I told my parents.

With the same forceful energy that I have been using over the past six months or so to resist telling them, suddenly and without any particular catalyst or tangible reason, around this time last week I decided that I would do it. And then I did it.

That makes it sound a lot easier than it actually was, of course. But the truth is, the panic is fading, the details are blurring, and the only thing I can solidly wrap my mind around is that it is done, and I will never have to do it again. And I am remembering how to breathe.. or rather, not having to remember to breathe nearly so much lately.

On one hand, it has been a long time coming. But on the other hand, it happened in the exact moment in which the time had finally come. A few months ago, a friend of mine who had been through the same process told me that she didn’t come out to her parents until the very moment in which she could no longer breathe until she had told them. And I am sure there are easier ways in which to undertake the process of coming out to one’s parents, but for her and for me, this is exactly what we did. And for me, that time was inconveniently on Valentine’s Day (thankfully, my girlfriend and I had already celebrated the day before).

I had every intention of driving home to tell my parents on Friday, because I was under the impression that one should tell their parents these sorts of things in person. But then my girlfriend gently reminded me that I have been working really hard at eliminating the should’s as a driving force behind my decisions lately, and that it’s more important to consider what might be right for your own family, rather than what might be right for a how-to-guide on coming out. And so, when I told my mom on the phone about how I had acquired a tiny diamond piercing in my nose since she’d last seen me, as a sort of trial run for what was coming next, and her reaction was an alternating pattern of silence/anger/silence, I decided it was time to get practical about the whole business. I didn’t want to be anywhere where I could see her face when I told her, and I sure as hell didn’t want to have to drive back three hours if they kicked me out. I am pretty decent at multi-tasking, but driving while crying has never been my strong suite. So, with my girlfriend on her way over to pick up the pieces when I was done, I called my mother back post-nose-piercing-disclosure, and I told her, in the indirect, round-about sort of way that marks my family’s favorite communication style, that “I am not one of those girls who likes boys.”

And she already knew, as mothers will, but that did not soften the blow even one little bit.

It seems that I have not come to a place within myself, and perhaps I never will, where I am quite prepared to cast her words out into the void of blogland with the good conscience that I have done justice to a moment that I suspect will for quite a while, at least to a certain degree, define both my mother’s life and my own. But suffice to say, by the end of the conversation, it was decided that she didn’t want to see me that weekend, but she did want to see me again… and that she would be the one to tell my father.

What I do, however, feel confident putting into words is the way my girlfriend literally carried me in her arms when I collapsed after I hung up the phone, and didn’t just watch me cry but actually cried with me in the aftermath of what I hope will be one of the most difficult conversations I ever have to endure. And also the way my old friend, the one behind the counter at the coffee shop, came over too, and they both sat with me in the way-without-answers that I believe is one of the truest things we can do for one another in our most broken of moments.

And even more grace came flowing my way the next morning when I called my father, and he reacted in a most unexpected manner… in the way that we might all hope our parents would react to this kind of thing: with unshattered love and with a grief moderated by hope and compassion, leaving the faintest of impressions that this might be less of an end and more of a beginning.

It has been a lasting impression; that not only in my relationship with my father, but also in the way that I am able to interact genuinely and resiliently with a world that has generally not contained much space for girls who don’t like boys… this will be less of an end, and more of a beginning.