Jenny and I decided to take advantage of Spring Break because, let’s be honest, I will never again get a week off while I’m in Nursing School. We couldn’t afford plane tickets anywhere so, being avid American Horror Story watchers, we decided to road trip to New Orleans to see the major sights of where Season 3 was filmed. Coven was very much focused on the stories of Madam Delphine LaLaurie (known for her House of Horror) and Marie Laveau, the Queen of Voodoo in New Orleans.
Madam LaLaurie was a rich woman who owned many slaves and treated then horrifically. She would chain them to the attic walls, break their limbs and reset their bones to make them look like a crab, even slice open their stomachs and take out their intestines while they were still alive. Seriously disgusting, sadistic stuff. During one of the frequent parties held at the mansion, one of the salves set a fire. Madam LaLaurie was seen getting into a carriage and leaving the property as her house burned down. The fire department found the bodies of numerous slaves and it exposed the level of tortures that had gone on in the “LaLaurie House of Horrors”.
We were also able to see the house in Coven that was “Miss Robicheaux’s Academy”. The Buckner Mansion is actually a bed and breakfast. While taking pictures in front of the house, we were met by many Coven fans who were doing the same.
It’s funny how we planned this trip to go see the Coven sights and it ended up being so much more! In an effort to curb cost wherever possible, Jenny asked her sister, Shelby if we could stay with her since she only lived about an hour away from New Orleans. Shelby was definitely nervous and said she would check with her husband. We could tell that she was very uncomfortable with the two of us being in her house because of the monstrous image she had built up in her head of who we are. We were very excited about this trip but then reality sank in and it became all about the fact that this was the first time I was meeting ANY member of Jenny’s family, knowing that they all blame me for “making her gay”. Remember last summer when she cancelled her entire vacation to Texas after Jenny came out?
So we get there, we do the meet and greet thing and met all four kids (who by the way, all have names that sound very similar so to this day, I still can’t tell you who is who and what order they go in–haha) and we settled in, chatting over dinner, etc. After the kids went to bed, I naturally assumed we would chat about the pink elephant in the room. We didn’t. I traded off between amazing coffee and pink moscato hoping someone would say SOMETHING. No one did. We watched t.v. for a while and then went to bed…in separate rooms. I knew this was going to be the case because Shelby isn’t ready to fill the kids in, which we have agreed to respect because they aren’t our kids and they are too young to get it.
The next day, we got up and ran some errands with Shelby after the kids went to school. Just the three of us in a minivan…still no talk. I knew she HAD to be uncomfortable based on her previous statements and attitude concerning me. WHY WON’T SHE JUST GET IT OUT THERE!? We went to New Orleans for the day and when we came back later that evening, Shelby’s best friend was coming over after kids went to bed. Now Jackie is the amazing person who has, for months, tried to talk to Shelby and gently try to force her to deal with this is some way. We like Jackie. lol So Jackie comes in and we all just start chatting about random stuff. It was just a chill conversation and no one felt uncomfortable. But, we really didn’t tackle the “gay thing” head on. We talked until 1am and when Jenny and I finally went upstairs, Shelby stood by the front door and asked Jackie, “so did you sense any weirdness between me and Carle?” Thankfully, the answer was no…but Jackie did tell her that she needed to deal with her issues head on.
So the next day, the three of us went to lunch and got it all out in the open. She admitted that in the beginning, she did hate me, she did blame me and she did not want to know or hear anything about me. More importantly, she apologized for having judged me and admitted that having both of us there wasn’t at all awkward like she thought. She asked a bunch of questions and said she was trying to word things in a way that didn’t offend us. I assured her that neither of us would be offended…we just wanted open and honest communication. We talked about everything. How do I deal with your parents respectfully and graciously when they won’t even have a conversation with me? Who will take who’s last name? Will you both wear dresses at the wedding? etc. She brought up how angry I sounded when I would respond to Jenny’s Facebook status referring to the letter she received from their grandparents. (Side note: the letter was received a couple weeks ago and it basically said I was a predator and they no longer wanted to hear from Jenny unless she repented and turned back to the ways of the Lord.) So I posed this question to Shelby: if 90% of your husbands family outright hated you and wouldn’t even attempt to get to know you–no conversations, no contact at all and topped it off by referring you to as a “predator”, wouldn’t you be angry and hurt too?
I also wanted to request one thing of her: that she find a way to tell her kids by the time we have our first baby. I told her that she still had a couple of years before that was necessary but that we weren’t okay with anyone lying to anyone else about how our kids came to be. She understood and agreed with that. She really seemed to be willing to not only hear my side of things but to understand it and really get to know who I am as a person. I never thought it would get to this level of compassion, kindness, understanding and non-weirdness.
I am SO grateful for this trip and even more so that Shelby is planning to talk to their parents and share her experience with me. I hope that one day, they will give me the chance that Shelby and her husband gave me. To be honest, now that we’ve been home for a few days, and Spring Break is officially over…I kinda miss Shelby. Am I crazy?! LOL Nah…