About a month ago, after having kept my current relationship a secret from her for quite a long while, my very Catholic mother found out that I’m dating a girl. Given that over the past few months I’ve written multiple blog posts about my current lesbianness (one with the very non-discrete title “I’m Gay I Guess”), I knew it was only a matter of time before my mom heard the news. Still, I’d been having a lot of anxiety over when that time would be, exactly, and how our subsequent “Oh my god you’re a what?” conversation would pan out. Differently than I expected, however, my mom didn’t hear the news through my blog. (Note: my mom claims to not read my blog, both out of respect for my privacy and for “the sake of our relationship,” but I’ve always assumed that she sneaks the occasional peek. Now, though, it seems that she honestly doesn’t, which is pretty cool of her.) What actually happened is that my mom found out all by herself, based on her own motherly intuition. How do moms just seems to know everything?
According to mom, her first hunch that I had gone over to the dyke side came about five months ago, during a conversations where I was speaking “uncharacteristically giddily” about “my new best friend.” (Gross.) Her hunch was further confirmed by the fact that, for the past six months or so, I hadn’t confided in her about any new boy crushes, which according to her was “a tell-tale sign that something was up, given that you usually fall in love with a new boy every other week.” Can’t deny that, really.
Now, I should probably mention that I do feel sort of hypocritical for not being up-front with my mom from the very beginning, me being a sex blogger whose prime ambition is to create an open dialogue about sex and all. But my excuse is: I was scared as fuck! Like, my parents are really religious. Not the scary, ‘burn the fags’ type of religious, but they are conservative in a lot of ways. And as we all know, even if someone is “OK” with people being gay, there is a big difference between “people” and “my kid.”
My eventual conversation with my mom about the ‘girlfriend issue’ ensued much how I expected it would. Rather than being angry, my mom was more “disappointed,” and even more than that, confused. It went something like this:
“So I don’t understand, are you coming out? Are you GAY?! Has your entire life been a lie?”
“No, I’m not coming out, I’m just dating a girl right now. I’m not gay, and nine out of ten people that I find myself attracted to are men, but right now I really like one person a lot, and that person happens to be a girl. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting this.”
“But if you like boys too, why couldn’t you just choose to date a boy? Wouldn’t that make life easier for everyone?
“It wasn’t really a choice. It just happened.”
“Well Karley, you really make some very questionable life decisions.”
“Are my grandchildren going to be adopted?!”
“Eww Mom! As if I’m going to have kids! Gross!”
“I just don’t get it–after this, will you go back to dating boys?”
“I imagine so. I can’t be sure, but probably.”
“OK. Well when will that be, exactly?”
Strangely, I feel like the conversation might have actually been easier if I could have just said: “Mom, I’m gay! I was born this way! Deal with it!” This would still have been hard for her, obviously, but it may have been easier for her to wrap her head around the idea of me being simply A GAY PERSON, than me being a sexually fluid, grey-area, ‘I’ll fuck anything that moves’ free-floating nightmare. However, to my mom’s defense, during our entire conversation she never lost her temper, and she was clearly trying to understand where I was coming from, despite the very obvious look of devastation on her face. She even said, “Ultimately, I just want you to be happy” more than once. (Although the word “disappointed” was thrown around a lot too.) The conversation finally ended when she said, “OK, I guess I understand… you’re like Anne Heche, right?” Lol.
Sidenote: On the topic of bisexual celebs, à la Anne Heche, I feel like Lindsay Lohan should get more credit for how open and ‘no big deal’ she was about her lesbian relationship with Samantha Ronson. Remember that weird blip in the Lohan timeline? Lindsay straight-up didn’t give a fuck–one day she was straight, the next she was gay, and she was never the slightest bit apologetic about it, and she never felt the need to publicly explain why or how she could be in love with a girl, when she mainly dates men. That is pretty fucking cool, especially in the super closeted world of Hollywood. What other celeb has done that? Why isn’t Lindsay a “GREY AREA” icon or something?
But anyway, back to ME! Now, I didn’t write this post with the moralistic ambition of convincing everyone they should follow in my “brave” footsteps and talk to their parents about their gayness or greyness or whatever. I understand that it’s really hard, and that sometimes it ends badly. But I will say that I personally felt better after talking to my mom about my current situation, mainly because keeping secrets is really stressful! And actually, I was pleasantly surprised by how cool she was about the whole thing. Also, what’s important to remember in situations like this is that deep down, our moms (and dads, too) just want us to be happy. So even if you choose a life path that’s different to what your parents wanted for you, if you explain to them that the path you chose is making you feel fulfilled and happy, most of the time, in the long run, they will be happy too (even if after the initial confession they spend 40 minutes crying in the basement, blasting Cat Stevens). OK, I’m done being cheesy now.