So I told my parents I'm a lesbian.
At first, you know, I thought they took it well...there was lots of hugging and "Wow's" and "Were you afraid to tell us's?"
Yeah, for a few days I felt pretty normal about it.
Until yesterday morning when my mom climbed into bed with me with questions.
"So, when did you know?"
"Have you had any girlfriends?"
"So...ARE YOU SURE?"
I had a feeling this was coming, but still, if there was a way I could have avoided this conversation, I really would have liked to. But it happened, and I was absolutely right about how I thought it would go. It sucked. Hard.
Then she launched into this whole (I'm assuming, prepared) schpiel, trying to justify my thoughts and behavior by telling me it may just be a phase because:
1. I went to an all-girls school
2. I didn't get a chance to socialize with boys
3. I stayed cooped up in my room for most of high school
4. I'm socially awkward
5. I have low self-esteem issues
6. I've never dressed very well
7. Growing up, I didn't look like the "pretty girls"
just to rattle off a few.
So you know, maybe it's just a phase. Well...thanks mom.
But you're missing one largely important fact, here:
I HAVE FEELINGS FOR GIRLS.
Sure, these factors could influence me into a phase, but a phase lasts...no more than about a year I'd hope.
This may sound bad to most people, like my mom is a bad person for not simply accepting the fact. But honestly, that's just my mother. She gets curious about things she doesn't know much about and tries to justify them based on her knowledge of the world. Which is, in a sense, what we all do; she just happens to be a little more brutal about the situations. Well sorry mom, no way to philosophize your way out of this one. Your daughter's a lezbo. Better get used to it.
I've also realized though, that there's really nothing for my mother to get used to. I'm the same person either way, and what does it matter the sex of the person I love? I'm gay: true fact. Did I attend an all-girl's school for six years? Yep. Was I a little on the heavy side growing up? Sure, you could say that. But none of these things - not a single one- defines who I am, as a person.
What does it matter if a person dresses horribly or has a thousand and one piercings? That, in no way, means they're gay, and none of those qualities should define them, either.
When I first entertained the thought of being a lesbian, I felt different...what was I supposed to do? Dress in boys' clothes? Talk in a deeper voice? But the truth is, there is no way to act like a lesbian...other than by being in a relationship with another girl. Some people may argue, well then why do lesbians like to hang out with other lesbians?
Umm...aside from the fact that that's who we're attracted to, there are many topics which come up in gay conversation that just don't come to straight people as easily. They're not issues straight people have really taken the time to consider because they aren't issues for them. Sometimes it's just easier to talk to people who know where you're coming from about topics such as:
this blog post, the realization of being gay, the coming out experience, expectations based on stereotypes, the world's vs. your own understanding of you, the list could go on and on.
This past semester I was in a Creative Writing class, and one of our assignments was called an Abecedarium. It's a piece of writing that weaves together a series of groups of topics (i.e. people, dates, places, etc.) in alphabetical order; all of which say something about the author.
I thought it would be interesting to document my progress in discovering my lesbianism. It's interesting to go back and think...ohh. So that's why I did that; so that's why I felt that way.
To my mother, this lesbian thing is very out of the blue. I'm just telling her about it now. In her mind it's almost an impossibility that I am this way because the entire time I've been thinking I may be gay, she's been envisioning me as straight. Now that she hears that this isn't the case, she's basing this "Phase Theory" off of things she saw me experience. The problem with that is that she has no idea the things I've thought and the things I've felt. And of course, rather than talk to her about it, it's much easier to just write it all out. Hooray for socially awkward people.
12 Letters of an Abecedarium.
My favorite movie as a young girl was The Little Mermaid. I was convinced that like Ariel, I was odd and misunderstood. Everyday I would fly up on the swings at recess belting out the lyrics to Part of Your World. All of my friends dreamt of one day finding and marrying their Prince Eric, but I was satisfied with the story just being about Ariel.
We were coming home from a basketball game when I was around ten when my mom asked me what I thought about people who were gay. I said I thought it was weird. She responded, "You know Aunt Elaine's gay, right?" It was difficult for me to look at her the same way for the next year or so.
For grades 7-12, I attended an all girl's Catholic school principled by a short Catholic woman, Mrs. Cecelia Coe. She later hired my mother to be a Religion teacher there when I was a sophomore. I often wondered if in the Religion classes we were taught what Catholics think, or what to think in general.
At around a hundred girls per class, my high school was rather small, barely six hundred girls total. The school was known for breeding smart and eloquent young ladies with a passion for Catholic values. Emma Delsohn, a girl in the class below me was the first open lesbian here. I've recently learned that she has a girlfriend, Emily Mundee, in her same year there.
After eighth grade, I took an all-girls family vacation to New York. For our first Broadway show, went to see Wicked, a musical about the secret and intimate friendship between Galinda the Good and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. After experiencing the show, I came out bawling and distraught and couldn’t understand why. It was then that I developed a slight obsession with Eden Espinosa, the actress who played Elphaba, and even more than that, I realized that all I could think about during her performance was another girl.
High School dances were a funny thing at La Reina because every one was a Sadie Hawkins. Once I thought this hunk of a guy Brandon from Church liked me, and I had been dragging out what I thought was some kind of relationship with him so I could ask him to go with me to my Junior Winter Formal. Eventually, things fizzled out and it turned out he had been seeing my best friend behind my back the whole time.
My father, the pilot, the world traveler, the explorer, the pacifist. Every time he came back from an exotic land, he had a new story to tell me about the people he met, the cultures he was introduced to, and the rich food he ate. He had a way of explaining the reason people did the odd things that made them who they were, and somehow making those things seem almost normal.
Late in my senior year, a close friend of mine became rather detached and isolated. Natalie Harlacher confessed to me later that year that her father Mark had been having an affair with another woman.
Seniors at La Reina go on a final retreat entitled Kairos from the ancient Greek term meaning the right or opportune moment. It is meant to give us a week to reflect upon and share intimate details of our lives that made us the women we were, and that was somehow supposed to bring us closer together. The only feeling I felt the majority of the time was anxiety. My religion teacher that year, Irene, was nice enough to go out and buy me conditioner because I had forgotten mine.
My brother came out to Chicago last year to help me pack up my things after my freshman year of college. On the night of my nineteenth birthday, after we had gotten sufficiently drunk, I shared with him that I was a lesbian. He was the first family member I came out to.
I remember when I had just entered high school, one instance in which my mom came into my room, not knowing how to approach me about something. She told me that when Josh’s girlfriend comes over, they have to stick to certain rules about behavior, like not laying together on the couches. Not knowing what in the hell she was getting at, I didn’t respond. She continued, “So when Katie comes over...and your father and I see you two laying on the couch together...if you--” “--Mom, I’m not a lesbian.”
Flawless actress on the hit musical-sitcom Glee, Jane Lynch was recently married in Massachusetts to Laura Embry. On not coming out to her parents until she was 31, she said, “I didn't want to be gay. I wanted to be...I wanted an easy life. And you know what? I am gay and I still have an easy life.”
Oh lord. My brain is tired.
I'm tired of talking. I'm tired of thinking.
Time to retreat.