I sat on her bed, right next to her. She was crying while holding my hand. I looked at her with pity, struggling to believe anything she said. She apologised profusely for everything she had done that offended me and promised to start over on a clean slate. An onlooker would have believed her in a heartbeat. But having lived with my mother for almost my whole life, there was an element of suspicion; it was almost as if something held me back.
Still, I reached out for a hug…then my phone rang.
The loud ringtone startled me out of my slumber as I frantically searched my bed for the phone in my dark room. It was my cousin – She called to let me know she had just arrived in Baltimore. I managed to smile even in my half-conscious state, and we went on to talk about other things, my eyes closed.
When the call ended, I noticed there was an email notification on my phone. The brightness of the phone permitted me to read the mail with only one eye open. My mother had written a long epistle. How weird, I thought, that I would dream about my mother, only to wake up to an email from her.
For a minute, I thought myself a dreamer of some sort. This became somewhat of a frequent occurrence. In my dreams, I saw things that were either happening, or about to happen. In one of my dreams, my ex-girlfriend went crying to one of my closest cousins. She lamented about how she was being raped. She said she wanted it to stop, but somehow it just kept happening. She cried a lot in the dream, and pleaded for help from my cousin. When I woke up, I immediately called my ex to find out if she was ok. She did not deny nor accept my dream about her and I knew it was true. Sensing her reluctance to discuss the matter, I asked her to take care of herself and to not hesitate to ask if she needed anything. About a week later, she called to confirm my dream.
I went to the bathroom and wept…but I digress.
At this point, the sleep was completely wiped off my eyes. I managed to reach for the lights and read with both eyes open and with complete concentration. The mail began with what she believes the bible says about homosexuality, and how homosexuals have been condemned to death in eternal hellfire, pleading with me to “change”, and abandon my homosexual “lifestyle” .
But homosexuality is not a lifestyle. Eating healthy foods and exercising are lifestyles.
I almost stopped reading because I was already getting irritated, but I continued as the email was very long and I wanted to know where it was headed. In all the admonitions of homosexuality she mentioned, I noticed that none talked about loving committed relationships, and nothing came from Jesus himself – Jesus never said anything about homosexuality.
She went on to say that everything she did was done with love and for the sake of love, insinuating that she did not expect me to be offended, but rather, I should have seen her love for me in everything she did. She was doing me a favour – helping me. Pointing me in the “right” direction.
How could I be offended by that?
Some people have tried to explain this point to me but somehow, it just does not make sense to me. How is it possible to show love by humiliation? Degradation? Condemnation? Physical and emotional abuse? Is that really love? As hard as it may be to believe, I have read this very same bible back to back three times, and I remember it saying that “Love is patient, kind, and is not insistent on its own way…”. I could not help but notice how far removed from this definition my mother’s actions were.
Towards the end of the mail, she rendered what read like a heartfelt apology. She said she was on her knees begging for forgiveness. As hard as I tried to picture this actually happening, the image eluded me. She requested that I let go of the past, lay down the hatchet, and start over – just like I had seen her do in my dream except that I could not hug her. I wondered if the fact that the hug did not happen in my dream signified anything, but I was not sure what. My heart sank as I read the elusive apology. I wanted in my heart to believe her words were sincere and true, but just like in my dream, something held me back.
However, I responded, accepted the apology and called a truce.
Things have never gone back to normal; never back to how they used to be before I came out. My mother and I have different opinions about many things. At the end of the day, she is still my mother, and I am her daughter. We are not the best of friends, but we are cordial with each other. Still, I remain very cautious in my dealings with her. The thing is, I am not convinced that she is ready to accept me fully as I am, hence the feelings of distrust. In fact, I have come to accept that she may never get to the point of full acceptance. I believe she is at a point in her life where she just wants to be able to pick up the phone, call her daughter, and have a conversation. But I wear my feelings on my sleeve. I want to be able to talk about anything with her, including relationship(s), not just work. That is the kind of relationship I desire with her, but it is one we are not able to have – yet.