So my mom is coming to visit me in April and I’m hyperventilating already. I’ve made a mental checklist of things that need to be removed and stored until she leaves. By things I mean items that will scream, “Hey lady…your daughter is so gay.” This includes multiple posters, signs made by my ex and I for NC Pride, my flag (ugh I love that flag), my BDU bracelet, rainbow earrings, etc.
While this is my initial, personal reaction—to de-gay my room—I can’t help but compare it to my straight roommate and how she behaves when her parents come to visit. I recall many a hurried times hiding our alcohol at a friend’s or under our recycling bin outside even though we’re both of age. That was her biggest and only concern, from my perspective, because her parents don’t condone drinking. When my mom gets here, we won’t have to touch a single bottle be it in the freezer or on top of the fridge. Shoot, we’ll probably all have a drink together. However, I do plan to take a chunk of my identity and hide it away like a guilty pleasure (probably in my roomie’s closet). I know how my mother feels about homosexuality and I’m not ready to cross that bridge. Whether that should elicit shame or self-loathing I’m not sure, but that’s where I stand right now.
Ironically, my mother is coming to Duke to celebrate with me. A program I intern with is having an exhibit to showcase all the hard work we have done. My mom is coming to support me and show how proud she is. I can see her now: standing in the audience, looking right at me, tears rolling down her face, and clapping/whistling like crazy. But she’ll be staring at only half of her daughter; she’ll be celebrating with only half of who I am. The other half will be lurking in the depths of a laundry basket somewhere.
It’s difficult for me to see how much I have progressed/transformed/developed as an individual, a woman of color, in my sexuality and as a whole during this school year only to realize where I’ve fallen short so harshly. I want to be better than fear, however, I also recognize my limitations at this moment. Recognition doesn’t make it hurt any less but it’s a start. At least I know where I’m headed.