Thank you Heidi for sharing your story with me and allowing me to share it here. It is beautiful, as are YOU.
“When I was 13 years old in the 7th grade I came home from basketball practice and told my parents I wanted to quit. Mind you I was 6′2 when I was 13 and still am at 32. With that height advantage and the love that I have for sports my parents couldn’t understand why I would want to quit. I was sitting with my mom at the kitchen table. I kept telling her “I just don’t like it..” and she put her hand on mine and said “There’s more to it than that Heidi – just tell me how you feel.” At that moment I began to cry – sob actually.
At that moment I told my mom I didn’t feel right. I was uncomfortable and scared because I wasn’t like the other girls. I didn’t like the same things they did, I didn’t want the same things they did and I didn’t even act the way they did.
I’ve never since gotten a hug as big as the one my mom gave me at that moment. She put my hands in her face and said these words,
“It’s ok baby. You just put a smile on your beautiful face, walk tall and proud. I understand more than you think I do, I understand more than you do. But what I want you to know is that I love you and there is no reason to tell others how you feel. There is no reason for you to talk to kids at school about this. Don’t stereotype yourself. Just smile and love who you are as I do..”
I had no idea that I was gay, but she did. She loves and loved me regardless. It was tough back then, much different than it is now. When I went to college I wanted to fit in, I dated boys and hated it. I decided I would try and be who society wants me to be. I married my best friend – who just happened to be born a man. My mom cried on my wedding day – not because she was happy for her baby getting married – but because she knew I was doing it to try to be something I wasn’t. It didn’t last. In fact it took longer to plan the wedding than it did to get rid of it. I was depressed and couldn’t take any more.
I was again married June 4th 2009 in Mills County, Iowa to my amazing bride and best friend. We had a reception at home in Salt Lake City for our friends and family this past August. It was amazing to see tears in my moms eyes – this time they were real, this time she was happy and proud and this time she knew her baby was being a mother and showing her own little girl what it’s like to live life the way my life was meant to be lived. It was a beautiful day.
Not all are as lucky to have the amazing mother that I have. But I would like to end this by saying it doesn’t matter who loves you or supports you. The most love and admiration comes from within. And no matter what, there are people like myself who love you for ‘who you are’, not ‘what you are’, because you truly are amazing, loved and beautiful.
I concur with Heidi… find that self-love that is deep inside. It is magical where it will take you, as it did Heidi. I would love each of you to reply to this post with your story… good, bad or indifferent. It is the conversations that create the change.
I hope we can have those courageous conversations with our family members at the dinner table this Thrusday.