Posted on: April 24, 2011
I’ve thrown a lot of things my parent’s way in the years I’ve been in NYC. I’ve come out as a lesbian and last summer I told them that I was going to be a Jew. Because of those hose two very identifying factors, coupled with the fact that I live in what is arguably the most famous city in the world-they tend to take everything I say…with a grain of salt?
I’m 31 years old and am finally comfortable in my skin. I’m comfortable with how I celebrate my blackness and my black identity. I’m comfortable in the way that I identify as a lesbian. I’m starting to realize that my “Jewish Coat” is no longer a coat that I put on occasionally but something that is becoming a part of who I am. They, unfortunately, still see me as the Erika that lived in Ohio 5 years ago. She’s a person that I barely recognize but someone with whom they are very comfortable. I don’t expect them to change for me. I don’t expect them to identify with me. I don’t expect them to accept these changes for them but I do expect them to try to understand.
I try to take myself outside of my reality and put myself in their shoes. My parents are raising my sister’s children. They own a home, my father has a business that my mother works in. To say that they have a lot on their plate would be putting it mildly. They’re changing diapers for goodness sake! My reality and who I am is so far removed from their reality and who they are I can understand how they don’t “get” it. I understand how it seems that I’m flighty or all over the place or lack any real grounding because we’re out of touch. It still hurts, though, when they don’t try.
My father’s been commenting on really old facebook pictures and referring to my partner as my “friend” and on Friday my mother wished me a Happy Easter. Both of those things were hard for me and clearly still weighing heavily on my mind. There’s the very childish part of me that wants to stamp my feet, cross my arms and poke out my bottom lip in protest and the other more adult side that remembers the giant plate that sits before them both. On the other hand this person isn’t my friend, she’s the woman I want to walk down the aisle with, my partner of 3 years. This Judaism thing isn’t a faze or a fad, it’s what I’ve decided was best for me after years of a disenchanted religious youth. They’re the two most important parts of my life and huge identifiers into who I am at my core. Because of these things I am changing who my family is. As far as I know I’m the only out gay person in the Davis clan. I’m certainly the only Jew. Because of who I am I’m making who we are different. I have guilt about it, but also want them to reach out, ask questions, and be involved in it. It’s probably asking too much and when it comes down to it, has nothing to do with them…or does it?
I sent my Mom home with a copy of Choosing a Jewish Life and she has yet to read it. I want to find a way to let them know how important it is for me to have their…something. It’s not approval, it’s not blessing, but an understanding, perhaps, or acknowledgement more accurately of what and who I am.
I don’ t know, rambling tonight. Any other converts out there having the same issues?