In Mother's Arms

I.
Throughout my life you built up all my dreams
But it turns out that nothing’s what it seems
I trusted every single word of yours
Depended on your remedies and cures
And when my pain grew far too great and strong
I knew that I would have to move along
You saw the deepest darkest parts of me
And I thought knowing that would make you see
Not right away but soon, with time and space
That I had found my home, my dreams, my place
I gave you time and space to process it
But you won’t even try to make it fit
Everything I say falls right back in
To validate the way you see me sin
No matter how I clarify my life
You see me causing pain and grief and strife
Abandoning what’s moral good and true
So I can do whatever I want to
You caution, plead with me to keep in mind
“Continue to be moral, good and kind”
I want to shout and scream it in your ear –
“That is precisely what has brought me here”

II.
Throughout my life I told you all my dreams
And you assured me nothing’s what it seems
I doubted all the things that I could do
But I was always good enough for you
And now I see myself as you saw me
A teacher, scholar, leader, I’m doubt-free
But now that I have proof of my success
My happiness is tempered with distress
I want to know you know how far I’ve come
But your tune changed when I heard my own drum
My dreams became your fears, you want me back
Because my dreams led down forbidden paths


I found the first section of this poem while going through old files. I was addressing my mother in July of 2014, when I had been “out” for seven months. I’m kind of going “oh, honey” at the naivete of 2014-me thinking so much time had passed. Seven months is nothing.

Unfortunately, I’m about to hit the four-year mark, and although she tried, she has still not been able to “make it fit” enough. And now, I have experienced such satisfaction at realizing I have become exactly what she always told me I could be – a good teacher, a good scholar – but she no longer celebrates these qualities in me because they led me away from religion.

I wonder if she would even be happy at my exhilaration at my success. But I’ll never know for sure because she’s proven too many times now that telling her about my life is dangerous, and I’m no longer in contact with her.

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Image: toddler-me, held in the crook of a tree branch by my mother, standing on the ground next to me.

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