I've been trying this little project that my counselor has recommended to me. I'm writing letters to everyone whom I have something important to say to. I wrote a very angry letter to my dad, a letter to his bitchy girlfriend, a letter to Amber telling her I'm moving on. But the most important one I wrote was my mom's. It was a coming out letter. I said things that needed to be said, and it made me feel better, even though I'm too scared to give it to her right now. One day, maybe I can have the courage to.
I've debated on whether or not I should post this letter on Oasis. I hesitated because it's a bit long and I didn't think people would read it. But I'm gonna post it anyway. Please tell me what you think, if you can read it all XD
I’ve always been very blunt. You of all people should know that. So, I’m just going to come out and say it: I’m gay. I have had crushes on girls ever since elementary school. Remember Kelsey, my best friend in third grade? She kissed me on the cheek the last day of school, and I loved it. I didn’t realize it then, because I was too confused, but now that I look back on it, I had a crush on that girl. And ever since then, it’s been one girl after another. The tomboy in my 5th grade class. The brunette with the contagious smile and sweet laugh in 7th grade. And, most recently, Amber. My best friend. Or at least, she used to be. She’s the only one you knew about. And what did you do when I told you? You dismissed my genuine feelings for her as confusion between love and friendly affection.
There have never been any boys. Never have I felt anything, physical or emotional, for any boy in my life. Did I have a boyfriend freshman year? Yes, I did. But I felt nothing towards him. When I dated him, I was still trying to figure out why I was feeling things for girls and not boys, so I thought I would date him to try and force myself to fall for a guy. It barely lasted two weeks. You already know why it ended. I won’t repeat what I went through with him.
I can’t imagine myself married to a man, being a devoted wife with children, which I know is what you’ve always wanted for me. I imagine myself with a beautiful woman, who loves me as much as I love her. That is what I’ve always imagined. And I kept that to myself. For years, Mom. Do you know what that’s like? Keeping your confusing feelings inside for years, trying to figure everything out on your own? I was terrified. Scared of the consequences for being who I am.
I know what you’re going to say to this: “Honey, why didn’t you talk to me about this?” Please, Mom. What was I supposed to say? “Mom, I’ve been having dreams about girls ever since I was 10. Any idea what that means?” I just never knew how to start that conversation. And our family isn’t exactly happy about the existence of gay people. I know the family doesn’t loathe gays, but you don’t exactly enjoy them either. Whenever I’m with Dad, and he makes comments about a “disgusting queer” on TV, I want to scream. And I know how religious Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Lori are. In their eyes, I’m going to burn in hell for this. I don’t think they would love me as much if they knew.
I also figured that if I told you about this, you would deny it. You’re probably denying it right now, as you read this. A million explanations are floating in your head. “Jenna’s just confused.” “She just hasn’t met the right guy yet.” “Every teenager goes through this phase. It’ll pass.” “She’s too young to know if she’s gay for sure.” All of that is bull. Yes, I was very confused. For a long time. But I went to counseling, got close to Nicky, and all of the resources she gave me, along with a lot of deep self-exploration on my part, have cleared the confusion. I’m gay, and I don’t have a damn thing to be ashamed of.
It’s not like I woke up one morning and said to myself, “Yup! I’m definitely gay!” It took a lot of realization, a lot of thinking, a lot of time for me to come to this conclusion and accept it. Even after I accepted it, I was afraid to speak to you about it, because I knew you wouldn’t accept it like I had. And I knew your reaction would make me feel like crap. I knew you wouldn’t yell at me, because you’re a better mother than that. But I knew you would deny it, toss it under the rug, and refuse to take me seriously.
But I’m stronger now, more certain of myself. I am who I am, and I can’t control my sexuality. Even if I could, I wouldn’t change a thing. I know that this is not what you expected from your daughter, and I know that this will take a long time for you to process. Just know this: Nobody has done anything wrong. I have done nothing wrong, and you have done nothing wrong as a mother. You didn’t raise me the wrong way, and you didn’t do anything to make me this way. I was just born gay. And that doesn’t change who I am. I’m still your daughter, the quiet one who can be moody and impossible to deal with. I’m still the girl who loves to write and tell stories, the girl who drives you crazy when she doesn’t do the laundry or clean her room. The girl who will only eat peanut butter and jelly if it’s on toasted bread, the girl who enjoys watching soaps with her mother every evening.
I’m still your daughter. I’m still Jenna.
My sexuality does not define me. It doesn’t affect the way I talk, the way I dress, the way I act. It’s simply an unchangeable part of who I am. I can’t help it any more than I can help having blue eyes or brown hair or pale skin.
The way I see it, you have two choices: you can refuse to accept this and waste your time denying who I am. If that is the option you choose, you may very well lose me, because damn it, I need you to be there for me no matter which gender I’m attracted to. Your second choice is to take the steps necessary to come to terms with this. And I know that won’t be easy. If you have any questions for me, I will do my best to answer them. I will be patient with you, just as you have been patient with me as I grow up. You could be feeling anything right now. Fear, sadness, anger, resentment. I know you’re not exactly jumping with joy, and I understand that. I don’t think any parent has thrown a party after finding out that their child is gay.
It’s going to be okay, Mom. I am going to be fine, and so are you. I’m becoming an adult now, and that means figuring out who I was destined to be. So feel whatever you need to feel. Rip this letter up in anger if you need to. Cry your eyes out. Do whatever you need to do to get the emotions out. Accepting my sexuality is a process. You’ll have good days when you feel okay about me, and you’ll have bad days when you just wish I could be straight. Just know that I won’t be rushing home with any girlfriends anytime soon. You need time. I just need you to be strong and get over any previous thoughts you may have had about gay people. I really hope that in time, you can accept this.
I really need you to handle this to the best of your ability. I need all the support I can get right now. Like I said before, I’m going to be just fine. Will my sexuality bring me challenges down the road? Definitely. But those challenges will make me a stronger woman. I have my future ahead of me, and I know that it will be a bright and limitless one, regardless of which sex I’m attracted to.
I am so much more than just my sexuality.
I love you very much,