Less than a month ago, I was having difficulty dealing with the fact that I’d be going home and seeing my mom for the first time in almost 10 years. What were we going to talk about? Everything we ever discussed turned into a power struggle of how she was “Mom, Authority Figure” and how I should have listened to her when I was younger, that Daddy, had he not died, would have kept me in line.
Yep, I’m headstrong. Yep, I make my own decisions without consulting her. Yep, I’ve made mistakes. But damn it, I’ve made some wise choices, too, like moving to New York and finishing college and falling in love with my girlfriend.
Ooh. How was I going to tell her that I’d had sex with other women?
For that matter, would it be wise to tell her that I’d slept with a professor at college? Or that I’d become Wiccan, which flies in the face of her Catholic upbringing?
But she knew that. She reads my blog.
So, when we met at the airport, I treated her like a stranger and pretended she was someone I’d just met and wanted to know better. I asked her who she was, what music and TV shows and movies she likes, and what makes her laugh and cry. I spent the whole time asking questions and getting to know her. Before we said goodnight, I hugged her and said, “You may not approve of who I am or what I’ve done over the years, but I have never stopped loving you.”
She cried and so did I. We talked well into the night, sharing moments and feelings. And I never let her forget how much I love her. I was honest and frank, and she disapproved of some of the things I told her, but she listened without a lot of disapproving comment.
I saw her in a new light … a good light. <3
However, when walking on eggshells, you’re bound to break a few. She and I got into a long conversation about the woman I’ve become (how I perceive myself) and how I perceive how others see me. We both agreed that my family and friends (and “friends” on MySpace) perceive me as sexually promiscuous, which I have no problem with. I am promiscuous. But I practice safe promiscuity. (I cocoon myself in plastic wrap during sex and emerge as a new creature after I come.)
But seriously, my mom felt, and feels, that it’s wrong for me to have sex with other women. It goes against her Catholic eruditeness, that stifling bullheadedness that says sex can be nothing other than Male + Female. My Female + Female sex life rubs not only the grain of western religious teachings, but the very fabric of nature. Male + Female = children, born naturally. Anything else equals zero—no sum, no revenue, no natural bi-product deemed glorious in the eyes of her god.
I argued (nicely), however, that even though the joining of woman to woman is not the Male + Female = children equation, our togetherness is more than being nature’s machines and producing offspring.
“You’re talking about love,” mom said, finally understanding.
“I’m talking about a relationship that defines the very phrase: We’re in love,” I told her.
“And you’re happy?”
Mom was quiet. Then: “You shouldn’t post your sexual affairs on the Web.”
Perhaps not. She fears that my posting my sexual status at MySpace and other social sites is going to prompt perverted men and women to contact me, thus risking my safety.
Furthermore, she worries that I could meet up in real life with some stranger who is a rapist, a serial killer, a member of congress. Hell, that’s everyday life outside our homes. Who knows what the next person off the street is going to do? But I’ve learned that it’s a small percentage of true-to-the-heart criminals walking the streets or spending hours on the Internet, despite all those armchair psychologists on Oprah and Murray, or the slew of suspenseful TV movies saying otherwise.
Still, I’m an anonymous Webster when it comes to dealing with strangers. I am female, which raises the risk of being accosted by a ne’er-do-well. I have blonde hair, which raises that risk even higher. But I grew up in sailor-filled San Diego before moving to that crusty hub called New York City. I know how to defend myself. And I am bisexual, which means I’ve played on both sides of the track. I can usually spot trouble heading my way long before it arrives, penis or no penis in their pants.
Still, my bisexuality causes my mom to worry how family perceives me. Or worse, they may admonish her for failing to bring me up right. To that, I say, “Tell them to mind their own business.”
“But what if your future husband finds out that you’ve had sex with other girls?” she asks.
Well, I tell her, so what? If he—and who’s to say he will be a he—is intelligent, after I tell him myself, he’ll love me for who I am, who I was, and who I’ll be as we foster an honest and meaningful relationship together.
I’m not the first to walk this road and I’ll certainly not be the last, but while I travel through life, I’ll go as an honest, happy person and not worry what someone else has labeled me.