” I may not be a girl”

I was fifteen. Mother had become concerned about my reclusive behaviour enough to sit alone with me and ask what was wrong. Grandmothers house was empty for the weekend so we went there where we wouldn’t be disturbed by my brothers. Mother tells me a story of when she was a teenager; she really admired a woman she worked with. She would get jealous when this woman would spend time with other people. Mother tells me that everyone, at some point in their life, questions these feelings but they don’t necessarily mean anything. She asks if I’ve felt the same way.

She’s asking me if I’m a lesbian. I’m not. I tell her no. I can’t explain what I am so I let her run with whatever comes in to her head. I’m being obstinate. I’m getting upset, and I can’t control my emotions. I don’t want this conversation. It’s too close, too intimate; and besides, there is nothing I can say which will leave either of us comfortable or satisfied. Mother asks if I think I’m a boy? No. Do I sometimes feel like a boy? Yes. Is that just because I want to kiss girls? No. What is it then? I explode.

There is no expression, there are no words; words will not come, they won’t form in my head for me to attempt an explanation. My frustration and rage swell. Mother tries to still me. I don’t want her near me; I don’t want any of this. Everything is loud; there is ringing in my head which overrides any other sound and I have to shout to hear myself. I want nothing more and can say nothing more than NO. Then, as quickly as the swell of rage arrives, it leaves. Silence. Calm. I stop and I don’t know why.

I’m not a lesbian. I’m not a boy. But mother won’t understand that I’m not a girl either. Her world tells her that you are one or the other, mentally or physically. I stand before her the proof that this is not true. I am a truth she will never comprehend; like the meaning of life being revealed to you in a language you don’t speak. I am nothing; I am everything; I am the gap that exists between reality and fantasy and I belong in neither space.

At this moment, my calm, my voices, my protective wall, they pull themselves up and place themselves between mother and I. They put themselves between me and the rest of the world. Yes, I say. Yes, I think I may not be a girl. Mother cries. It makes me feel better to see her sad. I know she wouldn’t be able to handle my reality so I let her mourn for me in this way. It seems the most compassionate thing to do


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