this is what really shook our relationship to the core. Her questioning where she went wrong and what role she played. Me questioning if she can ever look at me the same again.
Never underestimate your loved ones in what you think they can handle when it comes to telling the truth. I know it’s not gonna work out the same for everyone but letting go of expectations has been a huge learning experience in what love is at its root. And I can love without expecting anything in return now. If people can’t accept you for who you truly are, they don’t need to be in your life. You don’t owe anyone anything, family or not. The idea that blood is thicker than water is such fluff to me. It’s outdated.
So I’m being selfish in loving me [not my ego, there’s a difference!] and finding my own happiness and I know she’s proud all the same now. And I couldn’t be prouder of my Mum. The shifts I’ve seen in her and her acceptance of everything she’s been taught not to be accepting of. Nah but I’m mad how she always tells me about every documentary that comes on Viceland that has to do with gays. I’m gonna need you to upgrade your resources, Mum.
Not everyone has the support system I do. I’m really lucky to have a strong crew in my corner. I wish everyone had that cuz it’s hard being isolated. People shouldn’t have to come out. And people shouldn’t ever feel like they’re alone in this. That’s what’s inspired me to write. To encourage anyone going through similar shit that you can come out the other side stronger if you get help. Even if you’re a complete stranger, you can reach out to me. Living in LA, I’ve got access to centers and support groups and therapy and activities you wouldn’t really get where I’m from so I’m tryna pass on what I can. I’ve always shared about my experiences and whatever knowledge I’ve gained through them in order to help my students and my peers. Already I’ve been able to help a few young Pacific people in their journeys of self-love. With all that I’ve been blessed with, it’s only right I share what I have.
Greatness. We all come from Greatness. I remind myself of that every chance I can to stay in gratitude and in strength. I don’t have to settle for anything less. In fact, it’s not till you do a clean sweep of the experiences that don’t represent who you want to be that you can make room for that Greatness you choose.
To think that just over a year ago I had conceded I was never gonna come out unless I met someone spectacular who made it worth the drama and stress [which was never gonna happen on the wave length my crooked ass was vibrating under] to now having met myself in my entirety and professing this facet of my identity and not caring who knows. To think a year ago I made the decision to be free of all drugs and alcohol to being a damn vegan. To think a year ago I was dead on the inside to now being grateful every moment of every day, knowing I had to go through that mess to recognise what being alive truly is.