The posts throughout the weekend are the life story of Mike Filicicchia. I first met Mike through his comments on my blog, and his story is something that needs to be heard. Mike is straight. His parents are not.
Here is Mike’s blog, and from my experiences with him he has shown me that he is one of the most genuine people (and future pastors!) I’ve ever met. He told me that he hopes to be able to dialogue with others, helping those who are growing up in the same situation. I know he’s looking forward to interacting with you all throughout these posts. Here’s his story …
“I was 7 years old when my parents told me they were getting divorced. It was then that I first realized the world was not a safe place; that good things break, and that pain is inevitable. That’s a tough lesson for a 7 year-old, and I didn’t really have anyone to answer the “why” questions for me. The counselors told me it wasn’t my fault, and I believed them, but they couldn’t tell me why my parents couldn’t manage to love one another when it seemed perfectly natural for me to love them both. Two years later, I came to find out they couldn’t make their marriage work because my mom was gay, and had been her whole life. Much later in life, she told me that she wanted to model a loving marriage to me and raise me to be an honest person, but that she could do neither of those while she was living a lie to my dad and me. She said she felt like a hypocrite.
I had to quickly adjust to life with divorced parents, but more specifically, life with a gay mom. I spent most of my time living with her since the courts tend to favor mothers in custody cases. Quite soon after my mom came out to me, her partner moved in with us. It’s hard enough for a young child to adjust to a new authority figure in their house. But this was even more confusing; I didn’t know anyone who had experienced another woman moving in with their mom. Was she just someone living with us? Just a friend of my mom’s? Could she tell me what do? Did I have to listen to her? There was really no one to talk to me about any of that. I didn’t like her much at the time because she often got angry at me, so I decided I didn’t ever have to do anything she said, and that she was just a disturbance in our otherwise functional household. I became increasingly bitter, especially after my mom explained to me that her and her partner regularly teamed up in anger fests against me at the beginning of every month because women’s menstrual cycles sync when they live together. I know that’s horribly politically incorrect, but it’s what happened and the explanation I received. I wanted to run and be with my dad, but the Powers That Be had agreed the current arrangement was best, and nobody was going to fight on my behalf in that.
At the end of elementary school and into junior high, my friends began to realize that my living situation wasn’t exactly normal; there was another woman over at the house quite often. And she wasn’t a relative. I fed them the same lie I had been fed for a year: that she was just a friend of my mom’s who needed a place for some time, and it made financial sense for her to live with us until she could find another living situation. After a year passed and I began to realize I was being lied to, my friends began to realize the same. My mom was gay. And they let me know about it. It’s bad enough when your “friends” make sexual comments about your mom; but this was worse. They were stabbing at a great source of pain and confusion in my heart with every vulgar comment about her sexuality. I hated it. All of it. I was mad at my friends. Mad at my mom. Mad at her partner. Mad at the courts. Mad at the world, really. And I felt horribly alone. I didn’t understand why this was my lot in life. So I shut down. Emotionally, I just flipped a switch. I didn’t want to feel anymore because it was never anything good.
And then I started going to church.
I mean, I had gone to church much of my life with my parents, but I basically hated it. I saw it as nothing more than a distraction from my beloved Chicago Bears on Sunday mornings. It was boring, and I didn’t actually understand the point of any of it. After my parents divorced, my dad stayed at the same church, and my mom church-shopped for a while, but eventually stopped going altogether. I went with my dad on the Sundays when I was too tired to fight to stay home. When my dad’s church eventually closed its doors due to lack of finances, going church-shopping with him seemed like the nice thing to do. One Saturday night, we happened upon the biggest church I’d ever seen. It met in a converted warehouse near my house, and that night the Word of God disarmed me for the first time in my life. I decided I would start reading the Bible, because it became clear to me that it wasn’t just a collection of lame Sunday school lessons about old guys and being nice. Jesus had words for my life today and tomorrow. As I began reading, I found in the person of Jesus someone who saw me; someone who regarded my helpless estate, and someone who offered a relational intimacy I had never even fathomed, welling up in a promise of eternal hope and a new life. Those were the things my soul craved more than anything, and for reasons I can’t explain, I actually believed that Jesus was my solution; my Savior. I wasn’t looking for answers; I didn’t even know or feel that I was even in need. I just read His words and felt deeply that all of it was true.
So now I was a brand-new Christian teenager attending an evangelical church in the middle of Conservative Christianville, IL. And my mom was gay …
Part 2 tomorrow.