Nobody really knows what to expect when coming out to their parents. When is the right time? What is the best choice of words? Mustering up the courage to come out is difficult enough for most adolescents – the action itself is the most dreadful. But, if you wait too long, it only gets harder. These were my exact thoughts one hot August afternoon. It was only natural that I was placing a great deal of stress into imagining how I was going to tell my mom what I have known for six years.
As I lay in bed, I became aware of two muffled voices coming from the kitchen. My parents were home and I had no interest in finding out what they were discussing. “Girls? Girls come here!” I grudgingly got up, and entered the room as my mom was halfway through a Ring-Ding while talking to my sister. “Things are going to be tight around here. I need all of you to pitch in if we are going to make it through this last stretch of summer.” As a teacher’s aide, my mother was jobless during the summer; the burden of bills usually fell on my father and me. My younger sisters were not much help.
“O.K., whatever, I guess. Anyway, I’m going out tonight.”
It was clear to me that she wasn’t pleased. I watched her jaw stiffen and her brows scrunch together in disapproval. “Where? Don’t you dare come home past eleven. You’ve gotten into a rotten habit of coming home whenever you feel like it. I’ll tell you one thing Stefanie – as long as you’re in my house you’ll follow my rules.”
Maybe it was the humidity, or maybe it was my lack of sleep. But whatever caused it – I snapped. After all, I was working hard for my money and willingly turning it over to my parents. If I am responsible enough to help pay their bills, why shouldn’t I be allowed to have fun on a late summer night? I felt the anger traveling, spreading through my veins like a warm yet somewhat relaxing venom.
“I don’t think that’s fair. I will come home when I want to. I help pay your stupid bills, what the hell else do you want from me? I’m getting the hell out of here. Don’t call me a hundred times like you always do.”
In retrospect, that may have been crossing the line. As soon as my Birkenstock’s touched the gravelly driveway, I began to cry. Why had I spoken to my mother that way? It just wasn’t me, or my character. I had reached my boiling point and in that instant, I realized what had happened – I was beginning to resent my mother because of my own inability to come out to her. Looking down at my cell phone, I already had two text messages from my mom after only leaving the house on foot a few moments ago. My tears continued to roll down my cheeks. I began to sob like a child. This was it, I had to tell her.
An hour must have passed before I finally picked up my phone to type two words: “I’m gay.”
“That’s O.K. Now come home.”