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My mother paid for a tattoo a few years ago that is on the center of my back, anahata, the heart center of the body.

Eight years ago I wrote my ex-girlfriend's mother a letter telling her I was in love with her daughter, that we helped each other grow, that we were good together. Her mom didn't know (and if she did, certainly didn't accept) that her daughter was gay, so I guess the letter outed her. I had told her that I would rather write the letter and give it to her mom and love her honestly and openly. The response was a nine month court battle because her mother was incredibly homophobic at the time and tried to have me arrested for sleeping with her daughter.

Now, her mother is buying her newest girlfriend scarves for Christmas. Even the woman she was with right after me, she is good friends with her mom. It blows my mind.

I'm scared that it's going to be that way again. I'm not a dishonest person, especially when it comes to love. I've never been discriminated against by my family, it's only been the outside world - people who don't understand, people who cannot see beyond the scope of their own religious beliefs and don't even follow the texts they believe in - taking an active part in being judgemental even though they are supposed to believe God is the only judge.

My mother accepted me entirely, but I know not all mothers are like this, not all families are like this.

Maybe my throat has been burning for weeks because of my throat chakra - self-expression, voice, truth - things I feel suffocate me instead of free me sometimes.

The truth is that I lept. I decided to be with someone who comes from the exact kind of family that stereotypically persecutes people LIKE ME - Bible study and all, her parents friends literally told her they were praying for her to get a husband and a full-time job. They asked her what she was doing so differently this year, why'd she look so good and so happy? And she said she wasn't doing anything different...

but what is she supposed to say? The truth? In a room full of people who pray to God but don't even understand a thing about what they read? Who interpret text without context and who read, but don't study? It's funny that it's called Bible study! And they're praying for her to have a full-time job and husband, because she's what? Incomplete without those two things?

And I know...I will never put myself in the same room with them, because I don't want to change their minds, because Arizona is flushed in this mentality and there's no point arguing with people who aren't educated about what they're talking about. I'd rather be teaching religion and sexuality workshops to LGBT youth to help them understand ignorance so they can survive in this world. I wonder what Jesus said about walking in truth and being who you are and what kind of light honesty and compassion bring.

I'll be more gentle. Still, a part of me can't help but wonder if I will remain a secret forever. If I'll stay away from her family on Christmas Eve because the last thing I need this year during the holidays after losing my mom is to be in an environment where I have to pretend not to be as close to my girlfriend as I am. It's kind of ironic, considering Christmas represents Christ - the man who sat with lepers, the man who drank wine with those who were shunned, the man who preached about kindness and took in outcastes.

I've been supportive this far. It has to do with a lot of things: my mother's death, losing the most supportive person in my life. It's the holidays now. I'm about to go back to Arizona and hope I find a job soon, soon, soon. I'm worried about how I might survive and scared of not making it, but I've always had enough. It also has to do with how strongly I feel about her and how much I know her family means to her and how it hurts to not be given the chance to be a part of that, how it makes me doubt how serious she might be sometimes despite the fact that I know it's not about OUR relationship. I don't know what it's like to deal with this in her position, I've only ever been the other person getting the backlash and losing people I love because of it.

Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, they say, but I don't know how strong I want to be right now. What does that mean, anyway?

Maybe it's my hormones, a few days away from starting my period. Maybe it's the full moon. Maybe it's because I'm sick and just want to be held or wish I could figure out which medicine would ease this head heaviness and congestion. Or maybe it is just what it is.

There are gay people in other countries who would lose their lives for coming out, I tell myself that. Maybe this will just form me into a better advocate.

I know it won't be like this forever either. The other day my friend was talking about research proving higher likelihood of having 2 gay twins if one of them is gay. I hope science discovers a gay gene soon so the religious theories can take a flying leap.

Tomorrow I'll wake up more gentle, less congested, more rooted, renewed. Tonight, I'd like to cry a lot and then sleep.

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