How to explain to your parents that you’re a starfish.

I wrote this a few months ago as satire to an article I saw about how “wrong it is” to come out of the closet to one’s parents (in terms of homosexuality). I was a little perturbed, and decided to send this to the publisher. I never heard back, but I can only assume that they did not take me seriously. Why? I am not sure.

We’ve all experienced it—waking up in the morning with the fleeting feeling that you don’t fit in, that you’re not the same as everyone else. Let’s face it, not all of us are similar. Some of us like women, some of us like men, and some of us are starfish. It’s just the way life works. One day you’re walking around and hanging out with friends, the next you’re regenerating an arm that was severed the previous afternoon—difference comes at you fast, but there’s no way to stop it. Unfortunately, not everyone is as open minded as we might hope for them to be, making it difficult for deviants, such as starfish-people, to fit in. Difference simply makes life more challenging for those unlike the norm, but that’s to be expected. Nothing worth having in life comes easy, especially not admitting to your parents that you’re a fully fledged starfish.

Parents are an interesting thing. Some people love them, some people hate them, and some people are soulless orphans—there’s really not many other options (especially not “some people eat them” – please don’t do that, cannibalism is wrong). Talking to a parent about a sensitive topic, regardless of your shared relationship, is almost always hard. Ultimately, however, it’s important to face your fears and approach your parent bravely, revealing to them your echinodermism at your own pace. Chances are that it won’t go over well. If your parents are anything like mine (extremely conservative seafood eaters and NRA members), the idea of being a starfish is not something they want to willingly hear, let alone accept.

Typical NRA member and starfish hater–very likely the spitting image of your parent(s).

As a result, it’s vital to plan out exactly what to say, how to say it, and, most importantly, when to say it. Too many times have I heard of people telling their parents they’ve got five rejuvenating arms in the middle of a seafood restaurant. It’s just a terrible idea–why would you ever do that? Not only are your parents already vulnerable by being hungry (and unsatisfied by any meal they’ve already been given–seafood always leaves people hungry), the option to kill and eat you is quite viable. For this reason, it’s absolutely imperative that you take time when deciding how to admit to being a starfish.

When I admitted to my parents that I was an Asterias rubens starfish commonly found in rocky substrates, the shock and disappointment was visible on their confused faces. Thanks to my preparation and timing, however, I was ready and able to discuss the issue with my parents in a calm and civilized manner. In the end, they grew to accept me (dare I say respect me?). I would like to explain to you, the struggling sea star, exactly how I outted myself to my mother and father.

For weeks I struggled on deciding how and when to admit to my parents that I was a sea predator and was fond of eating mollusks and dying fish. The timing had to be absolutely right. But, more importantly, I had to figure out what to say to them and how to keep them from tearing off my limbs (daily) for their enjoyment. After tedious thinking, I settled on a strong and empowering speech. If my memory serves, it went something like: “Mom. Dad. I’m a star fish. Before you say anything, please understand this: You did nothing wrong (aside from mating with a starfish). Nothing (again, with the exception of the starfish mating). I’ve been this way for all my life. Remember when we would go to the beach and I would just remain on the sand and get pushed back and forth by the waves? Sure, kids love doing that–but didn’t you find it suspicious that I remained in those waves for weeks on end? And do you remember the time I fell off the slide and tore all five of my limbs off (also, haven’t you ever wondered why I have five limbs?)? I know I told you a fairy made them regrow, but the fact of the matter is that I’m a star fish—they regenerated over time. Even the jaundice I’ve had all my life—it’s not medical, I’m simply orange. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a star fish. I’m still your son, of course, but I’m also a creature of the ocean.”

With that speech, I could cover three important grounds: admitting to being a starfish, clearing my parents of all blame through examples of star fish-ism and, most importantly, reminding my parents that I’m their son (mostly so that they did not eat and/or mutilate me).

I was content with the speech and decided to move on to figuring out how to say it. That was simple: I would scream it at them, so that they did not miss a single word (after all, the loudest is often the smartest). The next thing to deal with, of course, was how/when. This is the most challenging part of admitting that you’re a sea creature commonly found on almost all beaches in the world. It’s simple enough to figure out how to word a plea for acceptance, but convincing yourself that saying it during a five-alarm fire, or any other dramatic scenario, is not as easy. I spent weeks working on location and hour, running through literally eight different scenarios, including the cursed seafood approach (too dangerous), inside of a McDonald’s play set (too distracting/fun), and underwater (too drowny).

It looks perfect at first glance, but do you really think you could resist that slide? No.

Despite all of the thinking (which, as you probably know, is difficult for a star fish, considering we have no true centralized brain), I decided, in the end, to take the simplest approach possible, and it went as such: late in the night, when both my parents were sleeping, I slowly suctioned into the room with my tube feet, dressed in nothing but socks (THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! You must announce your starfish-ism in the nude, so that your parents can see your bumps and orifices, but remember to keep your socks on [all five limbs]! They will remind your parents that you are somewhat human) and quickly laid down on top of them, placing all of my body weight over them. Before allowing them to awake, I suctioned them to the bed, preventing them from moving. At this point, I proceeded to wake them up with an ear-shattering scream (again, the louder you are, the better your argument). They were not pleased initially, but once they saw my naked star-fishy body, they understood what was coming. I explained [screamed] to them what I had planned to say earlier and then stopped, in order to let them speak. I expected to be hurt, even murdered—but, in my case, it was the opposite. Due to being completely pinned down by my suction feet, they were forced to acknowledge my being (and could only breathe when I allowed them to). Although they were mad and disappointed, I had convinced them to start the long road to acceptance. Also, as a precaution, I had asexually reproduced dozens of times over the previous week and accumulated an army of children I had no qualms with killing to protect me. I had them encircle the bed (I recommend this, fear is important in acceptance) and make their presence known by systematically killing each other violently (I won the Father of the Year award for this [in the genocide category]). In the end, after all was settled and I had agreed to release my prenets (but kept them under the watchful eye of my suicidal army), my Dad even admitted to having thoughts of severing his arms on occasion, just to see if they would regrow.

My starfish minions are completely expendable and afraid of nothing.

As you can see, it’s a difficult and challenging task to admit to your parents that you have five arms and live in the ocean, but it’s not impossible. As long as you take the time to plan out how you will admit to being a star fish, and go about it delicately, you can be on the road to acceptance faster than you can move from one place to another (without the assistance of waves).

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