Explaining Something Unexplainable

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April 21, 2019, marks four years since my first article was published. Part of me still regrets publishing it as I just wasn’t in a good place at the time, and I’ve never liked how cynical and angry I came across. It is what is, however, and I have to live with it.

I’m not sure I’ve accomplished much good in the last four years, but I will always have the satisfaction of knowing I tried. Sure, no one would know the story if David hadn’t slayed Goliath, but David could have at least died knowing he didn’t run away. Calm down, I’m not comparing myself to David.

In the last four years the loudest criticism has been that I’m actually just upset about my parents divorce, not really the fact my mom’s gay. That it was the divorce that hurt me, not her sexuality. I have spent hours trying to figure out how to explain this to people so that they can understand. At the end of the day we won’t believe things we simply don’t want to believe, so there’s always going to be a faction that won’t listen no matter how good of a job I do explaining, nonetheless, I’m going to try, one more time, and see how far I get.

My first memories are of the time period when my mom left my step dad and moved in with her first girlfriend. I have two solid memories of my stepdad, both of them occurring after they broke up. I recall being very happy during the time we lived with him. I was devastated when we moved. Initially I didn’t realize my mom was in a relationship with her best friend. I thought we were just living there til we could find our own place. It wasn’t until my mom came into my room naked one night after I’d had a nightmare that I realized there was something going on. I was four or five at the time. I vividly remember that night and remember how upset it made me that she was sleeping naked in bed with another girl. I didn’t like it at all.

My mom’s first girlfriend did not try to parent me. She had a daughter a little younger than me and basically they just each parented their own child. She was good to me however, and if I saw her today she would say hello and give me a hug. Their relationship, however, was not a safe place for children of any age, and when my mom finally left right before I turned seven, I was the happiest child on the planet. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long.

My mom went from her first girlfriend straight to her second. Her first girlfriend had been seeing someone else for a while, and it wasn’t until my mother managed to find a new relationship herself that we left. At first I was all for it. Her new girlfriend seemed nice and was fun to be around. Their relationship was a thousand times better than the previous one so I was relieved. It was nice seeing my mom happy. After all that I had been through though, I still didn’t understand exactly what my mother was, or what was really going on. And then one day when I was seven, it hit me. While I sitting on the toilet.

I was peeing and watching my mom put on what little makeup she wore. Even though I was done I sat and watched her for a long time and for some reason it suddenly clicked in my head what a lesbian was. I had heard the word before of course but never really got it. I said “Being a lesbian means you only like girls, doesn’t it?” She looked at me with the weirdest expression on her face and said “Yes. We’ve about this before.” To which I replied, “I know, but it never made any sense until just now.”

My seven-year old world was crushed. I had been holding onto this dream that someday she would start living with men again. All I wanted was a daddy. Speaking of my dad, I should probably clarify some things about him and his role, or lack thereof, during the first half of my life. After my parents divorced when I was one, my mom initially allowed my dad to have his court ordered visitation. I don’t know how many times she allowed him to get me on the weekends, but at some point before I was two she told him he couldn’t see me anymore. He didn’t have the money to take her to court and eventually he stopped trying to get me. He later told me he just couldn’t cope with how his life had fallen apart after the divorce and “he couldn’t fight the whole family to see me,” so he left, and moved to Wyoming. He mailed child support and each time she sent it back. We were poor as dirt and she mailed it back. Eventually he stopped trying altogether.

So the truth about my dad is that he tried, and she pushed him out of my life. How hard he really tried, I’ll never know, but I do know that he was madly in love with her, even after the divorce, and so I can sympathize to an extent with his struggle. He ended up meeting a very nice woman in Wyoming, getting married, having three more kids, and making a pretty nice life for himself. He and my stepmom are still married and going strong.

Back to my epiphany. So now I know she’s going to be with women forever. At seven years old I’m devastated. My hopes of having a daddy are gone. At this point in life I have more time that I can remember living with her girlfriends than I can remember living with my father and step-dad. In other words it’s not like I was twelve when she divorced my dad and started seeing women, and I had that much maturity under me to decide whether or not I preferred a stepmom over a stepdad. I had months of memory to work with and I chose men, hands down, no questions asked. I wanted a dad, not another mom.

I don’t like to share really personal stuff about my mom. I don’t like sharing that she came into my room naked, but I feel it’s almost a necessity to share some things to fully explain my experience and how I felt.

The first time I ever heard my mom having sex with one of her girlfriends was horrifying. It was with her second girlfriend and I was probably between ten and twelve. It was late at night and for some reason I woke up that night. Normally someone who could sleep through a tornado, I was shocked when I realized what I was hearing. As I laid in bed I got angrier and angrier. I kept thinking “why should I have to lay here and listen to this. This is so wrong.” My mom being with a woman repulsed me. I wanted to get out of bed, march into their room which was connected to mine through a doorway, turn on the light, and demand they stop. But I couldn’t. I was too freaked out my the sounds, I did not want an image to go along with it for the rest of my life. I buried my head under my pillow and tried to fall back to sleep.

I can already hear all the comments about how anyone hearing their parents have sex grosses them out, and blah, blah, blah. But I’ve asked friends with heterosexual parents what their reactions were and none of them ever became so angry they thought to demand their parents stop. They might’ve been grossed out but they realized it was normal. Two women having sex isn’t.

This feels like trying to explain to someone who’s color blind what a blue sky looks like, or trying to explain to the opposite sex what it’s like to be your gender. I have much more to say, but I think I’m going to stop here for now. I haven’t even touched on what it’s like being raised by butch lesbians, and the effect that had on me. This might end up being two or three parts.

Until next time.

Brandi

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s a New Dawn, It’s a New Day

 

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The sun is shining here. After a very dreary winter the sunshine is like breath to my soul.  I hope it’s sunny wherever you are.

It’s been a year and a half since I last wrote. The last comment left asked why I don’t write anymore. I’ve been thinking about that recently. Why don’t I write anymore? Why didn’t I write more to begin with?

I guess basically it’s because this isn’t fun to write about. It’s hard. It sucks. It pisses a lot of people off and it’s been easier to just focus on my family and ignore everything else. But things that are hard in our lives tend to have a way of giving us fulfillment somehow. There’s a certain current of meaning and belonging that comes when we focus on what we’ve overcome and how far we’ve come. I know my purpose in life is to share my story and help others who are struggling.

And so here I am. Back in the saddle, ready to see where this ride is going to take me. I hope you’ll come along.

 

Brandi

Happy, Well Adjusted Kids

If you spend a minimum of five minutes reading threads from posts regarding homosexual parenting you are sure to find more than one comment from someone that says something along the lines of “I know a wonderful gay/lesbian couple with kids and their kids are so happy and well adjusted!”

Chances are that if you had met me as a child you probably would’ve thought to yourself I was happy, and well adjusted. I was extremely outgoing. I didn’t know what a stranger was and I loved talking to people. I still do.

As a child and adolescent I laughed. A lot. I’m pretty sure my laughter got on people’s nerves, and a teacher, whom I loved, would joke about knowing where I was in the building because she could hear my laughter.

So, I wasn’t happy, and well adjusted?

Well, no. Not exactly. All that laughter and all that chipperness was hiding a child who was emotionally distraught and very alone on the inside. I used the bubbly Brandi to hide the miserable Brandi. The Brandi who wrote in her diary in the sixth grade that she just wanted to go live with Jesus in Heaven because there she wouldn’t have to face the pain anymore.

What pain? The pain of being unable to tell anyone how I felt for fear of losing everything I had. The pain of having no idea who the other half of me was and a mother who refused to tell me. The pain of having a step mother who wanted desperately to be my other parent but whom I completely rejected because I was supposed to have a mommy and a daddy, not two mommies. The pain of felling like an outcast, and seeing my friends live a life I fantasied about every night as I fell asleep. The pain of being terrified a man would never love me the way I needed so desperately to be loved.

I’m ok with people saying I have daddy issues. They have no idea. I’m ok with people saying I’m a spoiled brat who doesn’t appreciate what I had for talking about this. I’m basically to a point where I’m ok with anything anyone spews at me, because at the end of the day, unless they lived it, they have absolutely no clue what my reality was like and anything they say is simply an opinion. And from now on the opinions of others will not stop me from speaking my truth and sharing it, because I know that my truth is shared by a plethora of other “happy, well adjusted kids” who at some point in their lives might need the help and courage to talk about their own reality.

The numbers are growing, unfortunately, and at some point in the future there won’t be a way to shut them all up. Please don’t sit there and tell me that the child/ren of a man who used to be a woman, but wanted a baby, and is married to a woman is happy and well adjusted. Or the sperm bank babies of three women who want to live together as wives are happy and well adjusted. You get the idea, and quite frankly, that’s really not for anyone else to decide.

I guess to sum it all up, never judge a book by its cover.

 

Brandi

Love is All You Need?

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“You just didn’t have enough love”
That’s the first line in a private message I received. It went on to say that the message was from someone who had gone to UC Berkley and I needed to get therapy and grow up.
For the record, I had plenty of love. If anything, I was too loved. Too coddled. Too shielded.
When did this idea that ‘all you need is love’ begin to permeate our society?
Ironically, it probably all started in 1967 when the Beatles released a song with that exact title. And it’s pathetic that society has fallen for it hook line and sinker. Yes, it sounds good. And in theory it would be wonderful, but in reality love is not all we need.
Gender and “sex” exist for very specific purposes, mainly to ensure the existence of the human race. We seem to think that now that we can create babies in test tubes, and birth them from women who look like men, we can just dismiss eons of human reality and erase gender altogether.
But ask yourself this, would you want to drink from a hairy breast grown from the chest of a man who used to be a woman? Or have four moms? Or six dads? Oh, but it’s ok so long as they love you?
It’s fanatical to me when someone who was raised in a heterosexual, or single parent household wants to belittle and berate me for my experience and try to tell me how I should have perceived my life. I should just be happy that I had two people that loved me.
Love from two women did not teach me how to have a relationship with a man.
Love from two women did not teach me how to be a wife.
If anything, love from two women taught me all the wrong things and made my relationships with the opposite sex harder and more complicated.
Love is not all you need.
Brandi

Holidays That Hurt

Today is Father’s Day. It should not be surprising that this is not one of my favorite holidays. As a child I hated it. It was like pouring salt into a wound. I was so grateful it didn’t come during the school year so that I would have to watch my friends make lovey dovey things for their daddies and feel singled out because I didn’t have one.

Father’s Day was awkward in my home growing up. I would spend most of the day holed up in my bedroom waiting for the next day to come. It was largely ignored except for a phone call to a grandpa to wish him a good day. It stung. I didn’t have a daddy, but not only that, I was never going to have one. It’s not like my mom was single, and someday everything might change. A step dad on a white stallion was not going to be riding in to salvage my parade. A fact I was constantly reminded of.

As an adult, honestly, it’s not much better. Sitting in church today I listened to two sisters share sweet memories they had with their daddies that any child would wish to have, and before I could stop myself I thought “Why didn’t I deserve that?”

I won’t call my dad today. Even though we met when I was sixteen, I struggle to have a dad/daughter relationship with him. As a child I fantasized for years about meeting him, and unfortunately sometimes reality is never like our fantasies.

A couple months ago I spent a lot of time over the course of a couple weeks trying to figure out why we had just never been able to really connect. What was the problem? I wasn’t prepared for what I realized. I know how stupid this is going to sound (my husband already informed me) so please don’t feel the need to lecture me on this.

When I met my dad at sixteen I lived here in Oklahoma and he lived near Denver, CO. He was married and had had three more kids. The oldest was around eight years old. My dad rarely came to OK to visit and so all contact I had with him after we met was over the phone, which was not very often. In my heart I wanted him to move back to Oklahoma now that he had finally met me and we could see one another. My mothers rule had always been that I couldn’t meet him until I was eighteen. I went behind her back to meet him while he was in for Thanksgiving. I figured once I started driving I could see him whenever I pleased if he lived close enough.

I knew that was the only way we could build a relationship and get to know one another better. I felt like he should want to come back and, truthfully, because he didn’t, I felt abandoned all over again. Even now it bothers me he doesn’t want to live near my older sister and I, and our kids. My kids will never have a normal relationship with him. I realize it’s ridiculous to expect a person to pick up their entire lives and move just for me. But the little girl in me wishes he would have.

It is what it is, and I know this day sucks for lots of people whether their dads were deadbeats, have passed away, or worse, they don’t even know who their dads are because their identities have been hidden from them. I know that pain. Even though I was lucky enough to have contact with my paternal family, my dads identity was hidden from me for years, there weren’t  even pictures, and no one would talk about him for fear of my mother.

The only thing that makes Fathers Day bearable is watching my husband spend time with our children. I live vicariously through them. It brings me peace and joy that even though I never had what they have, I helped to give them this great man that adores them and loves them helplessly. He is the father of my dreams.

So, Matthew, Happy Father’s Day from your wife who appreciates and loves you more than you’ll ever know.

B

Making Mistakes and Dealing With Anger

In April I finally decided to talk about what it was like for me to grow up as the child of a lesbian, and right off the bat I made some mistakes. I suppose that’s to be expected seeing how I had been mostly silent about the subject for thirty three years, and still had some things of my own to figure out. Deciding to come out was a big deal for me, and roughly five years in the making, but that didn’t make it any easier.

My first mistake was not being true to who I am NOW. I decided that I wouldn’t discuss religion in relation to my story because the gay mafia attack dogs LOVE to tear apart Christians and accuse them of being religious, brainwashed bigots. I thought if I held off on saying anything in depth about being a Mormon I wouldn’t be dismissed as fast, and I would have a better chance of getting people to hear my story.

My second mistake was not deciding who I wanted my target audience to be and then speaking directly to them. Honestly, I wasn’t sure anyone would listen to me in the first place and so I couldn’t have pinpointed a target audience if I had tried. But in my mind the audience became the people trashing other kids like myself, be those people straight or gay, and the pent up anger and frustration came out.

And third was not reigning in my anger and frustration more. I won’t lie. I was angry. Very angry. Thirty years of suppressed silence and being invisible flooded the gates and washed ashore. The gay mafia bloggers painted me as the angry child of divorced parents and promised people I was not actually angry because of how I was raised. Umm, sure, ok.

The fact is, I was not angry that my parents got divorced. I was one. I could not even remember it. What I was angry about was the fact my mother replaced my dad with a woman, and that was supposed to be ok. I was supposed to except the substitute and not have any negative feelings about it. I was also angry because I could see very plainly that by speaking out I was opening myself up for serious attacks that would become very personal and possibly tear apart my relationship with my mother. Our relationship has never been the strongest anyway, and I was not sure how much it could endure. I had heard about gay bloggers finding contact info for kids speaking out and harassing their parents at their homes and work places. I had seen where the kids themselves had been harassed to the point of losing jobs and family members and friends. I found instances online where teenagers were looking for advice about their feelings towards their lesbian parents and lesbians were responding by telling them what awful children they were and how they hoped their own kids did not turn out to be brats like them.

And so, anger. I have worked a lot over the last seven months to understand where my emotions come from and the thing that has helped me the most is realizing that nothing anyone says matters, either positive or negative. I am going to do what I feel I have to do whether I am being put down or lifted up.

So the truth is I am a devout Mormon, and while religion had very little to do with how I felt about my situation growing up, it has definitely helped me come to terms with how to handle it going forward and made me a better person all the way around. I am not certain of the new direction the blog is going to take, but I am excited for the opportunity to share another facet of my life.

Thank you to all those who have supported me thus far, and have stood up for me and my right to have a voice on this matter. We, COGs who speak out, cannot do this alone and desperately need support from warriors willing to get into the fray with us. You may not have a dog in this fight, per se, but you are loved by us and so appreciated for your sacrifices.

Brandi

The Waves Will Wash Us Away

california-1751455_1920I remember the night Ellen came out on her TV show in front of millions of people. My mom and her girlfriend were big Ellen fans and we watched the show religiously. After the episode went off that night I was left with the sensation of a bomb having just exploded before my eyes and waiting for the fallout. Strangely, it never came. At least, not that I was aware of.

For me it seemed as though that was the beginning of this tidal wave that is currently descending upon society at the present moment. The onslaught of pushing homosexuality and alternative lifestyles into every nook and cranny is suffocating. I think that should speak volumes coming from a child raised by lesbians. From gay pride flags at military celebrations to smut mags at the grocery stores, homosexuality is being thrown up all over the place. While I agree that no one should be treated badly for their lifestyle, especially to the point of violence, is this really the only way? Have we not blown past tolerance and are now being forced into acceptance? And how does forced acceptance change anything?

Once I moved out on my own I was removed from the daily reminder of being different and the constant worries of being judged for something out of my control. As the prevalence of homosexuality grew, I looked the other way and pretended not to notice. Then one day in 2010 I saw an advertisement for the release of a new movie, “The Kids Are Alright.” Somehow I instinctively knew what it was about by just reading the title, and it made me tense up and my stomach turn. After looking up the synopsis for the movie I was livid, and the title of a movie making me livid, made me that much angrier.

I felt like Hollywood was trying to tell society something about me, and indeed they were, but it was something that wasn’t true. Not in my case. I didn’t feel “alright” about the way I raised. And why is it enough for the kids to just be “alright?” Why shouldn’t the kids be amazing, fantastic, or phenomenal? I get it, it’s a movie title, but still. This movie and its sketchy title were the spark that lit the activist in me. I knew right then that at some point I wanted to speak out about growing up in a homosexual home, and here I am.

I want to make it abundantly clear that I love my mother, and I have never been mistreated by her or any of her partners in an intentional way. I say intentional because being taken from a heterosexual relationship to a homosexual relationship was intentional on her part, but I know she didn’t have any clue as to the consequences it would have for me. I think my mom had a right to be happy and live the best life possible. And I think I had a right to be happy and live the best life possible. So her decision truly was a catch twenty two. Someone was going to get hurt either way, and it just so happens it was me.

I was never a part of the movement to normalize homosexuality, neither as a child, nor as an adult. My mother never gave the impression that she needed her sexual orientation normalized, and that speaks volumes to me considering we lived in a small town in east central Oklahoma. I remember seeing Gay Pride Parades on the news as a kid and thinking those people were making complete fools of themselves and I was so embarrassed by them. I would cringe at the barely dressed men dancing around like they had been on ecstasy benders for a week and behaving like they had no morals. The worst part was watching the kids, paraded around like little tiny possessions that could easily be coerced because children generally always defend their parents. I have. And even at thirty-three years old it’s terrifying speaking out and difficult because I don’t want to harm my relationship with my mother.

Which brings up an interesting subject. Am I being disrespectful to my mother by speaking out? Well let me ask you this: Do children of divorced parents disrespect their parents when they talk about how screwed up a divorce left them? No. And no one would tell them otherwise either. And yet people try to shut us up by saying we’re being disrespectful, ungrateful and that we should just be happy we had two people that loved us. I am here to say that two people that love you is simply not enough. And sometimes, depending on the circumstances, it’s harmful. Children are in the learning stage of their lives and “love” does not teach children everything they need to know about navigating this world.

It’s interesting that there are only two sexes, male and female, and that those two sexes are required to produce a child. Therefore doesn’t it make sense that the offspring of those two sexes would need both sexes that created it to be a part of raising it? People feel sympathy for children who are raised without fathers either because they had dead beat dads or their father passed away, because it’s obvious those kids are missing out on something important, but there’s no sympathy for kids who are purposefully put in a fatherless, or motherless situation where homosexuality is involved, and that’s tragic.

I know that the reality of the situation is that nothing about homosexuality being pushed into the mainstream is going to change, and with Bruce Jenner’s sex change being the story of the year, the situation is only going to get more aggressive and demanding. The assault on the female and male sexual identity is in full swing and unless more people stand up to defend the most basic elements of our human existence, we are on the precipice of losing our own human identity.