Waiting Game

At the cross section of cultures

where do the children stand?

 

My mother first discovered that

being gay was a “thing” when

she was 19,

back in Ecuador, where

house fires are still set

because of a different identity

and everyone mourns the idea

that a life was lost

but still put their hands up and say

“well, what can you do?”

 

Turn on the TV here

and try to identify a channel

that is still pretending that

only one type of person exists

that there is only one lifestyle

people like to live

It’s been a blessing for cultural diversity

But has filled my house with unspeakable tension

when I first started asking my parents about sex

at age 7

when I asked about gay relationships

at 12

when I explained to my mother what

transgender really means, and why its valid

at 14

 

They were never prepared to

have children so different from them.

Who could be?

And I didn’t know

how I could hide how different I was

to my white classmates

I covered up my arm hair with

long sleeves year round

and my mother finally let me wax

my mustache when I was 11

I cried in dressing rooms

furious that I was the only

6th grader with a size C chest

but I still felt

like I needed to laugh along

as my best friend recited the most recent

Mexican joke from South Park in between classes

 

How differently I was raised,

how I couldn’t go to a sleepover

because my parents didn’t know the

parents of the host

and would never know them

call it lost in translation

 

In the tsunami of hormones

that was high school

I questioned everything about myself

who I liked, who I wanted to be

but knew I had to keep silent

about my worries that I

would fall in love with a woman

because that would just be

another thing for my mother

to cry over

 

It’s a waiting game

Do well in school

Stay away from boys

Finish college and then

you’re free to be you

Unfiltered from the ones

who raised you

who love you more than anything

and even hesitated before they hit you

for talking back

but who will still

never understand

This poem is about: 
Me
My family

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