Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Letter I'll Never Send

Note to readers: This piece is meant to be a monologue of sorts from myself to my mother about the things I wish she knew about me, and in how many ways my life changed during the period described.

Mother, can I talk to you for a minute? There's something I’ve been wanting to talk to you about lately...well, about the last fifty-three days actually. There's a whole part of my life that you've been purposely kept in the dark about, and I don’t know how much longer I can stand it. Things have happened in the last fifty-three days that you don’t know about, that have made me question some things about myself and who I am. I was born with the innate knowledge that I know if not who I am, I know who I love. That knowledge is quite possibly the only thing (other than a very dear friend who’s existence you know nothing of, nonetheless how much he means to me) that has gotten me through the last fifty-three days...I know who I love. Or do I? Or does anyone, truly know who they love? I’m not even sure anymore. You’re asking me what love has to do with all of this. You’re asking me, with the insatiable romantic spirit, what love has to do with anything. Love has everything to do with this, mother.

Don’t get me wrong. Believe me, I’m not talking about …him. Please, don’t make me think of him right now, the man to whom I gave two years of my life. We are close friends now, nothing more, although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want him back in my life. I don’t really think its him I miss, exactly, I miss the way he used to make me feel. The way he still does. You know, I thought I’d never feel that way about anyone. Ever. But you know what? I think I may have found that person.

I know you’re worried about me, mother. I think I know at least one reason as to your fears. You think I’m gay, that I love girls, don’t you? Its all right, I don’t mind being upright and honest with you about this, one of us has to start the conversation. You’re half right-I do love girls. But not even I am qualified to tell you weather or not I’m gay. To tell you the truth, I’m not really sure, I’ve never really been sure, and I don’t care. Yes, its true most of my friends are gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, but you should also know how little an effect my friends, gay, straight, or elsewise have on me, have ever had on me.

When did this start? I guess it all started with that damn rainbow armband I display on my purse, ever since the Amnesty protest that wasn’t a protest. Your words have stuck with me: “You know Jen, if you wear that, people may think that you’re…” Why couldn’t you say the word? Lesbian. It’s not so difficult, you know. I remember what I said to you…I looked directly into your eyes and said, “Mother, I’m not gay. If I were, you know I’d tell you." Like the day grandma was over and the subject came up, yet again, and you looked into my eyes again and told me, "I would never love you any differently if either you or your brother came out to me." I hugged you that day, not only for my own reassurance, but for all the kids, too many of them I knew, who’s parents and friends and family had nothing but horrible, vile things to say about homosexuals. Like my best friend’s mother, who believed I was a “lesbian out to seduce her daughter.” As much as I love my best friend, and I love her dearly, we’re closer than sisters (Just not in that way…but truth be told, I wouldn’t mind if we were.) but the woman is straight. She has a straight boyfriend who she loves and who loves her more than anything in the universe. He’s a good man for her and I wouldn’t dare. You stood up for me to her mother, even though I knew I could see the question marks circling your head about your own daughter’s sexuality. The refrain was the same: “I’m not gay. I’d tell you if I was.”

I thank God you are someone not only I can talk to about just about everything, but for those who maybe couldn’t tell their parents just yet, you knew, and loved them just the same because of the person they were, and not because of their sexuality.

I thank you mother, for allowing me to join the gay organization on campus. I’m proud of the work I do for the club. They make me feel at home. I belong with these people, even though I’m not one of them, not sexually anyway. I haven’t been through the process of coming out to everyone, and I don’t know what its like for your boyfriend to leave you for another man. I have come to realize these people are just normal human beings(Well, as normal as a group of college students can get), who have the same problems I do, only they’re just gay. I’m still getting used to a club where the men wear makeup and have more piercings in more orifices as opposed to the women who don’t and have virtually nothing in comparison. I think the thing that attracts me to them most, is their openness about expressing who they are without caring what everyone else in The Olive Garden may think of them. I’ve always been that way and it’s like coming home to a place where I actually belong. I don’t need to come out of the closet to do that, let alone a closet that may or may not exist.

These last fifty-three days I’ve been more than a little emotionally out of whack. In these last fifty-three days I haven’t coyly slid into your bed beside you and gossiped about my life. These last fifty-three days I’ve gone to my own room crying my eyes out in the name of unrequited love or jumping for silent joy in the back yard in the middle of the night thanking whoever is up there beyond the stars that I have something to live for. I’ve been so happy and so sad and pissed off and jubilant and depressed all because of one person who was once just a mystery to me, someone who has just bounced into my life, and I don’t know if I’m ready for that. You know nothing of how I’ve felt these last fifty-three days, at least not about this. I’ve wanted to tell you so many times, but the words just weren’t there. Just think mother, I haven’t even written a poem about this yet, and you know as well as I do what the subject of most of my poetry is about. Yes, love, and so much more…I guess this is my attempt to catch you up on the last fifty-three days.

You see mom, there’s this girl. No, no one you’ve met. I have not had the courage to introduce you to her. All right, if you must know, her name is Charlotte. Mother, she’s beautiful…There are no other words to describe her. She is beautiful in every possible way a person can be beautiful…in heart, mind, body, spirit, soul, she’s just so beautiful. She takes my breath away. Everything that attracted me to him is now attracting me to Charlotte and that is something I thought I’d never feel again.

I have found every quality I have ever sought for in a man, in the beautiful body of this amazing woman I have come to adore in these last fifty-three days. Sure, I’ve talked to numerous friends, straight, gay, and in between, and they all believe I’m bisexual. Both of my best friends are convinced of this. The club members all think I’m confused. I, quite frankly, don’t like the idea of labeling myself, mother. If I fall in love with a woman, I want to just be with her without having to tell the world I’m bisexual. I’ve always believed, you know this, and I’ve written articles in the news paper about this, that I don’t believe in labeling people, because labeling leads to stereotypes and stereotyping leads to unnecessary problems.

I guess the reason I never told you was because I wasn’t sure how you’d react. Sure, you’d love me just the same, you’ve told me before, and it would go without saying. But with my preference pendulum swinging as it has lately, I didn’t want to tell you about her and then be with men for the rest of my life. You know? If I told you, I wanted to be sure, and I’m just…not.

It made me feel a little uncomfortable, that I could say something about how cute my best friend and her boyfriend are together (But I could never talk to you of how I liked both of them last year. No, that was kept to myself, especially after her mother believed I was out to make her a lesbian. The truth is, the girl just is not interested, and she’s with a wonderful man. They are happy together, and they more than deserve each other, which is something I can’t say about every couple I know.) but you said yourself when I said something about another friend and her girlfriend, you said it would take you getting used to. I figured if I couldn’t tell you how happy I am that he found someone to love as deeply as he does, I couldn’t tell you about Charlotte. And that’s a shame, because you know how hard it is for me to keep something like this from you.

I guess I should just stop beating the bush and just say it. Mom, I like girls. Don’t get me wrong, mother. I love checking out the beautiful men when I walk down the beach with my friends. But what you may not know, that I haven’t told you in the last fifty-three days since Charlotte walked into my life, that every time I walk down the beach, I’ve kept watching the girls Michael may think are beautiful. (And between you an I, he has horrible taste in women, for a straight man. Far too skinny and nothing in their heads.)

I know you’ll understand this, unlike many other parents I know. I always think of Allison's mother, who is afraid I’m the scary “Lesbian out to seduce her daughter.” When I think of how lucky I am to have you as a mother. I just wanted to say thank you, mother, for letting me talk about these last fifty-three days.


your daughter

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