My Mom Crushes My Dreams
My mother is my best friend and biggest cheerleader. There’s not a single thing that has happened in my life that she doesn’t know about… much to her chagrin. The story I’m about to share with you is one that she absolutely loathes. It’s a story about a difficult time in our relationship and how we navigated that to get to where we are today.
One day my mother took my brothers and I to see a local ballet troupe. I don’t remember much of the performance but I do remember thinking, that’s something I would like to do. At the end of the show the instructor stepped forward and invited people from the audience to apply for lessons at their studio. I’m around the age of 12 or thirteen at this time (and still very much in the self discovery phase). I turned to my mother and asked her if I could take ballet lessons, her response was “that’s a little feminine, and I’m already worried about you”. Ouch. I had no frame of reference for how to deal with that statement. I only knew about my own internal struggles and felt like someone had exposed them all. Needless to say, I did not inquire about ballet lessons again.
My mother had the same mentality that many parents of queer children have, if you can control the behavior and expression, you can effectively “cure” your child of homosexuality. I was fortunate that I wasn't physically punished or endured verbal assault for my differences. Years later when I came out to my mother she simply said, “no, you’re not [gay]”, and went back to cooking dinner. That was her solution, ignore it and maybe it would go away. If you’re not familiar with me, I can assure the gay did not evaporate. It was incredibly difficult for me to process the fact that the person that I literally trusted with my life and livelihood was incapable of accepting me for who I was. It hurt me to feel unwanted and unaccepted, and it pained me even more to see her internalize blame and guilt for my “condition”.
The biggest factor, in working from being incapable of acknowledging one of the biggest parts of my identity to having a respectful, relaxed, and intimate relationship; was time. Through experience and exploration, I gradually grew into myself, and my mother grew to accept me. We justify the way we treat each other in many different ways, but at the end of the day true love is unconditional. When we get past the initial shock and fear of the new, we open ourselves to the opportunity to grow in our humanity. My mother did not have to accept me, but she knew that she would never stop being my mother, and that she could never stop loving me. Sometimes, we have to make a decision about whether we’re going to love someone through their development or love them from a distance. No matter the approach: choose love.