I remember that day when I proudly stated, “Mom, I’m gay.” I felt liberated - until I realized that she wanted to push me out of the car. Liberation, all right. Good thing I wasn’t liberated from my seat belt.
I’ve always been one to test the waters. Sometimes the outcome is good, like admitting I’m gay, and sometimes the outcome is tragic, like that haircut in third grade.
I decided to tell her that night because she was mad at me already. Yes, and my parents call me the smart child. I felt the need to test the limits again. Besides, how much deeper could I dig myself?
Well, it turns out, pretty far.
“Mom, I’m gay.”
The car swerved to the left. Honk. Then to the right. Beep. As she straightened out, I realized I had just blabbed the secret of a lifetime; some people keep this inside their whole lives while I blurted it out on a car ride to my therapist’s office.
“No, you’re not.”
“Yes, I am,” I responded, just for the sake of contradicting her. “Look, I’m going out on a limb to tell you. It’s not easy for me.” Well, there it was. It just came out. Once I got going, it was pretty easy.
“I just want you to be normal. Don’t you want to be normal?”
“I do! This has nothing to do with being normal!” An argument. Things were getting interesting.
“Then fix it. Don’t be gay!”
Oh, if I could have screamed, I would have! Fix it? There’s nothing to be fixed! Toilets need to be fixed! My sexuality? Nope! Being gay isn’t something I could do anything about. I was mad, so I huffed and puffed in silence as she drove, white-knuckled, down the highway.
At the therapist’s office, I bawled about how unlucky I was to have a mother who lacked understanding, was uncaring and was a bad driver. The therapist called my mom in, saying the three of us needed to talk. I sensed a fiasco.
Mom walked in with a fake smile. I wanted to tell her to wipe it off, but that wasn’t what we were here for. She sat next to me and I started analyzing her every move. Okay, she sat down next to me. That’s good. Extra long blink. Not good. She doesn’t even want to look at me. She’s shifting in her seat. She’s uncomfortable. Or maybe she’s trying to get closer to me. Or farther away.
“Hello? Earth to you, dear.”
“Umm.” Perfect. I felt like an idiot. My therapist was being paid huge amounts of money to hear me say umm and analyze my mother’s every move? I was so busy looking at my mom that I’d completely missed what my therapist had been saying.
“I think you know that Mom loves you no matter what. And Mom, this isn’t an attention thing. I’ve known this for a while. It’s no big secret.” Well, not anymore!
We went home that evening pretending nothing had happened. I was careful not to distract my mother.
And today? Well, we’re getting along. I’ve learned to love the fact that I like girls and am secure in my sexuality, I’ve been able to tell other people. I’m not ashamed anymore. It’s who I am. Just like I’ll always mismatch my socks, I’ll always have a weakness for underwear shopping and hazelnut coffee, and I’ll always like girls. My mother may not exactly love it, but she can deal. But just wait until I bring home my first girlfriend!
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.