Well, world…here I am. I’m a couple of days outside of writing that last blog entry and I’m not gonna lie, I’ve gotten some great feedback! Most of it was in the form of texts and Gchats, but I’ll forgive you this time for not posting it everywhere you can and commenting on the actual post…this time…
So. I figured now would be a good time to write the next part of my post: coming out to friends, family, and the like. Why so soon, you ask? Two posts in one week! you shriek. Yes. It’s true. You’re lucky. And I write this from a coffee shop in Lake Country area, Wisconsin. Yes. I am here. And many of you will read this and be like “WHAT GIRL YOU DIDN’T TELL ME YOU WERE HOME WHAT ARE THESE SHENANIGANS!?” but, sorry. That’s life. I came home for one reason, and one reason only, and that’s to see my family because things have been r-o-u-g-h for the past seven months.
Let’s start from the very beginning (a very good place to start):
Two weeks into dating Exhibit A, I was sitting on her porch listening to her talk about the Methodist church and how it’s a big pile of BS that they don’t allow you to be out and a pastor. We were drinking some tasty beer and the sun was shining, and I forgot halfway through her story about grad school what she was even saying because I couldn’t form any thoughts other than I was in love with her. Do you know how scary that is? Two weeks into dating someone who I’ve told nobody about and I can say with my gut and heart that I love her. I was freaking. out.
I slowly decided to tell people about her. The first person I called was Musketeer #1 (there are three of us, best friends since childhood.) I told her that I was seeing someone, and she was stoked! She asked…and I told her “a girl.” I think I called her knowing she’d have the best reaction, and she did. So much love to my two besties, seriously. They were thrilled and kept saying they could hear it in my voice – I was happy. I needed that.
From there, it seemed easy. Every person I told was so lovely about it. Almost every guy I told made a comment on how all of the men in the world were missing out, and all of my girlfriends were so sweet about it. I was thinking that I was on top of the world! But then I remembered…family.
Now, I don’t know about y’all, but my family’s a little scary, k? But I can’t put the blame on them for being the way they are. See, I come from a small, Midwestern town. The only (out…one in nine, k!? Don’t forget that statistic!) gay person that I know of from here is a kid I graduated with who now lives happily in New York as an actor. My hometown is Republican, white, wealthy, and not nice. That being said, my family is not in that spectrum. Union members, a mother who teaches special ed, Obama supporters, lovers of the 99%…all of it. So, I figured I’d be okay.
They took my breakup with my fiance pretty hard. My mom was happy because she knew I was unhappy with him. My dad was supportive. My stepsister was proud. My sister was pissed (her husband and my fiance are buds and she was nervous about that) and my brother just told me he loved me. Simple enough. So, I figured when I told them that I was in fact not soulless and had started dating again, they’d be happy.
Five weeks into seeing Exhibit A, I decided it was time to tell them. She wasn’t going anywhere. I took off of church that Sunday, took Exhibit A’s dog, and went on a walk around City Park. I assumed I’d go down the list: call mom, call sister, call stepsister, call dad. I started with my mom and nearly vomited out of fear. The conversation was bland for the first ten minutes and I was so short of breath. Finally, it progressed into something like this:
Mom: So, what’s up? I can tell something’s going on.
Me: Yeah. I called to tell you something.
Mom: Oh my God, what? Are you pregnant?
Me: No, no no. It’s that…I’ve been seeing someone.
Mom: Okay…is it _______ (roommate).
Me: Oh no, not at all. (At this point she sighs, because she really likes my roommate. Bummer for her.)
Mom: Okay, well, who then? Just spit it out.
Me: Well, this person is really great. It’s someone I’ve known for a long time as friends and we’ve been going to church together and they’re really nice. I’ve talked about them before with you. It’s just….(panic) itsagirlandhernameis________.
Mom: What? …I can’t listen to this right now. I don’t want to talk about it. (click.)
She called back a couple of hours later and yelled at me. Told me that I was wrong, that I should have told her about this because I obviously had known “forever” that I was gay, etc. I told her that wasn’t true, and I wanted to wait to tell her before I knew I’d be dating Exhibit A seriously. She asked how I knew I wanted to love her and be with her forever, and I said that I had never said that. A lot of bickering and her uninviting me home for Christmas, and click again. I sat sobbing in my roommate’s arms for a pretty long time. My siblings called and said they loved me, my dad called and said I could love an ant farm or a fire hydrant and he’d still love me just the same. My beautiful, loving, and supporting girlfriend told me that this was the hardest part — it’d be easier from here.
She was right..ish. Families take a long time to talk to. I decided to keep on keepin’ on and try to talk to my mom about her. Big mistake. She’d shut down every time I’d mention her name. I told her that wasn’t fair; she was making me this bigger and better person, she was with me on a lovely faith walk…nothing worked. She kept telling me that she was A – losing me and B – thought Exhibit A was speaking for me. And so the rift grows larger.
I ended up going home for Christmas and she wouldn’t let me talk about it – didn’t want to ruin the holiday. I waited until after Christmas and sat down with her. She said “so do you want to talk?” and I of course said “About how I’m dating a woman? Sure.” She kept asking how long I knew I wanted to be with women and I repeatedly explained to her that it wasn’t about wanting to be “with women,” it was about wanting to be with this woman. Singular. She said “I can’t talk about this anymore” and left the room. And that was that.
So, fast forward to now. I’m home and we’re gonna talk about it again. A couple of weeks ago, I went to a reconciling event at my church and a woman stood up and asked for the gay people in the room to remember the parents. She said it wasn’t a question of love, because of course they loved us, but it’s a shock. It’s not the life they closed their eyes and imagined for their children. That doesn’t make it bad or wrong, it just makes it different, and we need to respect that time it takes. The woman saying that left me inspired, and I went home and wrote my mom a long email apologizing for not giving her the time she needed and asked to talk to her about it again, because I was in love (shock! I told her!) and Exhibit A wasn’t going to be going anywhere anytime soon, so she needed to accept it…or not. Her choice.
Plane ticket was purchased the next day.
Here we are. Seven months into this relationship and I’m going to start talking about it with my mom. It’s going to be so hard, and how fucked up is that?! Most of you who read this are my straight friends. You can comfortably talk about dating with your friends, family, and others without having an eye batted. But I wear a rainbow scarf and tell everyone about my girlfriend’s new tattoo idea and boom…sinner. Filth. Liar. Fag. Bitch. Whore. Dyke.
Ever think about that?
Wish me luck this weekend, send prayers and good thoughts to my mom as we go through this. Cause she and I need it.