As many of you know, the past few days have been hectic for us here in Non-belly Mama land! I have been reading many of your coming out stories in honor of National Coming Out Day and they have been awesome! I also have a coming out story, but mine is very different from the ones that I have read.
I was 14 years old. My siblings and I were the “popular” kids in school, and not for any other reason than we were really well rounded. We were all-star athletes, we excelled academically, we were funny, we were musical, and we were just a whole lot of fun. We had awesome parents who never missed any of our games. We were close, we stood up for one another, and more often than not, we covered each others butts! We didn’t have “friends” per se, but we did have lots and lots of acquaintances. We mostly went to school, went to sports, went to “extras”, and hung out at home doing the crapload of chores that our parents assigned daily.
Freshman year of high school was an…interesting…time for me. A lot of self-discovery. A lot of writing poetry. A lot of time alone. I joined the musical theater group and met a rather eccentric group of kids that in a short period of time, I ended up calling my friends. We started spending a lot of time together. We would go to each others houses and watch movies, mostly really artsy stuff (theater kids!), make our own movies, and just random shenanigans. At some point I knew that something was different about me. I knew that what I felt for Dee, one of the girls in our little circle of friends was something that I shouldn’t be feeling, not because anyone told me it was wrong but because I knew that no one else was like me. Or at least I thought. One day we went to watch “Boys Don’t Cry” at a small theater in Bronxville, and something clicked. All of a sudden the 4 Spice Girl poster covered walls in my bedroom made sense (no seriously!! EVERY INCH! Like $300 of my McDonald’s paycheck for tickets for my younger sister and I. Like tear away Adidas pants in every color! Like all the CD’s, movies, interviews! TOTALLY OBSESSED). All of my acquaintances were in love with BSB and N’Sync, and I just didn’t get it! Dee and I cried through the movie, and at some point, I reached over and grabbed her hand and she didn’t pull away. She held it back, and ran her thumb back and forth along the side of my thumb. It send shivers down my spine. Even though my head said, “NOOOOOO!!!!”, my heart said, “OMG!! IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING!” That day began a serious affair of some massive hand holding!
At this point in time it had been close to 2 months of really understanding who I was thanks to researching on Ask Jeeves (which took forever because those were Dial-up days), and realizing that I, at all of 14, was “A Gay”. A bonafide lesbian. I started decorating my bunk, my backpack, wearing bracelets, and socks with rainbows on them. A few weeks and lots of hand holding (in secret) later, I had my friends to my house for a movie marathon night of Gia, If These Walls Could Talk Too, and Better Than Chocolate. My mom kept coming into my room and offering a ton of treats and sweets, water, juice, soda, dinner. We had to keep pausing the movie because we didn’t want her to see all the nudity and lesbian sex scenes. I was totally freaked that my mom would find out who I really was, and that she would have a total cow and send me off to go live with my grandparents or something. After a few hours, everyone went home. Mom came into my room…
“I gwanna talking wishu baybee..” She sits on the edge of the bed
“What mom?!?!”, I say, completely exhausted and just wanting to go to bed.
“I berry like-a jew friengs!” She smiles genuinely
“They’re nice right?” I smile back.
“Pero, can I asking jew somesing”
“Si, mami.” I’m nervous
“I see jew have a lot of deh rainbow, eng jew friends, jew know, un poquito….i don’t know…maybe a little gay. I don’t know”
“Jesus mom! Seriously!?!” OH SHIT! She totally knows!
“Si, pero, dats ok! Jew know, if you, tu sabes, eres gay, bueno, I don’t care, becoz, I’m mami, eng I love jew! I love jew forebeh and dats ok! I know what means rainbow. My seester is a gay tambien, eng I love her too. And jew my daughter and i love you too. Mami loves jew, mucho ,mucho, mucho!”
“Mami, I’m gaaaayyyyyyyy.”
She hugs me, and I can’t control all the tears that have been inside of me for months. All of the hiding, all of the sneaking, all of the hand holding and all of the love that I felt, suddenly poured out of me and I couldn’t contain it. My mothers love for me, her understanding, support and love, pulled me out of the closet kicking, screaming and crying. It was probably one of the ugliest cries I’ve ever had, hyperventilating, snot and tears streaming down my face, and mami just held me. She held me and said she loved me. That nothing was different. That nothing changed. That I was still her “nena especial” and that her love for me would never, ever change. I was one of this lucky ones. My mom found me a group for gay youth in the county that I live in. She would pick me up and drop me off. She would give me money for my friends and I to get pizza and ice cream afterwards. She encouraged me to bring my friends over more often and to talk to her about my crushes and my relationships. She told me that nothing was different. She hugged me more and she listened more. She made it easier to come out. And I did! Everywhere!
I came out at school, at church, at work, at sports and at extras. I didn’t care who knew, because my mom knew and she loved me regardless. My coming out story isn’t a story of regret, or triumph against the opposition, or heartache and pain. It’s a story of a mother’s love for her daughter, and the strength, support and courage she gave her to become the person that she is today.