Coming Out. Again, and again, and again….
There are several stages or steps to the coming-out process, and everyone’s experience and journey is unique. However, the one thing we all have in common is that we’re always going to have to share our secret with someone at some point in our lives….parents, coworkers, friends…..but it will always start with coming-out and being true to yourself.
For me, this part of the process was unusually easy. That is, until I realized I would eventually have to come up against other peoples’ judgments, prejudices, stereotypes and fears of the unknown. If life wasn’t hard enough….
So, in order to fully grasp what is happening in this episode, I should give you a little back story on my relationship with my mother and all things gay! Here goes: After about 7 months of dating my first girlfriend, I decided to tell my mother over a cheesecake and coffee in a NJ diner. The reason I had waited this long was two-pronged: 1.) I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t a “phase” as some people were trying to convince me of at the time; and 2.) My mother was just recently divorced and having a very hard time adjusting to life again. Let’s just say that her reaction was very different than what had played out in my head. It was as if I had not only disappointed her but also shamed my family. And even though we had a great relationship prior, she quietly proposed a very one-sided agreement that led to a moratorium of discussing all things gay – when it had to do with her daughter! (Insert very big lavendar elephant here!!) Cut to 4 years later and this arrangement has become outdated and no longer working for me!!! She’s missing out on huge parts of my life!
I was really disappointed that my mother was resistant to coming out for my 30th birthday party – excuse after excuse. Part of me thought it was because of the fact that there were cameras following my every move and another because she wasn’t ready to see the life I had created for myself (i.e., Stamie, kids, Gay Gay Gay). I can’t explain how elated I was when I opened my front door to find a 5’1” Puerto Rican “Hot Tamale” Spitfire on my front porch! And, as you saw, my Mom said things to me that I’ve been waiting four years to hear, so it was quite emotional! For instance, as we started to delve deeper, my Mom finally shared that it was her own dream for me that she was harping on — a husband, kids, white wedding — rather than my own. What I do know though, is that parents also have a coming-out process. Some of us struggle with this secret for so long and then once it leaves our lips, we except immediate acceptance from those we love. But we must also remember to give them a second to let it marinate! My Mom is my best friend – so it was worth the wait!
I feel for her right now! I know that introducing my Mom to Stamie at her comedy show wasn’t the best decision on my part, but sometimes life throws you a curveball and you just have to go with it. But, oh man, that was ROUGH!!! Could you feel the tension in the air? Imagine being stuck in the middle of that for a week! It felt like the longest evening ever, and I can only explain it as BITTERSWEET.
Since Stamie has already gone through her own coming out process, it’s been hard for her to rehash and relive those days through me. She is past it and pours every last morsel of love and energy into the three gorgeous children of hers. Like most parents, her priority became providing a good life for her children, which makes coming out issues pale in comparison. With age and/or experience often comes a shift in perspective.
I’m stuck in between my two favorite people at the moment! Is there a way to please everybody? Hopefully, down the road, Stamie and my mother will both take down their guards and learn to love each other. For the time being, however, whoever I’m dating is going to be in the hot (tamale) seat.
To be continued next week…….