This editorial was submitted anonymously.
They don’t love me. They aren’t proud of me.
That was the initial thought when I told my parents that I had proposed to the love of my life and that we were planning our wedding day.
I don’t really know what else I expected. My parents have never been accepting of my sexuality. Growing up, I always knew that I was attracted to other women, and by the time I turned 17, I knew that I could not hide that part of my identity any longer. I confided in two of my closest friends, who were a little taken back, but supportive of me. It gave me the confidence to come out to my parents. I told my Mum first, whose initial response was a lot of tears and some key advice; “don’t tell your father.”
Eight years have passed since then, nearly nine. My Father did eventually find out, but it is something that’s completely unspoken between us. In the past, girlfriends would come to family affairs as a ‘friend’ or be left off an invitation, and it always broke my heart. I always carried just a glimmer of hope that maybe, someday, they would see just how happy I was and that everything would be okay.
When I met her, the one, there was an instant connection. She was beautiful, intelligent and charismatic. She was shy but left me feeling intrigued.
It didn’t take long for us to fall completely head over heels with one another. In fact, after date number three, I knew that I’d marry her. On Valentines Day last year, around 18 months after that first date, I asked her to be my forever.
She said, yes.
An engagement is a bubble of feelings that are indescribable. We were elated and quickly started gathering ideas of what our wedding day would look like. As excited as I was, I had this heavy cloud over me. I knew that I would love for my parents to be there with me to celebrate one of the most important dates of my life, but I didn’t know how they would respond.
Two months after the proposal I worked up the courage to ask. It was something I decided I wanted to do alone, I couldn’t help but want to protect my new fiancé from any adversity that might come from what I was about to say.
I sat down with my parents in the lounge of my family home. I told them how incredibly happy I had found myself in a relationship. How this person made all the puzzle pieces in life fall into place so seamlessly. I told my parents how I couldn’t imagine my life without this woman and how I’d asked her to be my wife, to marry me, and spend forever together.
My heart sank as tears welled in my Mothers eyes and my Fathers gaze became vacant, lost in thought.
My Father, who I’d never had an open conversation with about my sexuality, said, “women marry men, not women.” My mother responded, “it’ll never be a real wedding or real marriage.”
It’s hard to articulate how that moment felt. The truth is, I’ve gone over it seemingly hundreds of times with my counselor, and I still don’t know how I honestly feel.
Both parents declined my invitation to be involved in the wedding day and said while they love me, they couldn’t be there to support my choices. They asked that I refrain from inviting other family members who were unaware of my sexuality.
I walked out of that house with a broken heart, but my head held high. While I knew I didn’t have their support, I did have the incredible support of friends who have become family over the last few years.
Over the last 18 months, I’ve struggled with feeling invalid as a daughter and with feelings of guilt for the shame that I’ve undecidedly brought upon my parents. I’ve felt alone in the struggles of planning the happiest day of my life without the support of my parents. I’ve cried, and I’ve pulled myself back up.
The support of my wife-to-be has been incredible. As cheesy as it is, I really couldn’t do this without her.
While my relationship with my parents is more strained than it has ever been, I feel confident in myself and the way in which my life is taking course. In my heart, they will always be my parents, but the truth is that I feel like our relationship is drifting apart.
Maybe one day, they will see just how beautiful my life is and accept me for me.
Cover Photography by Aleisha Boyd Photography