Monday, July 14, 2008

Telling VoVo - Part Two

Supergirl One stayed up very late with her laptop one evening last week and was joined at some point by her Vovo, who couldn't sleep. On SG1's laptop is a wallpaper photo of her and the Beloved, hugging. Vovo asked her if this was her girl and the discussion began.

Since I was not present, what I'm writing is a reiteration of the conversation from SG1's point-of-view. My mother and I have not yet discussed it. I'm leaving it alone. Unless she brings it up, I don't intend to.

With that said, according to SG1, the discussion went less smoothly for her than it did for me when I introduced the subject of SG1's gayness. Remember also that I left it up to SG1 to tell her Vovo about her marriage plans. Supergirl One said that the marriage plans were not well received; with Vovo going as far as to say that she did not approve of two people of the same gender marrying and adding in no uncertain terms that she refused to attend the wedding. Further, Vovo requested that SG1 not come out in Mid-Size Town, Portugal, as it would cause nothing but gossip and ridicule. I had already heard this from my mother in what I call the "intro" conversation, and it came as no surprise then. Supergirl One was a bit miffed by the reaction to her marriage plans but appears to be taking it well.

Since that conversation, my mother has not changed in the least the amount of love, affection and attention she showers SG1 with. I'm both relieved and grateful that unconditional love is continues to be the family hallmark.

No disrespect against my mother but this situation brings to mind one of my favorite quotations of all time. Please, a little less love and a lot more common decency. Kurt Vonnegut wrote that.
I always think of my parents because though I was raised with tremendous love and affection, it was sometimes respect and courtesy that I needed even more than love.


  1. 'A little more common decency.' That really makes you think. What we often think of as love may only be love on our own terms and a bit of decency would be far more preferable. Still, whilst SG1 may not have received quite the reception she might have hoped, give it time.

    By the way, I'll not be commenting for a while as I'll be in hospital from tomorrow. I didn't want you to think I'd stopped reading your blog. I hope to be back soon.

    Peace and Love to you and all your family, my friend.


  2. Singing Bear gets it - that quote is thought provoking and reminds us that so often love is co-opted from teh point of view of the one giving and the one receiving.

    (Singing Bear-good wishes for you!)

    Things will work their way along. When you think of how this could have gone...

    Vovo does approach this with love, but with a lifetime of whatever levels of sexuality, shame and the deep and abiding notion that what others think matters.

    I wonder if she realizes that when she speaks of gossip and ridicule it shows that she cares more about her own reputation and more about what others think, than of her family?

    That sounds harsher than I mean it to, but I think you know what I mean.

    Peace, love and much common decency to you all Pagan.

  3. I hope things will eventually work out. We once had a similar situation in our family and eventually time sorted it all out. Usually love conquers all, and the ties that bind us as families are stronger than we know.

    (I'm glad to see that Singing Bear has been here. I've tried going to "Tiz Yer Tiz" for a couple of days and it's not there anymore, so I was concerned. I hope all is well.)

  4. Bear wrote:
    "What we often think of as love may only be love on our own terms and a bit of decency would be far more preferable."

    You cinched it, my friend. That's exactly what I was trying to get at by quoting Vonnegut.

    All good wishes for your hospital stay. I will be praying for you and I know Lin and Bobbie will be as well.

    Love & friendship,

  5. Dear Fran,
    You do not sound harsh. My mother has always been a person who cared a lot about what other people think. The fact that I don't has long been a source of friction between us. It's mellowed over the years but now I see where it is affecting my children.

    I adore my mother and I'm more than grateful for everything she has done for us, as she is generous, kind and loving to a fault. But she is overbearing, controlling and determined to maintain a certain reputation in her town in Portugal. Which, of course, does not include acknowledging that she has a gay granddaughter. As much as I struggle with those qualities in her, I admire her tremendously in many other ways.

    Dear Lin,
    Bear left comments here about why he ended his blog and it appears to be unrelated to his health. It had something to do with a person who was harassing him through email regarding his views on an issue. That's all I know.

    Thanks, Lin, you and Fran are amazing at keeping up with all your blog reading and responding to zillions of comments on your own blogs. You popular ladies, you! Well-deserved popularity, I might add. :-)

  6. I think SG1 is very brave. I am 42 years old, 20 years married and a mother of three and I STILL don't like having certain kinds of conversations with my mother.

    I'm glad that the unconditional love and affection remains.

  7. i am with you pagan- i ceased worrying about what others thought of the way i live my life a long time ago. i learned early on that appearances mean absolutely nothing because we all have skeletons or issues of some sort. no family is immune. presenting a certain image isn't necessarily who you are- and that to me- is hypocritical. i doubt your mom will change now :) and your daughters will have to accept her as she is- or not. the only person you can change is you- and as long as they know that- they hopefully can understand that your mom is from a different culture and different generation and still be true to themselves. sounds like they had a good teacher :)

  8. Bet,
    SG1 is actually being very mature, reasonable and loving toward her grandmother, which indicates, I think, that she not only understands but accepts the cultural and generational differences. I'm really proud of her for not showing any animosity toward her grandmother, despite getting a less than positive reaction to her marriage plans.

    Thank you ever so much for commenting.

  9. Singing Bear has come right to the heart of it. We all want "love on our own terms", in every situation, and it takes a lot to bring us around to reality sometimes.

    I do wish SGI every happiness, and wish her Vovo peace with what must be terribly hard for her. The two of them will be fine, so long as the love they obviously feel for one another continues to keep their relationship strong.

  10. DCup: SG1 IS brave. If I were her, I would have chosen not to tell my mother. There are several big things about my life that I've never uttered a word about to my mother because I didn't want to deal with the fallout.
    Thanks for commenting, Lisa. I know you are busy.

    Bobbie: Thank you dear friend, for your good wishes.

    Though SG1 was hurt by what her grandmother said, she was also prepared for it and she understands the context of her grandmother's concerns. I'm very proud of how she's handled all of this. She's shown a level of maturity that compels me to believe that she may ready to make a commitment to one person.

  11. Maria is old and tired and doesn't have the energy to rearrange her paradigm; we may have to rearrange it for her. I think she needs to see the depth of our love and support in order to "get it."

    It was really sad to see her struggling tonight, her pride wrestling with her love.

    Yeah, she's from a different time. But we're the bridge. And nothing will normalize her understanding of SG1's life more than our acceptance of it.

    Thanks for leading the charge on this.

  12. As far SG1 and her Beloved are concerned, VoVo has time to come around.

    It's only VoVo who has to realize her time is not unlimited, and does she want to miss out on SG1's life? (Only she can answer this)

    Hang in there, PS.

  13. CR: It was so good of you to come by the house. My mother really appreciated seeing you.

    You've hit the nail on the head: it is a struggle between her love and her pride. So well said.

    jcf: Knowing my mother, I'm not sure if she'll ever come around to the idea of her beloved granddaughter marrying another woman. She'll always love her, of that I'm sure. But as CR indicated, her pride can get the best of her.

    I'm just going to resign myself to the fact that she will not accept the marriage. It's too bad for her, really. You're so right about her time being limited and yet I'm not sure if she can overcome this self-imposed barrier, regardless. Makes me very sad.

  14. Singing bear really does get it: we do want love on our own terms. And we want respect on our own terms as well. SG1 is getting married in a world that does not yet really accept same-sex marriages. This is the bare fact for us today. Vovo has an "old-school" view, a rigid view of this world and she wants SG1 to respect and honor HER way of life; SG1 wants Vovo to come around and accept her way of life. Impasse.

    The reality is that SG1 is going to have to accept Vovo's limitations. SG1 is, in my opinion, going to have to tread with respect and decency because it is going to be harder for Vovo to change than it is for SG1 to be flexible. The older we get, the more rigid we become - so SG1 is going to have to be the example.

    In time, Vovo may decide to come to the wedding. Just not today.

  15. It took my dad over a decade to finally understand that his youngest daughter is a lesbian and not just because she was hurt by some young man. It took awhile but he did finally get it, accepted it, and was ok before he passed on.

  16. Diva:

    Yeah. You've brought forth several important points. I value your wisdom. So far SG1 was risen to the occasion - showing her grandmother love and respect. I really do believe she understands things within the broader context.

    Lib: Thank you for sharing your family experience. Doing so helps me to feel less alone. I'm hoping that with time my mother will come around, just as your father did. Eventually.

  17. Pagan, your mom is more than halfway there. She accepts SG1 for who she is. Her concerns are more about the public eye, and are absolutely in keeping with general public opinion regarding same-sex marriage.

  18. i think it's working out pretty well so far. the quote is a good one but the culture and mindset learned over a lifetime and taken as a given by your mom is hard to replace. i think she will come around.
    i can understand her fears. in her life, to go against any rules was to risk so much condemnation and ridicule from the only touchstone she had. her community. her family and her truth as she had always believed it to be. when she begins to question 1 truth, the others beg to be examined as well. scary at any age.
    in the end, i think love will triumph.
    good vibes and love all around.

    and healing thoughts to singing bear.

  19. Sherri wrote:

    "i can understand her fears. in her life, to go against any rules was to risk so much condemnation and ridicule from the only touchstone she had. her community. her family and her truth as she had always believed it to be."

    This is very astute, Sherry. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and for the good wishes. I appreciate your input and support.

    Peace & love,


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