A Tourist in Shitville

I'm trapped in my parents house. I have no car, it's too cold to walk anywhere, I'm in a hardcore religious community where I can be pretty sure every person I meet is opposed to my basic civil rights, and ensuring equitable treatment is dependent on my ability to pretend I am not engaged to a woman.

Oh, sweet menno-ville, how I despise you.

If I had wheels, I could at least take a drive out to the woods where the log cabin I grew up in is inhabited by a pair of lesbians from the city. I could scratch their dogs and finally relax. I can never relax here. Someone's always waiting around the corner to be pissed at me for existing, of that I am sure. I can feel the laser sights on the back of my head. But at the Log Cabin o' Lesbians, I would be safe.

Alas, it is seven miles of frozen wasteland to my childhood home, and my mother and stepdad are both at work with their respective vehicles, and I am left to arrange visitations with the grandparents that can't be told what is really going on in my life, lest they have heart attacks and die, which could only prolong my sojourn in this horrid gulag.

It's like being in the closet all over again. Right now, I have no idea who knows I'm gay and who doesn't, outside of my immediate family. I had assumed that since a certain aunt does know I'm gay, the rest of the extended family would inevitably find out (come on, you know who the gossipers are in your family), but everyone seems to be oblivious. Clearly my mom is keeping her shameful little secret very well, so dropping the news that I'm engaged on any of these people would akin to the golden child of a fundogelical church announcing with absolutely no prelude that they had converted to satanism. So when people ask me how my life is going, I say it's good, I'm doing well in school. Not "It's fantastic, I'm happier than I've ever been and engaged to a wonderful woman who I can't wait to start a family with."

All that is to say, I'm keeping secrets again. It feels rotten. Most days it's just a familiar part of being in steinbach, but not that I've reached day 8, my attitude is getting rotten and my endurance is failing. I came here from a place where everyone who knows me actually knows me, where they want the best and happiest for me and support the relationship I'm in. I voluntarily vacated those premises to come here, and now I can't remember why. Oh yeah, I wanted to see my little brother, who has had such a traumatic year, but I won't get to see him anyway. I wanted to meet my new nephew, who's a baby and not any fun anyway. I wanted to hang out with my sister, who is the only other person who knows how shitty it is to be our father's daughter. I'm glad I did that.

But now I'm ready to go home. I'm tired of feeling like the odd one out. I'm tired of feeling like my happy life is the source of so much misery to everyone else. I'm tired of everything. I'm cranky.

Two more days. Two more days. Two more days. Two more days. Two more days......


  1. I usually enjoy being with extended family members for a day or two, then I've had enough. Most of my family - on both my husband's side and my side - is solidly evangelical. I love them and enjoy visiting them and catching up with stuff, but their lifestyle is no longer mine. I've only come out as an atheist to a few of them because I live far enough away from them, and see them so seldom, that I figure none of their business whether I believe in gods, drink, swear, etc. (You've probably guessed that I'm on the wrong side of all of those issues for most of them.)

    Your case as a lesbian is much tougher than mine because you can't share your joy in the most meaningful relationship in your life. I feel for both of you - I'm pretty sure the gay closet is a lot more confining than the atheist one.

  2. Anonymous7.1.11

    You have helped me understand why I had fun while in my homeland. I HAD A CAR!

    My rich brother rented me a car, and for that I am so thankful, but I never told him, darn.

    Yeah, it is awesome to be able to get away when the relatives get on your nerves. It makes all the difference.

  3. @chaplain

    I'm not sure I'm willing to concede that one closet is more or less constricting than the other. I hate playing that "whose pain is greater" game. In both cases an individual is an invisible minority (assuming immersion in a religious community) and keeps important information secret to avoid confrontation or rejection. My parents, however, wouldn't be any more thrilled if I was in a heterosexual relationship with an atheist than they are now, and as an atheist I would be keeping many of the same secrets. As a lesbian atheist, though, it's hard for me to separate the two.


    Yes! A car would have helped a lot. Though, the other thing that would have helped would be an ally. I've decided that in the future, Astasia and I will go together or not at all.