Monday, April 17, 2006

62. Stuff

Did I ever tell you all about the therapist my mom and I went to to deal with our ‘stuff’? We had this two week fight, which I ended by saying “Okay, I’m done talking about this now, we need to see a therapist.”

Well, we found one who lived pretty much right in between us (2 hours away from me, 3 hours away from my mom) and we went to see her twice. She was quite sick then, she actually at one point cancelled two appointments because she was unable to see us. I was originally quite hopeful about the appointments but then, well, they sort of turned out to do more harm than good. Part of the reason was that we were only able to see her 3 times, which just isn’t enough to get through anything significant. Another reason was that during one of her private meetings, my mom told her that I was gay. This honestly, had nothing to do with our problems (we were dealing with communication issues that go back to pretty much preschool), but it of course became this huge issue. During one of our private meetings, the therapist talked all around the ‘gay issue’, until I just said “Just to clear the air, I’m assuming my mom told you I’m gay”.

She told me my mom had alluded to the ‘issue’, and so I told her that a)I didn’t think it had anything to do with our communication problems and b)I’m celibate so there is no way it’s relevant to any aspect of what I was there to talk about (ie: relationship issues). She actually seemed quite positive in that meeting, telling me that she had gay friends, one of whom had helped her a lot when she was going through a particularly low period (he took her in when her husband left her)… she also used the phrase ‘coming out of the closet’ to talk about accepting the reality of various situations in my life. I got the impression that she was ‘gay positive’, which I kept to myself because I didn’t want my mom to find out – she would have been quite upset to think that.

One of the things that kept getting brought up was my weight (not by me or the therapist, but by my mother). It was frustrating to say the least, I was trying to talk about our communication, and my mom kept just saying over and over again “I think she needs to lose weight.” It was like talking with a plant. And she’s right, you know, I’m what I’ve referred to as a “bigger black woman”, and I know I should lose weight, but again, it was irrelevant to the issue at hand. Anyway, the reason I bring that up is because my mom recently called this therapist and found out that she’s dying. Like I said, she was quite sick, so it doesn’t come as a surprise, but it is sad. She was sweet. Well, she and my mom spoke for a few minutes and apparently this woman’s last words of advice for me are this (as relayed by my mother, who I don’t think would lie about a woman’s dying words): “Tell JJ I’m not worried about her weight. I am worried about the gay thing. I worry about her going into a gay lifestyle. I’ve worked with people like that and those people will chew you up and spit you out. As long as she’s celibate I wouldn’t worry.”

I don’t want to speak ill of the almost dead, but what? Those people? Like the kind who took her in when her straight husband abandoned her? Like one of my best friends from high school, who has comforted me so many times when my mom was driving me batty, who has been with her girlfriend for 6 years now? Like one of my dear gay guy friends who helped me accept who I am and learn to not hate myself?

And that those were her last words to my mother? That sucks. I know that will come back and bite me in the ass at some point. I can hear my mother saying, “Even _________ knew that this was an unhealthy state of being. Do you remember her last words of advice to you? She knows about ‘those people’. She worked with them. Do you want to be like that?”

Argh.

Of course, she did go on to tell me how 'proud' she was of me for making the 'right decisions', saying that I have always done that. She mentioned an incident when I was seven when someone gave me a Smurfs game and I willingly threw it out because my mom believed that Smurfs were evil. I didn't really care about the game because I didn't watch the show so it wasn't the best present to give me. I was more worried about what the person who gave the present to me would think. I now think it was kind of ridiculous that I wasn't allowed to watch the Smurfs because, really, it was just a cartoon about little blue creatures. But my mom was apparantly really proud of me back then.

Oh, and I know I told you about that ‘healing week’ I went to, well my mom’s going to one. And here’s the really messed up part. They’re giving her the same counselors as they gave me. Isn’t that warped? The thing that’s annoying is that I was supposed to follow up with those women, but as I only really went to make my mom happy, and I kind of moved to the other side of the planet shortly afterwards, I didn’t bother. And now I have to figure something out, cause she’ll be pissed.

In other completely non personal news, have you heard about this? Faith in America: Religion Based Bigotry, Let’s End it Now and Forever. I think it’s a really cool idea, but I know what people like my mother would say. She will say it’s evidence of the homosexual agenda rearing its head in the church. That these people are obviously not real Christians, etc… You know what I would like to see? Some more moderate conservatives like Tony Campolo (even though I know some dismiss him entirely). I would like to see a Christian who believes that homosexual behavior is a sin who doesn’t feel the need to use that belief to trample on the rights of others. I mean, don’t most evangelicals believe that premarital sex is a sin? Yet they don’t try to make it illegal, because that would be absurd. Most Christians realize that they can’t expect people who believe differently from them to live according to our rules. Why do they find this particular issue so important? So vital to our survival as Christians?

Anyway, I’m exhausted. Willie Hewes asked me if I got an Easter Break, and I didn’t. Which is kind of funny considering that one of the first things my boss told me (really, he bragged about it) was how much more Christian Korea was than Canada, yet they don’t take a holiday for Easter… no Good Friday, let alone Easter Monday (although, to be fair, I’m pretty sure only Canadians have Easter Monday… we love our long weekends!) And the hilarious thing was that none of the kids had even heard of Easter… not even the Easter Bunny… they did have a missionary in, so I’m assuming he explained, but it was in Korean so I have no idea.

Well, I’m off to bed now. Night all!

13 Comments:

craig the bald guy said...

OK, I'm a Christian, and I'm trying. Last year I met a lesbian friend online and we've become quite close.

I agree with you that gays need basic rights. I'm torn, because I recognise that marriage is God defined, I don't feel that government should be changing that. However, when she has a partner, she needs to have things like healthcare benefits and hospital visitation, things most take for granted, available to her. I just have a problem with the "M" word because of its source, but I think to deny an equivelant legal designation is wrong.

I'm 51 and this is all a bit new to me. But because God is prodding me in this direction, I'll continue to seek what He wants me to learn. Thank you for your blog.

I'll be praying for the problems between you and your mother.

Suzanne said...

JJ,

I LOVE reading your posts! You're very insightful, open, and honest... and cool!

I can relate to the Smurf thing... my parents were similar in that I wasn't allowed to have anything "tainted."

I hope your therapists words don't come back to bite you in the ass! Parents love the fuel for their fire!

Blessings,
Suzanne

Boo said...

*scarf scarf scarf*

I'll take a break from chewing someone up and spitting them out to answer the bald guy:

First of all, kudos for being open minded and trying to learn something, especially at 51. The thing about the "M" word is, it's both a religious and a legal institution. Whether or not any particular religious denomination ought to recognize gay marriage is a question that needs to be worked out in each religious denomination. Government should not intrude to force any religion to recognize gay marriages if they don't want to, but likewise religious views about gay marriage should not be used as the basis for government policy.

JJ, obviously your mom knew that the Smurfs are part of the Homosexual Agenda(tm). Think about it. You've got 100 guys in this village who run around with no shirts on, and regularly get together to sing and dance chorus routines. Meanwhile there's one gal who goes to bed alone every night. Don't have to be Brainy Smurf to figure out what was going on in Smurf Village. (On a related rant, did you ever notice that all the boy smurfs were named after some kind of attribute- Hefty, Farmer, etc. while Smurfette's defining attribute was just to be Smurfette?)

Sorry about the therapist thing. If you mom ever brings it up you can always say, "You mean like the one who took her in when her husband left her? Yes, I would like to be like that."

Oh, and don't be too sure that the religious right's trampling on people's rights is going to stop with homosexuals. They're already going after birth control and the Family Research Council is speaking out against the new HPV vaccine on the grounds that it could encourage women to have sex.

Boo said...

*scarf scarf scarf*

I'll take a break from chewing someone up and spitting them out to answer the bald guy:

First of all, kudos for being open minded and trying to learn something, especially at 51. The thing about the "M" word is, it's both a religious and a legal institution. Whether or not any particular religious denomination ought to recognize gay marriage is a question that needs to be worked out in each religious denomination. Government should not intrude to force any religion to recognize gay marriages if they don't want to, but likewise religious views about gay marriage should not be used as the basis for government policy.

JJ, obviously your mom knew that the Smurfs are part of the Homosexual Agenda(tm). Think about it. You've got 100 guys in this village who run around with no shirts on, and regularly get together to sing and dance chorus routines. Meanwhile there's one gal who goes to bed alone every night. Don't have to be Brainy Smurf to figure out what was going on in Smurf Village. (On a related rant, did you ever notice that all the boy smurfs were named after some kind of attribute- Hefty, Farmer, etc. while Smurfette's defining attribute was just to be Smurfette?)

Sorry about the therapist thing. If you mom ever brings it up you can always say, "You mean like the one who took her in when her husband left her? Yes, I would like to be like that."

Oh, and don't be too sure that the religious right's trampling on people's rights is going to stop with homosexuals. They're already going after birth control and the Family Research Council is speaking out against the new HPV vaccine on the grounds that it could encourage women to have sex.

Willie Hewes said...

The English get Easter Monday. And the Dutch get two Easter days, Sunday and Monday. So it's not just Canadians.

I was going to answer Craig but Boo's said it already. If marriage is simply God-defined, why is it even important to the state? Irreligious people marry too, and so do Buddhists, Shintos, Hindus, etc. It's not like Christianity came up with the idea.

The smurfs are evil? Why, cause they're commies?

Chaps said...

your mum can't handle the gay thing. Your issues may go back to the beginging of time with her, but she can't get past the gay thing.

There's still time for you to catch up on the smurfs.

Christine said...

Hey JJ, I totally feel for you with this one...

Oh, and regarding the smurfs, I wasn't allowed to watch them either.

I used to buy into all my parent's stuff and kind of turn it around so that it made me be special. I got a two-fold reward from that - my parents were thrilled and proud of me for standing up for their beliefs, and I got that "I'm so different and special" kind of response from others that made me feel somehow important.

I remember once even talking (somewhat unsolicited, as I recall, although it was in front of both sets of parents) to my cousins (who were the same age as me and my sister) about why the smurfs were bad and "demonic" and why I didn't feel it was appropriate to watch. I think I was all of 12 or something.

And once, in the second grade, I announced to the teacher that I was not allowed to dye easter eggs (that was going to be the class project) and so I ended up having to do my own art project at my own table. The funny thing is that my mom said, many years later, that she would not have objected to me dyeing easter eggs with the class; even though it wasn't a part of our easter at home and she made her views on "pagan easter" very known. So she was really proud of me that I knew enough that it was "wrong" and stood up for those beliefs in class.

Interesting the stuff we do as kids in order to please parents....

Liadan said...

I remember my dad (who's a doctor) saying something similar: that he's had gay patients (or patients "in that lifestyle") and they weren't happy. Implication being that their gayness is what was making them unhappy, or that they were choosing to be gay in order to try to alleviate some more basic unhappines, I suppose.

I had to wonder how many unhappy straight people he's run across, or how many "happy" people he's treated that he was unaware were gay.

Shannon said...

Sorry about the issues with your mom. I really like reading your perspective. You seem thoughtful and willing to listen to various perspectives in order to uncover the truth or what would be most beneficial. Maybe someday your mom will realize that. Is there any particular reason that you haven't told your day about being gay (correct me if I'm wrong here, I seem to remember reading that in an earlier post)?

Pheebles said...

Australians have a four day weekend for Easter, from Good Friday through Easter Monday. It's great!

I love the Smurfs, but then again, I also belong to that class of people accused of chewing people up and spitting them out. hehe. I am Christian first and foremost though, and thankfully, most people see that and ignore the rest.

Shalom!

Elizabeth said...

I am really sorry that the theropy session ended the way it did and that it may potentionally backtrack your mom's thinking. I completely understand where you are coming from, I've dealt alot with this issue myself.

I too wish Christians wouldn't scorn others. Even if one believed it is a sin, it is no reason or excuse to persecute others.

I think people want to oppose gay marriage is because God made marriage sacred between a man and a woman. But a simple no would suffice. Not all this "I'm going to make a constitution to be purposely anti-gay for God" That isn't Christ-like behavior! Hate isn't love! I am so tired of people like that making the rest of the Christians look bad! I wrote a whole entry about that on my journal too.

Anyway, I wish you the best, and hold on! I'll pray for you! ^_^;

God bless!

Shannon said...

sorry, I meant "dad" there not "day."

Michelle said...

I am new to your blog, and I think I'm hooked already.

I'm a Christian. My views are complicated. So complicated that I don't understand them myself... so, having recently graduated from college, I've begun an independent research project on homosexuality, the Bible, and the church.

In a way, my biggest weakness is my stark heterosexuality. My frame of reference is limited, though I have many bisexual friends. There's a lot that I'm trying to learn and understand. I appreciate hearing some stories from a perspective like yours, especially told so thoughtfully and articulately.