28 April 2011

My First Time Naked in the Deep End

The first time you tell your mother you're gay, is kind of like the first time you tell your first boyfriend you love him. There is never certainty in your decision. Your voice will always sound a mixture of desperation and fear. There will always be far too many plausible reasons as to why, today, may not be the "best time." "It is kind of rainy out, no one really likes big news during such precipitation." However, there will always be precipitation. There will always be the butterfly's, not so much fluttering, but more like clawing at the back of your throat. There will always be that looming fear of the moment after. Of what really happens when you finally let the cat out of the bag. Of what it really feels like to expose yourself bare. The first time I told my mother I was gay, it took me about a week to get over the feeling of being nude.

It was at night, in her apartment, no picturesque serene to speak of, just us, alone. It was one of our Scary Movie Nights that we tend to do often, yet was forced to cancel the last few weeks, so tonight was pivotal for us catching up on lost times. I couldn't tell you now exactly what movie it was we decided to indulge ourselves in that particular night, but I do assure you it was one rich in all the blood and gore that movies on demand could offer. It was around 8 o'clock, the time we usually began our cinematic endeavors. My mother had just begun smoking her last cigarette of the night, into the fan so that I wouldn't have to breathe in the smoke, of course. Everything about the apartment seemed untouched and ordinary, there was absolutely no foreshadowing as to what was soon to come.

To this day I still couldn't tell you why it is I decided that particular night was the night I was going to come out to my mother. There were no plans or strategies beforehand. Honestly, I couldn't even tell you where the idea even came from. Wasn't like I saw a commercial for "Queer as Folk," and said, "Hey, maybe I should come out today?" No, nothing like that at all. Quite honestly just the fact that the idea was even in my head scared me. However, what scared me even more was the pure unrelenting-ness of it all. It seemed as if as soon as I thought of the idea, it became something that I HAD to do. There was this harsh stubbornness that just seemed to fountain into me, that even I couldn't make much sense of. It was a strange consolidation of both utter fear and empowerment, all rolled into one. Sort of refreshing, yet also horrifying.

The obstacle I always knew I would have to face when telling my mother I was gay, is the fact that my mother is a God fearing woman. I knew that the only way to broach the topic of me being homosexual to her, would first have to be by me letting her know that, yes, I too acknowledge the fact that there is a God.

Me: "Mom, do you believe that God would ever create people who are, from birth, destined to go to hell?"
Mom: "No hun, Jesus died on the cross for all our sins. So, we all could have new mercies. Why do you ask?"

This is how it began, with that single question. After asking this we began to find ourselves knee deep in a debate over the writers of the bible. Me inquiring as to how it is we know God intended all of the bibles content to be as it is, being that he wasn't always present as it was written. About how exactly we know the disciples may not have mis-quoted or perhaps mis-interpreted one of his teachings. All of which I were saying in attempt to eventually confront the passages stated in the book of Leviticus: "A man shall not lay with another man, as he does a woman..... an abomination," you know, all that jazz. However, I could see my mother's patience was beginning to wear thin as it was getting late, and the movie was forced to be put on pause due to all my sudden inquisitiveness. So I decided it was about time I begin asking the questions that I was really interested to know the answers to.

Me: "Mom, would you love me no matter what?

The words fell heavy on my chest. It felt as if I in fact told my mother I was gay in that moment. Slowly the tears began to form, then the shaking, then the nausea, then the regret. In that moment, I knew there was no turning back.

Mom: "Of course honey! Tell me what's wrong? Why all these questions? I would love you no matter what. No matter if you get a woman pregnant. Kill someone. (pause) Even if you find that you love another man."

I could tell it took everything she had to get the words out. As if she were scared that if she said it, somehow she would be making it true. To be honest, I was petrified for the exact same reason. As if somehow because she said it, it was true. That I was gay. That this was my "coming out" moment which everyone speaks of. That soon I would have to relive this moment. That this moment would become something normal to me, something I've experienced before, and could help others to get through. It is the idea of this one day becoming the "norm" for me that scared me to death.

Me: "Yes."
Mom: "Yes what?"
Me: "I'm gay."

It began as a whisper, a snotty nose, blood shot eyed whisper. As if I were simply telling a secret to a friend that I didn't wish for everyone else to hear. However, in that house we were alone and my mother wanted to hear it. As if somehow the volume of my voice determined whether or not this was real or just a phase. So I said it again, and again, and again. I said it so many times to the point that I even began to believe myself. To the point where I knew there was no turning back. To the point where, yes, this is what I'm afraid of yet its not like I could do anything about it now. So, that night I told my mother I was gay and after looked myself in the mirror just to see how naked I had become.

My mother on the other hand did nothing. Just turned off the fan and began smoking another cigarette. It was weeks before we ever spoke about it again, or even had another movie night for that matter.

Point of the Conversation: Somethings are best done blindfolded.

- T. Wayne

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