My name is Aaron. I’m from Detroit, Michigan.
Growing up, I always felt a little bit different and I was also more of an introvert. So I didn’t have a lot of friends – I was friendly with people but not like a lot of close friends, not a lot of best friends. And with me being more of an introvert and being super protected by my mother as well, she ended up being my best friend. The one negative to our relationship is that the way my mother often times expresses love is for her to be very directive as to how she feels like you should be and how you should act and how you should talk. And I’ve always been a person where even if I don’t outwardly say I don’t agree, I’m gonna passively disagree which means I’m just not going to do it. So as I got older and older, I kind of fell more into that, which causedAN issue in our relationship because I became more passive aggressive and then she became more aggressive to the point where I became more aggressive and then, you know, we just had more and more friction in OUR relationship.
As I got older, I would say 16 or 17, I would just start to avoid interacting with her, and then with me not interacting as much, then she became even more, aggressively trying to connect because, you know, she felt the relationship was changing.
At that point in time, I thought I was bisexual, but I – I was uncomfortable telling HER that I was bisexual or gay or, you know, anything other than heterosexual even though I feel like she always had inclinations. So she was the that person actually took me to see “To Wong Foo” in the movie theater to, you know, watch that movie. And she loved that movie and me being an awkward kid, I actually ran out of the movie because I didn’t know what was going on with what I was feeling, what I was saying.
By the time it got – it was time for me to go to college, I couldn’t wait to go. And I think that it made her even more fearful because with me going, you know, I think she wondered what would our relationship be like because if we’re already not as close as we were, you know, is this going to be another loss?
The first one or two years I didn’t – we didn’t – we communicated, but we didn’t communicate – it wasn’t… I feel like it wasn’t as fulfilling on my side just because I kind of closed up even more. So it was kind of like I felt like I couldn’t be as open because I felt like whatever I would be sharing with her, you know, she would be more hyper, like, hypercritical of.
I got to, you know, 18, 19, 20… I had some different experiences. The first best friend I actually met when I moved to college was actually a lesbian. And I, at that point in time, really still wasn’t clear as to, you know, who I was in that way. And I definitely was uncomfortable saying I was unclear of what I was in that way. But my friend kind of – thankfully – made me very comfortable where I was able to tell her that I was bisexual and eventually, you know, gay – or at least that’s what I think I’m bisexual.
So went through years, experiences and I got to – I was 20 years old and it was one of my Introduction to Social Work classes and we had a project we had to do where essentially for the project, we had to put together, like, a poster board, a presentation as to who we were and then who wanted to become, you know, in life and in the field and stuff like that. So as part of my board, I was going to put on there that I was gay. I think it was a rainbow flag or a rainbow heart or unicorn or something, but it was – it was essentially signifying that, you know, I’m gay.
And then I was doing a project but I was, like, so conflicted with it because I was like, I want to do this, I want to show who I am, but in a way, it was like – it was uncomfortable. I felt like it was almost a betrayal because I was like, I’m about to go tell a whole group of strangers who I am but I’m actually not telling people that I’m close to who I am. And I felt like that was one of the blockades that my mother and I had our relationship.
And I remember, I was in my dining room and I was, like, You know what? I’m just going to call her and tell her. You know, this has been one of the elephants in the room for years, if not, you know, years and years, way before I even knew.. had more clarity as to what was going on.
So I called her and I was like, you know, it was just the usual, “Oh hey, Ma. How are you doing?”
And she’s like, “Oh, hey. Everything’s fine, you know…,” blah blah blah.
And then it was just like a… I said to her, I was like, “Okay, so…”
And then it was just a long pause and she’s like, “Okay, yeah? So what is it? What’s the problem? You know, What’s going on?” And then it was just another pause and then I think she started getting anxious.
I end up coming out and I told her that, you know, “Hey, Mom. So I’m gay.”
And there was this long pause, a very long pause where I think I was like, “Hello. Are you still there?”
So she’s like, “Yeah, I’m here.” So – and she was like, “Okay, so what makes you think you’re gay?”
And I was like, “Well, it’s just like feelings I’ve had, these things I’ve been thinking, you know. It’s not like it’s brand new. It’s something I’ve been experiencing, you know, for years and years now.”
And she was like, “Okay, so have you – have you done stuff? How do you know?”
I was like, “No, I just – it’s just a feeling I have.” And she asked had I been with women before.
I was like, “No, I haven’t and I don’t really want to be with women.”
And then she was just like, “Oh, A, I don’t know,” – because my nickname is A. She’s li,e, “ Oh I don’t know. Like, I don’t – I don’t know how this happened.” Like, you know, then there was, like, another pause and then she was like, “Did I do something wrong? Like, did I mess up?”
And I was like, “No, you didn’t do anything wrong. Like, you did, you know, everything right which was in your ability to do.” So, you know, we talk for a little bit more. We ended the conversation and when we ended our conversation, I feel like it was just like a huge weight off my shoulders. Like, it was like… like one of the walls in between us having like a kind of close relationship that I wanted to have, a close relationship, was removed where we were actually more able to openly communicate. You know, it didn’t change anything in our relationship. It just changed things for the better.
So in me coming out to my mom and, you know, telling her who I was and what I was feeling, it may be easier to come up to my grandmother and made it easier to talk to my other family, it made it easier to, you know, go in front of the class for that project and tell, you know, the 20, 25 people in the class that, you know, I was gay and I was happy to be gay and happy to be myself.
Years later, I met somebody new who’s now my fiancé. As soon as she met him, you know, she liked him and she said that. You know, so it’s a point now where, you know, I – we’ve been together for – my fiancé and I have been together for about almost 6 years now and every time I talk to her, she asks about him, how’s he doing. So she’s still is very, like, protective, but it’s kind of like she’s become so open where it’s like she’s not only protective of me, she’s protective of him as well.
I would say for anybody struggling with honesty, like feeling – being honest with themselves or being honest with other people, I would say really ask yourself why you’re feeling the need not to be honest. And I would tell that person even though it may be uncomfortable, it may be – you know, make you feel insecure, you might feel some pain, you’re going to feel better by expressing yourself. You know, the real… the most intense kind of pain you’re going to feel and experience is hiding yourself from other people and it’s going to be even more painful if you hide yourself from yourself. So you have to, you know, accept yourself, you know, love yourself, support yourself. And even when you don’t always believe it, you have to tell yourself that, you know, I’m gonna be okay. Things will be okay no matter what. And then, you know, express that to other people as well.