So moving to Atlanta has turned out to be a blessing and a curse, and I knew it would be. While I’m extremely happy to be living in a cheaper city surrounded by a group of my closest friends, I’m less than pleased about how close I am to the city where I grew up and all the drama that awaits me every time I return home.
If my family were not still residents of Montgomery, Alabama I swear I would’ve never gone back after I left in 1998.
So yesterday after church I decided to make the 2 hour drive up I-85 south to visit my family for the day, unannounced.
I knew my mother wanted to see me, and I was beginning to feel bad about the rush visit I had last week when I made it down for just a few hours to help my best friend and roommate Bennie move the rest of his things .
One thing I always look forward to is my mom’s good cooking, she can throw down!
After the meal was over and I was so full all I wanted to do was take a nap, I was informed that we had to go and visit my uncle who is in a diabetic coma. It was hard seeing my uncle lying almost lifeless in his hospital bed having to have everyone do small things for him that he once did for himself such as brush his teeth .Seeing him in this state made me appreciate life even more than I already do, and it confirmed for me that I never want to hang on if my health ever failed to such a degree.
The visit had been pleasant and drama free until what happened next
Enter my very funny and outspoken grandfather. To know him is to know that he say’s whatever is on his mind regardless of who it might offend. I know this to be true about him, so what happens next didn’t really bother me because it wasn’t a first, but the reaction from the onlookers is what set me off in my mind.
GD: Darian where is your girlfriend?
Me: I don’t have one grandaddy.
GD: What?! You don’t have one?
GD: Why not? You’re up in Atlanta all by yourself. Don’t you think it would be a little easier on you if you had a girlfriend?
Me: I’m not by myself grandaddy, I have great friends and a career I love.
GD: Well if you don’t have a girlfriend with you the next time you come home you might as well stay in Atlanta.(very little humor behind this statement)
Me: Well I guess I’ll be staying in Atlanta because I won’t have one.(still in a very respectful tone)
Meanwhile my mother leaves the room to keep me from seeing her face turn blue and my sister stays for a minute so I can see the look of disgust on her face, she then exits only to return minutes later to stare at me with her eyes of disapproval.
I wanted to answer my grandfather’s question truthfully, but then I had to ask myself what good would it do? This is an elderly man who was raised in the old south and has no awareness of the gay community at large . I’ve learned that I have to pick and choose my battles and I just don’t think that was a battle worth fighting.
Every part of me wanted to stand up and give my “I’m black, SGL, and proud speech, but that would have caused some real drama and I was in no mood.
I thank God for growth because years ago that incident would have enraged me to the point where I would still be in an argument as you’re reading this post.
This time I just laughed out loud and thanked God for allowing me to be comfortable in my skin. I know who I am and I love myself. I just wish my family allowed themselves to love all of me too.