I will be back in the U.S. Good things & bad things about that, like with almost any change in circumstances.
More to the immediate point: a week & a day I will be in my mom’s house.
There’s a lot of baggage in that relationship. I was 14 when she found out I was gay, reading some writing I shouldn’t have left in my jeans pockets. She told me I was wrong and had better stop this nonsense before I caused myself damage. (Also, not to tell any of my friends, who would be, she assured me, horrified.) I believed her and tried sincerely to be straight, until it got to be too much. I planned to kill myself and came up with a workable plan, but in the end broke down and realized, I don’t want to die. I just want to be able to be gay.
She came round, but slowly, and not, apparently, until after my grandparents (bless them) told her she needed to face reality: she could have a gay daughter, or no daughter. She wasn’t going to make me straight by force of will. After that, her anger turned more towards T., and the same pattern got repeated: she could treat my girlfriend with basic respect, or she could lose me.
Part of what I’ve realized this spring is that winning those two battles did not win the larger war between us, which is about control. My parents never had a good marriage and I was the classic surrogate-spouse child to my mother, responsible for her happiness. And so her displeasure “lands in me like teargas,” to borrow Tongue-Tied Blue’s phrase.
It is past time for an end to all that: the pathetic gratitude, the frantic trying to please, the gut-sliding fear at the possibility of her distress. Having recognized it, at last, I feel its hold over me weakening. But I expect it will be difficult, in the reality of face-to-face interaction. And I am angry with myself for being in such a vulnerable position: all my possessions in storage at her house, with no place but hers to call home when we land.
I feel as though I’m leaving a refuge of safety and freedom and entering an emotional combat zone. Oh may I pass swiftly through it and spend the summer constructively, building a new life in a new community.