Coming out to my mother was the big tipping point. There was something more permanent about telling her versus just telling friends at school. I already wasn’t popular in school, so I didn’t have that much to lose there. Home, on the other hand, was a safe place for me and the idea of rocking that boat was terrifying.
It was the summer before my freshmen year of high school. My mother was in her bedroom on the second floor of our house exercising on some elliptical-type machine called a “glider.” I had written a letter earlier in the day and was waiting for an appropriate time to give it to her. “An appropriate time” then turned into me frantically stuffing the letter under her bedroom door while she glided. I hid out in the downstairs bathroom, working up my own sweat as I ran every possible outcome through my head. I had read the horror stories: I could be disowned. I could be sent somewhere. I could be kept from seeing friends. She could tell me I was going to Hell.
But what turned out to be the beautiful part of my experience was what little happened. In fact, it was so undramatic—despite my own self-induced worrying—that the conversation my mother and I had after she read my letter is my fuzziest memory from the day. For me, coming out changed so little that it changed so much. I had been worried that my sexuality would be the cause for disruption in my life that when no ripples were formed, I couldn’t have asked for anything better.