I’m From Pleasantville, NJ.

by Mariette Joseph

Satellite overhead image of New Jersey from Google Earth 2022

I recently moved into my very first apartment. I am 25 years old. I have lived with little sister and my overly spiritual mother for the past five years. My mother knows that I am gay. I told a family friend two years ago, and she told my mother. She has never asked me about this revelation, but there have been some heated arguments between us (mostly because of her overt spirituality), and she has said things that make me know that she knows, and how she came to know.

My father lives in Georgia, and has recently become overtly spiritual. Both of my parents are of Caribbean decent, which means in a nutshell, I am screwed. Last weekend my little sister came over, and we were watching a TV show which featured several fierce drag queens searching for dresses for an upcoming event. My sister was utterly disgusted. She began looking at the television with such hatred in her eyes that it scared me. It scared me so much that I changed the channel. She kept saying, with such disturbing conviction, “That’s just wrong, that’s disgusting, that’s wrong, that’s so wrong.” My sister is only eight years old.

I don’t date but have been really thinking about it. I went to Philadelphia the other day and there is such culture and acceptance there. Certain street signs even have the rainbow flag on them. The seclusion of Southern New Jersey can make you forget that you are not alone. Not nearly as much as a family of extremists however.

I made a decision on New Years Eve that this year would be MY year. I would move out of my mother’s house, find a community that is accepting of me and my lifestyle, start dating, and come out. So far so good, but it’s scary as all hell.

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