I don’t know if I can be in a relationship. I don’t know if I’m relationship-material. I want to wine and dine my partner, take them to parts of the city the Toronto Star doesn’t write about, take cover in a coffee shop with them and watch the city continue through the rain, listen to them vent about work as I cook their favourite dish for them, sit with them in silence as we take in the scenery, have their fingers intertwined with mine as I lean into them leaning into me and we take everything in.
But I don’t know if I’m relationship material.
I don’t know if I can sacrifice my most prized possession – my individuality and independency – for the comfort of someone else.
I was talking to a friend the other day and venting out my confusion about an ongoing tinder acquaintance, fucking up the opportunity to make out with someone, and cutting ties with a friend I had made in New York. She interrupted me to say “Your life is super interesting, by the way”.
I think it’s safe to say I reached a huge coming out milestone last Saturday: I came out to a family member for the first time.
My brother had moved the living room TV into his bedroom since I’d moved out. For the past while I’d been having trouble Netflixing on my laptop and done it on my tablet instead. But since I’d only had my laptop with me, I had to go to his room the past few times I’d been back home if I wanted to Netflix. I’d since fixed the problem, but the privacy of his room was part of my coming out plan.
Also, I really wanted to catch up on The 100… so.
We watched a few episodes before I got up to close the door. He didn’t even flinch. As I paused the episode at the opening credits, I was struck with a slight hesitation. “Just continue the show, press play, and you won’t have to do this” said a little voice in my head. But I’ve learned to ignore these voices.
Earlier that evening, we had gotten into quite an intense argument over dinner at a restaurant. I decided to bring up that I liked all the qualities of one of our male friends, but it bugs me so much that he still says “that’s so gay”. Instead of agreeing, full stop, he said “Yeah… But there are worse things than that”.
Of course I had to dog him down! It escalated quickly, as it usually does when we argue. He didn’t get that there is no excuse, no comparison, for joking at the expense of an already-suppressed group. It got to the point where he fumed “Why are you so against it? Are you gay?”
I froze. Then my subconscious recalled that my mother, sitting obliviously and quietly across the table with my father, had almost-rhetorically commented on my jacket being the one my brother bought for her for Christmas. I latched onto it and jumped conversation-ships. “Wait, huh?” I turned to my mother. She repeated her question, and my brother seemed not to notice my deliberate pivot. Our argument subsided… for now. I wasn’t going to do this in front of my parents and him. It would be on my own terms – one by one.
“So… remember… at the restaurant earlier… when we had that debate?”