How We Got Here–Chapter 2
To my darling mother,
Congratulations on finally getting to the big day! I’m so happy for you and Travis, although I’m not sure how well your first dance is going to go…you’ve been a dream student and Travis is….trying but he really can’t dance to save his life (sorry!) that being said I’m sure you found this out for yourself years ago.
I loved Gwen’s idea to write letters to you, she’s always been a gentle, loving soul, no wonder she’s a florist and she’ll make a great mum, just like you. Can you believe that Michael and Gwen are becoming parents! Well the thing is, I actually can, they’ve always been the ‘mum and dad’ of all us kids. I hope Blake and I can have kids one day.
Blake and I have been trying to work our magic on Travis these last few weeks, he’s such a good man, I never expected him to be such a staunch supporter of me just after I came out, especially as he barely knew us all at the time.
I think you knew that I knew that I was gay from about the age of seven. Well at seven I just knew that I didn’t necessarily like all the things that boys were apparently supposed to like and that girls seemed to get me, which why I’ve absolutely loved having seven sisters. I love Michael and Scott too, but Michael was too busy being ‘dad’ and Scott was too busy training for his next competitions to really be all that close, that and the seven year age gap between us didn’t help. That being said we’re much closer now.
I remember when you and dad took me to my first dance lesson, you were both so proud and supportive. I’m glad dad wasn’t one of those other stereotypical fathers who cast judgement or say ‘dancing’s for girls’. He always helped me with my steps, made sure I stretched properly, made sure he could get the best gear from his work, and even helped me with my costumes. I don’t know how he managed to find the energy and the time, you’ll probably tell me it’s because he loved me, which I know and you’re right, but I think he probably had his own tricks. Did he ever suspect I was gay?
While I knew I was different at seven, it wasn’t until I hit 15 that I really knew. There was a new boy at school, Jeremy, that I had a crush on. Unfortunately I knew he liked almost half the girls in our year, I never did tell him how I felt. There were plenty of ‘Jeremys’ out there, who over time I actually would declare my feelings for and actually get together with, before Blake came along.
I’ve told you and the others how I met Blake at my first year Contemporary Dance and Allied Techniques class at the WAAPA, but I never told you what it really felt like. It wasn’t love at first sight, I felt like I was at home, at peace and I’m thankful every day that he felt the same way. When I met him, it was the first time I really felt comfortable with who I am.
Blake was already out to his family and had been for quite some time, when we got together. He motivated me to come out, not just because we were a couple, but because he knew my life would be so much easier, at least internally, once I was out and open. He did warn me about the possibility of homophobic relatives, I didn’t think that would happen with us, at least not with Gwen and the triplets.
Michael’s reaction did shock and hurt me. He’s never been the most emotionally open person, even before dad died and I know he’s not homophobic, so I didn’t understand why he seemed so…disappointed with me at the time. He told me eventually and I understood a little, but there was a part of me that felt I could never really confide in him again…at least not for a while.
I’ve never wanted anyone else to be my mother—you’ve always been there for me, you never let me down and you had countless shining moments as a mother. For me personally, the defining moment between us as mother and son was when I came out. Not just for your support, but for standing up for me to Michael. It was the first time I really saw you as a fierce mama bear. While us kids did annoy you and you put your foot down countless times, it was really the first time I saw you as more than a nurturing mother. It was the first time I saw you as an intimidating, powerful force of a woman, as well as a disappointed mother, at least to Michael, especially since he took over as ‘dad’ of the family and up to that moment, was almost a parental equal.
I do wonder whether Michael would have really accepted me had you not intervened, but nevertheless I’m grateful for your intervention. Truthfully, even though I was dealing with my own issues, I also worried about Michael, I’m grateful that he stepped up and managed to cope with the fatherly role, but I wonder how different he would have been, how our relationship as brothers would have been, had he not had to grow up so fast. Do you think he would have been like me? Not gay, but just vibrant, happy, spirited, freer?
I also want to thank you as a mother and Travis as a stepfather for making sure the younger ones fully understood me and my relationship with Blake. I never had any real fears with the twins and Bethie, Scott I was a little more worried about, but luckily he was more accepting of me than Michael as he grew up. I think it’s because of your support that I ended up having such a strong relationship with them, with all of my siblings, even with Michael eventually. I loved that Bethie became just as passionate about dance as I am and don’t worry, I’ll look after her when she comes to us in Perth in the New Year. We all tell you not to worry, surely with 10 of us and all grown up now, you shouldn’t have to or at least we think you shouldn’t. That being said, I believe you when you tell me that the worry only ends when you’re gone and even then you’ll be watching us. Besides, it’ll be much easier for her than it was for me 13 years ago and we’ll put her to work in the studio. Thank you for helping Blake and I with launching the studio by the way, can you believe that it’ll be five years next month!
With all of us officially and finally out of the house, you and Travis will be able to start a new life as newlyweds. You both deserve it and try your best not to miss us too much. This is your time now.
I’ll see you both on the dancefloor!
Lots of love always,