I do not like the idea, but I know that I would have to do it. I dally the day, until the day finally came when I decided – it is now or never. I have replayed the scenario over my head a lot of times before I finally blurted out to my mom, “Ma, I have a girlfriend. I am a lesbian.” I was smiling and nervous at the same time. I did not want to appear apologetic for what I said. I had wanted to look at my mother straight in the eye and affirm to her that everything is okay and I am very much happy. Instead, I found myself, lowering my gaze and slowly bending my head as though I have just said something shameful. This is the moment I decided to open and lay bare one of the most important facet about who I am – my love, my girlfriend – the love of my life. I had wanted to look like the happy kid presenting to her parents her most prized possession with a huge glow in the eyes. But, what is this? After I said it, I was filled with shame but it was not because of who I am. And heck no, it certainly is not because of my girlfriend. I love her so much and I would like to declare that to the whole world! Now that I think about it, I feel like I had laid myself bare and naked but met by scornful and indifferent and even hateful stares. And that shamed me. Not because of my body but because I know my body does not deserve that kind of stare. But here, the issue at hand is not something that can easily be grasp in the physical. It is not a naked body laid bare. It is more than that.
I am glad that I decided to bring that up when most of our food was finished. I tried to eat more of my shrimp-chicken-pork mixed Vietnamese fried rice, but I only tasted bland rice. I guess I truly am nervous. My mom and I were not alone. Seated with us in the Vietnamese restaurant is my friend and is also my girlfriend. It was a happy victorious day, a good news came to us, mama decided to celebrate with my ‘bestfriend’ and I. We were all jolly awhile ago and now, I am fumbling my utensils pretending to eat while I await the end of the stretching silence. Mama said, “Don’t joke around like that.” I see now that the magic word is any word. After mama broke the silence, the reality of what I just said awhile ago vanished. I tried to explain myself and convince mama that it is true. I said, “She is my girlfriend and I love her and never have I had the same feelings with guys.” But I knew my words fell on dry land.
Mama has convinced herself otherwise. That I am just confused – That the barren atmosphere of New Mexico met by the new friendship of an awesome lady has caused me to confuse my feelings of friendship with feelings of love. She reminded me that before I never really had a friend which I can truly rely on, and now that you have found one, you have mistaken it to be love. Mama also said that it could also be personality complex. Reason cannot break the wall of denial. I decided that I just have to let it pass. My ‘baby girl’ went through the whole process bravely. She sat in silence when silence was all we could offer. She answered questions objectively and did not meet scorn with scorn. But I felt her fear and it is rightfully greater than mine. As much as I want my mother’s acceptance, she wants it more. It was a three-hour drive home. Baby was driving and I am on the front seat. Mama was on the back seat. I think we played some music, and most in the playlist are love songs. I can’t help but think that my mother must be cringing listening to the love songs knowing that my bestfriend and I are in a romantic relationship. But I could care less – although deep inside, I do care. “She will come around,” I told myself. We dropped ‘baby’ off to her house, then I drove the remaining miles home. At home, mama never said a word about it. She treated me just the same. It gave me some relief but I know she would have to face it. Because unlike her denial phase which will come around, my love will only grow stronger and stronger and stronger. My acceptance of my identity has made me happier. Yes, I am afraid of what the world can throw at me but I can only be afraid and I can only be hurt up to a certain point. With this new growth and knowledge of what I am, I feel that I can never really be fooled by this world again. This is my life to live and I will live it the best way I can – and certainly not in hiding nor in lying to others nor to myself. In the following days, my mother confronted me more about it and was, in her messages to me, preachy and condemning. I understood all of it and I recognized that my mother is just concerned about me. But I was neither condemned nor afraid of what would become of me. When I am the one condemned it never really affected me but when my mother started mentioning my ‘baby girl’ in her messages and tried to convince me that she is not good for me – that is when the struggle in me started. No one, not even my mother, should say things about my baby. Not a stranger nor a relative can do that. It was the hardest thing for me – not to snap off in anger. If I become angry and wild, I know what my mother will conclude – that I was completely changed and ruined by the relationship. I do not want any fingers to be pointed to my baby girl. She does not want me to defend her and cause me to fight my family. In times when we were both struggling, the best weapon we have is each other. We hold each other’s hand, tell each other the truth always, the loving and sometimes painful truth and work through each one slowly, painfully, therapeutically. Yes, a lot has happened since DAY 1 when I first told my mother, “Ma, I am a lesbian.” However, that day never ends. Coming out day, never ends for some and I would assume it might never end for me. It is not a norm in the society yet and people will ask. I can choose to be tired and offended or just take it as an everyday challenge and never take it seriously as the people don’t. The people are curious but they do not care. They may offer advices and opinions but guess what, that is just what it is – advices and opinions. What my baby and I are set to do, is to live simply and in the best way we can TOGETHER. The nay and yay of our family and friends may matter but only to a certain point, we are in all reality, just on our own and that is AWESOME. Just perfectly awesome.
Coming out stories are different across the globe and how it turns out can differ from shocking acceptance to violent rejection. I have heard of countless accounts of homeless kids kicked out from home and on the other side, there are kids celebrated for the acceptance of their real identity – affirmed by the family. As much as our coming out stories matter, let it just be stories. Our life is something else and it is ours to live – ours to choose.
Happy PRIDE MONTH to all. And may this year be an awesome year of coming out to many who are still hiding out there.