I often joke that I have “good parent privilege.” Growing up, my catholic, conservative parents provided everything I could ever need: finances, a good education, therapy. Even as an adult, they continuously support me as they see fit, a luxury many cannot boast.
Every person has hiccups with their parents, a dispute here and there, a quarrel over something later dug up in future conversations. Truly, I feel blessed to have the support I have, almost guilty there would be anything to complain about.
But there’s always something to complain about.
I grew up catholic and gay.
Of course, trauma comes with that statement. Go figure. In the perfect nuclear family, wiggle room doesn’t feel gifted. With an older sister becoming a doctor, and an older brother doing god knows what accountants do, the “black sheep” was either a title bestowed upon me or one I bestowed upon myself.
I don’t remember when, but know the history got lost in translation the more isolated I became with my identity.
It’s not as if I didn’t try to fit the mold created for me.
I had boyfriends, but they were mediocre at best, and they never fell in line with the footsteps left behind by older siblings.
They were thriving in their perfect heterosexual relationships. They had found “the one” easily, falling into long-term relationships almost immediately into college. My brother brought his girlfriend around every holiday and my sister followed suit.
By comparison, my relationships were messy and cold, bleeding into my fear of never living up to my parents expectations. I was left stressed and lonely, wondering if any boyfriend would ever be good enough to take home for the holidays.
It turns out, no boyfriend ever would.
I began dating Ana in July 2020 and introduced her to my parents a few months later. I’d been out for years, at this point, but never fully out-out.
I’d never been in a lesbian relationship and had never faced the world of dating someone as a lesbian. My parents know I’m gay, but this would be the first time I was presenting myself to them with a girlfriend on my arm. The first time I’d ever officially bring someone home for approval.
I was so nervous by how they’d react, building horror stories in my head, that I completely missed the signs they’d laid out my entire life. All they wanted was for me to be happy and, if Ana did that, then I had achieved their expectations.
I was finally worthy of bringing a partner to Christmas.
Being in an interracial lesbian relationship still impacts every moment of my life. But it no longer shapes my relationship with my parents.
I overthink comments. I jump at people’s missteps.
It’s hard not to feel judged when all you’ve ever known is judgment. When I joke to my parents about this fear of unacceptance, and how it impacts my day to life, they listen calmly but remind me at the end of the day, they don’t care about who I date.
Why would they if I’m happy, says my dad.
It’s my own self-acceptance that matters, no one else’s. As my parents would say: “Who gives a shit?”