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Author Topic: Pressure  (Read 370 times)

EclecticWheel

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Pressure
« on: June 17, 2019, 05:58:40 pm »
I was not sure where to put this post, but it does have some relationship to religion.

My father has only been in my life again the past year or so.  He had legal troubles, fled the police for two years, and just recently was freed from prison.  He was out of my life since I was about 12.  He comes from an extremely conservative family.  He is not a bad man.  He simply has his troubles.

I called him yesterday to wish him a happy father's day, and after a few minutes he began to beg me to "change your ways," and to marry a wife and have children.  I told him that my sister is having plenty of children.  But that isn't good enough for him because she doesn't bear his effing last name.

I was as kind and understanding toward him as I could be.  I know that he has an extremely different worldview than I do, influenced as he is by his family's extremely conservative Pentecostal assumptions.  I explained to him that there is no changing my gay nature.  God never did it.  Nothing ever changed it.  And the one time I did pray about the matter at 15 I didn't receive the sort of response that would be acceptable to anyone who doesn't accept gay people as they are and as they love.

I am inclined toward the single life even as a gay person.  I do not date, and I do not have sex at this time in my life.  I might like to given the right opportunities, but the last several years that has not been right for me.  And I do not want children adopted or otherwise.  I have to take care of myself and my mental health.  I do not want to be responsible for children.  I am delighted by my one year old nephew and newborn niece, and that is enough for me.

I create in my own way.  I create prayers and rituals.  I at least try to inspire others to grow spiritually and in healing when they reach out to me for that.  I flourish in my spiritual life.  I reach out to the wounded people in my mother's family to somehow inspire their own flourishing.  All of this is for me a very fruitful way to live, and I don't need children to complete me or anyone else.

I am appalled that my father cannot feel fulfilled by his own grandchildren simply because they don't bear his name.  Then he began to beg me to do this for him.  Sorry, I'm not in the business of creating children for other people.  This is my life.

I am sure I will have to revisit this topic with him again, and I hope I can find the right words to convey to him my own values and worldview, but I don't know if it will ever get through to him.  How does one communicate well one's views to someone whose religious and educational background is so different from the place one currently inhabits?  I will of course try to be understanding of where he is coming from and exercise empathy, but it may be the time to give him a right telling off if he doesn't back off.

Although I have drifted from Christianity somewhat over the last year or so, I have mostly been involved in Catholicism and high church Anglicanism rather than Pentecostalism, and among the Catholic and high Anglican cultures we have a place for the unmarried.  Although less common than in Catholicism, there are Anglican priests who personally choose not to marry, including the high church Anglican priest I currently have, and there is a monastic life in the Episcopal Church.  My priest has never married, and he is mature in years.

Though my Anglican clergy have encouraged me to explore taking religious vows in a monastic setting, I have also decided that this is not my calling, though I do live a life of mostly solitary prayer.  I have much of the structure in my personal life that a monastic would, but I do this in the context of my own life in the world, and when I do interact with others in the context of my personal religious life, it is usually those who have fallen through the cracks and have no other source of spiritual nourishment.

I have found the single life congenial to these practices, and in my Anglican context I have found support for this way of life.  I am not inhibited by the needs of a family.  When someone calls me needing my prayers or a ritual, as long as I'm not at work, I've been able to drop everything and go to that person.  I have seen the healing effect this has had on them.  Having become accustomed to this sort of culture that has alternatives to marriage in the spiritual life, I am baffled by this sudden pressure to marry a woman and pro-create.  I have never ever encountered anything like this in the high Anglican culture I have been immersed in which has now been my culture for almost half my life.

Have you ever dealt with similar pressures?  I suppose I have become so immersed in my own little world and niches that this is a totally unexpected and bizarre pressure to have placed on me now.

When I ponder being the misfit that I am in my broader society here in the Bible belt and within my family I always take comfort in this passage from Isaiah:

"Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.

For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;

Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.

Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;

Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him."  (Isaiah 56:3-8 KJV)
My personal moral code:

Love wisely, and do what thou wilt.

Klaw

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Re: Pressure
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2019, 06:27:29 pm »

My father has only been in my life again the past year or so.  He had legal troubles, fled the police for two years, and just recently was freed from prison. 

No one has the right to dictate to anyone if or how many children they have. I used to get harassed by my ex's family about needing to have more children. We had one, but his family insisted on at least three.

Sefiru

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Re: Pressure
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2019, 07:21:39 pm »
Have you ever dealt with similar pressures?  I suppose I have become so immersed in my own little world and niches that this is a totally unexpected and bizarre pressure to have placed on me now.

Not to the degree that you describe, but yeah. My mother values 'being normal' *much* more than I do, and she sometimes mentions whether I ever intend to start a family. I just plain don't have any interest in the idea. Luckily for me, 'pleasing my mom' is not a motivator for me, and I think she knows that, so she doesn't bother nagging ... on that subject. I get low-level pressure on a dozen subjects that are, to me, fairly trivial.

As for deflection strategies, my go-tos are wry humor and 'no comment' shrugs.

SunflowerP

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Re: Pressure
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2019, 09:13:04 pm »
I was not sure where to put this post, but it does have some relationship to religion.

The only advice I have for you is meta: 'Family Life' in the Social Discussion Forums would be a good fit. (It's also fine here, for the reason you note, so I didn't move it, but will be happy to do so if you want.)

Otherwise, (((EclecticWheel))).

Sunflower
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Altair

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Re: Pressure
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2019, 10:34:52 pm »
Have you ever dealt with similar pressures?

Happily, no--that's one thing my gay experience doesn't include. But I hope you find a way to manage your pressures successfully.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

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Re: Pressure
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2019, 11:59:39 am »
Have you ever dealt with similar pressures?  I suppose I have become so immersed in my own little world and niches that this is a totally unexpected and bizarre pressure to have placed on me now.

I don't know why the thread title didn't earworm me until today, but now it has. Here, have some encouragement from a couple of queer icons:


Sunflower
I'm the AntiFa genderqueer commie eclectic wiccan Mod your alt-right bros warned you about.
I do so have a life; I just live part of it online!
“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” - Oscar Wilde
"Nobody's good at anything until they practice." - Brina (Yewberry)
My much-neglected blog "If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough"

Donal2018

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Re: Pressure
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2019, 01:44:57 pm »
I was not sure where to put this post, but it does have some relationship to religion.

...I called him yesterday to wish him a happy father's day, and after a few minutes he began to beg me to "change your ways," and to marry a wife and have children.  I told him that my sister is having plenty of children.  But that isn't good enough for him because she doesn't bear his effing last name.

...I am inclined toward the single life even as a gay person.  I do not date, and I do not have sex at this time in my life.  I might like to given the right opportunities, but the last several years that has not been right for me.  And I do not want children adopted or otherwise.  I have to take care of myself and my mental health.  I do not want to be responsible for children.  I am delighted by my one year old nephew and newborn niece, and that is enough for me.

...I create in my own way.  I create prayers and rituals.  I at least try to inspire others to grow spiritually and in healing when they reach out to me for that.  I flourish in my spiritual life.  I reach out to the wounded people in my mother's family to somehow inspire their own flourishing.  All of this is for me a very fruitful way to live, and I don't need children to complete me or anyone else.

...Have you ever dealt with similar pressures?  I suppose I have become so immersed in my own little world and niches that this is a totally unexpected and bizarre pressure to have placed on me now.

I relate somewhat. I am straight, but I am also single, celibate, and child free. I do have nephews. My Sister has two young sons and I am pretty close to them. The older kid is into D+D and I gave him a bunch of premium dice for his last birthday. I enjoy being an Uncle. My Brother's sons are older and I am not that close to them.

I am deliberately child free. My Father died of a heart attack when I was 12. I decided then that I would not have children because I did not want to put them through what I went through. Later as an adult, I got diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, a pretty severe case, and have been dealing with it my whole adult life. I spend much of my time caring for myself, and really have no time to take care of anyone else but myself. I do support my Sister a lot with advice and emotional help though.

Anyway, I do not have parents around to urge me to have children. My Mom passed away in 2016 and my Dad has been deceased for many years. They had Grandkids through my Brother and Sister anyway. No one ever pushed me to have kids. I get to be the Uncle who hangs out with the family, but not with the responsibility that comes with raising the children.

I also relate to the sense of being monastic. I used to describe myself as a Secular Monk back when I was more secular. Now I describe myself as a sort of Universalist Monk. I think everyone deserves to have control over their own life, be who they want to be, and not get pressure from family or anyone else to have children or be someone that they are not.

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