I am nineteen.
We arrive at Hunan Gourmet on route 9 in Manalapan, New Jersey.
(We = my mom, dad, and I)
This is it, I think. I’m going to tell them. They are going to be shocked. Maybe I should wait until after we finish our soups. Dad and I will get wonton and Mom will get hot and sour.
Or, should I do it right after we order? While we fill our impatient mouths with crispy noodles dipped in hot mustard or duck sauce.
Maybe I’ll just wait until we’ve finished. After the last broccoli is taken from the large, decoratively garnished plate of chicken with broccoli. We’ll still be drinking our tea.
Maybe we will get ice-cream. My dad and I will get pistachio and my mom will get chocolate.
Did I mention it is my birthday?
I cannot tell you what I was wearing besides several layers of sweat and anxiety and nausea and….well….excitement.
People ask: When did you know? I never wrote it in my diary. I didn’t see a gay character on television who reminded me of me. There were no openly gay characters.
So, I don’t know when I first knew. But I know that when I knew…..when I learned the language for what I was/what I am….it was like I put a giant pair of glasses on my life and suddenly everything was in focus; everything made sense.
I met someone, I say.
Someone? says my mom.
At the movie theatre (where I worked at the time), I answer.
What is their name? asked my dad.
And for the next ten or two or twenty minutes, we played the awkward game of pronoun indifference.
Finally, I said: Her name is ………..
There were no noodles flying.
No soup flung from spoon toward face, scalding my skin, sending me to hospital.
The reaction was…well, there was no reaction.
Later, I learn that my parents knew. Or suspected. They were just waiting for me to come out. So, here I was coming out. I’m out. I’m out!!!!
My dad has said: Aimee, I don’t care who you date. If they are male, female, brown, purple, spotted, striped….as long as they treat you with respect.
Maybe I always knew I was gay.
It’s hard to honestly say.
All I know is: it’s definitely not a choice; it’s within.
I’d like to call that my coming out story, but the truth is, I often have to come out daily. Or maybe weekly.
What does gay look like?
I only ask because sometimes people tell me I don’t look like that.
Sometimes, I’d just like to wear a shirt that says: queer.
It is what I am. It is what I feel. It is how I identify.
However, I have an aversion to labels.
Hairstyles have no connection to my sexual orientation.
The way I dress can only be described as awkward, maybe colorful and quirky, but my clothing has no sexual orientation.
I’m not just one way in bed. I’m multi-faceted.
I don’t feel like one gender. I’m a mess of everything.