Lost in Translation: A Mother’s Love
February 16, 2011 § 7 Comments
Trepidation. An initiator of rules. A mutation of love. A catalyst of paranoia – but not without purpose. Fear is a curious thing which we all experience in different ways. My mom until recently, feared for my future, my well being, and my aspirations. Yet on Saturday she mentioned nothing as I left to go on my 2nd to last college interview – a time where she would normally remind me to stray away from “that topic.” That gay topic.
After a short drive, I entered my interviewer’s house and was immediately enveloped by the casual warmth his home embodied. Portraits graced the few walls where bookcases didn’t stretch from floor to ceiling – teeming with knowledge, and a fire place crackled with real wood next to our planned interview area. The flames lapped up my excitement and lent their fluidity to our interview. There was an inviting calm, the exact opposite that had existed this past Summer as I filled my mother in on my “counseling” of students.
I use quotation marks as I feel counsel is not the proper word. I offer others a more positive perspective on life, a chance to determine what their true problems are, what they have control over, and what their purpose in life can be. It is the mention of purpose in one’s life which seems to be the largest factor in preventing suicidal acts and I often referred to this as i explained to my mother why it was my moral obligation to help others.
Still, my mother had stood strongly against my counseling attempts, mentioning that it was my life I should focus on. God forbid people find out about my being gay. Our discussion lacked knowledge – her knowledge of my experiences, my knowledge of her reasoning. Thus our words shared fell flat and on both sides existed an eagerness to leave the topic while continuing on our previous paths with indifference. If only our chat could have mimicked my interview, sparing ourselves from the scathing lack of progress. But the one thing our conversation didn’t lack, was my mother’s love.
As my interview took place, I was spurred on by the question of what else I like to do. I explained my passion for writing, which birthed a new question – what do I write? Having lacked enough free time for our school newspaper, my only tangible evidence of my adoration of writing was Craig’s Gay Word, which I made reference to immediately.
Had my mother been sitting in the plush chair adjacent to us, I’m sure she would have winced. It is less a wince of pain than it is of worry – her eyes enlarge in shock until one eyebrow frets, lowering towards her eye, and her teeth begin to bite her lip. If she dwells on the thought long enough, her “allergies” will kick in and her eyes will gloss over with tears as she strongly caresses one hand with the other. She fears for my well being and with such increased visibility, would surely be plagued by paranoia-centric thoughts.
Or so I thought.
Just two weeks ago a brief newspaper article described my high school’s efforts to prevent lgbtq bullying through a presentation I was helping with. The day before, I had persuaded my mother to let me take part in it, after describing that lgbtq was only a small portion of the presentation – I was there to talk about “bullying in general, not my experience.” Just one negligible white lie of many, my use of them still irks me. But as she read the small segment I watched the beginnings of her wincing – and her allergies. She still feared after all this time.
This changed on Sunday, when out of the blue she began to praise my efforts. The very woman who tried to deter me with all her heart from “ruining (my) life,” began praising me for not listening to her advice. She spoke of her pride in me – all of me, and that was the greatest recognition I have received to date from her. I found myself unable to smile, though not in contempt. I couldn’t fathom her appreciation. I didn’t believe it! And as I type the experience, these words add to my understanding and a smile has emerged upon my face. Two days late, but it is there.
Currently, my mother is rather unaware of my blog and my other avenues for giving aide. Her exclusion has proven necessary from many sects of my life, both for her protection and for the realization of my potential. It was her fear which restricted my immediate coming out, shackled my attempts at helping my high school peers, and delayed my opportunities to ameliorate the life of other gay teens. It was my disregard for her fear which allowed me to counsel 13 peers from all over PA and the US who I met through student council trips. My disregard allowed me to temper my peer’s mindsets on homosexuality. My disregard let me realize some of my potential.
Because of this, I fear her inclusion in this experience would ruin my chances of continuing the blog. Abiding by her fear prevents me from going after my goals. My fear of her reaction prevents me from having a truly open relationship with my mother. Do I pine for the day when I can share everything? Of course. But I do debate whether this will ever be completely possible. At least for now, I can appreciate what her fear truly was. Love.
Her fear was not intended to strangle my future. It was her love taking form, shaped by the unknown. While her preventative actions may seem unfair to me, she is not without reason. Just like many of your parents may not be without reason. It is true, we do grow up in different times. But a rationalization of fear is not unwarranted. Listening to her fear would at times be a mistake, but deeming it idiotic and hateful would be an even greater mistake. Her fear was bred by love. Her love for me – and for that I should be thankful.