Tough Love: Susie
HA note: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Susie” is a pseudonym.
Hi, my name is Susie. I am a gay woman in my 20’s who was raised in a very conservative Christian homeschooling family in the South. I have been “out” for six years.
A few weeks before my 22nd birthday I had a revelation; I figured out what was “wrong” with me. I realized — I’m gay. And what’s more, even though I was a very conservative Christian, I had complete peace about my sexuality. I knew some within my circle probably wouldn’t accept my sexuality, but I thought my family would accept it. My mom started asking me if I was gay or if I thought I was gay when I was about 14 years old and a few of my siblings had asked me as well as I got older. I had shown little to no interest in the opposite sex, and we all know how abnormal that is in the homeschool community.
My family is very close-knit, so shortly after I realized I am gay, I told them. Their reactions were nothing like I had imagined. Honestly, I must have been totally naïve because I really thought they would support me and still accept me. Instead, my family totally freaked out on me. My mother cried and cried. My dad tried to comfort me by telling me that I am young and just haven’t met the right guy yet. My older brother actually had the nerve to ask me if I was just trying to eccentrically prove that you could have conservative values yet be gay.
My family was — and, I am sure, still are — well known in the conservative Christian homeschooling community. So my mom kept asking me “What will people think?” For her, what people thought about me being gay — and how that reflected on my family — was a huge concern.
Most conservative Christians are against psychology and therapy. Somehow or another its anti-God or whatnot. I am sure that is a topic in and of itself…anyway! My mom called around, found a ‘Christian Therapist’ and sent me to this therapist.
During this time, things were extremely hard for me at home. My family treated me totally differently. Every conversation was about my struggle. I was under complete surveillance; my every move and action was monitored. My mom kept track of the mileage in my car based on the approved places I was allowed to go, which was pretty much limited to my therapist. I was not allowed to go to the therapist without a chaperone, which typically was one of my siblings. My cell phone had been confiscated and I was not allowed to get on the Internet without — yep, a chaperone. At the time, I was a partner in the family business so my parents really controlled every aspect of my life.
After a few weeks of gay therapy, I was still gay so my parents did the unthinkable. They both, in my opinion, totally slipped over the edge of reason. I had gone to my therapy appointment and when I came home, as I was pulling in the driveway I realized my driver’s license was not in the console of the car where I usually kept it. So I went inside and asked my mom if she knew where my driver’s license was. Long story short, in an effort to “protect me from myself,” my dad had taken my driver’s license, passport, social security card, birth certificate, credit card and debit card and put them all in a safety deposit box at the bank. I had no legal identity!
I am trying to share enough details to paint the picture, without boring you. So I am going to cut to the chase.
My mom ended up driving me two hours away, in my car, with some of my things and dropped me off with $7 to my name. Tough love is what they called it. I was lucky enough that a friend had a house with two of his friends and they let me stay in an open room. I had no bed, just a pillow and a sleeping bag with some clothes. I didn’t even have a blanket.
I have not been home in six years. Three of my four siblings refuse to talk to me. Two of my siblings have gotten married; I was not at either of their weddings, nor was I invited. I have two nephews and a niece, I have not met any of them and I don’t think I ever will.
Sounds pretty sad right? Well it is. I am not going to lie, I miss them. I miss them so much it breaks my heart.
But you know what? That’s their choice, not mine. I may be missing out on their lives but they are missing out on mine, as well.
Within a year of coming out, I had been made homeless, put through hell, I am sure I had a breakdown. But I discovered who I am, what I am made of, what I can go through and I leveraged my stubbornness into becoming a hardcore fighter. And best of all, I met the love of my life. We just celebrated our five-year anniversary.
Coming out, for me, was a spiritual experience as much as it was a literal/physical one. Depending on feedback to this post, I can and will share more. Just let me know. I can go on and on about homosexuality and the Bible/Christianity.