Is it mid or late thirties if you’re 37? Either way, coming out Queer Bisexual was never something I had planned on, especially being in a monogamous relationship with a straight man. I always thought “What’s the point? You’ll just hurt the people you love. No one will take you seriously anyway- you’re just Bi.”
These aren’t just the thoughts of an adult who was hiding a whole piece of herself. This was shame and childhood trauma.
When my son was born something happened to my soul- my inner child was healing. That little girl inside was safe. Each loving thing that I did for my son and everything I was teaching him about caring for himself was like another square added to a warm quilt that wrapped around little Alayna.
I wanted to do everything in my power to keep my son safe and allow him to be his whole self, to the point where postpartum anxiety and depression were taking over (but that’s for another story).
I felt like the one thing I could control in raising him was myself. And so I continued to pursue my career as a filmmaker. I wanted him to look back and say “Wow! My Mom never gave up on what she loved and neither will I.”
We travelled to Whistler Film Festival with my 3 month old in tow. I pitched my all female, queer skateboarding film to an audience and I won an award and sponsorship to make it! This was a pretty great feeling, and yet, something itched in the back of my mind. “How would anyone take me seriously making queer characters and themes in my films? No one knows who I am.”
I had flip flopped for years and just decided one day that no one would ever know I was queer, it was too painful.
Back to little Alayna. She grew up in a home and learned from church that sexuality was a thing of shame. Alayna was having all of these feelings and no one could understand her, no one wanted to (or so it felt) and there was a lot of talk and jokes about being gay that made her sad.
Basically, she knew she liked boys, she knew she liked girls and the girl part was something she was told would send her to the depths of hell and the devil would eat her soul. Harsh right? Yeah, well, now I look at it and think, those parents, those teachers, the church; they weren’t in a place to be caring for such a brilliant kid.
Alayna needed more than what she was given. She deserved more. There was so much light that was buried inside of me and it could never get out. And then, my son, he opened a window. He brought the light out and I started to shine brighter than I ever had in my entire life. I didn’t care what anyone thought of me, suddenly I wanted to be seen.
I reveled in the fact that I was different and I was unique. Something about me was so special and I saw that in me because I could see that in my son. I saw the endless possibilities of being my whole self for the first time.
I’d heard and read a lot of stories about kids, teenagers and adults coming out and how their families reacted, so I was prepared for anything. But coming out to my Mum was not what I thought it would be. Honestly, we’re so much alike and I expected her to have these big voicetress emotions about it. Instead, she was reserved. She took a moment to ask me those questions that I think all parents would, like “What does this mean? Are you breaking up with your husband? What’s going to change with your family?”.
I quickly squashed those assumptions and shared that my partner has always known who I am and in fact, he was the one who encouraged me to be myself and come out. And then my Mum said the words I had longed to hear, “I’m happy for you. I’m proud of you for coming out.”
Next up was my brother and the closest version of my Dad left (my father passed away a month before I became pregnant. Again, a story for another time). He asked the same questions as my Mum and was happy for me- like really happy.
My sister, I knew would be totally cool, because she is so accepting of me already, which she was.
So, that was it! Off my plate! My family knew and I could just say it out loud anytime I wanted. Sure, there were some other family that didn’t know and would likely find out on their own whenever they read an interview or an article about me and my filmmaking career stuff, but at this point the big ones were over and I could move on.
There’s nothing perfect about my life or the events that brought me to where I am now. And even on a daily basis I am checking in on myself for hiding who I am- but that’s life. We’re all just trying to do our best as parents and with that little walking mirror that follows me around, it can be challenging to want to face myself.
What did I learn about me after coming out in my mid-thirties?
Only I can decide when I’m ready to change my life.
Love is super powerful.
If I want my child to be himself, I need to be that example for him.
Parenting is really really really hard (that was less specific to this topic, but overall relevant).
Caring about what other people think of who I am, is a clear waste of time.
Shine bright! Try to let that light out as much as possible, because you never know who you’ll help heal along the way.