Yesterday was World Pride Day–the conclusion to Pride Month–and thus it is apt to reflect on my experience with Pride over the last five years.
I have only been to a Pride event once, and that was during the summer of 2015, which was also the year I had come out to my family. The months preceding June 2015 were extremely difficult in my house…I had lied to my parents to even go to Pride. I had told them I was going to the city with friends, which was partially true. I was actually going to experience the parade in the city with my secret girlfriend.
I had packed a bag with the clothes I was going to change into on the train: rainbow pride earrings, a rainbow pride industrial bar, and a t-shirt I had customized with glitter glue and scissors. That plain t-shirt had transformed into a frilly crop-top with sparkly letters that read “I love [insert my ex-girlfriend’s name].” My ex had made a similar shirt, minus the glitter glue and fondness for scissors. We were very festive.
On the train, I rode a few stops alone before my ex and her friends boarded. When we got to the city, everyone and everything was rainbow. I had never experienced anything like it before. It was amazing to be around so many queer people, to feel validated, and to be supported.
My ex, her friends, and I watched the parade and I took lots of pictures, which I no longer have. I did, however, purchase a pride flag that I have to this day.
After the parade, I met up with a friend I had met at a summer pre-college camp. I remember that she had just gotten her nose ring. Anyway, we all went to multiple sex stores, and that is when I bought my first vibrator, which I also no longer have. (I have gone back to that specific sex store though and purchased a new one. In my opinion, that store has the best variety of non-penis-shaped goods in the entire city.)
Before boarding the train back home alone, I had removed my pride gear and tucked it back into my bag. My dad had picked me up at the train station and didn’t ask any questions, and so I had thought I was safe from interrogation. That was only true for a few hours.
The next morning, my mom had suddenly become skeptical of my whereabouts. She questioned what I had done in the city, who I had been with, and why I had been alone on the train. She blatantly asked me if I went to Pride, and I had responded with a resounding “no.”
And that was the end of that.
Fast forward to 2019… many of my friends went to Pride and invited me along, but I refrained. Part of my reluctance to attend any Pride event was a fear of large crowds, not wanting to cancel my Sunday Yin Yoga class (which I brought to my local community center and I’m super proud of it), and a fear of telling my parents that I was going.
Is that weird? I’m twenty-three and I’m afraid to tell my parents what I want to do, particularly if it involves my queerness. This is despite the fact that I had come out to them twice and integrated my recent ex into my familial life as much as possible.
I am unsure why I continue to have this fear that drives my preference to avoid queer topics. For years after I came out the first time, I blamed this tendency on them.
I had felt like they rejected me when I came out, which is why I had continuously lied to them. It had seemed like we were at war with each other for months, and I never forgave them. I didn’t feel like I could trust them.
It’s why even after my ex and I broke up, after years had passed, I still lied to them about where I was going and who I was hanging out with. I would answer questions they had about my personal life as vaguely as possible so they wouldn’t know that much about me. I would answer their questions snippily as well, which would cause conflicts about my bad attitude.
So much has changed between us though. Thus, my fear of talking about Pride and sexuality with them seems to stem primarily from residual pain. I have to constantly remind myself that they’re not going to yell at me or interrogate me about this stuff anymore. I’m no longer an eighteen-year-old in high school. I graduated from college, I work a full-time job and teach yoga on the side, and I’ve been a fucking adult for a few years now. I make my own choices. I don’t know why I don’t always find this rationale convincing.
Yesterday, however, my mom shared a sweet moment with me that reminded me of how things have improved between us.
I was sitting on my bed, wearing the Pride shirt my ex had gotten me, and planning my Yin Yoga class with the Pride Parade on in the background. My mom knocked on my door and asked to come in. Once inside my room, she asked me if I was watching the parade and I affirmed that I was. She asked if my friends were there and I replied, “Yes, they invited me and I wanted to go, but I love this yoga class I teach, so I decided to stay home.”
She nodded, understanding since she takes all my yoga classes and since she knows how important this class is to me. Then she invited me to watch the parade in her room. I declined the offer, and then she went back upstairs. A few minutes later, she returned to give me a hug and she told me that she loves me no matter what.
Twenty minutes later, before I ran out the door to take care of some errands, I went to her room and saw her watching the parade in the rocking chair she used to cradle my sister and I in when we were infants.
It was the sweetest and simplest moment, but it provided me with the validation and support that I had gotten from my experience at Pride five years ago. This time, however, it was from the person I needed the validation and support from the most.
Finally, a moment to sit and write.
This past week has been hectic because of my temporary full-time job, so I apologize for my absence. Whenever I return home from work, I want to numb my mind by watching TV, but I’ve been too tired to even do that.
Anyway…I wanted to chat about my personal life because it has undergone a serious transformation. Namely, my relationship with my family has changed. This has been an ongoing transformation since I moved back home, I just hadn’t thought about writing about it because…I’ve had so many other things I wanted to say I suppose. Plus, sometimes I focus on negative things when I write rather than positive things, and what I want to talk about is extremely positive. It’s still a little surreal to me because I would have never thought, four years ago, that I’d be where I am now.
One of the first great things that have been going on with me is that I haven’t been fighting with my mom at all. Both she and I have grown so much and we handle our volatile emotions so much better. We both utilize different methods to control our emotions such as a spiritual practice, writing, and Yoga. My mom and I actually share Yoga together now because she attends the class I teach on Friday mornings. It’s a really nice way to spend a little time together because, during the week, both her and I work a lot, so we don’t get to talk much. Yoga on Friday mornings is a beautiful way to check in with each other as well as start our day on the right foot. It’s really sweet we practice together too because she was the first one to suggest I do yoga teacher training, and here I am, now certified and teaching a class that she can attend. It’s so lovely.
My girlfriend has been coming by the house weekly since September or so, which has been great. Aside from being able to see my girlfriend, my parents are able to see her and get to know her, which is helpful to make them feel more comfortable with my sexuality. My mom really likes her (she told me!) and we all chitchat and drink wine together. It’s so much fun! I never thought that’d happen!
My aunt invited my girlfriend to Thanksgiving, so my girlfriend is coming. My aunt most likely knows my girlfriend is my girlfriend due to my social media, but the rest of my family probably doesn’t. My girlfriend will be introduced as my friend just to avoid drama at my aunt’s house. My relatives that know me will know though, which is all that matters to me.
I’ll have to update y’all after Thanksgiving to share how it all went down. In the meantime, I will be trying to enjoy any bits of Halloween that I can! I haven’t watched any Halloween movies yet, which is tragic because there are only 13 days left. I probably will be watching Halloween movies until after Thanksgiving.
The door slammed behind me, muffling his roar. Maybe I could no longer hear him at that moment, but I would probably hear him later because it was certainly not the last time we were going to have this conversation, if you could even call it that. Most conversations I have do not include faces red with fury, the slamming of hands on the walls and tables, spit from angrily enunciating words while shouting, and only one person vocalizing their thoughts while the other shrinks into their seat. Most conversations do not look like this, except for the conversations I have been having with him lately.
“Where are you going?” my sister asked from the stairwell as I powered down the hall.
“Out,” I replied tersely, grabbing my car keys and slamming the front door behind me.
No amount of doors slammed could quell the rage that I had to suppress while he had verbally torn me apart.
Tobacco and spearmint lingered on my tongue, and I touched my lips, smiling as I remembered why. With my other hand, I twisted the key in the lock and opened the front door. I froze in fear when I saw a figure standing in the stairwell, but then I realized who it was and relaxed, although annoyance quickly replaced that feeling.
“It’s past 11. Where have you been?”
“Out,” I stated.
“An eleven PM curfew means you have to be here at eleven, not leave where you are at eleven,” she explained, irritated.
“I lost track of time.”
“Who were you with?”
Exasperated, I threw my hands up in the air. “I already told you!”
“Don’t raise your voice at me. Remind me.”
“Marisa…the usual,” I explained, struggling to level my voice.
“Where did you go?” she inquired.
“Dunkin, Starbucks, whatever was open.”
“Those places close at ten. What did you do for an hour?”
I narrowed my eyes at her. “I’m going to my room,” I replied, shrugging past her and heading up the stairs.
“Answer my question!” she yelled after me.
“We were outside. I’ll make you an itinerary next time,” I said, slamming my bedroom door behind me.
My bedroom door burst open and she stormed in, leering down at me as I lay in bed.
“Good morning,” I sarcastically greeted her, sitting up.
“What does this mean?!” she asked, desperation evident in her voice as she threw papers onto my lap.
I briskly shuffled through them and then calmly met her watery stare. “Where did you find these?”
“Well, I don’t know what they mean,” I replied, handing them back to her.
“Is this who you are?” she asked shrilly.
“No. I don’t know.”
“What do you mean you ‘don’t know?’” she shrieked.
“I don’t know!” I yelled, tossing off my blanket and standing up. “I told you everything I know!”
She challenged me with her eyes for a few beats before turning and storming out of my room, slamming the bedroom door shut behind her.
I slowly opened my bedroom door, and we tentatively emerged from behind it. My heart pounded as she looked down at us from the stairs that led to her master bedroom. She spoke sternly and carefully. After a brief interrogation, she dismissed us with a threat to call the police if I bring the woman beside me home again, and she informed me that we were going to discuss this later. As per usual, there probably wouldn’t be too much discussion. Numbly, I nodded, and then we raced down the stairs, seeking out safety in my car.
She leaned over the middle barrier in the car and tilted her head up toward me, smiling. “Alright, well I have to head home, but text me when you get home.”
I nodded and leaned the rest of the way to kiss her awaiting lips. When she pulled away, she smiled at me, causing my heart to flutter. She looked out the windshield and started talking animatedly about our weekend plans, but then she paused.
“Hold on,” she said, her eyebrows furrowing as she focused on the rearview mirror. “What’s that?”
I looked at where she was pointing. Behind the rearview mirror was a small, black microphone. My heart raced as realization struck.
“Can I pull it down?” she asked. I silently nodded in acquiesce.
She turned the microphone over in her hands, raising it closer to her eyes. “I don’t know if this is a recording device, or if it’s just part of your car.”
“I don’t know. My dad regularly works on the car, so I don’t know.”
She put it back behind the rearview mirror and looked at me. “I’ll take a look at it more closely tomorrow when I see you. Try to relax for now.”
I tersely nodded. She lifted her hand to my cheek, cupped it and pulled me toward her for a last goodbye kiss. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the one before. “It’ll be okay,” she murmured. “Text me.”
Then she opened the door and climbed out of my car.
I reluctantly got into the passenger side of my car. He wanted to take a drive with me to get gas, which was thoughtful but I knew he had an ulterior motive.
We rode in silence for ten minutes, and after he told the gas attendant to fill it up, he began his speech.
“I don’t understand you anymore,” he confessed, looking over at me sadly.
I met his eyes and replied, “I’m just not hiding anymore, but I’m the same.”
He shook his head. “No, you hid from us for years.”
“There was never a reason to bring it up.”
“You could’ve brought up that you were struggling.”
“I needed to figure things out for myself.”
The attendant returned to the driver’s side mirror, and my dad handed him cash. We sat in silence while the worker counted the change and handed it to back to my dad. My dad restarted the ignition and pulled out of the station, heading home.
© 2016, 2018 Vic Romero
In honor of Pride Month, which has passed but…I thought I’d share regardless.
In this month, I’ve come out to my parents a second time, my parents met my girlfriend, and I also got into my first fight with my girlfriend.
By “coming out” a second time, I just told my parents that I had a girlfriend. My dad handled it better than my mom…not that my mom handled it terribly this time though. My mom basically worried about my safety and my future, meanwhile my dad focused more on the fact that I can tell him anything and that he loves me.
Yesterday (11 Oct) was National Coming Out Day, which caused me to think about my late cousin. She was the first family member I came out to and the second person I told overall, and she insisted my parents would still love me if I was able to fall in love with women. I miss her every day. She was so easy to talk to and never judged me for whatever crazy shenanigans I was getting myself into.
Anywho, I didn’t write anything new to celebrate National Coming Out Day, but I attached the link to the post that includes the texts I sent to my cousin about my sexuality here. Unfortunately, I didn’t include her responses…I’m sure I have them on my old phone or laptop, but I don’t have those items with me now.
For other “coming out” posts, you can just search that phrase on my website. There is a variety of poetry, stories, and blogs about my journey, which has been difficult and long…it doesn’t feel over either. Since the relationship that spurred me to come out in the first place ended two years ago now (wow, time flies), and since I’ve moved out of the house for most months of the year due to university, I sometimes feel like my sexuality has been…erased.
Carry my heart
On your jagged hook
My lungs are
Punctured because of you
And you don’t care
Really, you don’t.
The knife just keeps searing me
My blood continues to flow
Enough eventually comes
Now I’m finally dying
Then you start to bandage me
Although I never hear an apology
Let’s forget you’ve ever hurt me
It’s easier than bringing this up again, right?
Zero chances I’ll ever let you back in
I at least have that much self-respect
Next time though I won’t allow you to
Get away with this fucked up treatment you fondly call “love”
© 2014 Vic Romero
**image from Google
Things have been crazy lately. There has been a lot of lectures from my parents as they struggle to understand and accept my “no-label” sexuality, tears, stress and anxiety, tension, and lack of sleep.
It’s funny how I thought my mom was going to take my sexuality well…she said I threw a bomb onto the house and she has been waking me up in the early mornings, hounding me with questions about my sexuality, giving me lectures about AIDS, expressing her distaste in my lack of religious beliefs and her disappointment in me, how she thinks I’ve been brainwashed…she has offended me many times.
Conversely, my dad, who also feels disappointed, is not acting that way toward me as much, and I thought he would be the parent that would take this news the hardest. He works a lot so he’s not around much…but when he is around things are generally okay with him.
However, I’m scared to be alone with my mom in fear that we’re going to get into an argument like we did yesterday. With my dad, I don’t think he’s randomly going to bring up my sexuality.
Anyway, things have been rough in my household lately. I’ve been fighting a lot and crying…I haven’t been this distressed with my parents since my sophomore year of high school. It’s kinda weird…I’ve been thinking about how and why we stopped fighting so much…it was because I stopped “rebelling” and started doing what they wanted me to do. Except the problem now isn’t with what I’m doing, it’s with who I am. Although they hated that I am dating Janice*.
god i’m so sorry i have broken your heart i’m so sorry i have gone about this all wrong i’m so sorry i have wished all along that we could get along but i screw it all up and i’m so sorry i keep tearing you apart with every article of clothing that i pack it feels to you like a smack like a stab in the back i’m so sorry that this hurts you so bad i’m sorry but it hurts me too my heart is covered with black and blues and i’m sorry i hadn’t told you the truth but it’s hard to be honest when i couldn’t even be honest with myself i didn’t know how to go to you i didn’t know how to ask for help i’m sorry but i was lying in the dirt of the tears that i had been crying for hours for days for years i was dying for so long but at least all of my tears showered the withered flowers so they lived on so they grew up to be strong as i was corroding away as i was deteriorating into dust but at least i becoming something because before i was nothing i was just living to waste my time until i died i was making the motions and imitating life…
but now i feel whole i feel content with myself and i don’t apologize for finally being who i am
© 2014 Vic Romero
No one knows
My inner heart
Where my feelings are conflicted
They all say “you’re in the closet”
But I feel more like I’m imprisoned
Trapped inside myself
Dark, solitary confinement
In the dark
I can still hear
The disgusting jeers
Violence and hate are used to create
Humiliation and shame
And loveless preachers preach that hell is a queer person’s fate
Yet the outed walk hand in hand with their dates
Pride shines on each face
I long to be with them
But for now, I’m safe
I’m behind bars
In the dark
Where it’s quiet
Where I’m surpressed
Passion and lust for love
Are all safe from hate
I hate that I have to “come out”
Why can’t a girl loving another girl be a norm?
It’s just the way some girls are born…
But even after many years
Many people coming out
And being proud
It’s still not widely accepted
In some places, being queer is not even talked about
At least I now know
And I can admit it
I like girls
I like them a lot
But journal, you’re the only one that knows
You’re the only one that I can
And it sucks that in this jail
I am alone.
© 2013-2014 Vic Romero
<<wrote this on 14 December 2013 before I came out to a few people…although I have come out to the most important people in my life (excluding my parents), I still feel like I’m in the closet (especially because my parents don’t know) but at least now I have people (and an amazing girl) to connect to and talk about my sexuality with. Anyway, below is the quote that inspired me to write this poem. The quote below that one is a great reflection of how I feel about my sexuality nowadays. Thank you for reading 🙂 >>
“They got it wrong when they called it “the closet.” This was a prison. Solitary confinement. I was locked inside, inside myself, dark and afraid and alone. (Chapter. 23)”
― Julie Anne Peters, Keeping You a Secret
“The best thing about coming out is, it’s totally liberating. You feel like you’ve made this incredible discovery about yourself and you want to share it and be open and honest and not spend all your time wondering how is this person going to react, or should I be careful around this person, or what will the neighbors say? And it’s more. It’s about getting past the question of what’s wrong with me, to knowing there’s nothing wrong, that you were born this way. You’re a normal person and a beautiful person and you should be proud of who you are. You deserve to live with dignity and show people your pride.”
― Julie Anne Peters, Keeping You a Secret
Hello, everyone, hope you all are doing well and you have been having a good new year so far.
My new year has been pretty incredible. I came out to some of my friends and my sister, I found out that the girl that I have been crushing on likes me back (we’ve been talking nonstop for almost three weeks now, it’s been established that we like each other…) and…oh yeah! I went on a date with her! Yesterday, January 20, I had my first official date with anyone, and my first date with her…it was amazing. I’m still in shock that she likes me back, that she has liked me since I started working in July, that we went on a date and that she had a nice time and wants to see me again, that most of her friends know about me and her best friend wants to meet me…it’s all crazy exciting and overwhelming.
Anyway…I have intended to write everyday in 2014, but that didn’t happen once I started talking to her. I was too happy to write, or too…I just couldn’t write.
But I do want to catalog (mostly for me) all that happened between me and her for the past two weeks so…I transferred the texts I sent to my cousin about all my problems/concerns/events onto here because I don’t feel like typing it all again lol. The following texts are only my half of the textversation (texting conversation).