This Way, Not That: A Letter to My Mom

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I remember sitting in the car with you, and you were talking about my future, and how you wanted me to be this way, not that. What you meant by these phrases, you never fully explained, but I remember you putting your point across by flipping your hand back and forth. And that flip-flop of your hand spoke louder than words to me, because in that one clumsy gesture with the flick of your wrist, you summarized to me what it meant to be gay.

And I remember feeling awful for both of us, and how difficult it must have been for you to even broach this subject considering the fact that you couldn’t even say the word out loud. So instead of saying it, you flipped your hand over and over again, knowing that I would know what you were talking about, because I knew where you were going with this conversation, and because I knew your daughter.

Maybe you couldn’t say the word out loud because saying them would make it true. And I know that to this day, you want so much for the opposite to be true. Maybe you regret ever bringing the topic up in the first place, like ignoring the problem would have kept the issue away.

I also remember not knowing what to say, or whether or not I should lie to you, someone that I’ve never lied to before.

So I decided to say nothing. As you were talking, I wanted to hold your hand and say to you that your daughter would turn out to be more than just okay, she is a caring, decent, thoughtful human who is in the process of possibly becoming a fine adult, and that this, the word that you couldn’t even make yourself say, it doesn’t matter because it shouldn’t matter. In the grand scheme of things, it is a defining attribute but is also the least important attribute your daughter has been blessed with.

And I also wanted to say that I know you are worried about her because she lives in a society where there are people who would think of her as abnormal and weird, for something that she has no control over and that differentiates her from the majority of the population. And that worry you have only comes from your love, but that it doesn’t change the fact that your daughter would rather have you support her because, at the end of it all, it is only when she accepts herself for who she is, and when the people she loves accepts her, will she be truly happy with her life.

And I wanted to say that you did not make a mistake with parenting, that you did not do something “wrong” to make your daughter feel “that way” about girls, and that she is simply who she is.

But instead, I remained silent. Because, to this day, you would rather believe a lie than to hear the truth about your own child. Your only child.

And so we continue to live our lives, my thoughts a blur, you in your seat worrying what you did wrong to make your daughter go “wrong”. Yes, the world can be a terrifying place to live in, but it is even more so when the people who claim to love you the most are the first to reject you for the person you are.

23 thoughts on “This Way, Not That: A Letter to My Mom

  1. Wow. This is such powerful writing and yet so very difficult to read. I hope you and your mom are able to heal and reestablish a meaningful relationship. It’s horrible not to be able to be truthful with loved ones. We’re always evolving in our opinions and emotions. Hopefully your mom is able to do just that and give you the support you need.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a beautiful and heartbreaking post. You’re striving for empathy for your mother when at the same time feeling hurt and rejected. I hope your mother will find a way to speak to you directly without so much fear. *hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This post is heartbreaking. One of the girls who grew up next to me was gay before either of us even knew what it meant. She poured her heart out to me about the crushes she had on other girls, and I poured mine out to her about the boys in my life. We were young and foolish and just starting to find our way in the world, so we simply weren’t sure what all of those sexual feelings meant. All we knew for sure is that we were friends.

    Some 50+ years later, she’s been in a committed relationship for almost 25 years. Yes, with a woman. And somewhere deep inside, I hope my acceptance of her just as she was back then helped her become as happy as she is today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Susan! I am sure that your friend is very grateful for you. As someone who came out to her best friend before anyone else, I can tell you that your acceptance of her would have meant the world to her.
      Before I came out, I was convinced that no one would like me or accept me for who I was. I am very happy to say that I am wrong.
      I am glad there are people like you out there. Thank you.

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  4. This heartbreaking and touching. I hope your mom is able to move passed her thoughts about who she wants you to be. We all are who we are. We don’t get to decide who we love, and sometimes it takes parents a little while to let that sink in. This post is beautiful though and I am sending you hugs.

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  5. If my daughter ever wrote a letter this beautiful, I would be so, so proud. Generation gaps are tricky things. My own mother has said things and held views that I don’t agree with, but at least the issues have not hurt our relationship, for which I am grateful. This one must be super tough.

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  6. Heartbreakingly beautiful and true. Sometimes it’s not a given that a parent would love their children unconditionally. But given time I’d like to believe the mother would’ve understood, stand by their child and believe that it’s the world that is wrong.

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  7. This was powerful and moving. Personally I think it is not a parent’s place to ‘want’ their children to be anything or any way – love is by definition unconditional and accepting and respectful.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. kaykuala

    And I wanted to say that you did not make a mistake with parenting, that you did not do something “wrong” to make your daughter feel “that way” about girls

    Parents give their all. How the kids develop is more on the environment not so much the fault of parents.The kids have to account for some responsibility

    Hank

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  9. Wow. This is so powerful and sad, the last line in particular. It’s tragic that the ones who are supposed to love us the most are often the ones who cause lasting wounds.

    My heart goes out to you. I hope you found other people to give you unconditional love and support.

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  10. Wow, what a powerful post! I don’t know the journey you are on, but I know how hard it is when a parent doesn’t accept you for who you are. I remind myself that it is my father’s loss, he will never know the real me.

    Like

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