There is one fear in my life that follows me everywhere. It is dark and shameful and so very real; but it’s not mine. It is the fear my mother drags around like a whining child. Loud and sad and impossible to ignore.
My mother gave birth to me in 1998 at 21 years old. It was Biloxi Mississippi, near the air force base my dad was stationed at. They didn’t get married like most military families, this marriage wasn’t the result of a burst of love and despair at my father leaving to enlist. It wasn’t because my mother loved my father so much she couldn’t live without him. This was a marriage based on one night. That night led to a fetus. And that fetus, me. It was a shotgun marriage, maybe something more. But at its core was my mother’s refusal to get an abortion. She left University, with three years of an archaeology degree completed and married a college dropout who’s only option to provide was to enlist. The years following that decision found them living in three different states, my father deployed overseas for a time, and eventually we were all together again in a house down the street from my grandparents.
This is my mother’s fear.
She fears that I will become her. She fears that I will find a boy, get horny, and have sex. Squander my future away to some boy and his sperm, and while I might find some sort of fulfillment being a mother and wife, I could have been so much more.
But jokes on her.
I don’t find myself desiring the procreative methods my mother enjoyed at my age. I prefer the sweet smile and touch of a woman to the scruffy, sweaty, hypermasculinity of a man. While sexuality is indeed a spectrum I find myself increasingly on the pink side. Leaning more towards female attention than male. But this does little to quell my mother’s fear. Her new obsession is with my soul. How can I truly experience the love of her God when I am also experiencing the mutual appreciation and love of a woman? Surely this must be against the path God has so clearly created for me. My mother’s dream is for me to be celibate for years and then experience God’s blessing, in recompense for that suffering, by the way of a man. The perfect man. This is what she states is her and God’s wish for me.
She is deceiving herself.
This is the path she saw for herself that she fell off of at 20 years old. The religious shame she carries taints each word she speaks to me. The fear of me becoming her has subsided. Because me becoming her is better than me becoming me.