The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)
Ostracized because of sexual orientation
DEAR ANNIE » I am a 15-year-old boy, and my family hates me because I am gay. For as long as I can remember, I’ve known I am attracted to other guys. My parents found out last year and became extremely angry with me. All I feel now is their hatred. They say I am a disgrace. Though they still take care of my needs — food, clothes, shelter, etc., — they say that when I turn 18, I’ll be on my own. I am not included in any family outings or welcome at any of my relatives’ homes.
I try really hard to get them to love me again. I work hard at school and have excellent grades. I am constantly doing work around the house, but nothing gets acknowledged. I try to apologize for being gay, but they won’t hear it.
The only one in my family who still seems to love me is my big brother, but he is in the Army and only comes home a couple of times a year. He has talked to my parents on my behalf, but they don’t listen to him at all. I have considered suicide, but I really don’t want to die. I just want to be forgiven. Is there anything I can do?
DEAR RILEY » I know life is very hard right now, but I beg you, please, do not hurt yourself. And if you feel that you are going to, dial 911.
If you are not in immediate danger and would just like to talk to someone who understands what you’re going through, I highly recommend calling the Trevor Lifeline, at 866-488-7386. The Trevor Project is a nonprofit organization that focuses on suicide prevention among LGBTQ youths, and someone is there to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whoever answers can provide resources for coping with the hardships you’re facing at home.
You are beautiful and perfect just the way you are. Hang in there and there will be happier days in your future. I promise.
DEAR ANNIE » A farm that has been in my family for four generations was passed down to me. I love this land. It is not a great investment, I admit, but I don’t want to sell it. Instead, I would like for my children to own it when I die. My children don’t share the same connection to the farm that I do. I understand that they most likely will want to sell it so they can use the proceeds for something else. I am OK with that.
The problem? My husband insists that I should put his name on the deed now or provide in my will that he will inherit the farm from me if I die before he does. He insists that I should do so “as a sign of respect.” He says that he might need to sell it to pay for his care in old age. I doubt that, because we are reasonably well-off, but I have offered to put the land in a trust so that if he doesn’t have enough money to pay for his care, the income from the farm can be used to support him. He is not satisfied. I am worn-out from arguing. What should I do?
— Love This Land
DEAR LOVE THIS LAND » It is your ancestral farm, and you should do with it whatever you please. But seeing as you mentioned that money isn’t really a concern, have you looked into donating the land? You seem to have such a deep connection with it that you might find joy in knowing it went to a good cause.
DEAR ANNIE » After going to college out of state and graduating a few years ago, I moved home with my parents so I could save money while attending graduate school. Recently, my mom has started to get on my last nerve. If I look good in an outfit, she goes out and buys the same thing. Though this has been happening since high school, it’s been happening a lot more recently. I’ve brought it up in the past, but she hasn’t seen a problem with it. We don’t even have the same body shape or skin tone, so what looks good on me doesn’t flatter her. Also, she gets so excited when buying new clothes that she’ll wear the outfit over and over again, never giving me a chance to wear it unless I want to match. As I mentioned, I’m trying to save money for school, so going clothes shopping is a rare treat for me. However, my mom would live at the mall if she could. I really appreciate all my parents are doing for me — living rent-free is a blessing, I know — but I’m this close to living in my sweats. Annie, how do I stop myself from unraveling?
— The Empress’s New
DEAR EMPRESS’S NEW CLOTHES » I understand your allergic reaction to Mom’s copycat behavior. But the next time she dresses up like her style icon (i.e., you), try changing your outlook instead of your outfit. Perhaps if you look at it as an attempt at being closer with you, it will become less annoying and more endearing. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
What’s more, although you might be self-conscious, I doubt many people actually notice that you two are dressed like twins. For one, you wear the clothes very differently, as you said. For another, people are generally too busy worrying about how they look to notice how anyone else does.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http:// www.creatorspublishing. com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@ creators.com.