Photo: Nishe9 by Magdalena Lutek
I am walking away from my own beaten path with that post, diving into the topic that is my personal beast.
I don’t know how to write about family, because I don’t know how to talk about family, because I never talk about family. I’ve become an expert at avoiding the topic.
I don’t have an answer myself.
Is there anything I am ashamed of? Is it painful? Sensitive? Am I running away from something? Are there any words out there in the lexicon of the world to even articulate my situation?
It has nothing to do with love. I do love my family. That’s what makes it tough. We all love our family to the point that it becomes a vampire that sucks us into guilt. We are all loyal to our respective family system, whatever form our loyalty may take.
That’s seven years that I haven’t been to my parents’ home. I was still a closeted student at Paris 3 University with short hair and big cheeks when I went there last. I have seen my parents and siblings in the meantime, but always in “neutral ground”, far from the house where I grew up.
My great return was planned last weekend. I had booked plane tickets for a family gathering and I had confirmed my presence. Everything was set.
I played for time until the very last minute. I sent an email the day before. “I am sorry. I am not coming.”
It took me weeks to finally make that decision. Although I am the rebel of the family, although I have a big mouth and I am not the last to tell people to ‘fuck off’, although I’ve always been fiercely independent and moved abroad with my little suitcase when I was 18 and 2 weeks, you know what, that no show decision triggered the biggest amount of guilt I’ve ever felt. After being physically apart from my family system for most of my adult life, I think it was finally the first time that I was consciously stepping out of it. I visualised the family party with my empty shoes around the table. I remembered being told that healthy guilt can be healing.
I didn’t have the strength to hold myself back and compose a smooth character. I didn’t have the strength to elude the routine matters or tactfully filter my words.
I would like to go back to the people who’ve brought me into the world and be able to be my full self, the one that my friends and adopted family find colorful, funny and groundbreaking. I don’t want to be the pale version of myself any longer, not even for a moment. I am renouncing to pretend.
I want to casually tell my mum: “So, in a nutshell, last year I had this exploration phase of what is called ‘the BDSM scene’. That stands for ‘Bondage-Sado-Masochism’, and I found out that I am BD but not SM. I am not against it, I just don’t like it. It was truly fascinating. I met really nice people in sex parties, really, you’d be surprised how interesting and caring people can be. I had a fling with one of my gay ‘husbands’ around new year. It was awesome. He wears my clothes. I started questioning my desire after that. Maybe I also like a certain type of boys and I’ve been missing out? I had a CRAZY physical passion with my female neighbour a month later, but it stopped abruptly when I found out that she was an addict. Then, I shut down for a while. I am trying to become more emotional, and dare I say it, more ‘romantic’, although I have a hard time with the naiveness of the term. But I don’t think emotion is naive after all, because it takes great courage to be that present to yourself and surrender to another person. Right now, there are girls and boys that I like. I am rewiring myself, it is a tremendous job. I recently realised that my spectrum is so wide, you know. I’ve been infatuated with straight girls and boys and gay girls and boys. I even briefly fell in love with a girl who is now a boy. It is quite an achievement, don’t you think? You should be proud of me and of my human research. I recently made a new friend. She was born a man and is transitioning to become a woman. We catch up to talk about men because it is all new for her as well. We are at the similar stage of our woman’s life. She makes me think of my own femininity from a different perspective. I give her fashion tips. It’s a great connection. The variety within the human kind fills me with joy. That’s what my life is about.”
But my mum is a fundamentlist Catholic who has the word Jesus tattooed on her forearm. She was in the demonstrations against gay marriage in 2013, knowing about me. She campaigns to ensure that gay people won’t have the right to reproduce. She’s not a bad person, though. She feels guilty as f*** that she ‘failed my education’ for I turned out the way I am (see above). And I am equally feeling guilty for not being married to a guy as stable as a washing machine and not having popped out his ugly kids.
What can we both do about the way we are? I doubt we’ll ever meet. I think she would like to love me more but she can’t, given that she’s the one person on earth who certainly knows me the least.
My parents know about 10% of me, the acceptable part that I am comfortable to expose to judgment. It is not only that I can’t talk about my relationships and my human explorations as frankly as I’d like. No one really discusses that with their parents. But I can’t talk about my friends, my beloved queers and creatures, I can’t talk about what I write, what I read, what I love. I have to silence every topic that turns me on and gives me a reason for hope in the mess.
They only see me under a mainstream light that narrows me down, just like our vision of the moon is partial most of the time. Adjacent to the crescent moon, there is this fullness and roundness hidden in the dark. We furtively catch its full beauty once in a while.
I would like my family to see my full moon.
How do I proceed to change that?