Friday, July 11, 2008

Telling VoVo - Part One

After long deliberation, Supergirl One and I decided that it would be best if I broke the news to my mother, her VoVo (Portuguese for Grammy) that she is gay. We felt that this way, if my mother wanted to air any feelings or concerns she could do so without SG1 being present. We decided that the engagement would be something that would be tackled by SG1 herself after her summer session finals. As it turned out, this was a wise decision.

The conversation between my mother and me took place on Wednesday. We were sitting outside together looking at the river, when my mother asked me for the umpteenth time why SG2 didn't have a boyfriend .To the question I'd previously simply shrugged my shoulders in response to, I simply stated - she doesn't like boys. She likes girls. My mother's surprised reply was a breathless oh, my, I never would have guessed! We went into it a little further. She asked if SG1's friend from California was her girlfriend, to which I replied yes and instantly felt tremendous relief that it was finally out in the open. My mother took the news rather well but in typical My Mother fashion, began to construct her own assumptions about was going on. I know from long experience that to deter her from this process is totally pointless: she will believe what she wants to believe. So, for your inquiring minds, what follows are some of my mother's constructs on what being a lesbian is about and what SG1's relationship with her Beloved really means.

I think that SG1 must have had a traumatizing experience with a boy and that's what's made her into a lesbian. She's afraid of men. Either that or it's her bipolar disorder at work. But she seems to be doing so well!

On this, at least, I think I've managed to convince her that it's not related to bipolar disorder, which has been in check for two years now.

A few minutes later, as we stare at the boats on the river:

I'll bet you anything that this is just a phase she's going through. She'll meet a boy and forget all about being a lesbian. (pause) But she used to have boyfriends!

To this I replied that I didn't think it was a phase. That yes she did have a succession of boyfriends in high school but that it was related to experimentation with her sexuality; a sorting out of what she was and was not. This did not appear to make a dent in her conclusion that being a lesbian is a "phase".

I think she and the other girl are probably clinging to each other because they attend a woman's college and they've found affection for one another, which they may be mistaking for a romantic relationship. They probably don't even have sex!


Honestly, I don't mean to sound insensitive toward my mother, but I almost laughed out loud at this one. My poor mother. She is choosing to be in denial. I'm not surprised. She just can't wrap her head around the whole concept of two women being together as anything more than friends or companions.

What do two women do together anyway?

I did chuckle this time and replied - Mother, if you cannot use your imagination on this one, I will not provide visuals for you! To which she chuckled also, though a bit uncomfortably.

We discussed things a bit further and my dear mother concluded that she would not stop loving SG1 no matter what. But she laid down some conditions:

I hope you don't tell your brother about this.

I replied that I thought he perhaps already knew. A sigh from her. The other condition was:

I'll have to tell her not to bring any of this to Mid-Size Village, Portugal. (We have been there many times; there are many family members, friends and acquaintances). They will do nothing but gossip and poke fun at her.

And this was hard to counter because it's true and the reason my mother said it is because she doesn't want to see SG1 hurt by malicious gossip. I replied that would have to be SG1's decision to make and not ours. She looked worried.

I'm glad it's finally out in the open. I'm not surprised by my mother's reconstruction of reality, nor about her assumptions about lesbianism. I think this will continue to pain and trouble her and that is nothing I can change or control. All things considered, it could have gone a lot worse.

Stay tuned for Part Two.

23 comments:

  1. sounds like she is really trying to wrap her mind around it- which is good :) that she still loves sg1- is also good. there is a shot she will come around- but it sounds like she is already on her way. :) as sg1 and her fiancee are together longer and more in public, i have a feeling it won't be an issue as big as it could have been either :) good luck!!!

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  2. Hey, Bet

    She's trying, yes. And for someone with a very limited understanding of what it means to be gay, I'd say she is doing a pretty good job of trying to sort it out.

    Thanks for your support, my friend. It means so much to me.

    Peace and love,
    Pagan

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  3. I think this went better than I expected. I'm like a voyeur on this - I'm sorry - but when your mother didn't really fall over or flee, I took that as a very good sign.

    I wish you all love and peace and I think you're incredibly brave to have this discussion with your mom.

    ReplyDelete
  4. DCup: I took it as a good sign as well, that she didn't get all weird on me about it.

    I thought she would insinuate I'd done something to cause my daughter to be a lesbian. I guess that's just the part of me that regresses to that age when you get blamed and lectured for things by your parents.

    Thank you for your support, D, and the good wishes. I so appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow. It sounds to me like she handled it pretty well, assuming that she wasn't expecting it. With some time to think and maybe learn a little more on the subject, it seems like your mother might end up being more supportive and understanding, too. I say congratulations to all involved!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I tried come out to my 88 year-old father a couple of weeks ago, and it went better w/ you & VoVo, trust me. :-/

    (Although it could have gone worse w/ me and my dad, FWIW)

    God bless you, VoVo and most of all SG1, PS!

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  7. I'm impressed that you and SG1 worked out that you would tell your mother. Sometimes deciding how to say what needs to be said is the hardest thing.

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  8. Sounds to me as if she handled it very, very well, all things considered. That's because YOU handled it very well. She'll be fine, Super Girl l will be fine. These things are usually much worse in the anticipation than in actuality. I think that's the case here.

    Of course, it's easy for me to sit here on the other end of the computer, not seeing or hearing the whole thing. But I am relieved for you. I'll continue to pray all goes well.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ed, Kate & Bobbie: Thank you, my friends, for being here for me. Telling this story here is a tremendous relief and comfort to me. I didn't expect this level of kindness and support. I thank you with all my heart.

    jcf: I've seen your comments at OCICBW. Welcome. I'm sorry your situation with your dad didn't go so well. You leave wondering what happened. If you want or need to tell your story, please email me: gina@gaw.com. If not, the very best to you.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am glad to hear that this hurdle is passed and that breaking the news went better than expected.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Lib: You've been so supportive to me on this issue. I am so grateful.

    Peace.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I literally let out a huge sigh of relief as I read this ;)
    I think it went very well. VoVo needs to have all these internal conversations out loud as she comes to terms with something she is so unsure of and unfamiliar with - that seems natural.

    I love you guys :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Seems that it has gone as well or even better than you may have expected. It must have been a heart-stopping time for you. Your mother does seem to be doing her best to take it all on board. I can't imagine how my own parents might react in the same situation, but I'm guessing it would be mind-boggling for them. Different generations have different ways of seeing the world but people can be surprising as well.

    Peace and best wishes,
    Bear.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi, Bear. I'm so glad to hear from you. :-)

    You're right on. A different generation and culture, even. I can eve quote my mother as having said "the world is a very different place from when I was a girl", when we were discussing SG1's situation.

    Thanks so much for your support. You've been there all along and your friendship means a lot to me.

    Peace & love,
    Pagan

    ReplyDelete
  15. I was here earlier but did not get to leave a comment...

    Wow, what a story. It does sound like it went better than you might have imagined.

    These things are never easy, but at least it has begun and without bloodshed.

    I really moved by your support of SG1 and how you approached all of this.

    Please keep us posted and know you are continually all being sent every good thought!!1

    ReplyDelete
  16. Dianne: Thanks for the lovey-dovey, darlin'. I think you're pretty incredible, too. :-)

    Fran: Thank you for your good thoughts, Fran. It's so good to know you're there. Let's not forget about meeting half-way between here and Albany one day, okay?

    Love, love everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I was just thinking about our long proposed meet up.

    I think I have your email - I will write to you.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Pagan, I am glad for all of you that it is out in the open. I have to chuckle about your mother though - the questions about 'what do they do' come partly out of the "I still think she's getting potty trained and wearing diapers" mentality - didn't she just learn to ride a tricycle?

    Her concern for SG1 not bringing the info to Portugal really comes from her desire to protect and not let SG1 fall victim to gossip. I suspect your mother will be fierce protecting her.

    It is all good.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Fran, luv. You are so very kind. How fortunate for me that through CR, I found you! ((hugs))

    Jude: Thank you so much for coming by to comment. You are right on about my mother wanting to protect SG1. I am the first to agree that in the traditional culture of my mother's village, SG1 and her Beloved would be a source of ridicule. It saddens me deeply but I can't change it.

    Interesting, though, that the Portuguese folk I know tend to be less spiteful than most Americans toward gays and instead make a lot of jokes. Ridicule is hurtful too.
    Jude, I so appreciate your support, luv. Thank you again and again.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Y'all did very well, and Vovo responded in kind. She may grow further, as she learns to see SG1 & her beloved as a couple.

    This is a blessedly good beginning, the answer to many prayers. I've been a little afraid to look!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh, Johnie B. I thank you so for your prayers. Thank you for thinking of us. I will have to report regarding SG1's conversation with Vovo about her wedding plans once I have a little more information.

    Peace & love,
    Gina

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you for your kind thoughts, PS.

    For any & all here burning w/ curiosity, a version of The Strange Event (my coming out to my dad) is here (where I am known as "Gatito Grande")

    ReplyDelete
  23. jcf: I see what you mean now about it not going well. As you said in your post, it sounds like it didn't
    "take". But I hope that means that he needs time to let it settle. I wish you the best. Thanks for coming back to let me know how I could find out more about your story. It's important to me to know what others are experiencing in this regard. Makes me feel less alone.

    Peace to you, jcf.

    ReplyDelete

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