Thursday, June 08, 2006

"This was only the second time I've ever seen your father cry."

On June 8, 1997, my mother wrote in her journal, This is the day I lost my daughter. Not a particularly nice day for me either since shortly before writing those words, she had been searching my room on suspicion that her daughter was -- gasp! -- a lesbian. When she found a couple of love letters from my first girlfriend, she went into hysterics. The confrontation happened later the next day.

Mom: "Are you gay?"

Me: "Uh . . ."

This brings me back to the journal. After feeling like my privacy was unforgivably violated, I searched my mom's things in retaliation. I must have thought I was really clever when I opened up her nightstand and found her journal. This is the day I lost my daughter. What an awful thing to read.

I'm writing about this not to gain any sympathy points, but to hopefully exorcise myself of a demon old enough to enter the 4th grade. My coming out was not pretty -- lots of tears and something about Catholicism. It was hard to keep track of all the purported influences that mother hurled at me. My favorite was, Was it because you had a teacher in high school who was gay?

Yeah, Mom. That was definitely it.

If OFTL and Lesbian Club has had any successes it is that I am more comfortable with myself and comfortable with my sexuality -- it only took nine years. Since that day in June, my mother has thankfully calmed down and learned that she didn't lose her daughter after all. Though the L word is not mentioned, I have the sense that she's since come to peace with it and feels bad about how she reacted. See, no one in my family talks about what they are really feeling, so I have to speculate and take my victories where I can get them.

Thank god for happy endings, right?


Mr. Bad Apologies said...

I ALSO remember that as your lesbian summer. LORDY! Every day on the drive to work it was lesbian this or lesbian that or mom drama this or girlfriend drama that. If you recall, I stuffed envelopes in a large executive suite ALL SUMMER LONG. You, and that Fiona Apple CD, were my only reprieve.

Sorry you weren't there for my big gay summer of '98. Thank god Mimi was. I think I'll go look her up...

nycrouge said...

Even though you were pre-gay, you were definitely keeping me on the sane side, Mr. BA. Don't forget I helped you stuff those envelopes too. Oh the montony of
stamping "Dan Feldman" on everything for $6 an hour while watching the traffic whiz by on I-270. We had Fiona to keep us company.

Sadly I was experiencing my big gay exile in Roanoke during the summer of '98.

LG said...

Okay, so I know I'm just NOW reading this (I suck and don't have enough hours in my day), but whew. My coming out was eerily similar; growing up Mormon does nothing for the lesbian ego. Lots of tears, lots of questions about my salvation, and eventually a banishment. My mom is still convinced it's because she let me play sports. Because you know, it's contagious.