We don’t say it much, but we care how those we love feel about us. That’s why it can be so painful when the people we want to embrace and accept us seem unable to do so.

As Tobias shares, it leaves the kind of hurt that lingers, never fully going away. But it doesn’t mean we can’t hope or that it doesn’t get better. We can because it does.

When I was a kid, I never had any fears. That seemed to have come as I got older. My dad was an extreme disciplinarian and an academician. My mother grew up in the streets from Norfolk. So, they filled me with a wide range of knowledge—in my childhood, I never quite felt like a kid, but more of a young  adult.

Overall, my childhood was great, but was  defined by the dark times. As children, we take things very personal, and we have to re-parent ourselves and shift our perspective as we get older to heal some of the pain we might have experienced. Although that’s hard, what I’ve discovered is those dark times are sometimes needed to bring out the light in us to fully become who we were born to be, beyond our sexuality and/or sexual orientation.

My mother knows about my sexual orientation, but she’d rather omit me. She loves me…and wants me around, but looks at homosexuality as an abomination.

We believe these feelings are just the cards we are dealt, but I don’t believe that. It’s almost like we’re coated with this bright light and want to change the world, but life happens and little by little we change. We get more reserved, take less chances, and you begin to think that’s how the world is.

Many times we imprison ourselves in this box that people construct for us, afraid to live beyond the false categories that make others feel comfortable. Sometimes, if we aren’t careful, we stay in that box and never grow beyond it. I believe we must change our perceptions, so we can channel that sense of purpose and self assurance  we had when we were younger. And sometimes that starts with learning to embrace who we are, even when those closest to us–like family–won’t, or aren’t ready to.

For example, my mother knows about my sexual orientation, but she’d rather omit that. She loves me, but doesn’t agree with that part of me. We don’t talk about anything she doesn’t want to know. But yet she still wants me present, which is very difficult for me.

You can’t want me in your life but not accept me. So, that has negatively affected our relationship.  For example, this past weekend she was frustrated about why I’m not as open with her about my life.

[With my mother], we don’t talk about anything she doesn’t want to know…I’m forced to deal with her confusion because she loves me, but doesn’t love all of me. So, everything is good as long as we have a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.

She doesn’t understand why I don’t share more and often gets upset. That often leads to a lot of silence or tense discussions, and frustrates both of us. She wants me around, but looks at homosexuality as an  abomination, so it can be a little awkward and unsettling when it comes to openly discussing who I’m dating. I’m forced to deal with her beliefs, because she is my mother and I will always respect her. But I also  find myself keeping a lot of my love life to myself.

Moms are going to be moms, and that’s just a really hard pill for me to swallow. She looks at me and assumes I’m living a promiscuous lifestyle, and she even blocked me out of her life for a minute. So, I’ve learned that everything is good as long as we have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

There is no doubt in my mind that my mom loves me, I just wish sometimes I could feel it, in the sense of her seeing me as more than my sexual orientation.  I believe when she’s able to do that, she’ll be able to see me, and realize that’s what I really need from her as a mother. Until then, I’ll continue to love myself and be proud of who I am, and I hope that one day she loves me how I need to be loved.