What Was I So Afraid Of?
Before You Read
Dear readers, if you look at the category of this work, you'll discover that this about coming out. I've been gay for a long time (about seven years), but just recently made that aware to my grandma, the matriarch of my family, and the woman who raised me. This short piece is about my feelings prior to telling her. I'd like to think that all of my readers are accepting of the LGBT community as well as minorities, people with disabilities, and any special groups that may have been prejudiced over the years. The year 2013 is fast approaching and my already planted resolution is to live a happier and healthier life. I couldn't do that without my family finally knowing the truth about my sexual orientation. I'm not going to go into details about what it means to be gay or homosexual, but I will go about explaining where my fear materialized.
The Relationship With My Grandma
When I was a young child I was removed from my mom and placed with my grandma. My mom's schizophrenic, so she was deemed incapable of caring for me. That's another story I plan to write, but that's pretty much where the relationship with my grandma and I began. She's pretty much my mother for all intents and purposes. She took me in, brought me into her house and raised me as one of her own. Surely she had to have been tired by then as she raised my older brother in addition to her seven daughters. Yep, grandma had seven girls. That's where I got all those pesky aunts from. Well, they're all cool in their own ways :P. Anyway, as the youngest raised by grandma she and I became very close.
When I mean close I mean she knows me better than anyone else on the planet. She also thinks very highly of me. So grandma and I spent lots of time together, laughing and lying. She's really cool as a person. She's outgoing, friendly, silly as anyone my age. My grandma was always relaxed and took a serious tone only when she had to. I was the only grandchild that wasn't afraid of her! She's not mean at all, not surly, and definitely has the biggest heart of anyone I know. I love her for that, because it allowed me to pursue my own life, to have the courage to go after what I sought. My grandma did not pressure me with doctrine or morals, she simply trusted me to follow her shining example.
So when I discovered I was gay, I truly grew worried. How could I tell her? We were so close and such good friends that I was afraid that what she thought of me would change. I wasn't afraid of being disowned or banned from the family. My grandma had too much compassion in her heart for that. I knew she wouldn't judge me and she wouldn't try to refute what I said. I knew she would be understanding and say that she loved me anyway. That was the way my family was, but I was so worried about how I would look and how I would be perceived, not that I wouldn't be loved. I think that might have been selfish.
When I Told Her...
When I mean selfish, I mean that I wanted this perception of me to continue on. I wanted to look as the youngest and smartest and greatest grandchild. When in fact I was growing older and discovering things about myself. I might still be the greatest grandchild though, :P. Most of the cousins were jealous of me because of this. Grandma and I have always had a special bond and I started to feel guilty that I hadn't come to her before. She was my adviser, my mother, my grandma, the most important person in my life. It took me way too long to evolve, to understand that she would be completely fine. So on October 13, 2012, I finally just called her and told her.
When I did that she was quiet for about a nanosecond and said "I figured that" and "you're not telling me anything I didn't already know." Believe it or not, that kinda didn't surprise me. All these years I had thought she'd known, but I could never be too sure. What she said next was that she knew on some level, but was waiting for me to tell her for sure. My grandma had been waiting patiently for me to reveal this to her, trusting that one day I would. I told you, she knows me better than anyone. The first thing she says after that is "that's just your preference and it doesn't change anything, you're still my grandson." I felt my heart leap as if my brain had not been prepared for unconditional love, like I would never hear that from my grandma. She then explained.
"Some people just turn out like that, and it's fine. You have other members of the family who are gay or bi, that's just the way they are." Of course. I had forgotten this big fact about my family. There were others who had chosen to live that life and they were still in the family, still loved, still as cool as ice. So I calmed down and for an hour we talked about the past, things that she noticed and things she wanted confirmed. It was healthy and I felt a great weight lifted off my shoulders. I then called other relatives and got the same thing. I won't be perceived as "Aubrey, he's gay", but just as "Aubrey". It's funny because right now, I'm trying to figure out, What Was I So Afraid Of?