Tag Archives: coming out

A Mother’s Day Letter

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I should start by wishing you a happy Mother’s Day, but I suppose that’s unnecessary as you won’t be receiving this anyway. And anyway, although those are the words you expect, those are not the words you want to hear.

It took me a long time to figure out what you wanted me to say. I used to think it was ‘Sorry,’ ever since you told me that when you were pregnant with me, you hadn’t wanted a girl. That your mother had told you girl children were more trouble than they were worth by virtue of being female (this taught me so much about the dysfunction of my extended family, by the way). Not that I’ve turned out as traditionally feminine as either you or my father expected. But it’s not that. It’s not as simple as you having misgivings at the birth of your first daughter, because after the next three followed I think we can both agree there’s nothing wrong with girls. (Except the hour it takes your fifteen year old one to leave the bathroom.)

The second thing I thought you wanted me to say, was about my sexuality. Yes, I’m gay. And for when I eventually tell you, on one eventual date, I will be sorry for hurting you. Part of me is sorry now. It kills me not to say, even when you occasionally raise your eyebrows at my choice of books, when you tease me about marriage or when you flat-out ask. It really does. But that’s not what you want me to say, perhaps because you know by the so-called mother’s intuition that it’s not the time yet.

But I know what you want me to say. And I don’t hate you.

Such an arbitrary, odd thing to say. Especially on Mother’s Day.

But that’s what you’re looking for. Something I’ve realised, talking to my father, is that all parents have this natural fear of their children growing to loathe them. It’s one of the most painful types of rejection possible. And I know you worry. Because I’m not six anymore, I’m sixteen and we don’t talk like we used to. Sometimes we don’t talk at all. Our conversations sometimes become quickly argumentative, because we’re just such different people. We have different values, different friends. Different ideas. Different directions. There are things we don’t like about each other; familiarity truly does breed contempt. But. I don’t hate you. I never did. Sure, it’s cool to be distant and standoffish with your parents nowadays, sure I should get in touch with my Dad more. But I don’t hate you, and I never did. And it isn’t just because you’re my mother and I’m your first daughter.

You gave me my first book.

You encouraged me to read and expand my mind.

You fed my appetite as a reader, and when you saw the notebooks I’d filled in my clumsy attempts at writing you brought me my first laptop so I could grow into a writer.

You opened my mind. If it wasn’t for you, I truly would not be the individual I am today.

My favourite memory: I wasn’t in school for whatever reason; you weren’t at work. Down to the station, the rushing of air as the train comes in, the way everyone quietly moves with the train when we’re on. You hold my hand all the way. We go nowhere in particular. I don’t remember if we said anything. Probably. Probably not. It doesn’t matter. I was five, and it was one of the happiest moments in my life.

Happy Mother’s Day. Happy every ordinary day. And maybe, on one of these ordinary days, I’ll send you this letter. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it doesn’t even matter, and nothing needs to be said, because of course you already know.

I Clap for Orlando Cruz

Writing piece at the very end, if you like. There’s no positivity link this post, because the news it talks about is (in my opinion) positive enough itself. Depending on how into your sports you are, or whether you often trawl news sites, you might have heard in the past week about boxing’s first openly gay competitor: Orlando Cruz.

When it concerns boxers, topless pictures are a necessity.

I hadn’t heard of him before this, but I now have a respect for this man. Not just because he is being honest with himself, but also because of the storm of abuse, misunderstanding and insults he has willingly opened himself up to. Because I’m sure in a week or two or three we’ll have other boxers expressing their disgust, not wanting to fight with him, or his matches drying up. If it’s hard coming out in real life, it’s even harder to come out in the world of sports.

John Amaechi. Justin Fashanu. Ellen DeGeneres. Granted Ellen isn’t a sportsperson, but her career as an actress very nearly ended after she came out. It just wasn’t acceptable at that time to be a gay celebrity, and if she hadn’t been offered a talk show she wouldn’t have been where she is today. Justin Fashanu was an English footballer, and when he came out he was abandoned by his family, rejected by the profession and hounded by the media. Eventually, he killed himself. John Amaechi was British-born but played and lived in America; when he came out a lot of other basketballers reacted in shock and spoke out against him, expressing disgust at the idea of having played or changed with a gay man.

I don’t know what will happen to Cruz. There are now many gay and lesbian sportspeople who are out in the world, but there are thousands more who are not. And in a “manly” sport like boxing, football and basketball, the push for equal treatment for gay people still has a long way to go. I don’t know that change will happen in my generation. But I’d sure like to start it.

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This is from the aforementioned character Creator’s point of view.

Everything? You want to know it all?…Where to begin? Not from the beginning, I don’t think. I do not want to bore you with the details of things I regret, or memories collected whose origins I forget. Let’s skip the courtesy, shall we?

They first called me “Creator.” I do not know what that means; I only shape them, free them. Tear a thousand ideas from the fabric of my mind and shake them into existence. My actions are not so much done out of choice than a compelling necessity; an action which leads to a reaction. And then a chain, each answer a burst seeking to out-compete its predecessor. They are the result, and “Creator” is what they call me.

They also say that I know all (this is not a digression). Every name of every thing, person, animal, scent, sound. Every reaction and the single action that started it all. Why they live and die, and where they go when their lives are done. I do not understand why they believe I know these things. They say they were created in my image, I say in the image of an idea lingering in the recesses of my mind. If they do not have the answers, then why should I?

So they call me Creator. And once, I think I had a name that was my own, self-given. But time rots all those things that are not the strangeness of honey, like oranges and eyes (and memory) and time has taken mine. If I once knew what, who I was, I might have a better answer for my creations than just because. So I take on a name that is not my own, perhaps to feel that I am not alone or perhaps in redemption of that for which I cannot atone.

I am Creator, and this single fact is the starting point of everything.