My name is Rennetta Bailey. I’m from Chicago, Illinois.
So there was a ballet every morning with my mother. As she would wake up in the morning, knock on my bedroom door, she would go into the bathroom. I would get up, go into the kitchen, start the coffee. She comes out of the bathroom, I go in the bathroom. It was like music, it was like a ballet, it was a dance and it was our routine to get ready for our day.
It was one day, I was in my late twenties, still at home. On this one particular morning, I wasn’t feeling well. I didn’t respond to her first call. And she came in and and touched me. And when she touched me I had a very high fever. A fever generally means something really bad. So she got me up, got me dressed, rushed me to the hospital. I’m in triage, and, you know, I’m sure was the scariest thing for her because we’re very close, very close. They’re doing spinal fluid taps, they’re… all kinds of, you know, monitoring my blood pressure and, you know, just really scary, and I’m at this point terrified and crying hysterically. My mother steps out. And, you know, they’re still working on me, trying to break my fever. We were there all day, all day and they finally broke the fever. Never came up with what was going on.
While we were at the hospital, she comes into my room and she says, “Well, I just talked to Irene.” She says, “Do you want her to come up here?”
So my response was like, “Oh, no. No. I’m fine. No worries, I’ll be okay.”
A week later her and I in the car, just driving alone and I asked her, “Mom. Why did you call Irene?”
And she said, “Well, you know, you guys spend a lot of time together. You know, you hang out a lot. And I suspect that’s your girlfriend.”
Very awkward moment. I was like, okay. And there was, you know, a little small silence.
I was raised in the church so she said, “Well, you know I will feel about it. You know, we are, we’re Christians. And you know how I feel about it. I believe it’s a demon you could be delivered from. But you are my child, you are my daughter, and I love you. Nobody gonna do nothing about that.”
And that was it, and after that, I was so terrified and scared for so many years. And when that one person that was my strength, that was my go-to, who encouraged me, who supported me, had my back, and didn’t care, I didn’t care what anybody else thought. It’s just, it lifted so much weight off of me. And at that point, you know, telling the rest of the family was just “Oh by the way, oh by the way” because I knew my mother was standing behind me watching their response and saying, “Okay, you onboard with this? Okay. Let’s go. Next!” And it went on like that.
It literally lifted like a heavy curtain, like a weight. So anyone else that I would have a conversation, I stopped denying myself.
“Oh, Rennetta – are you -”
“Yes, I am, how’re you? Yes, I am. I am very much so a lesbian.” I wasn’t afraid. I didn’t hide it. I didn’t avoid the question.
My mom thought a demon was influencing me and now she doesn’t. She doesn’t anymore. When I was in the closet, we fell out of sync with each other. Our rhythm was off. It got clumsy, kinda, so to speak.
The dynamic of our connection to each other has changed. We’re back to being the best of friends. She supports everything that I do.
After that day, after that conversation, we got back into our rhythm. It was back, we were back in sync with each other. Back to our dance. And it’s great. We were back together. I got my best friend back.