I honestly didn’t think I’d write anything else about my mom, basically feeling as if I’d said it all the first time around. But turns out I was wrong.
I’ve had some health issues through the years, including six strokes. I had a session with a psychiatrist, telling her how my mom and sisters are the direct cause of my stress, making my catatonic episodes worse each time. She suggested that I talk with my mom and sisters, all of us together, and I told her that I refuse to do that since I deal with them enough as it is. Besides, my mom has selective hearing and denies just about everything, especially when it comes to my past and present-day sexuality.
I told the psychiatrist that she could talk to my sister who’s my power-of-attorney (she’s also a surgical nurse and will decide when it’s time to “pull the plug”). But I also told the psychiatrist that she’s only allowed to tell my sister how my family is worsening my stress.
I texted my mom telling her that I cried a lot in the doctor’s office after talking about all my strokes, which is why I didn’t call her when I got home. I needed a break from her.
Later, though, my mom just couldn’t help herself. Instead of giving me space, she called me and asked, “Did I hear from you today?”
“I texted you,” I said.
“I didn’t get a text. Why were you crying?”
“If you knew I was crying at the doctor’s office, then you got my text and know why I was crying.” I hung up on her. She really doesn’t get it.
Later, I went over to her house for the umpteenth time to fix her television because she refuses to listen to instructions over the phone, talk to customer service, or read a manual. Anyway, she got upset with me for being upset. She and my sisters hate that I tell them facts. They prefer to pussyfoot around things so they don’t hurt each other’s feelings, so when I tell them the truth they think I’m being mean.
But my mom and sisters are no different than most people, including Christians. They do the exact same thing.
But back to why my mom got upset. I said, “All three of y’all do this!”
She tried to cut me off and I said, “No! All three of y’all have these codes that you expect me to decipher whenever you want me to fix your televisions or phones. It was bad enough before the strokes, but now I’m dealing with y’all on top of another stroke –”
And right in the middle of explaining that to her, I ended up having another catatonic episode that lasted 18 minutes. Once the episode ended, I continued with what I was telling my mom.
She said, “But you don’t understand. You’re the only one who knows how to do this, and it’s difficult to explain what we need done.”
“But y’all don’t even try before y’all call me. What are y’all gonna do when I die?!”
Her response: “You ain’t going nowhere.”
I fixed the TV and left.
I’ve already written about joining the Army because I never felt loved and supported, and that I thought I needed to join to be more of a man. But what I didn’t write about was that getting away from my family was a huge part of my decision to enlist.
I didn’t even tell my family I enlisted. I just left. None of them knew where I was for four months. Upon joining, I got asked who I wanted as my beneficiary for the life insurance policy. I wrote my dog’s name, with my last name, even though she’d died three years prior.
It’s pretty sad caring so little about the people in my life that I don’t make any effort to contact them. What’s worse is that they don’t realize the pain they’re causing — or maybe they do, but they just don’t care.
When I graduated from boot camp and school, I came home in uniform and thought they’d be proud of me. But the first thing out of my stepfather’s mouth was, “Do you know you almost caused your momma to end up in the hospital with a stroke from worrying about you?”
I immediately wanted to leave again. The only reason I didn’t is because I had to wait a week before my flight that would station me in Germany.
My nurse of a sister tries guilting me into spending one-on-one time with my mom; my mom tries guilting me into calling my sister more because she feels lonely in another city. I lived on the West Coast for over 22 years, and I never once missed them on the East Coast. Some people think that’s a weird thing to say, but I was closer with my family when I lived there and they lived here.
Living a country apart from me, they couldn’t just show up whenever they wanted. And because of the time difference, they couldn’t just call whenever they wanted either.
My brother has been my biggest supporter and encourager from the beginning. When I told him about my struggle with homosexuality, he never held it against me or freaked out about it. He was there for me when I worked at a gay drug rehab center in Seattle during the AIDS epidemic. I told him when I struggled with gay pornography, and he knows about my present-day SSA and the guys in this YOB community.
If my brother died, he’d be the only family member I’d cry over and miss.
For years, many of us have longed for approval, support, and encouragement from family members only never to receive such things. Some are fortunate enough to have a great support system. And then there are some like me with a mix of both: people who won’t talk about sexuality with me or don’t even know about it, but also at least one person who loves me unconditionally.
We have enough going on in our lives as it is, so it’d be nice to have some allies around. It’d be even nicer if some of them were family.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV)
Do you struggle with strained relationships with any of your family members? Do you have family members who support you and dialogue with you empathetically about your sexuality, or do you have other people in your life who serve more as a family should?