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how i came out of the closet and ruined my life (part 3)
so friday night, we get to marie's house. she calls her mom and tells her that she's home, and that i'm visiting. then she goes to the bathroom and i curl up in a ball on the floor of her living room, because i just want to be small again. when she's done, she tells me we have to go check my e-mail now. i tell her that i can't. she tries to explain that whatever they said, they said it whether i see it or not, and just because i see it doesn't mean i have to answer, so it doesn't make any difference whether or not i read it... and maybe i'll see something good, right?
she's right, and i suppose that's one good thing about coming out of the closet by an e-mail... but logic is not with me right now. all i can think is that i'm scared to see if they've answered, and that if i can't see it, then it's not there.

she goes to the computer and signs it on and goes to hotmail and tells me to come check my mail. i tell her i can't, and for the first time since i sent the mail, i feel like i'm going to cry. i feel completely helpless. nothing i can do will take back that e-mail, and nothing i can say will change their replies, if they exist. but she's right. i have to see if they've answered.
i go over there and i type in my name and password. she presses enter, and there are 4 new messages in my inbox. one of them is a copy of the e-mail, i tell her, because i sent it to myself, too. 'maybe one is from jay, or-' i feel funny having a friend named tragic_4, so i just finish, 'and it's ok because she doesn't care. and maybe the others are just junk mail. or maybe it's all just junk mail, and the servers were down and the e-mail didn't go through. or maybe-'
i stop then, because she's clicked the link, and in my inbox, there are 3 new messages, all 3 with a subject line of 'Re: just in case you were wondering...' one is from my mom, one is from nikki, and one is from cindy. she moves the mouse toward the first message, and i look away. i curl back into a ball on the floor, and squeeze my eyes shut. i hear her click, and then there's silence. finally, she tells me, 'it's short. but it's ok. really.'
when i don't move, she reaches down and absent-mindedly taps my back, still reading over the e-mail. 'debbie, come look. it's ok.'
so i slowly get up, and kneel on the floor next to her, and read it.
    Even if it is the truth, you still need to finish school and consider a job
    besides a minimum wage job at Krogers.


it seems like maybe i've read it wrong, so i read it again. it still says the same thing... i'm in shock. i stammer, 'how... what... how can she just say that?'
and then marie is laughing, and i don't know whether to laugh or cry, so i sort of do both, and she gives me a hug, and pulls my head into her stomach, and leans down and presses her cheek against my head, and tells me, 'see? it's ok...'
'but stay in school? what does that have to do with anything? i tell her the biggest secret of my life, and she tells me to stay in school? why doesn't she just tell me to keep eating breakfast? or to remember to brush my teeth? what does school have to do with anything? what does she think?!?!'
she lets go of me and says, 'maybe she's just trying to tell you that life goes on. when i got pregnant at 16, i thought my world was ending... but when my mom got used to it, she just kept reassuring both of us, you can still finish school. you can still get a job. when this is over, you can still make something of yourself. life will go on. because at first, it's a shock, and it seems like nothing else matters, but you can't lose sight of your future, you know? and maybe that's all she's trying to say...'
'but what does she think about me? it's nice that she feels like my life should go on, but i want to know what she's thinking. i hate you, but your life will go on? or i could care less, and your life will go on?'
'maybe she needs some time, debbie. maybe she needs to think about what she thinks. you don't want her to react without thinking... people say things they don't mean. my mom found out that the father of my baby was black, and she screamed at me, you're having a nigger's baby, and she stormed out and i cried. but it's because she reacted right away, and the shock was still fresh. when she calmed down, she dealt with that too. debbie, she's your mom. and she's not yelling at you right now, and she's not swearing to disown you... that has to tell you that she's going to love you anyway. and if you give her time, maybe she'll tell you that, herself.'
i sigh, and shake my head. 'stay in school...'

then she clicks to the next message. it's nikki.
    what in the world? did molly send this?

'she doesn't believe me,' i tell marie, 'i can just say that molly sent it.'
'or you could tell her the truth, and give her a chance to accept you.'
'and ruin my chance to remain friends with her.'
'you don't know that, debbie. give her a chance. you don't have to do it now, but answer her. tell her it's not a joke.'
'i can lie, though,' i protest.
'yes,' she sighs, 'you could. but think about it, because you really shouldn't.'

we click to the last message. cindy.
    what are you on?? :-)

    hey ya so i quit soccer cause... blah blah... well i gotta go...talk to ya later.


(blah blah was replaced with a bunch of non-gay stuff about soccer and college and stuff.)
i laugh and shake my head. 'she doesn't believe me either...'
'i guess it was kind of a goofy e-mail,' marie says, 'and if they didn't already have their suspicions, they just thought it was a trick, or a joke...'
then she adds, 'but debbie, i still don't understand how all your friends can not have any idea... doesn't it make you wonder about them? jim and christine and terrie and jane and me and even some random policeman at your job, they can all figure it out without you telling them, but you flat-out tell your friends, and they still don't believe it?'
i think it's because i'm different now. when i met them, i was young, and if marie and the policeman and all them had met me then, they would think i was straight, too. so you can't blame my friends for not being perceptive, because they're coming from a completely different place than all those people who figured it out. but i don't know.

she closes the window, and i ask, 'now what?'
we talk about it. now, she says, they will have questions, and i will answer the questions. i ask what kinds of questions, and she says, 'how long have you known?' or 'did you try to change?' or 'why don't you like boys?'
'well what do i say?'
she laughs and says, 'debbie, you tell them the truth, whatever it may be. and tell them that boys just don't float your boat.'
i smile and ask, 'do you think it would be ok if i said that to my mom? i could just call her up, and say, 'i'm staying in school. i ate breakfast. and boys just don't float my boat. bye.''
she laughs, and says that it will be ok. and that i'm gay, and it's ok. i tell her i don't like that word. she asks, 'what do you want to be called? lesbian?'
i back away and say, 'that's a disease.'
i cringe.
i shake my head, and tell her quietly, 'stop.'
'debbie, get used to it. you are those words. you're gay. you're a lesbian. you're a dyke, a queer, a homosexual, a-'
i cover her mouth with my hands, and beg, 'stop! please!'
she stops, but she's frustrated with me. 'what are you, then?'
'i'm debbie. i'm bad. i'm funny. i'm abnormal. that's it.'
'do you think people will call you that? do you think your mom will talk to her friends, and say, 'yeah, so my daughter came out as being funny'? because i bet you that she will call you gay.'
'but i don't want to be those words,' i protest.
'but you will be. people will call you that. be quiet and listen, debbie. gay. lesbian. queer. dyke. carpet-muncher. taco-eater.'
i think the last two are particularly frightening. she tells me, 'you wouldn't get it because you've never had sex.'
it seems like she says that a lot. i rest my head on her leg and say, 'i guess there's a lot of stuff you don't get if you've never had sex, huh?'
she explains carpet-muncher to me, then. it's what i figured it was. i tell her, 'but i'm really not that.'
she laughs and says, 'but someday you could be. and even if you're not, someday, somebody will probably call you that. so get used to it.'
i sigh. she asks how i'm going to talk to my parents, without using those words. i don't know. so she says, 'say gay.'
i can't. she keeps telling me to say it, and finally i say, 'don we now our gay apparel!'
she starts laughing, and then she says, 'ok, now say 'gay' without the rest of that. just pretend you mean happy, ok?'
i can't do it. she keeps telling me to say it, and i just can't, so finally she gives up and has me spell it, instead. then i have to spell through the rest of the words. then she says, 'i'm going to give you some homework.' she gets a piece of paper and a pen and tells me, 'it's gay homework. a plan, with steps.'
'i feel like an alcoholic,' i remark.
she laughs, 'how about 12 steps?'
and then she writes it out. at about step 7, she decides that she's only going to have 9 steps.

Step 1: Spell out these words once every day: gay, lesbian, homosexual, dyke, faggot, queer

Step 2: Write each of the above words 5 times each day.

Step 3: Be open enough to answer peoples questions.

Step 4: Say one new word out loud, every other day.

Step 5: Accept yourself for you and your sexuality.

Step 6: Acknowledge yourself as being gay out loud to someone.

Step 7: Use each of the words in a sentence out loud.

Step 8: Allow people to know you-the gay you.

*Step 9: Have a gay relationship

*Step 9 will take time and work, just like any normal relationship.

she folds it in half, and hands it to me. then she takes it back and says she'll fold it nice for me, and she spends quite a while folding this paper. we joke about will, the cashier who spends all his time at work folding paper swans. then she hands it to me and it's folded in the shape of a heart. she says, 'i love you, and it's going to be ok. come on, let's go watch a movie, and it'll take your mind off of it.'

i don't feel like my mind can leave it. my mind is still scared. the e-mails didn't make a difference. even if they all told me that they love me, and that they knew all along, i think i would still feel this way. we go out to the other room, and the tv is on, and some music is playing. she sings, 'shake your groove thing, shake your groove thing,' and she dances around, and tells me, 'come on debbie, shake your groove thing!'
i don't dance, ever. she puts her hands on my hips, and tries to move them to the beat, but i don't cooperate. then she holds my arms, and moves them around, and i just let them hang limp, and go wherever she puts them. she stops, and my arms flop back down to my side. she says that her mom said i could stay the night here if i wanted. she doesn't even ask, because she knows i want to. then she says she's going to put on her pajamas.

when she comes back, i'm still standing right where she left me. she tells me, 'sweetie, everything will be ok. i promise...' she hugs me close and i rest my head on her shoulder, and i try to let her body and her warmth and her scent make everything go away, like she can always do for me... but this time, it doesn't work. i'm glad she's here, but she's right. she really can't fix this.

she holds me until i let go, and then she puts in the movie. it's seven, and i'm proud of myself because i recognize brad pitt. alana thinks he's hot. i've never heard of this movie. we sit on the floor and she puts her head on my lap, for a little. then i start to fidget, and she tickles me, and we go sit on the couch. she leans into the corner of it, and i lean back against her, and we watch the movie. i think she's seen it a lot of times. she explains parts to me, and tells me about the seven deadly sins, because i guess i'm not very cultured, and i hadn't heard of them. neither of us knows what sloth is.

she gets hungry, not too far into the movie, so we stop it. it's after 1 a.m., so she decides we can just go back to kroger. we talk to tyrone, and she buys ramen noodles and froot loops, because there is a winnie the pooh bobblehead in the box. i tell her she shouldn't buy it, because she'll be disappointed if she doesn't get pooh or tigger. she says she'll be fine. i realize that i haven't eaten since the cop found out, which was over 24 hours ago, so i buy a 50-cent tube of honey roasted peanuts. i eat it on the way out to the car. on the way home, i let her shift, but i have to tell her what gear to put it in. she opens the cereal and it's piglet. she said she wouldn't be disappointed, so she acts like she's not, but she is. and i bet she'll buy another box tomorrow.

she cooks the ramen noodles and i drink about 5 cups of water and eat two blue froot loops. then we go back to the movie. she shows me how she can swallow a really long noodle, and then pull it out of her throat and it's so long that it's like a magic trick. she gets me a noodle and shows me how to do it. she says i can amaze my friends. i'm still not sure if i'll have any friends, when this is all over.

after she finishes eating, she says she's tired and it's bedtime. she says she'll put the movie on in her room. so i go to the bathroom and get into her bed, and she puts the movie on and joins me. she pushes me over to my side of the bed. she tells me again that it will be ok, trust her. and then she pulls the covers over herself and shuts her eyes, like that's all there is to it. i wish it was that simple to me. i feel alone. i feel afraid. i feel like crying.
she opens her eyes and looks at me and whispers, 'i love you, debbie,' and then she curls her legs forward, so her leg is touching mine.

i lay there and think and watch the movie. and then the movie gets kind of suspenseful, so i forget to think about anything besides the movie. in the end, it was a really really disturbing movie. i don't know how to describe it. it was a good movie, thought-provoking and eerie and freaky, but i wouldn't ever watch it again. it stops and i grab the remote and turn off the tv and lay there.

i'm scared. i'm scared for tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. i don't know what i'm going to say, or what's going to happen. i don't know what they'll ask, or how i'll answer. i don't know if nikki will ever speak to me again. i don't want to find out, either. i'd rather just re-wind, and live the past again, because the future scares me.
i do know that i'm grateful for marie. i'm glad that she's here, and i'm glad that there's one warm spot on my leg, where she's touching me, because it means that i'm not so alone. i don't know how i would be managing, without her. and i don't know how i'm going to manage when ultimately, she leaves my side, and i'm left to deal with the mess i've created. this is the thought that prevents me from sleeping, and i'm still wide awake and scared when marie's alarm rings in the morning...

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ahh...you mean there's MORE?
*dies of suspense*
it's ok...
Despite the fact that it made me sad that you were disturbed and such, this part was actually funny. When this is all over, you have to sell your life story for an after-school TV special. Or a book, like I've always been saying.
I totally cracked up at your mom's response. I guess it does seem totally unrelated, but if I got that email I would be relieved. That's basically what my parents said to me when I came out to them too...(you still have to get a good job and make a lot of money - this is the only important thing in life! We have robot-like one-track minds and this is all we care about!) well okay they didn't actually say the robot-like part...but yeah. It seemed like they weren't worried about my actual gayness, but they kept saying over and over again stuff like how I couldn't show it, how I had to dress "professionally," because the way I dressed made me look like a lesbian and if people saw this I would NEVER get a job which pays enough money. So basically, I guess it meant that they didn't care as long as it didn't interfere with the one thing which they did care about, which is MONEY. My mom still has big issues about the whole clothing deal, but that's a seperate issue. She's always had hang-ups about looks and stuff anyway, even about herself, for as long as I can remember, so I think that is probably her issue.
I don't know if any of this relates to your case at all of course, I am just talking about my own experience. But if your mom was saying that honestly, maybe she was just trying to emphasize the fact that she still thinks of you exactly the way she did before, i.e. pestering you about jobs and school. She wouldn't pester you to brush your teeth, because she didn't before, so why would she change that just because you are gay? But the work thing isn't a change so she can (and should, because why should gayness change that) keep doing it. Obviously there's no way of knowing if that's actually what she meant from a one-line email (and maybe in subsequent parts I haven't read yet it will be revealed) but from what I know up to this point it is a possibility.
and I'm sorry my name is so weird that you are embarrassed to admit to my existence. I never meant to be a source of embarrassment for you...
(I'm just kidding obviously)

And I never thought I would ever say this, but I guess I too am glad that marie was there for you.

Just promise you won't EVER do the noodle trick for me *disgusted face*

I'm glad you are okay. By okay I mean the whole alive thing. I don't know what to say to ease your tension and pain and angst. You pretty much know my coming out story. PT said something to me once when I was wigging out because I didn't want to be Gay and I didn't want people to know or to ask. She said "does your mother know," and I said yeah. And then she said, "well as hard as it may be to deal with, if your mother knows that's the only person that matters."

Your mom knows. Her response was at best commical. I will say that it probably would have thrown me for a loop as well. I agree with Marie that you may have to give her a minute to process any further. But from that comment I think you can take that she will love you regardless and you still expects the same (school job life) of you regardless. As for your friends. People believe what they want. The easiest thing for them to do may have been to not believe but even with that you have now placed the question in their minds. Could you lie? Yes you could. But what is the point when your mother knows? What is the point when your family knows?

You are who you are D and as repetitive as it is for me to say this, nothing about you has changed just a whole bunch of people know more. Coming out is difficult. Liking women is difficult. And living your life is difficult. There are some days that if I could wake up and take a pill and be normal or be straight I would be. But then something would be lost because I wouldn't be me. And anybody who is worth your effort and energy who truly loves you will accept that you wake up every morning having to be you. True it may be hard for them and for you but eventually they will accept it.

You can try to run but I have learned you get no where pretty fast when you are running from yourself.

Mad Love email or text me if you need me.


I never got that email.

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