Matt Vega’s relationship with his father soured after he turned eight, and began to realize he was gay.
This was previously published on “Let Children Play: The Freedom to Discover Greatness.”
I’ve never had a comfortable relationship with my father—nothing that extended beyond my toddler years, that is. Once I turned eight, started developing my own opinions, and began realizing that I was gay, things between us started getting weird. He would try to talk to me about girls and the so-called wonders of the human body, and I would clam up, since I had nothing to say. It didn’t help that my father also came from a very sexist home, where men were expected to lose their virginity at the age of twelve, and if you were even the tiniest bit feminine you got beat up.
That’s not to say that he was a terrible father. He tried his best with what limited parenting skills he had. What’s more impressive is that he had no father figure to look up to when he was growing up besides his somewhat abusive older brothers, and he still managed to never hit me (beyond the very rare and lackluster slap to the face).
I wonder how our relationship with each other would have been if I was straight, though. If I could have contributed to all of those conversations he had deemed fit for father and son. If I had loved baseball as much as he had.
I guess I’ll never know the answers to those questions, and to be quite honest, I don’t really want to. I like who I’ve become. Hopefully, he will too, someday.
Check out the Month of Dads on Let Children Play.
—Photo credit: AgentAkit/Flickr