Friday, May 18, 2012

Wasted Words

You were hiding this from us. I think that means you're not very proud of it. 

You're the last to know. What does that tell you?

If Bethany hadn't told us, we still wouldn't know.

I asked her to keep my confidence. Clearly she didn't.

You should never have asked her to! She was crying. Jan made her tell us.

And you're all reacting just the way I thought you would.

Why do you spend so much time with those friends of yours? Did they talk you into this? Or was it someone on line?

No one "talks you into" this.

It all happened after you stopped going to church.

I stopped going to church because I no longer felt welcome.

Because it's wrong! No one in our family has ever been...like that.

Don't be so sure. Anyway, now someone is.

People will wonder what I did wrong as a mother.

Is that all you care about? What people will think?

Yes, partly! I care what people think!

You never had a clue, all the time I was growing up?

No. Never. I wish I had not lived long enough to see this day. 

I'm sorry you had to hear it through the grapevine. But you asked me to come talk to you today, and I'm here.

I didn't think you would have the courage to face me. I think you know what you're doing is wrong.

I have more courage than you think I do, and I'm not doing anything but trying to save my own life. 

I never want to see you again.

Oh mama... you never really have.

_______  

for Mary's Mixed Bag at Real Toads

I was well beyond my teens when this conversation took place. Nevertheless, I want to include this picture...

           

        

22 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

So many 'good' people have such closed minds. And lose so much when they slam the door on their loved one. Does each generation move forward a bit? I hope so - one person at a time.

Brandee Shafer said...

This makes me so sad. Did things ever change b/w you?

razzamadazzle said...

Wonderfully written to portray both perspectives. Such a shame that this conversation happens too often.

Helen said...

Through my work with PFLAG I hear many stories of kids .. how and when they came out .. parents' reactions, friends' reactions .. some positive, others negative. The struggle for acceptance is never ending.

Great words this evening from you, Shay.

Shawna said...

What perfect subject matter for this prompt.

This was so funny:
"Did they talk you into this? Or was it someone on line?"

I could completely hear this conversation playing out.

"I wish I had not lived long enough to see this day." ... I think I've heard that before.

"...trying to save my own life." Gut punch.

Perfect ending:
"I never want to see you again. /
Oh mama ... you never really have."

Laughing at Helen's comment; just reading "PFLAG" makes me think of Reality Bites, like the best movie of all time(ish).

Kerry O'Connor said...

The way teens respond to gay kids of their age group is completely home-taught. They reflect their parents' attitude, who in turn were taught prejudice by their own parents. You have captured the incredulity of said parent, when faced with the knowledge that her child did not heed her lessons.

Mary said...

The way this was written really gives me a gut-punch. Definitely two sides of the coin, and it seems never the twain will meet. Sad when mother really doesn't 'see' daughter or want to.

I saw the movie "Bully" and would encourage other people too. One of the segments was about a teen lesbian in Oklahoma. Her parents were supportive; but the school, her peers (classmates did not wish to sit next to her), and the church weren't. In fact, her whole family was banned from the church. The teen felt for a while that she could take it, make a difference. Eventually the family left town...to try again somewhere else. All young people should see this movie..and adults too. It was a sad commentary on how people treat others sometime; and I do believe that movies like this CAN make a difference.

Thank you for writing this poem. In its way it can make a difference too!

Martin said...

I hope that such kind of conversations will be just historical one day. You wrote it in a way that it looks very realistic and pointed.

Sioux said...

I wonder/hope the same thing: I'm HOPING things changed, because if not, your mother is missing out on an incredible, gifted human being.

The "Not Your Mother's Book" (www.publishingsyndicate.com) has a series of books of "coming out" stories. I don't know if the deadline has already passed, but you might consider it. There are countless young people (and adult people as well) who would benefit from a story from you.

ellen abbott said...

my daughter, who turns 35 tomorrow and who is not gay, took it upon herself in junior high school (and beyond) to champion gay (LGBT) kids. I was so proud of her.

hedgewitch said...

Saying what needs to be said, what can't be said enough, what so many are afraid to hear but need to hear--a fine manifesto of all that's wrong in a mother-daughter-societal relationship as well as all that's right with being oneself. Fine writing, Shay--thanks for speaking out, and for having the courage to not just talk the talk but walk the walk.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

So hard to be on the daughter's end of the conversation, but your last line says it all. She lost out, not knowing her daughter.

An important topic. Thanks for addressing it, kiddo. I cant believe it is 2012 and we are still so unenlightened as a society. Mary's movie recommendation sounds good. Movies do make a difference when they have good messages, we need more of them.

Mama Zen said...

This breaks my heart.

hedgewitch said...

@Shawna--I don't get your comments at all, neither the one above, or the one Shay had to delete, or why you think this is humorous, or why you think Helen's very serious comment was some sort of joke. The pain and lack of understanding that Shay is exposing here is not really something to giggle over like a middle schooler.

If I've read your response incorrectly, I apologize.

Kay L. Davies said...

Oh, Shay, you sure do rouse up the mama bear instinct in your friends, because we love you. This is a powerful poem.
K

Shawna said...

Hedge, I'm pretty sure you misunderstood my comment. And Shay is welcome to e-mail me about this, as are you. I assure you, I adore Shay and was in no way being insensitive to the subject matter. I don't even remember another comment, so I'm not sure what was deleted.

rosemarymint.wordpress.com

Mystic_Mom said...

Shay - this could be a conversation between me and my Mother over so many things. You've done something really powerful here, and you may not know but this resonates for those of us who are survivors of abuse as well. Those last lines they rocked my world. Hats off to you!

Judy Roney said...

Wow, this takes my breath away. This is so hard and so real. Great poem that leaves me speechless.

haikulovesongs said...

i know, Sista!
*BIG HUGS*

Ella said...

I know this convo... My in laws are like this~ It is sad and sickening when we should love, we destroy~ Well Done!

Lolamouse said...

Shay,
Good for you for removing yourself from such a toxic relationship. It's sad when those who should be supportive and loving are our worst critics.

cinderkeys said...

One of my favorites.