Typically,I would spend this fine day drinking and playing with my dogs on the beach and in the ocean.
This day, however, the loveable peter pan and the adorable baby glitter wish to pierce scaly finned friends.
I would have much preferred to stay in and watch an all day project runway marathon. Alas, the gorgeous 83° sunshine and cloudless sky are begging for us to come out and play.
God Bill Gates my phone and my tablet allow me to be with you wherever I should roam.
Except Wal-mart, that place is evil.
So here I sit in the glorious Florida sun yet again watching my boys currently not even get a bite.
But this my glittery gays and gals is not why I have brought you here. I have gathered you here on this fine day to travel back, way back (not that far back) to my freshman year at college and my coming out of the closet.
Now to be fair I had already told a few people I trusted and they cared more about why I was dressed badly (I have always been frugal but style came later).
The year is 2003 the season is autumn and the time was around 6.
I am at the gym running gangly on the treadmill.
In the zone jamming to cascada or some other techno goodness. My besty Bekah Lekah, worked at the smoothie shop where typically we sat drinking fruit smoothies drooling over how yummy the muscled men are.
Rebekah Jean, normally quite aware to ignore me when I am sweaty, taps me on my shoulder. Jolted out of the vicious cycle of shin splints and sore ankles, I almost fall off the damned thing. Once her laughter is contained she informs me that my mother just called her.
Knowing my mother only had my cell and not BL’s this news was highly disturbing.
“yeah she says she needs to talk to you.”
Going to the smoothie shop I picked up the receiver and say, “hello?”
“JGlitter (not my actual name) this is momma you need to call me from somewhere private.”
“But I have 30 more minutes of…”
Hanging up I tell BL I’ll see her later and run out the door to my dorm.
Might as well do as much exercise as possible, no one likes a flabby queer.
Once in my room I see that my answering machine is full.
(yes long ago in an obsolete world we had land lines with answering machines.)
Deciding to listen to a few before calling back I am still not aware what emergency is so important to interrupt my man ogling and my fat burning.
Opening my sexy flip phone and extending the antenna for optimal reception, I notice 27 missed calls and even more messages.
-what on earth?
-someone must have died.
-scanning family members on my death poll mentally I’ve narrowed it down to 3.
Hitting one of the missed numbers, my phone dials my mother’s house.
On the first ring she answers.
She’s been crying. Tears thick in her throat, she questions my whereabouts and my solitude.
Reassuring her I was alone in my dorm room. I then inquire as to how she got my dorm number, BL’s cell, her work, and her sister’s cell numbers.
“A mother has ways,” she answered.
-Great. I love vague creepiness.
“okay,” I say, “what’s so blessed important.”
“I have two questions to ask you. The first one we can deal with.”
Have you been drinking?”
“I drink everyday. Water, juice, sometimes smoothies.”
“Don’t be a smart ass!” she retorts.
Continuing with her inquisition,”Have you drank alcoholic beverages?”
“Yes.” I bravely answered.
“OK, they have programs and rehab for that,” sobs building in her voice.
(Yes in my family one of something “bad” makes you a burning in hell addict.)
I will take this time out to explain that I grew up in a dry county. In fact, it was surrounded by dry counties. The only way to get any alcohol besides rubbing was to drive 2 counties over and smuggle it back.
Never seeing alcohol until college I must confess my fear on the matter of imbibing was quite intense.
My first dance with the Lady vodka was very memorable I’ll tell you all that story another time.
Back to the story at hand.
“Now for the hard question. I need you to be honest with me.
“Do you have a boyfriend?” panic in her voice.
My mouth dry, my palms moistened, and my words tumbled. I answered truthfully and coldly, “no.”
“Why have ‘people’ been saying that you have?”
*I still to this day do not know who these “people” are.
In a split second I decided to be done with it.
“Well I did have one but we broke up.”
At this point, hysterics and cursing ensue followed by my uncle getting on the phone.
Somehow the agreement that I was coming home that weekend to “talk” this out happened and I hang up the phone.
The coming home part on a good weekend involves;
packing enough clothes for a week, although it is 3 days
a 4.5 hour drive one way
sleeping on the couch bed (my room was storage)
This weekend will be so much more, “fun”.
Weary, apprehensive, and hungry I pull up to mom’s driveway only to see 15+ vehicles in said driveway and on the lawn.
Dialing with my handy-dandy cellular talking device I explain to her that I will be going up the road a ways to a location undetermined. Should I return in 30 minutes and all the automobiles not be removed from the property. I will then in fact turn my happy gay ass around and drive directly to my college campus.
Upon my return to the vicinity only her trusty blazer sat upon the apex of the hill that was her property.
Pulling up to that door was the most stressful thing I have ever done in my life. (Even more than the first kiss)
Slightly trembling I grab my bags and my courage and half run half stumble to the side door.
There she stood looking out at me with water stains and confusion clouding her face.
Our embrace was real and strong as though we were trying to remember this hug as always. Holding on to this moment before we cross the hypothetical bridge that just so happens to be burning down around us.
We sit on the back patio and she lights up her Marlboro light 100. While looking me over with a mother’s eye she unscrewed the lid on her trusty Diet Pepsi.
“You’re too skinny,” as she exhales the calming nicotine.
Chuckling, I explain, “I’ve been working out.”
“You need to eat,” she admonishes.
There is some more meaningless catch up banter. Both wanting to know what the other is thinking. Neither brave enough to pull the trigger on the loaded gun.
At this point my memories blur.
It is best to say that it did not end like a Friday night sitcom special.
I drove away that Sunday afternoon feeling sick, war beaten, and for the first time in my 18 year-long life alone.
Terrible, irrefutable singularity.
My blood relatives admittedly may be crazy and/or ridiculous but we have always been Family.
This time, this time I knew a rift had formed. One that would not be closing any time soon.
I explained that I. AM. Gay.
She explained that she sees that as an abomination worthy only of hell.
Furthermore over the next year we deduced that should I continue to be this way that I was not allowed back.
This news, although bitter and barbed to swallow, amazingly got much easier to swallow with time.
This Christmas marks the eighth year since I have been home. Were it not for my mother and sister driving to see me.
It would be 8 years since I have laid eyes on them.
I know this sounds depressing and is horrible but this is my It Gets Better.
Within the past 9 years I have acquired
a loving family that I chose. One that loves me for all of me.
I have a wonderful career.
All of which I acquired on my own. Without them.
I thank them everyday for my foundation and my genetics. I however do will not let that be a reason to keep me down or hold me back.
I glitter before you today know that this little light of mine.
By the Late Donna Summers I’m gonna let it shine. And there is not one goddamned soul that will ever be able to take that away.
So make your own light and blow up the sun with its brightness.
For only you can create it. Not those that created you.
Glitter on my sprites and share your light and love to all those around you.
Through joy can we destroy hate.