Yes, we are two women and yes, we are getting married next year, legally even. So, just like most engaged couples planning their special event, we have a vision . . . a color pallet, an overall idea of what we want our wedding/reception to “feel” and look like. So why is it that most of the invitation designers I’ve seen online think every LGBT wedding’s theme is Gay Pride?
Our wedding colors are tangerine and malibu. That’s fancy talk for orange and blueish. We would like to incorporate our colors into our invitations, like most couples, and luckily, with editing and personalization we will be able to.
So then, what’s my beef? It’s that several companies have decided to be totally stereotypical. Let’s not design and market a bunch of same gender wedding invitations in lots of different colors, let’s sample most of them rainbow and then let’s keep all the other invitations sampled (that are shown in various colors because couples have different styles) strictly straight.
Where’s the rainbow invite for Ben and Tricia? No where to be found.
Where’s the rainbow or two bridal gown invitations for Erin and me? Everywhere. Is there an option with a bridal gown and a tuxedo with boobs because not all lesbian couples wear two dresses or even one.
Why not just market all invitations with various names and pictures? And while I’m on my equality soap box, where in the hell are all the sample photo invitations showcasing interracial couples and couples of color? I have seen the wedding invitation websites and it is WHITE washed, my friends.
Yes, I’m white, but I’m also armed with a set of eyes, a MA in multicultural education and a not so invisible knapsack.
Some may say that the lack of sample invitations with same gender names/photos is because “Gay Marriage” is so new. I call bullshit. If that was the case, then the invitation sites should be flooded with couples of color and interracial couples too. Even Justice Alito knows that the right to marry for people of color, to each other and interracially, is (in fact this time) older than cell phones and the web and catalogs should show as much.
I guess I should be happy in that most of the same gender invitations weren’t sampled as just taking place in the Castro. Baby steps.
By Brandy Black
Katie Acosta is a Sociology professor who specializes in the areas of gender, sexuality and family; she devotes her research agenda to queer families and their unique needs. She is doing a lesbian stepparent study that I found interesting for our readers. Here is a little more about Katie…
Research is a really important part of my job and I have had the good fortune of being able to devote my research agenda to queer families. I have a book coming out this fall on how lesbian bisexual and queer women of Latin American descent negotiate the families they are raised in and the families they build for themselves as adults. With that book project coming to a close, I have decided to start a new study on families which include children being raised in same sex stepparent households. This project is inspired in part by own my family. My partner Hilary and I are raising our son Josiah. I am Josiah’s birth mom and he is the result of a heterosexual relationship I had in college 14 years ago. My interest in this study stems in part from recognizing some of the unique challenges my own family faces but also my interest stems from recognizing the limitations in the existing research on same sex families that doesn’t account for familial change.
The Next Family community of readers is made up of several different versions of the modern parent and throughout the years we have heard from some of our writers on parenting kids who stem from a heterosexual relationship. TNF decided we would give our readers an opportunity to be a part of a new study that could shed light on some of the unique challenges these parents face.
More Information on the Lesbian Stepparent Study:
The Lesbian Stepparent Study is designed to explore the unique needs of these families. Participants are asked to do a 90-minute phone interview where I ask them questions about how their families came to be and what their experiences are raising children within these family forms. I find that research participants are often interested in learning more about my family during the interview and at times I find myself sharing experiences, offering and receiving troubleshooting techniques from other families, and laughing at the similarities in our children. Those who have participated have noted that the interview process has led them to think about their roles as stepparents, co parents and/or bio parents in news ways. Everyone has asked that I please share the results of the study with them in the future so I am currently considering maintaining a blog where I write about some of the trends I am finding from the interviews I have done.
Who Can Participate?
Any woman who is in a same sex relationship which include children from a previous relationship and who have been members of this family form for at least one year. It does not matter if the children are from previous heterosexual or same sex relationships. The race or ethnicity of family members does not matter. Research participants can be stepparents, bio parents, or co-parents. All research participants must be at least 18 years old. Individuals who are in doubt about whether or not they are eligible to participate in the study should send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
All of the interviews are confidential. Every effort is made to protect the privacy of the participants and every participant is assigned a pseudonym after they have been interviewed.
This research project is approved by the Institutional Review Board of Tulane University which means that the project has been evaluated by the university’s review board and they have found that it meets the university’ s standards for ethical and responsible research.
Should any of The Next Family readers decide to participate in this study you can reach out to Katie Acosta at email@example.com. Also if you would like to follow up and share your story with us, please reach out to the editors of The Next Family and we would be happy to share your story with our readers.
By Tanya Dodd-Hise
It’s midday on Monday. It has been one week since I went to my doctor and she confirmed the mass in my breast. It has been one week since I contacted the program who will ultimately (I hope) fund my diagnostic mammogram and sonogram, since I haven’t got insurance. It has been ten days since I personally confirmed the mass, and ten days that I have been going nuts wanting to know what it is and what I need to do to get it out of my body.
More people know now, and I finally told the oldest child. He asked some questions, but didn’t seem too concerned and told me not to be scared. I have spent the past ten days with a knot in my stomach, and have tried to keep myself busy so as not to obsess too much about it. But every morning that I wake up, I check to see if perhaps it is gone; and before I go to sleep every night I check again – and each time it is still there, becoming a growing part of me.
I’m trying to get some business taken care of that I have neglected for too long, and am hoping that it isn’t too late. I applied last week for a life insurance policy, worried that if I should get a negative diagnosis that I won’t be able to get any later. I decided on $100K of coverage, despite previously having much more; but I’m older now and it’s more expensive. I figure that this amount would cover final expenses and college for the two younger kids, and maybe later I can get a smaller policy to supplement it. I also figured that I should go ahead and apply last week and get the medical exam done as soon as possible before I get any kind of diagnosis that could screw it up. As of this morning, when the nurse came to my house to do all of the testing, I have no appointment and therefore no diagnosis of anything bad. I know that it’s a tricky area that I am wandering in here, and even if the policy is written and granted this week, that a negative diagnosis NEXT week could void it altogether. But I HAD to do SOMETHING to at least TRY and protect my family should something happen to me. I feel so helpless and unable to do anything as long as I don’t know. I NEED to know, so I will know what to do next.
I was supposed to meet with my BFF and attorney tomorrow to update my Will, but she is unexpectedly having to go out of town due to a family situation. When she returns in a couple of weeks, I will go in and we will go over the changes that I need to make, like adding Harrison and Zoe to it (not that I really have much to leave any of them!). Again, just trying to take care of business that I have neglected up to this point.
So it is midday on Monday, and one week that I have been waiting for my phone to ring with a nurse calling to make my appointment. Six days ago, the chick at the program told me that it would be a few days probably before a nurse would call. Three days ago, I called to follow up and see where I am, and was told then that there is no set timeframe and that she couldn’t tell me how long it would be. This brought me to tears slightly. The chick explained that it was only she and the two nurses in this department, and that because everyone who is calling them has the same issue as me, then no one is bumped up as more important than anyone else. I finally took a breath, and told her that really, I appreciate the work that they are doing and to keep up the good work. I imagine that they are talking to a lot of freaked out women just like me every day, and are probably not thanked or appreciated nearly enough. She seemed taken aback by my comments, and finally said, “Ma’am, I know you’re anxious, and I promise that someone will call you soon.” So I had to just accept that, and know that I was going to have to struggle through another weekend not knowing. I pray that someone calls today. This is making me crazy.
Originally published on DomesticDyke.Com
By Tanya Dodd-Hise
Monday morning. I spent the weekend pretty much obsessed with the “what ifs” and the hard lump inside of my breast. We tried to keep busy, which helped a lot.
This morning I made several phone calls in attempts to try again for a mammogram appointment. I found out from all of them that if you have a symptom or suspicious anything, then you are no longer eligible for the free or reduced cost mammogram; you will need to get a diagnostic mammogram and probably a sonogram. Well, YOU won’t; I will. So, in a panic I called my doctor’s office and spoke with the friendly office manager that I know on a first name basis. She said I would need to come in to have the doctor confirm the lump anyway, and told me to come this morning. Well alrighty then! I quickly got dressed, got the baby dressed, dropped her off with my awesome friend, and headed towards the doctor’s office. They got me right back, took vitals, asked questions, then gave me the awesome paper gown (open in the front), and left me to wait. Soon my doctor was in and doing my exam, confirming that it was a firm, elongated, 2.5 cm mass, and yes, I DO need a diagnostic mammogram with sonogram if needed. She left to go write my orders, while I gathered copies of everything and instructions on who to call to schedule the appointment. It alleviates alot of fear to know that there are good programs available to men and women out there with no insurance, in the event that something life-changing happens and they need help. This could very well be me. I will know soon enough, right?
I got in the Jeep, called the number that they gave me – twice – and finally left a message. Their voicemail said it could be up to two days before they call me back. Wonderful.
I made it until about 2 PM before I started hunting for another number to call. I found their Facebook page, which ultimately provided not only the toll free number that I had called earlier, but a local number as well. I called it and to my excitement, I got a live person answer! I spoke with whom I needed to, and she said that my orders needed to be faxed over; so that led to another callback to my doctor’s office. I was told that once they got the orders via fax, then it could be up to 48 hours before I got a call back for scheduling. Sigh. More waiting. I don’t think these people know just how impatient I am.
Originally published on Domestic Dyke.com
By Carol Rood
Today I had a conversation with my Wii Fit that had me saying WTF??
Let me set the scene for you: I came downstairs to see the boys off to school. Once they left I decided to check my weight on the Wii Fit. I get on the board…
Wii: “Well good morning Carol. Are you feeling refreshed today?”
Me: “Yes thank you.”
Wii: “So, how is Bluebell doing? I haven’t seen her lately.”
me: “She’s fine.”
Wii:”So how does Bluebell look to you?”
(4 options to choose from):
A. She looks the same
B. She looks skinnier
C. She looks bigger
D. I haven’t looked at her
I choose A because it is true.
Thinking it is a relationship counselor, Wii says: “Change is exciting don’t you agree? Maybe you should pay more attention to Bluebell.”
I was like, “Look here, I pay enough attention to Bluebell. Watch, I am going to call her and ask her. You’ll see, Missy!”
So I did. I called Bluebell.
I told her about the conversation I was having with the Wii and she laughed … and laughed. Really? I expected her to take my side. But nope….she thought it was hilarious. She was still laughing as I hung up.
So I turn back to the TV, hit the “A” button on the controller to move on, and the Wii says to me: “On a side note did you know that dogs become more motivated if their owners pay attention to them?”
Seriously? Now somehow it is MY fault that Bluebell looks the same??
I am NOT joking here people, I can’t even make this shit up.
Finally I weigh myself. And the Wii says, “Oh, you missed your goal. Do you want to make a new one? Maybe you need to work harder.”
me: “Listen bitch, I think I have had enough of your smack talk today! I bought you, I own you, you are mine, and I don’t want any more sass from you!”
I was a tough bad-ass talker. However, my actions were different. After I yelled at the tv, I meekly and quietly entered a new goal.
And the saddest part is that I will do it again next week.
You can also find me at: Coffee, Clutter and Chaos
For the last few decades I have had boyfriends. One turned into a fiancé, that later became my husband, who now is my Ex. For the last several decades I’ve had girlfriends. Girls, then later women, with whom I have a friendship. Which leads me to my newest internal debate . . .
What in the hell am I supposed to call the person I’m dating now?
Historically, when I said I had a boyfriend, it was pretty obvious that that meant it was the person I was dating (i.e. had an emotional and sexual relationship with). Now that I’m dating Erin, if I introduce her as my girlfriend, it could mean several things. Is she my friend? Best friend? The woman I’m in a emotional and sexual relationship with? It could be any of those! My best friend Stacie is also my girlfriend. See?!
Do I tell people Erin’s my “GIRLFRIEND, GIRLFRIEND?” Just as you may like someone and a friend asks if you “Like them or LIKE LIKE them?” Pretty confusing, right?
Is she my partner? Which then makes me think of square dancing and cattle wrangling.
Hello, this is Erin, my . . .
girlfriend? (with a wink)
lover? (oh geeze)
lady friend? (which lovingly is our “go to” on Facebook)
homo-soulmate (my friend Drea’s concoction)
What about no words and I just wink and nod my head real slowly? I don’t know! Who knew it would be an issue? I know that to me she’s sometimes “baby,” at times “hon,” and almost daily “sweets.” Which I guess, should make her, “THE ONE” to everyone else?
Over the years, several people have mentioned that I should write a book. Usually it’s about my journey as a gestational surrogate (times 3) but now it seems to be about my coming out process. I joke and say that if I were to write a book about finding out that I’m a lesbian at the age of 37, I should entitle it, “Late to the Party.”
Actually, the last year has been pretty fun figuring out where I fit, and gay and lesbian friends trying to welcome me over to their side. Of course, most is in jest and is totally aligned with a lot of stereotypes, but funny nonetheless. One of my friends told me right off, “You do know that now you need to have a favorite USA women’s soccer player, right?” I needed clarification. Am I basing this off of cuteness or actual skill? Apparently, it can be either . . . for the record, I chose Tobin Heath . . . although it’s killing me she isn’t “age appropriate”.
I was also given all six seasons of The L Word. I had heard about the show for years but never watched it. Now, if someone would’ve given me the DVDs a while ago, I wonder if it would have accelerated the end of my marriage? Who knows? But as I watched it, it was wonderful reinforcement. Yep. This is it. My friends loved talking to me about where I was in the seasons and reminiscing about the plot and my thoughts about it. I loved the show and couldn’t wait for the kids’ bedtime so I could get through as many episodes as possible each night. I think I powered through them all rather quickly. It was like a drug. I couldn’t get enough.
I think the reason I never watched the show before is because we didn’t have Showtime. Because you can bet your last dollar, if I knew what I was missing, I would’ve figured out a reason to order it back in 2004. That’s another thing. I was told right away that as a lesbian, I needed Showtime. A few months later when I moved I did get three months’ free and although I could see why I should have it, I didn’t end up sticking with it. As much as I fell in love with Kacy and Cori off the “Real L Word”, I couldn’t really bring myself to pay more money. I also didn’t feel comfortable DVRing any of the shows. Don’t need to have episodes of “Ninjago” and “My Babysitter’s a Vampire” bookending episodes of “Polyamory” and other fun shows. Don’t want to explain that much stuff to my 6-, 9- or 11-year-old.
I was also told that I need to lose my purse, because appraently lesbians don’t carry purses. But I’m simply not a billfold in the back pocket kind of lady. My friends would tease me about other items I was missing: swiss army knife, tool belt, flannel, a cat. I was officially the worst lesbian ever!
When I first came out to a few close friends and my sister (and myself!), I was a several weeks into my final surrogacy. Being pregnant helped me not rush into too much, although I was told by a few friends that some lesbians are totally into the pregnant thing. Just my luck! However, as a surrogate, you sign a contract that you’ll be monogamous with your partner and both of you are screened for sexually transmitted diseases. Basically sex of any kind is out . . . unless you get your new partner (male or female) screened, and that’s hundreds of dollars. So I was told if I decided to start dating and it got physical to keep my clothes on. I wasn’t going to whore around because first, I am a rule follower and second, that’s just not my scene. I am a serial monogamist, it’s what I do. So I was able to date and kiss but not much else. In a way, it was a blessing, because being pregnant could help me not make stupid decisions and jump into things too quickly.
My friends kept telling me that after the pregnancy, when I could finally be totally out, that I would be “very popular”. I found this a little disconcerting. I had been popular before. I didn’t want to be popular. I didn’t want to spread the wealth (or anything else for a number of ladies) and was a little nervous about all of it. Dating nowadays was much different than back in 1999 when I had no kids and wasn’t the same person I am today. Again, I didn’t want to go out and experience every Tina, Debbie, and Hannah. I have always been a woman on a mission, to find the one right person. Being a lesbian didn’t suddenly change that.
A very close friend asked me what I was looking for in a girlfriend. I told her my list of traits, like she has to be REALLY funny (a sense of humor is very important to me), loyal, sweet, have a great smile, be a good communicator, and an awesome mom. I wanted her to be someone with whom I could see myself raising my kids. Someone who was as active with her own kid(s) as I was with mine.
Physically was a different story. I never really thought about what type of woman I was in to. Throughout the years I would see various women and think that certain parts of them were attractive, but I honestly think sense of humor and a great personality are more crucial in making a person attractive. When my straight friends would ask what type of woman I was attracted to, I couldn’t just say this or that type. Although as time went on, it became obvious to me that I wasn’t into girly girls –definitely more athletic than feminine. I would see certain women and think, hmmmmmm… maybe? But again, I was looking for a total package, not just a cute face.
One of my biggest issues with being newly out – me with with three kids, long hair, make up, mini van, and Coach handbags was, how in the hell would I attract women? I thought about this a lot. I thought this is probably going to need to be a set up, since I don’t see myself hanging out in lesbian bars trying to “out myself” to random, attractive women. I also am not the kind of person to waste time dating around everywhere. I would like to know ahead of time that you have your shit together. I don’t want drama. I don’t want a big drinker. I don’t want someone who doesn’t have similar morals and views as my own. You aren’t sure you ever want to get married and be a mom? – then keep moving. You have a history of cheating on partners? -been there and no thanks. I’m looking for trustworthy and loyal, not the local whore. But all of that is null and void if no one knows I’m “up for grabs”. I know it sounds funny, but for months I’d both dream day and night about how this was all going to go down once I lost this baby belly (literally with baby inside my belly) and wanted to start dating.
Funny. When the time came, it wasn’t an issue at all. The perfect woman who had every single thing I was looking for just…fell into my lap.
I have never been one for labels. I don’t really think ONE WORD can describe someone completely and I find this true about my sexuality as well. If I had to label myself, I would say that “lesbian” would be the closest. But again, I have issues with labels. I am attracted to women emotionally and sexually. At this point, I don’t think I would ever be with another man nor do I find myself missing a man one bit. I have never been so satisfied emotionally or sexually in my entire life. I have found someone that I can be myself with at all times. Part of that is because I decided to finally accept and love myself and part of it is that I have found the love of my life; she just happens to be a woman. However, even before Erin and I started dating, I was into her.
I do feel uneasy calling myself a lesbian because I feel like it takes away from women who have bravely loved women for years. Yes, I have fantasized about being with women for decades and had some experimentation here and there, but I never had the courage to go “all in” until 11 months ago. At the time there was no one, but I made the decision that once I started to date again, it would be with a woman. Even my ex said, during a conversation as he was moving out, “Now you can date a woman,” and I thought, that’s the plan.
I was married to a man for eleven years and only had relationships with men until several months ago. Most people just assume that would make me bisexual. I am not. At this point in my life, I can’t even imagine being with a man, ever. Yes, certain men are cute, but it’s not the same. It’s like once I decided to embrace the real me, I didn’t have to comment about men anymore. Yes, he is cute . . . or he has nice abs . . . it’s just not what I want. It’s almost as if a switch had been flipped and the fascade could fall. Historically, I thought men were cute, that’s who I am supposed to be with, but I was also very attracted to women. However, if the plan was to get married and have a family, that has to be done with a man, or at least that was my thinking fifteen years ago. So that is who I focused my energy finding. Several of the men I dated, including the one I married, knew I was into women, but not to the extent that I was/am.
I remember while I was married, I’d fantasize about a three way with another woman and the more I thought about it, the more I realized it wasn’t a three way I wanted, I wanted a female partner. I would watch Big Love and think, oh, what I would give for a sister wife . . . someone to help me with the laundry, raising the kids, to talk to but what a bummer they couldn’t hook up. What I really wanted was a wife, not a sister wife.
Am I pansexual? Pansexual describes a person with the capability of attraction to others regardless of their gender identity or biological sex. Up until my “switch” was flipped, I think this would’ve been the best label for me. For years, when I would teach about relationships and attraction, I would say this very thing. For me, sense of humor ranked higher than gender on a list of characteristics that were important to me in selecting a partner, but now I think that wasn’t completely true. I think it is what I would say at the time because I was married to a man but knew in the future, if given the opportunity, I would be with a woman. I don’t think I’d say this now because I am attracted to women, and don’t really think about being with a man again, so not really “capable” anymore.
The “Kinsey Scale” is a heterosexual-homosexual rating scale developed by Alfred Kinsey and his colleagues. It was created in order to account for research findings that showed people did not fit neatly into exclusive heterosexual or homosexual categories. Just like Kinsey’s team found while recording people’s sexual histories, many people’s thoughts, sexual behavior, and feelings towards the same or opposite sex were not always consistent across time. This is also true with my own sexual history. Kinsey-wise, I would say in my high school years I was probably a 2. Later in college I would have put myself as a 3. For the last decade I would say 4, maybe 5. Currently, I would say I am a 6 and if I’d have to guess what the future holds, I would hypothosize that I’d stay a 6.
I hate labels. I’ve said that before right? So instead of a label I’ll just describe myself. I am a woman who is involved in the most emotionally and sexually rewarding relationship I have even been in. I cannot imagine being with anyone else but Erin, but if something happened and we were no longer together, if I found someone else, I have no doubt it would be another woman. So, if you feel the need to label me, go for it!
The last year has been the hardest of my life. I know I’ve only been blogging about my divorce for a few months and I did have a timeline of how I was going to lay it all out, but with Thanksgiving having just passed, I feel the need to skip a little ahead. Well, ahead with the story that also requires a few major “flashbacks” if you will.
I am truly thankful for my divorce. If my ex-husband had never left me, I don’t think I would have ever left my marriage. My counselor says that my “moral compass” would not have allowed me to and I totally agree with that theory. I didn’t want my kids to come from a divorced home. I didn’t want my kids to have to struggle or not feel whole. I was “okay” in my marriage. It was fine. I was surviving but I certainly wasn’t thriving. I was able to grow as a person and do some pretty amazing things in the last twelve years but I wasn’t where I should have been. I wasn’t 100% myself, and how could I be? I married a man.
Now don’t get me wrong, I loved my husband. He was my best friend. When we met I thought he would make a great husband and father and he had this wonderful large extended family (and I did want to be a wife and mother and always wanted a big family) so I felt fine with proceeding. Over the years I settled into the role of traditional wife and mother with a few “out of the box” adventures, which included continuing to be one of the biggest GLBT allies I knew. I thought I was happy with all of it, or at least what I thought happy meant. Looking back, I can see it wasn’t happy really, it just was. I was incredibly happy with my children and loved them so very much, however, my best friend had definitely become my roommate. There were lots of times where I brainstormed how I could make my marriage better but I would never follow through. My husband was lonely and I felt bad about it but didn’t want to put forth the effort physically because it wasn’t what I wanted. There were even times when he was upstairs on the computer or playing games on the xbox and I was downstairs watching TV and folding laundry and I would daydream about us not being together. But I would never leave. I just couldn’t.
Lucky for me, he left. It was a surprise and quick and painful but he did it. He did what I would have never done. And even with all the bullshit that he did the months before he left and is still doing today, I wouldn’t go back there for anything. Him leaving gave me the opportunity to finally be me, 100% me. So I made the decision to go for it. To live the life I never had the courage to live before. To be myself, to be attracted to and to love who I wanted, and to show my children the lessons I had been teaching them for years. That love is love.
I promise to fill you in on the last several months of becoming the real me and the years of piecing it together but for now I will just say I’m thankful for many things this year, one being my divorce –because without it, I would have never embraced and celebrated who I have always been and in turn I would have never met the love of my life, Erin. And SHE is absolutely amazing.
By: Selina Boquet
One bright, peaceful day, I was effortlessly frolicking through a field of daisies, the wind in my hair, petals at my fingertips, the sun drenching my upturned face when suddenly, I heard a strange sound. It was a rhythm, so faint I had to stop and listen. It was getting louder. It sounded so strange and out of place…my cell phone. Someone was calling.
I sat up out of my lovely dream with a jolt, gasping for air and blindly answering my phone. Before I could even say hello, reality instantly hit my body. Like watching a movie in fast forward mode, flashes of San Francisco, the road trip and all of the walking we had done that weekend was summed up in one tired, mumbled word, as I put the phone up to my ear. Ouch.
“Hello?” I managed to utter, still trying to separate dream from reality.
I’m not sure how I got that nickname from my Dad. It used to drive me crazy, but now it’s endearing. Some things become more precious to you as you grow up. At least it’s better than the nickname they had tried to place on me. I had one little potty accident at the store when I was about six years old and they started calling me “Li li a la tee tee”. I turned into a little green hulk whenever they called me by that name.
“Hey, I’m flying in on Southwuhwuh on flight woahwoahwaoh. Do you have a pen?” English was not quite making sense yet at this point. Then, a faint knocking at the door. Am I being woken up from another dream?
“Dad, hold on, I think someone’s knocking at my door.” I stumbled to the door and winced at the bright sun from the outside world.
Surprise. The kids were home early.
“Mommy!” I was bombarded with hugs as a somber-faced baby daddy looked on.
“Can we talk?” was his profound request.
Really?! Right now? Why NOW?! Can’t you see that I just woke up? Besides, I hate that question at any time! Difficult and awkward conversations always follow.
“What? What do you want to talk about?” was my confused reply as I tried to keep my composure. With one hand, I unsuccessfully attempted to tame my sleep-induced Mohawk and with the other hand, I rubbed my eyes to see if I was hearing correctly. My hair sprang back into its upright position as he stated,“I want to apologize.”
Great. Gay Boy wants to talk about his feelings. Can’t close the door in his face after those words. Besides, this might be interesting. He might have had a change of heart.
Sigh. “Come in.”
I finished grabbing my dad’s flight information for his nearing visit, and sat down to talk with Omar. He explained that he had never had a chance to apologize for all of the pain he had caused me in our marriage and in the break up. He said that he’s not trying to get me back; he just wanted to know if I had forgiven him. I replied that I had forgiven him for the past, yet the present was still very unpleasant, especially with the way that he hated me and all gay people. When he replied with his usual response that he doesn’t hate me, he just doesn’t agree with being gay, I decided it was a good time to break the more than obvious news to him.
“Omar, you are gay.”
“I’m WHAT? Now how do you figure that? How do you know?”
“Ummm…the biggest clue would be the guys you slept with before and during our marriage. Besides that, you can see it in the way you walk, talk, and dress. You are gay. There’s nothing to be ashamed of and the sooner you can accept that the happier you will be.”
“Wow, I’ve never had this conversation with someone before! I’m not gay! I’m attracted to women and if I was attracted to men, I would fight it with everything I have.”
“I know, and that is exactly what you are doing.” I couldn’t believe we were having this conversation at this moment. I wished my head was clearer. Coffee. I needed coffee. Instead, I talked on. I went into a lecture on authenticity, acceptance, and the joy of living in the truth and loving yourself for who you are. When I finished my speech, I observed his confused expression.
“I hear what you’re saying but I’m having a difficult time following you,” was his earnest reply. Perhaps it was a combination of my sleepiness and his denial that was making my communication unclear.
“What I’m trying to say is, Omar, you’re gay.” We both laughed at my blunt repetition. I was surprised by his relaxed mood. Maybe he is changing. Maybe there is hope. Being able to sit down and have a civil conversation was a big transformation from the beginning days of our break up three years ago.
Back then, our interactions consisted of him peering at me from behind bushes, and driving slowly by my house late at night. Once he even broke into my house to steal a picture of me with my girlfriend at the time and threatened to send it to all of the parents of my students. Considering the fact that most all of our interactions over the last three years had been regulated by a judge, this simple, relaxed conversation was truly a break-through. I know that he’ll come out of the closet soon and I choose to see his improved attitude as a step in this direction. We’ll just wait and see if he remains this friendly when he finds out that I’m sending the state after him for the child support he owes! Until then, I’ll just enjoy the increased level of peace in our required current interactions. Sometimes the universe throws us the smallest of miracles at the most unexpected of times.