Mothering ourselves into being is common practice amongst us queers. Since many of us are estranged or at odds with our parents for being the people we are, the process of growth, of learning and unlearning is a precious choice we make each day.
I realized while I was writing my novel, Scarborough (Arsenal Pulp Press) that I too was mothering myself using my own words. I birthed into being the character of Edna, the mother of a fat, gay femme boy named Bing. Her allyship, despite it being clumsy, is sincere. It is truthful. She treats her son’s queerness as a beautiful gift. I wanted to write a character who loved her son no matter what the circumstances. After he is bullied in the back of a school bus, she takes him home and teaches him self-love. Bing describes this moment with his mother:
“But at that moment, on my mother’s lap, I languished in the sheer size of me. I was forced to rejoice in every fingernail, every hair on my head, the dimples in my cheek. She kissed my eyelids so fiercely, in a Filipino way, her lips pressed together to reveal no lip. More a smell than a smooch.”
I authored her into being because I know she is possible. A mother who loves her LGBTQ2S kid is possible. I pushed her forth with every word. I deserve that. You, my readers, deserve that. So let’s author our mother together, shall we?
Hello beautiful child of mine,
Here I am in this imaginary place thanks to the magic of your heart and the magic of your words.
Place your hand on your eyes. These eyes that have searched my face for acceptance. Let them rest. Search no longer. I am here now. With you. Beside you. Behind you.
Hug your arms. These arms that have reached out to me in vain. Hoping I would hug back. Let them rest. I will hug back. I am here now. Holding you.
Place your hands on your heart. This brave heart that has travelled the world being who you are. Let it be open. Yearn no longer. My love is here now. I love you. Just the way you are.
I need no explanation.
I know you are magic. For it is with your magic that I exist the way the universe intended me to.
Rest, my beautiful child.
Listen to Catherine’s recorded reading of Scarborough, from the point of view of Bing.