Sunday, November 23, 2008

Coming Out To My Mum

This post is inspired by Alexander and Robbie's post. Again, I've only told this to my best friends Joe and Ryan, but now I've decided to share with everyone, how it was like when I finally came out to my mum...

I remember it clearly. It was almost 2 years ago. I was sitting on front of my PC, surfing and engaging the Internet as usual. She was folding clothes and trying to get me into some light conversation. Then, her topic of chat began to drift towards girls and marriage. Here's what went on, as closely as I could remember.

Mum: Why don't you have a girlfriend yet? All of your Uni friends already had girlfriends while studying. Look at X and Y.

Me: I guess I didn't find any girls interesting.

Mum: Well, there are so many girls in your Uni. Don't tell me not even one suits you?

Me: Not interested.

Mum: How can it be? See X and Y, they've met nice girls. I'm sure you could've found one if you had looked harder then.

Me: I'm just not interested.

Mum: How come not interested? Don't tell me not even one girl in Uni caught your interest? What about at your office?

Me: Well, there are nice girls around, but I'm just not interested at the moment.

Mum: Why not interested? Are there NO girls that interests you? Or are you just NOT interested in girls?

At that point, I kept silent. I turned around, got up from front of my PC and sat on the couch right in front of her. She began to express alarm and repeated herself.

Mum: Are you not interested in girls?

It took what seemed like the longest pause in my life before I could utter a word. I was sick and tired of keeping this secret and constantly denying or avoiding the topic. She was my mum and we used to be incredibly close. It felt as if secret of who I really am, had slowly built a wall between us over the years. I no longer shared or talked about my personal matters with her. It pains me that we had drifted apart, even though I still love her very much. It was that moment, that I had decided to come clean.

Me: Nope, what if I'm not?

Mum: WHAT? You mean you like guys? You're a gay ah?

From then on, there was no turning back. Wheels in my head spun vigorously, thinking of what further reaction she might have. I had thought that was the perfect moment to tell her, since she brought up the topic herself. I thought I was ready, I guess I wasn't. She reacted like what any unsuspecting parent would. She was in a state of shock.

The few months that followed after that night were hellish for me. She didn't say a thing to my dad, because (I think) he wouldn't be able to handle it and the relationship between my parents are somewhat estranged, so she rarely speaks to him. But after the shock she had that night, she reacted like any parent would.

She began to blame herself for not raising or treating me better. It was painful to see how she treated me so well after that night, as if to make up for her lack of motherly duties, so that I would somehow 'revert' to my straight self. This was absurd, she had done her very best to make sure my sister and I had everything we needed. Luckily, this 'treatment' didn't last. Seeing her torturing herself inside was heart-wrenching.

She blamed my dad, who hadn't been a father figure to me when I was young. Somehow, she justified that due to lack of fatherly love, I had turned out this way.

She partially blamed the influence of gay friends I had now and during Uni times.

She even mildly blamed (which I DON'T KNOW why), my best friend Joe, for not behaving as masculine as a normal guy. I mean, it was getting downright ridiculous!

She would talk about how it was morally, religiously and physically wrong in nature to be gay. I hated it whenever she brought it up. We would get into arguments when it was brought it or I would just avoid it altogether.

She would tell me that I was in danger of contracting STDs and AIDS, which a load of bull. You'd catch it anyway if you were promiscous or not practicing safe sex, straight OR gay!

Basically, she was in shock and disbelief, trying to find any means to justify her denial, rather than see the truth. I guess I can't blame her. She doesn't have any gay friends, doesn't know much about gay people and issues, except all the negative stereotyping and perceptions that most of the discriminating and ignorant society had generated.

Nevertheless, those few months were miserable for me. I'd face scrutiny whenever I went out with friends, since I also told her that I had gay friends in Penang. She would question me if I spent a lot of time with a guy, even though it was just a friend. She would question my motives whenever I went travelling with friends. She would ask me to socialize with more straight people. She continued to bombard me with moral and religious obligations, possibly in an attempt to change me through guilt.

I felt like a emotional wreck. I had revealed my greatest secret, hoping she would at least try to slowly understand. Instead, she chose denial instantly and spat it back at me. There was a time when it felt so overwhelming, I remember that I drove out of the office after lunch, parked in a deserted alley and just cried my heart out. I practically wailed in the car. It really hurt.

During those few months, she had stopped talking about marriage or girls. I was hoping that she was beginning to consider the possibility of me being gay, but that was not the case. Fast forward two years later, she's still in denial and even bringing back the topic of marriage and girls again. She's treating it as if I never told her anything at all, which is her way of dealing with the 'problem', I guess. She isn't really the confrontational when it comes to dealing with problems. However, she's still wary when I go out with friends or when someone stays over my place and vice versa, although she doesn't stop me or anything.

PS: Lately, she found out that Bobo is staying over on weekends. She just met Bobo last nite, so far so good...


Twilight Zone said...

Whoa! Seems like a season for bloggers to share their hard times with parents. Yours is common but I feel so bad for your hurt & wailing inside the car. I wished i was there with tissues. Stay strong Mark. Love will conquer all, so you know what to do yeah. I mean with your mum.

Mark said...

Yeah, I had wanted to write about it earlier, but forgot.

Yeah, it really hurt that time. Felt like my world was crumbling. She was my mum after all, I had expected her to at least try to consider and understand. We were really close in the past, but not anymore. Right now, it's live and let live...