I’ve done a lot of explaining my whole life. My family and the way we looked never quite made immediate sense to people. I’m the daughter of two gay men to whom I am biologically related. Our mere presence in a room had to be explained because we were confusing to the world. It’s not like there was Modern Family or Glee on TV in 1993. Every time we met people an explanation was involved. This is my Dad and this is my Daddy.
“And where is your Mommy?”
“I don’t have a Mom I have two Dads.”
“But you have to have a Mom.”
“Well, I don’t.”
Sometimes people wouldn’t believe me. Usually, kids would just stare at me quizzically not really sure what to make of me. I had to explain to teachers that I didn’t have a mom. I was constantly crossing out the word “Mother” on forms and writing “Father” a second time. I didn’t get to just walk around without questions being asked because I was confusing. I don’t think any little kid has been around so many people asking questions about eggs and sperm as I have.
I was and still am so proud of where I came from, so proud of my two dads. However, sometimes the explaining got exhausting because it’s the only story people wanted to hear about me. Other things about me didn’t interest them as much as my parentage and stories about test tubes and artificial insemination. I appreciated that people were always so curious about how I came to be, but it was always the first question people asked me. Not who are you and what are your likes and dislikes, but how did this happen? How were you made? My sheer existence was a question for people to ponder over and debate. Should it be legal? Should it be okay? Was what I am okay?
It made me question myself. Who am I? Why am I? And what am I beyond my parentage? It has taken me years and a lot of self-discovery and therapy to get to a better understanding of who I am without the labels that other people give me. Without their questions. Without trying to fit myself in boxes that might make others more comfortable.
I have always come with a story and a nametag “The Girl with Two Gay Dads.”
As I’ve gotten older I’ve found these questions odder and odder. Not many people end up talking about how they were conceived in a petri dish at the conference room table, yet somehow I find this a regular occurrence. It’s what makes me memorable. It’s what sticks with people, “oh yeah, the girl with two dads. I know her.”
The scary thing is that as an adult I started thinking it was the only interesting thing about me. There is no “me” without a discussion about my parents, which is weird because I am a separate human being with a fascinating life that is more than just where I came from. I forget that a lot. I also realized that I am not the only one that is categorized by where they came from. We do this to everyone we meet. We want to know their story, check them out, make sure they fit our idea of what is popular, pretty, or perfect. This is a societal thing. We all do it. I’m not the only one that gets asked questions even though maybe I thought I was. We all try to put ourselves in boxes, to make ourselves fit even maybe where we don’t. We may want to make other people more comfortable, even sometimes at our expense.
I eventually came to the conclusion that my box has wavy lines and fuzzy edges and I started thinking that everyone else’s does too, even the seemingly perfect people. We are all a little blurry. We are all a constellation of our experiences and we deserve to share every facet of our being that we choose to with the world to help us find our people. The ones whose constellations bring us joy, beauty, and light. Accepting ourselves is what brings us those who we are meant to be with not to mention a whole lot of freedom. We are more than where we came from, although, where we come from has shaped much of who we are and that’s an incredible thing.
When you start to accept where you came from and who you are at your core you stop trying to fit into boxes that are acceptable to others. Maybe you aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, maybe life doesn’t look the way you thought it would, but loving and accepting yourself is the start of finding so much more freedom and joy in your life.