I walk through the doors of the counseling center expecting nothing more than a regular visit with my birth mother that mainly consists of her demanding I attend a private all-girls Christian school, and me shooting her down by informing her that she has no control over what I do. She has no rights to me and that is all her own doing. I sit beside her in the waiting room; the smell of cheap booze fill my lungs. I keep my mouth shut and brace myself for a long session. She knows I don’t want to be around her binge-drinking. We sit there not exchanging a word while the news plays from the office’s flat screen as we wait for our appointment to begin. I look up at the screen, and my heart stops as I realize what they’re talking about.
She groans in disgust as the debate about legalizing gay marriage carries on, “Filthy homos, trying to destroy marriage.”
I take a deep breath and try to keep my composure as she continues, stating how she believes gay people should be locked away and “cured.” I begin to feel my palms sweat and the only thing I can hear is my heart beating so fast it might explode.
When we’re young we’re told to always tell the truth, but I know people would be a lot happier if I wasn’t honest. We all crave the truth until we’re greeted with how ugly it really is. Her hateful words fill the room like water. The pressure builds, sinking me to the bottom of the ocean. My mind begs me to get out while I still can, before the pressure breaks every remaining piece of me, while my body continues to sink down, down, until I’m screaming and choking on my tears. “Y-you know it’s a shame you hate gay people because guess what Mom? I l-like girls.”
My truth is finally beginning to spill over, and my tiny piece of the world isn’t prepared.
Rage mixes in her like chemicals that were never supposed to combined, but there's not enough time to take cover before the explosion. She looks me dead in the eye and states, “No daughter of mine is some butch. I should of had you aborted because that would be less shameful than having a gay child.” Her body shakes like an earthquake ready to break down all my walls until there is nothing left but the debris of who I used to be.
My protective barriers shatter as I pull up my shorts and expose all the cuts from my inner thigh leading to my outer thigh. “This, this is what you do. You tear me into piece after piece with your cruel words. You’re killing me. If you can’t love me for who I am, then you never loved me at all. You’re not worth hurting myself over. You’re not worth hating myself over. You’re not my mother anymore. You’re just a stranger who so happened to give birth to me. Goodbye, Heather.” I say as I walk outside of the counseling center doors and sink into my foster mom's arms, sobbing as the pain inside finally seeps its way to the surface for everyone in the parking lot to see.
I tell her what happened, and we’re silent for a moment. But this quiet holds a different atmosphere. She looks at me with love in her eyes and she tells me, “Who you love will not change the fact that I love you. I am proud of who you are and you should be too.”
When we arrive home the voicemail for the landline is filled with messages from three of my five sisters asking it was true. If I really like girls.
Everytime I pick up my phone I’m greeted with a new text message,informing me of how much they hate me and ‘my kind.’ How I belong in the lake of fire. A flood of hatred pouring in all from the people who once claimed they loved me. The room in silent, except for the small sounds of my heart cracking.
When I log into Facebook the flooding begins to pour in more rapidly. Not only has Heather told everyone in my family I’m gay, but she also had the audacity to post about it online. Comment after comment of basically the same thing, just with different wording. Stating how disgusting and wrong it was for me to be who I am. How. Tears make their way out of my eyes yet another time that night, but that pressure is gone. I’m not sinking in the ocean anymore; I’m just getting used to oxygen. For the first time in years, I can breathe.
I click refresh, and suddenly, there are people coming to my defence, calling Heather out for not loving her child unconditionally. I check my inbox, and there are a few perverted friends of my mother’s telling me how they’d “‘help fix me, if they got their hands on me,’” and I almost log out completely. But then I see the other messages telling me to keep my head up. To stay strong. To know that there are people like me out there and that I am not alone.
I go through the dreaded messages filled with hate from family members, and I tell them all the exact same thing: Yes, it’s true. I am who I am, and if you don’t accept me for that, then I don’t need you in my life.
The hateful responses fly in almost immediately, and I block every single one of them. It hurts to remove the people I love, but I need to love myself more than I need for them to love me.
For the first night in years, I go to bed without taking a blade to my skin first. I feel the burn of past cuts travel through my body as my bare legs hit my bedsheets, and for the first time I think to myself I don’t deserve to be in pain. When I close my eyes, there is no monster that greets me like previous nights before, just the sweet sound of cars driving by and my heart reminding me I’m alive.
Oh, how happy I am to be alive.
How happy I am to be who I am.