Giving Thanks

My mother doesn’t like to talk about the fact that I am gay. She has known of my fondness for the company of women almost as long as I have known, but March was the first time that I told her I had decided not to comply with the therapies that I had willingly been attending to. I will not attempt to explain why I ever agreed to such things because as much as I write about it, those decisions will never make sense to me or anyone else. Just thinking about it makes me wonder if I’m not a little bit lopsided. Recently I told her about a friend of mine, Kay, whose family was actually thinking about not inviting her to Thanksgiving – it seemed to me that they thought perhaps if they didn’t mention it, then it would slip her mind altogether.

The grandmother finally had the sense of mind to see that was ridiculous and she called to try to reason with my friend. She said that if she was going to come to Thanksgiving, she mustn’t touch her partner while they are there because it would upset the ONE person who had a problem with her being gay. Kay’s family has survived without the company of men – from her grandmother all the way down, most of them divorced out of brief marriages. Quite the happy lot. Except for the minister. One of them has managed to hang on to a conservative Christian man who honestly doesn’t seem to fit into the whole lot of them. And because of ONE MAN who has a problem with it, they’ll probably have to sit on opposite couches and pretend they don’t actually sleep in the same bed almost all of the time. I’m fucking tired of the silence.

But getting back to mommy dear. I told her the story and she told me that my partner will never be allowed to holidays with her family. She wants to pretend that it’s not real. I’m pretty sure that she never wants to meet my partner, never wants to know how happy I am. She’s much happier pretending that I’m just her daughter who’s too focused on her studies, her career, her travel, her ministry to be tied down to any man.

She’s been very brave, for a woman like her. We’ve only talked about me being gay twice since the first time in February when I told her I am happy just the way I am. Of course, she cried and I asked her if she wanted to hang up and talk to me another time, and she said yes, so I told her that I loved her and she said she loved me too and we said goodbye. The second time was when I told her about the fiasco at my bible school where a former counselor of mine outed me to five people. Fabulous! She was outraged, but not because someone betrayed my confidence, but because they betrayed her confidence. The less people who know about her daughter’s queerness, the better. And finally, this time, telling her about Kay’s Thanksgiving ordeal, when she said, “It’s not that I don’t love you…” I finished her sentence, “It’s that you love me.” — Implying that she loves me, and refuses to love my partners. What happens when I get married? What happens when I’m birthing a baby. She wanted to be there for all of these things. Until I was gay.

So. Here I am. A young woman in her twenties, who grew up with three mothers, and numerous spiritual aunts who have supported me and fostered an environment of safety for my spiritual growth. Until I gave up the fight to go straight. I’m losing my mothers, I’m losing my aunts and the spiritual sisters I grew up with. I guess I would not have lost them if I had not excluded them, but I’m fairly certain that I will be able to enjoy their guidance a little while longer if I do not include them in this part of my life.

I guess today, in writing this, I’m realizing that I need to find new mothers and new aunts who will hold my hand. I need to find them soon, so that when it comes to this – when it comes to building a family that will be mine when I grow up, I will have mothers and aunts to lean on. And sisters to gab with. And sisters to cry with.

I lay in bed last night writing letters to some people who have been meaningful to me. It feels good to tell people how thankful I am to have (or to have had) them in my life, even if only for a fleeting moment. I have volumes more to write, here. I still have not written about the difference between love and ‘in love’ and how that relates to sex. I have not written about the health issues that I have been neglecting. I have not written about my growing desire to join the MCC, while I am so reluctant to leave the fellowship I have associated myself with for… two full years now. (wow, I hadn’t realized it. Thanksgiving Sunday, two years ago, I shared part of my story.) I have not written about how anxious I am that the new year is coming up. It has now been one year since I left bible school, as of today. That makes me nervous. I feel like I have not accomplished much.

What have I accomplished? If those of you who have known me awhile would pipe up and remind me, I think that would be helpful. I think it’s easier for other people to see the ways that we have changed, when we ourselves lack perspective.

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4 thoughts on “Giving Thanks

  1. When I met my second girlfriend I was excited and happy. So I call my mother and say: Mum, I’ve met another girl. The oh that I recieved carried so much disappointment. I think she believed that my first lesbian relationship was just a phase.

    I think we all just want to be loved for who we are. When somebody that you care about refuses to accept your differences sometimes it seems easier to attempt to change, than stand up and say No, this is me. But what for? So they can see a version of you that is not real? Just their carefully edited version that suits how they want to percieve you? That is not love, or friendship. That is manipulation, even if it is not a conscious choice.

    I don’t walk around saying fuck you, I’m gay but I refuse to pretend that I’m not. Be yourself, no matter what. If you lose contact with somebody who does not want you to be that, is it really a bad thing?

  2. families struggle the most with seeing their loved ones change roles, esp. unexpected ones. here’s hoping that one day soon, your family will see that you being you doesn’t precluded them being anything other than themselves. they have helped make you who you are today, including strong enough to stand up and come out. celebrate that, and then, lovingly, seek the community YOU choose now to support who YOU are.
    < << hug >>>

  3. I feel a bit diffident about commenting, since I haven’t known you for any length of time, but I wanted to say that your situation and the specific questions about family and how to go about building one intentionally really strike a chord for me. I’ve been lucky enough to have something like a surrogate family among the people I love who support me even before I came out to my biological family, but I still find myself questioning how I’m supposed to function in the face of this denial of who I am. I hope you find your way.

  4. Vic, I guess it is a bad thing to me because everything is still very new. I still feel very young and very attached to my family (although the attachment is fading)… But in the car on the way home from the airport, we decided to have gay “family” thanksgiving next year and be thankful for each other instead of being excluded.

    TT, you’re absolutely right that these women, my mothers, taught me to be strong and to speak up for my needs. That’s what they were all doing when I was a teenager… and I needed that hug!

    MP, you must never hesitate to comment! Thank you for the well wishes. I’m definitely finding my way, it’s my first year and there’s a lot of way to find.

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