She’s Praying for the Perfect Man … For Me

My mother feels that I've cheated her out of her heterosexual dreams for me. Image: ThyBlackMan.com

My mother feels that I’ve cheated her out of her heterosexual dreams for me. Image: ThyBlackMan.com

My mother is a 66-year-old, churchgoing, conservative, Jamaican woman. When I first told her I was gay, I was 29 years old and had just bought a house with the woman I had dated in secret for two years. My mama wasn’t a fool and had her suspicions. She knew I wasn’t one for roommates and so asked me straight up if we were more than just friends. I looked her in the eyes and told her we were more than just friends. She must have thought I was kidding or that it was a phase because she constantly brought up me getting married to a man and producing her grandchildren. I decided it made no sense to argue with someone who probably would never get it. I would live my life and remind her that as a self-supporting adult, I get to live my life the way I see fit.

I sat her down again after a particular touchy church service where the pastor encouraged the congregants to love the sinner (gays) but hate the sin (being gay). I told her that I was a lesbian and that my partner and I were serious. She refused to believe that I could be a lesbian because she knew for a fact that I wasn’t born that way.

It was difficult for her and me as we tried to figure out the best way to maintain our relationship. At one point I had a very frank conversation with her in which I told her that we could have polite conversations about the weather—much like the type of conversations you have with strangers on an elevator—or I could be honest about who I am and she could actually get to know her daughter.

She was too ashamed of my “lifestyle” to tell her friends and fellow church ladies and that was fine with me. I wasn’t interested in sharing my life with people who didn’t matter. But what was painful was not having my partner acknowledged or included in family events. I didn’t push it at first because my first partner always visited her out-of-state family for the holidays. But when we broke up, I decided to stage a silent protest by hosting and/or attending holiday events with my fellow queer LGBT friends.

She Won’t Let Go of the Heterosexual Dream

I was so proud when my mom finally told me she ordered some materials from PFLAG and that I was fine the way I was. I was elated and surprised that my mother could be so open minded. And our relationship improved. Not only did I feel comfortable telling my mom my business, within reason of course, she felt comfortable telling me her business. She told me about her current boyfriend, her high school boyfriends (my mom was fine back in the day!), her thoughts about politics and whatever else crossed her mind when we hung out or chatted on the phone. It was the first time in my life that I felt completely free to be myself with my mother.

One thought on “She’s Praying for the Perfect Man … For Me

  1. Dear Friend, unfortunately, there is nothing you can do nor say to destroy your mom’s dream for her beloved, gentle and beautiful daughter having a traditional wedding with a man. It is your mom’s issue and not yours (I apologize if it sounds harsh) this is the one time in your life that mom will just have to be disappointed. I know it is hard because you love and adore your mom, but you can not sacrifice your happiness by fulfilling her dream. I am humbly commenting because in 2009, one month before my tough, loving and passionate mom passed away -she said, “I would have rather you been a crackhead and prostitute on the streets with five kids than be who you are.” I was devastated! My mom was not celebrating that the I broke the chains of welfare, teen pregnancy and public housing. I was the first and only in the family to receive a high school diploma, bachelor’s and masters degree : all she wanted was for me to marry a man (to please her God) and make her a grandmother.

    Give mom a hug after taking her to dinner and thank her for loving you unconditionally! Tell mom that there was nothing she did to contribute to you being gay (most moms believe they did something wrong). If you were like me – raised in the church..share with mom how depressed and sad you were trying to conform to the ,” norm.” Share with mom how amazing your life is living it authentically! Truthfully, just allow her to dream; I think for my mom and maybe your mom – the dreaming or hoping is a way of coping with the reality! If dreaming allows her to continue loving and accepting you – then let her! There is nothing you can do to control her dreams.

    My grandmother is 77 and I have been out 15 years and granny said two weeks ago, “the Devil is a lier and you will have a husband. ” I am 42 yrs old and granny still believes this. My grandmother makes sarcastic comments about my men’s clothing and still asks me to put my locks in a bun and try on lipstick ( never lol). I love her, but we do not share the same vision!

    I am sorry about your break up. Please stay strong! I am sending warm and positive thoughts your way.

    Like

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