Tonight I’d like to shift the focus of the blog to an issue that I introduced a very long time ago and then glossed over many details. At the end of my relationship with Katy and the beginning of everything that was to come with Lara I felt like I had reached a turning point or breakthrough with my parents.
I’ve already covered my initial shock and disappointment with my mother’s less than welcoming reaction after I had told her I was gay. Things hadn’t been easy for a long time, from the ages of 17 through to 21 I never once had a heart-to-heart with my mum. I know that this upset her as much as it upset me, I just couldn’t see a way through her negative reaction to confide in her when I felt that I needed to.
My parents were still amazing people, who bought me driving lessons when I turned 17, a car for my 18th, supported me through university, helped me get on my feet when I quit university by helping me look for jobs, loaned me money to buy a car and welcomed me back into their home happily. My sexuality was always the elephant in the room, always there but never talked about.
I think very early on I had made the topic ‘off limits’ since I couldn’t have a conversation with my mum without losing my temper, getting frustrated or just feeling awful. It took me a long time to realise that my mum just wanted me to be happy, she just couldn’t see me being gay and being happy. She had stood by me my whole life as I put up with a relentless stream of bullying at school, I was never bullied for being gay and with my track record how could she not worry that my coming out of the closet would bring on new lows on this front for me.
As the years passed my parents eventually could see that being gay wasn’t getting in the way of my own personal happiness. They never once heard of me getting any kind of abuse for it, that doesn’t mean I never did, just that it was never a big enough problem for it to affect me as a person. The only thoughts I think they still held onto after about a year were that it might just be a phase and they were clearly upset that I was in a relationship with someone who seemed to make me more miserable than happy.
They would hear almost every word that was shouted between Katy and I over the years. They just didn’t know how to support me when I seemed to love someone so completely wrong for me. They could never have talked openly with me about Katy as I would have assumed they disliked her because I was gay, not for any other reason, that they would have found fault with her no matter what.
After the final break up I talked to my mum for the first time, openly. I told her that Katy and I were over, that I wanted it to be for good this time but I was still hurting over it. I told her almost everything, in return my mum said she knew I had been unhappy for ages and confessed that they’d often heard us argue. Knowing this now I was surprised that my parents hadn’t attempted to talk with me about my relationship before. I think they were giving me the space to make my own mistakes.
As that sunk in I really began to understand just how much my parents had grown to accept who I was, who I had always been and who I always will be. To them, I’m their daughter. Nothing else matters. My parents acknowledged that it was no longer a phase to them, four years down the line and it had finally sunk in. When I introduced them to Lara for the first time I was nervous, I always knew they had disliked Katy and it made it difficult for us to spend time together sometimes. I didn’t want the same hostility to extend into my new relationship.
I needn’t have worried, my family all liked Lara from the start. They could see that I was a completely different person with her than I had been with Katy. We started out in a much healthier place, we started out equal, we both knew that we wanted each other and there were no silly games. My parents couldn’t disapprove of someone that made me so happy.
It was the breakthrough I had been waiting for, my dad who had always been rather silent on the issue remained so. The biggest relief for me was that I had my mum back, she had always been there and I knew it deep down, but this was different, she wasn’t just my mum now, we were friends again.
It means the world to me now that I can turn to my parents when I need advice, when I’m hurting or feeling low, that I don’t have to hide and pretend that everything’s always Ok where I fear they might not understand. I always had parents that loved and cared for me, the difference now is that I wouldn’t shut them out any longer, now that they had grown to accept me for me, I wouldn’t feel like I’d have to hide half of myself from them. It took a long time on both sides, but once we’d turned that corner I would never shut them out again.