Kristen Foery

March 1998

Hi! My name is Kristen Foery. I'm a 15 year old lesbian. I live in Delaware. poetgrrl1@juno.com

Letter to my parents

Dear Mom and Dad,

Hi. It's Kristen. Your daughter. Remember me? I'm the youngest in the family, the one with a penchant for poetry.

You know I'm kidding. You're fully aware of who I am. I don't think that you know me, though. Not really. Despite the fact that we live in the same house, talk to each other every day, eat dinner with each other. And now I have to tell you something you don't want to hear.

I'm gay.

Stop. Stop right there. For once, let me say what I have to. Dammit, I can almost hear your minds shutting off right now. Please, just listen to me. Let me explain.

I fell in love when I was 12 years old. It was with another girl. I'm not sorry.

Maybe I should go back a little further.

You remember when I was little; the reclusive sickly child that preferred to stay in the corner and read. Reason says I should have died so many years ago. You know that, you promised that you would not make me live in a glass bubble. Don't think that I've forgotten that promise.

I'm told I was odd during those formative years. I don't remember them, of course... I only remember that I read constantly. I shunned the cliques of little girls and boys because I knew deep inside that I did not belong.

There was a marked difference between me and others. I never could place it, name it, or even acknowledge it. And then, when I was very young, I began getting crushes on the pretty teachers that I had, on some of the popular girls that I would watch in the schoolyard. I didn't think anything of it, it seemed that others had little girl crushes. And then as I got older, I would dream about holding hands with and kissing some of the pretty girls in my classes.

Up until sixth grade I thought nothing of it. Then, one day in class, a few of the girls that I hung out with asked me if I was a dyke. I didn't know what that was.

"You know. A queer, a fag, a homo".

I told them no. It was just a joke anyway, and I put it out of mind even though it bothered me. I kept my thoughts locked up inside. That was the first time I noticed that maybe what I felt about girls could be considered wrong.

Then seventh grade came along. New school. The first day I walked into class I saw her. She was one of the most beautiful girls I had ever seen, and I was taken. By and by, we became good friends. As the weeks went on, I couldn't stop thinking about how much I wanted to hold her. One day in class I was daydreaming when it hit me: We were both girls. It was one of those 'Oh my God' things, and I didn't know how to deal with it. At first I thought that I couldn't be gay. I didn't look gay. All that I knew about gay people was based on stereotypes and myths. A very sad state of affairs.

For a very long time I would stay up at nights crying and praying for God to change me. I read anything I could find about homosexuality. The Bible offered little solace. The dictionary entry did not even mention love. I started to self destruct. My feelings for her did not change, though. Meanwhile, I was trying to convince myself that I liked boys. I started going through boyfriends. I tried to put it all out of mind. As long as nobody knew, I could deal with it. Or so I thought.

I wanted to tell her. As time went on, the words choked in my mouth almost a dozen times. I thought... I thought that she would say she felt the same about me.

Jump to eighth grade, when the lies started. The day after one of my friends -- you remember that night just as well as I -- I told one of my 'friends' that I was gay. The whole school had heard within a week. And she found out and didn't speak to me for six months. She knew that I loved her. So much for that.

I denied all of the rumors. I admitted myself to three friends who kept my secret, but for the most part I denied myself while spiraling downhill and taking painkiller after painkiller to try and forget who I was. One suicide attempt.... I don't want to talk about that.

Then, towards the end of the school year, the final blow. The note from my 'friends'. "Keep your distance".

You found out about it... and when I tried to tell you that I thought I was bi, you didn't listen. I will never forget hearing you both arguing about what it would take to throw me out of the house. And you, Dad. When you quietly came up to me and said that there were things you would kick me out for, and never to speak of it again.

I have never forgiven you for that.

I healed, albeit slowly. I got off the painkillers with the help of my friends and began to rebuild my life.

Skip to ninth grade. I acquired a boyfriend. Eric was my last attempt to prove that I was straight. I hated touching him. I hated myself for touching him. I used him and I never forgave myself for it.

I started coming out in April. I told Dan, then I told Beth. I found out a friend of mine was gay. He introduced me to PFLAG. I've come out to all of my friends now, and they accept me. It is the most wonderful feeling in the world to know that I am not alone.

Remember when I was in North Carolina? Last July, for the conference. I did not hide myself that entire week, and I made some close friends. At the end of the week, some came up to me and told me that I was brave for being open and honest. I changed some people's thoughts on homosexuality. Simply by being myself. There's power in that. I knew after the week was over that I could not live a lie... that is when I promised that I would tell the rest of my friends. I have.

Do you remember August, mother? Sometimes I think you've forgotten my admittance of sapphism. You certainly seem to act like I never told you. It kills me.

I've kissed girls. I've danced with girls. I have a girlfriend. Her name is Dana, and although she lives very far away, I love her more than anything.

I'm sorry that I've had to lie to you. I had no choice. Please don't try to tell me that it's a choice. Or that I should date David. He's just as queer as I am. It's not a phase. It's who I am.

Do what you will with this knowledge. Accept me, reject me, whatever. Just acknowledge it.

My name is Kristen Foery. I am your daughter. I love you both. This is who I am. And this is who I love.

I will never show this letter to my parents.

I would ask that no one email me about this letter.


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