Thursday, May 24, 2012

Seventy Two

My mother will be 72 on Saturday. Her assessment of me hasn't changed much in the nearly two years since I wrote "Skimming the Surface".  The biggest change to our relationship is my brother's return from prison. He, as always, permeates the family dynamic. Her call to thank me for the hand-crafted, personalized birthday card I sent, wound up being about him and his upcoming (reported--kinda like the boy who cried wolf) nuptials. Never-the-less, complicated or not, I wish my mother the happiest of days. 

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.

*As Published in Our Big Gayborhood 


  1. Beautifully written, as usual. I remember reading it the first time around. But holy crap, it's been two years since you wrote it? Dang.

    I want to drag my heels to slow the circles down.

    Happy birthday to your mom.

  2. Oh, how I resonate with you. Thank you for expressing your thoughts so beautifully.

  3. I suspect that she's missing out on a person of great value.

  4. Well, of course you are complicated! And so is she! There is nothing wrong with that ~ only with her hiding behind that word to avoid authenticity. Poor mom. Missing so much that is so wonderful.

    Happy birthday to your mom. I only hope she knows what a wonderful daughter she has...

  5. Love is complicated.


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