My mom was a tough one to win over. When I came out to her in 2016 all hell broke loose. Being an avid church-going Brazilian family came with certain expectations. Finding a God-loving man was definitely amongst the top priorities for other girls my age that I went to church with. My priorities, however, were a little…skewed. They included finding the cleanest, most private bathroom on my high school campus to make out with girls. It was fun, until my mom found out.
Mom and I are best friends. We both have soft spots for getting pastries at the local grocery store and eating them with coffee. We love day trips to the town over to see if there are any good shopping sales. We dance samba to Brazilian music when it’s cleaning day. But for the first time in my life, when I came out, our opinions diverged. It ended in sobbing and yelling and name-calling. She wanted to fix me and I was a sinner. After that, we never talked about it again.
When I got to college, I kissed a boy. My mom was one of the first people I told. It felt so exciting to be able to talk to my mom about someone I liked, and to hear her smile over the phone. What made this boy different from all the other girls I kissed in high school? Why didn’t she sob over this skinny white film dude? He was probably the least nice person I had hooked up with up until that point.
It ended in sobbing and yelling and name-calling. She wanted to fix me and I was a sinner. After that, we never talked about it again.
Then, I met J, and J changed everything. We started dating 2 years ago, right before summer started. Fortunately for us, we also live 15 minutes apart in our hometown in Hawaii. I decided I wasn’t going to tell anyone we were dating, and just say we were just best friends that bonded in college over being from Hawaii. At first, my mom wasn’t a huge fan of J. Part of me thinks she knows me too well and we were dating from the start. The first year was tough, I got yelled at for spending too long at J’s house, and my mom didn’t care to get to know them very much.
I then decided I’d force the two of them to get along. Any opportunity I got, I’d put them in the same room. Saying “oops I gotta pee!” and leaving them in a room alone was my way of making them chat. My mom also got into watching gay YouTubers, which I think was God’s gift to me because she suddenly didn’t think gay people were that icky anymore and she bought our dog a rainbow pride toy.
Over time, they began to bond. Over what? Me. And not in a “we both love Eloisa” way. Instead, they shared fun comments like “Oh my God, how is Eloisa going to survive living alone, she can’t fry an egg!” or “here we go again ordering for Eloisa because she’s too scared.” Earth signs I swear…
Over time, J and my Mother began to bond. Over what? Me.
Soon J became a regular at the dinner table. Mom and J worked. Mom likes to cook everything and J will eat anything. J would stir the soup pot while my mom was in the bathroom. Mom appreciated it. Mom would invite J over for Christmas dinner, and J appreciated it. They bonded over taking care of me and making sure I was okay. They both quickly learned they are the two people who care about me the most in this world.
J showed my mom that regardless of gender, the people I love are just people I love.
In January of this year, J stayed in our home state of Hawaii and I returned to Boston. I thought maybe J and mom wouldn’t be as close anymore, because I felt like the glue holding them together. I was wrong. They text almost every day. My mom likes to send them funny gifs and J sends her pictures of their cat, Gatsby. J comes over to my house often to eat shepherd’s pie and play with my little sister.
J showed my mom that regardless of gender, the people I love are just people I love. I only recently found out that my mom knows when she asked my sister, “do you think your dad will ever be okay with Eloisa and J?” Although we don’t quite talk about it blatantly yet, I know we are on the path to. Slowly, I open up little bits about me and J, and slowly my mom responds positively.
The euphoria of talking to my mom about the person I love felt unfeasible to me. I’m here to say that sometimes it isn’t impossible. Sometimes it takes patience and letting yourself grow, so that others can feel the happiness exuding from you. It took some time, but finally, Mom says it’s okay. ♦