Tuesday, May 31, 2011


My mother turned seventy-one a few days ago and to celebrate I took her out to breakfast this past Saturday. Normally, our trips to dining establishments (well, most any place actually) are fraught with,  well, just fraught.  Mom can be a challenge. But, as we both grow older I find that I'm developing a kind of barrier, I guess, to her, stuff, for lack of deeper, more comprehensive word.  I wrote the following for Our Big Gayborhood late last year which speaks a bit to the nature of that which is between me and my mother:

Skimming The Surface

My mother has decided that I’m complicated. Nothing I say or do can dissuade her from that assessment. In fact, everything I say or do, seems to serve to solidify the opinion she has come to in the past year or so since I came out to her.

She is either unable or unwilling to expound on that which renders me complicated. So, I can only speculate.
I suspect that the “complicated” tag transcends my sexuality.  I suspect that my mother is finally struggling to know who I am after all these years. I suspect that she has come to realize that our relationship for most of my life merely skimmed the surface of the who of us. That we never delved beyond the obvious or the mundane. I suspect she has come to believe that I do not espouse all her values. I suspect that said belief makes her extremely uneasy.

The eight years leading into and now the few out of my lesbian-flavored epiphany are all about discovery. I’d spent so many years prior hiding, suppressing, denying, and comporting myself to align ever-so-carefully with what I thought others wanted, that I cast barely a shadow of any authenticity. I walked the walk and talked the talk that everyone expected. Carefully coloring my life within the lines. In my mind, to do otherwise conscripted me to a lifetime of pain and suffering, in line with the messages delivered to me during my early years.

I suspect that she doesn’t believe me when I say, “I’m fine.” I suspect she believes our relationship is tenuous at best and non-existent at worst. I suspect that each time we disagree she believes it will be the last time we speak. I suspect she is afraid. She is afraid that I don’t love her (enough), that I don’t care (enough), that I don’t have (enough) in me to do what she’ll require as she loses more and more of her self-sufficiency. I suspect she doesn’t want that burden for me and me alone. I suspect she’s most afraid that we’ll run out of time, that we won’t be able to repair the mistakes of the past.

These years have been about discovery. I’ve discovered that I’m intensely fierce with my love.  I’ve discovered that my authenticity hasn’t and won’t bring the world to a crashing end. I’ve discovered that my mother is troubled. 

I’ve discovered it isn’t all about me. I’ve discovered that I can’t fix her; I can love, assist, and try to encourage her, to the best of my ability.  I’ve discovered that troubled or no, she is much stronger than she realizes. I’ve discovered that she supports me, complications and all.

She is either unable or unwilling to expound on that which renders me complicated. So, I can only speculate.

I suspect that the “complicated” tag transcends my sexuality and further that all the discoveries will ultimately lead to a happier, more fulfilled rest of each of our lives.

The recent outing was the most relaxed outing we'd shared in quite some time. We haven't worked out many of our issues, but we (or at least, I) have begun to develop behaviors that keep the complications from bubbling over our surfaces.  


  1. Congratulations on a pleasant outing with your mom.

    I think complicated is good! What's the alternative? Simple?

  2. I think that's called compassion...awesome...

  3. Brave, Honest- this post belongs to the future of humanity..

  4. I always get knot in my stomach thinking of you & your mother. You are a real trooper! Hang in there dearest, 71 is young.


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