Today has been my first time seeing many of my family since I began cheating on my wife. I’ve always been thought of as the good son of my family. No drug addiction, no kids out of wedlock, no felonies or misdemeanors, no divorces, married, have a job, an apparent God-fearing Christian. I’ve never thought of myself as better than my siblings and cousins who struggled with these issues, but I also didn’t mind the praise either, much as I’d try to downplay it. This year, I know I’m not worthy of it, but it came all the same. I felt split, here I sat, the good son I’d always been, everything they thought I was. I sat there wondering what they’d think of the other man, who was also me, who had been having sex with a woman who was not his wife less than 24 hours ago. What would grandma say, what would grandpa say? What about father, mother? My siblings and cousins? My wife? Would any of them understand? Was there anything to understand?
I have no grand insights today (do I ever) or any exciting experiences to relate. But now with my secret life, I feel that much more empathetic to the more overt problems my cousins and siblings face, the flaws that make the elder members of my family shake their head with disappointment. Let’s make this holiday season about making sure those black sheep of the family feel welcome and loved in the fold, lest we forget that some of us bear secret spots and blemishes worse than those others wear on their faces. Happy Thanksgiving.