That's what I did with the few remaining moments of my sanity in a life that I had grown so accustomed to over the past fifteen and a half years.
She's coming home. My mom is actually on her way home, like...right NOW! She's probably in traffic at this very moment. And...I'm going to tell her that I'm gay. I'm...I'm going to buckle up, and get my nerves together...and I'm going to tell her that I like boys.
Holy shit. I can't believe that I'm doing this. I'm sooooo nervous! I'm trembling so bad that I feel like I'm going to be sick.
I could back out of this, you know? I could just...I could chicken out and save this conversation for another day. I mean, it's not like anybody has a gun to my head, right? I could postpone this horror for a little bit longer. I mean, even Ryan said that he'd understand. It's not like some urgent thing that has to be done right here, right now. I could just...let my mom come home and eat dinner like normal, and we can both go on with our lives as though everything was normal and cool and totally sane. Right?
But...there was this unapologetic 'push' inside of me that refused to accept that. Something that was forcing me to stop biting my tongue and just come out with it already. There was a time when me admitting that I liked boys and not admitting that I liked boys was a conflict that seemed to be equal on both sides. But there was something about Ryan's kiss, his touch, his willingness to wait for me to make the right decision concerning this whole fucked up situation...that threw things out of balance. I don't know if I have the strength to live this way anymore. And that idea alone is giving me a serious panic attack right now.
Ok. I'm going to tell her. I...I have to tell her. I just hope that I can...
Omigod! That's her car! She's driving up t the house! What do I do? Do I say it now? Do I wait for dinner? Should I let her kick off her shoes and rest for a bit. I should probably wait a bit. Maybe...an hour. Or two hours. Or...maybe until tomorrow. Tomorrow would be better, right? Or, like...Spring Break is almost over. Maybe I should wait until Spring Break is over. Yeah...after Spring Break is a good time.
No! I should do it now! I should do it tonight! Well...not NOW, but tonight. Or...tomorrow. Fuck, I'm so screwed up in the head!
My heart felt like it was cramping up as I heard my mom put her key in the front door. Why did I feel like crying all of a sudden. Jesus, my emotions were all over the place at that moment, and I had to hide myself away from her as soon as she stepped foot in the house. "Hi." She smiled.
"Hey! Be right back!" I blurted out, and suddenly turned around to hide my teary eyes from her and hurried back into my bedroom.
I can't...I just can't...
It's hard to breathe...
Oh God! Oh God! Oh God!
Get a grip. I need to get a hold on my emotions. I can always change my mind and not do this tonight. It's MY choice, right?
Oh man...but I told Ryan that I'd do it tonight. He'll be so disappointed in me if I don't. Or...well...maybe not. But I'll be disappointed in me if I don't. Ugh!!! Why does this have to be so hard? Why does 'coming out' have to be a thing at all? I hate it! I really do!
I'm sure that my mom thought it was weird that I practically ran into my bedroom the second she came home, but I guess she's used to me having a few weird teenage moments at this point so she didn't really pursue me for any further conversation. Thankfully.
I paced back and forth for a bit in my room. Thinking about what I would say. How I would say it. How she would react. I think that was the most important part. It's not like I was worried that she wasn't going to love me anymore...it's just...would she love me in the same way as she did before? That was the million dollar question, wasn't it?
Maybe it's hard for some people to understand, but when you have something about you...something that's just deeply embedded in your DNA...and it's seen as awkward or abnormal by a majority of society as a whole...
...You can't really ignore that.
You'll always be wondering if that raised eyebrow, or that subtle grin, or that candid off-colored comment, is somehow directed at you and your sexuality. I mean, it's easy to say that you don't care and that it doesn't affect you...but that doesn't mean that you don't notice it. You most certainly do.
You live every day of your life wondering what people might be thinking about you. What they might be saying behind your back. What the envision you doing with the cute boy that you so brazenly displayed as your one and only boyfriend. I wish I could pretend that this kind of thing wasn't a part of me coming out of the closet and letting my mom know that Ryan and I are deeply in love with one another...but I don't think that's possible. I live in a world where everybody has been brainwashed to think that we're freaks of nature. A severe defect on their scale of normal and moral behavior in a civilized society. If only they could look into my boyfriend's eyes and see what I see. If only they could experience the overwhelming joy that I feel every time I see him smile. I just...I wish they could understand.
If they could only see the beauty in Ryan the way that I do...they wouldn't be so quick to judge us for the love we share together. And they wouldn't exhaust themselves brainwashing other people into judging us too.
But...you know...'perfect' world scenarios, right? Silly.
Ok...she's in the house. She's right there in the other room. I need to own this. I need to gather up the courage to say what needs to be said. I mean...all I'm doing is telling her the truth. You can't be mad at somebody for telling the truth, can you? The sky is blue, water's wet...and your son is gay. This should be simple. A piece of cake.
So...why did I feel like I peed a little when I put my hand on my bedroom doorknob?
Jesus...I've only got one shot at doing this right. Don't screw it up.
I felt numb, walking down the hall...hearing my mom move around in the kitchen as she tried to get stuff together to make dinner for us. My legs felt wobbly. My eyes began to mist up as the emotional pressure to do this began to weigh heavy on my shoulders. Trust me, if I could avoid this awkward conversation altogether, I would. But as I paused for a moment before turning the corner and facing her...I thought about how long I've known who I was, inside and out...and how me keeping it a secret has been increasing the distance between my mother and I over the past few years. She doesn't really know who I am anymore. And that's not by accident. I didn't want her to know. I wanted to hide. Nobody wants their MOM to be aware of the intimate details of their sex life. Not even straight boys want that. But when you're gay...this kind of open confession is a necessity. Unfortunate, but true.
...Here we go....
I walked around the corner to see my mom getting a few pans and ingredients ready for dinner. She didn't see me standing there at first, but she turned and said, "Hey! Listen, I didn't have anything major planned for tonight. I was thinking about tacos. Does that sound like a decent meal to you?"
"Sure. Tacos sound awesome." I said, all while literally shaking from head to toe.
"I think we have some of that salsa left in the fridge. That'll add a bit of spice to it. Check and see if we have enough shredded cheese. Oh, and sour cream. Check that too. Do we have lettuce and tomato? I can dice some up..."
"I'll check..." I said, but tried to suppress my trembling heart as I said, "Mom? Can we talk for a second?"
"Sure. Go ahead." She said, not really paying me much attention. She was still getting the cutting board ready and looking for a knife to cut stuff up with. "This needs sharpening..."
"Mom?" I said again. This time, she turned around and saw the fear in my eyes. "Seriously. Can we, like...can we talk?"
Immediately, she looked concerned. She stopped everything and stepped towards me, "Ok, honey. What is it? Is everything ok?"
Hesitating for a bit longer, I thought about what Ryan said...about trying to casually work my way into saying what needed to be said, or if I wanted to get it over with by shouting it in some sort of unplanned outburst. I chose to maybe find some kind of a middle ground. If that's even possible. "I'm ok, Mom. Just...I wanted to...wait...maybe you should sit down first."
"You want me to sit down?" She asked.
"Or, you know...you can stand. If that's, if...I mean...if you want to."
"So I should stand?"
"Unless you want to sit..."
She shook her head, "Randy...I don't have any idea what's going on here. What is this that we're doing right now?"
I could feel the words lingering right there on the tip of my tongue. I wanted to say it SOOOO badly! But after years and years of this confession being the biggest secret of my entire existence...
...It's really hard to fight off the hold it's had over you for your whole life. It made me nauseous to think that I'd have to say the words out loud.
How am I going to do this? My eyes began to tear up automatically, and I didn't even know what it was that making me cry at that particular moment...but as tears ran down my cheeks, my mom got more worried than ever. And I realized that there was no way for me to back out of this now. She won't let me. It'll take years off of her life to worry about me to this degree without a decent explanation as to why I was completely falling apart right in front of her eyes.
I opened my mouth, but it was hard to speak. My throat was straining to get the appropriate vibrations together to get my vocal chords to do their job. "Last night...I went to Ryan's house for dinner. You know?" I said.
She furrowed her brow for a moment. "Yes. I know."
"Yeah, so...his dad made us spaghetti. It was pretty good. He had some garlic bread..." I was trying so hard to create a proper build up to the big revelation, but the confused look on my mom's face let me know that I was failing miserably. "He walked me home. Which was nice. Ryan's always so nice about...you know...stuff like that."
"Randy? What is this all about?" She asked, and more tears poured out of my eyes. I was trying to hold them back, I really really WAS! But I couldn't stop crying, and I didn't even know why. I had to break down all of my emotional barriers in order to even talk about this...this...horror in my life, and my mom just didn't understand. Then again, why would she?
"Ryan and I...I mean...we've grown so close. And he makes me...'happy', you know?" I sniffled. "He makes me so happy."
She was still trying to figure out what the hell I was talking about. "Ok. So...you're worried about...your friend making you happy?"
"No! I'm trying to tell you that...ugh...!" I felt as though my feelings were just not fit to be translated into any sort of communicable language. But as my mom walked over to hug me close, I started to sob uncontrollably, and I said, "He makes me happy, ok?"
She held me tight, and I think that she might have gotten a bit choked up herself for a moment, asking, "Baby? Talk to me. What is it? Just say it..."
I took a deep breath. Maybe the deepest breath that I've ever taken since that first gasp of air after emerging from my mother's womb. And softly...painfully...I said, "I think we're boyfriends." Maybe that didn't come out the way I expected it to, but it was the only way that I could think of in the moment to keep from saying the big 'G' word out loud.
She held me for another second or two before responding. Maybe she was trying to figure out whether she heard me right or not. "Boyfriends?" She asked, and I didn't say anything. "Wait...you think that you and your best friend Ryan are...?"
I clutched my hands around her, wondering if this was going to end up being the last genuine hug my mom ever gave me in my life. But I didn't deny it. "We're...'together'. I mean, I like...him. And not...girls. I'd rather be with him. I'm..." I still couldn't say it, but I think she got the hint.
"Oh!" She said. "You two are...so you're saying that you're...?" I don't think she was really clear on how to say the word out loud either. But she surprised me with her immediate reaction to the news. I mean, sure, there was a moment of shock and confusion...but where I was expecting her to loosen the grip on her motherly embrace after learning the truth...it actually tightened up around me. Flooding me with more affection and love than ever before. "Oh, honey...it's ok! My God…" She said. "Randy....you're shaking!"
"I'm sorry, Mom! I'm so so sorry!" I cried.
"You don't have anything to be sorry about! Nothing at all. Do you hear me?"
She let me go and got down on one knee so she could see my eyes. "Randy...look at me. Ok? Right here." She said. I tried to...but I suddenly felt so ashamed of myself. I was an embarrassment. A disappointment. A tragic victim of circumstance that took all of my mom's hopes and dreams for me and tossed them into the garbage for the sake of my own sexual interests in other boys. Most people will never know how hard it is to live outside of the boundaries that life and society force us to learn and allow them to lock us down. But here I am. Alone. And afraid.
"Mom...I just...I didn't want you to worry about me or feel like I was screwing my life up..."
I think she looked more hurt by that than she did with the initial confession. "I would never think that about you. Randy, I love you. No matter what. Nothing is ever going to change that. Not ever. Do you understand that?" She pulled me down a bit until I was forced down on my knees as well, and she kissed me lightly on the forehead. "Baby, you're the most important part of my life. I stand by you, and I will support you through anything and everything that you ever have to go through. My life's purpose is making sure that you find all of the avenues that you need to find to live a happy and fulfilling life. That's all I care about. That's all I've ever cared about. And any parent that doesn't feel the same way...shouldn't be a parent."
Getting the courage to look up into her eyes as I sat on the kitchen floor, I asked, "You're not...disappointed in me?"
"Of course I'm not disappointed in you. Awww, honey...is that what you were so worried about?" We both sat on the floor, and she held me so tight. It felt good. You have no idea. "Randy, there's only one thing that I want from you, ok? And that is for you to live your life and find all the joy that you can before it's over." She said. "I know it doesn't seem like it right now, but believe me...one day, you're going to wake up and wonder where the time went. Your youth is over in the blink of an eye, and you don't want to end up looking back at old regrets and lost opportunities. You stand up and be proud of who you are. Ok? I mean that. I only want you to be happy, baby. And if Ryan is a part of that happiness, then so be it. Don't you dare settle for anything less."
"I'm sorry." I sniffled again. She told me to stop saying that, but it was hard to let go of the idea that what I was should be seen as something unnatural. Something weird. She kept saying that it wasn't, but how do you push your way past a lifetime worth of brainwashing and torturous secrets in the span of a few minutes? It just doesn't work like that.
I kept crying on my mom's shoulder for a few more minutes while she held me. And, even though it hurt at first, I couldn't help but to feel this giant weight being lifted off of my shoulders. The secrets, the lies, the hidden glances at other boys in the mall or just at the park, the movies I kept wanting to watch because there was a really hot boy in the lead role...it suddenly rose up into the air above my head, and it finally left me alone. It finally stopped looming over my head, and for the first time since I first got uncontrollably attracted to another boy...certainly for the first time since Ryan laid on top of me and kissed me on the lips on my bedroom floor...I felt a moment of peace. Unburdened. Unrestricted. Loved and adored in my mother's embrace as we rocked back and forth gently right there on the floor. I never knew that it would feel like this. Being free. Liberated. Oh God...
I did it! I really did it. I told my mom that I was gay. I didn't say the actual words, but...she knows. She totally knows. And she's ok with it. Maybe my emotions were totally out of control at that moment, but just knowing that I had probably told my own mother the most scandalous thing about me since BIRTH...and she was willing to hug and comfort me regardless...it made me cry even harder than before. Which made my mom cry too. She didn't want me to feel as embarrassed as I did in telling her that Ryan was my boyfriend, but I think we're both going to have a period of adjustment going forward from this moment. There's no way around that.
"Thank you, Mom. For...being cool about this." I whimpered.
"Shhhh, you just cry it it out if you need to. Ok? I'll always be here for you. Always. Ok?" She said, kissing me on the top of my head while still rocking me back and forth in the most comforting way possible.
"Ok..." I said. And I held onto her as though my life depended on it.
She knows now. She totally knows. I just closed my eyes and appreciated the feeling of letting that inconceivable weight go, once and for all. It was gone...forever. And I swear...nothing has ever made me feel so free. So in control. So relaxed. Oh wow....
If this is what Ryan felt when he finally told his dad about us...then I totally get it.
I totally understand why he felt the need to do it, and why he hasn't regretted it since.
I'm out of the closet. For the first time in my life, I feel like an open book. What I do from here, is anybody's guess. But I'm excited to find out. Hehehe, super excited!
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