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Singled Out: There's No Place Like Home for the Lesbian - or is there?

Singled Out: There's No Place Like Home for the Lesbian - or is there?

Entertainment publicist and lesbian lady Mona Elyafi traveled home for the holidays -- to Paris -- for the first time in over a decade, only to discover family is still family whether in the Alps, the Mediterranean or in her own back yard.

So it's the New Year and for 2010 I have assigned myself one grand master resolution: I am writing a book! And mind you, not just any book, but THE ultimate book that will capture, in a few hundred pages, the essence of my life long work - namely "How to succeed at Failing."

Yep, that's the title of my book coming soon in the "non-fiction/self-help" shelves of bookstores near you.  And should you be wondering where the inspiration came from, it was handed to me on silver platter by none other than (drum rolls) mommy dearest!

In a rather unexpected twist of events my glamorous "home for the holidays" trip to France derailed its run of undisputed fabulousness somewhere up in the French Alps on December 30, 2009.  As those of you who have been following me know, after a week in my hometown Paris, I flew to Menton in the South of France to surprise my mom and spend Christmas and New Year's with her, my step-dad and my three brothers. The reunion was of course very emotional and things went rather smoothly and drama-free considering the massive load of anger and resentment in "excess baggage," I was unconsciously carrying on my shoulders courtesy of my mom.

Clearly, my family was unaware they had a potential time bomb on their hands! Because things did grandiosely get out of hand when the week of New Year's they decided to take a road trip to some ski resort perched up in the mountains above Nice.  And this is the part where your envious selves go, "So what's the freaking problem?"

The problem -- not to sound snobby -- was that the so-called chalet they rented sounded better on paper than what it was in reality. Did I mention that my idea of camping is The Ritz Carlton? Basically, for an interminable six days, our merry Brady Bunch family was squeezed like sardines in a can in a living space that surely made a studio apartment look like a presidential suite. I would have adjusted had it not been for the stentorian snoring symphony I was forced to attend every night courtesy of the four male species I was miserably sandwiched in between.

Hence, after spending three consecutive sleepless nights blasting the entirety of George Michael's repertoire on my iPod to desperately kill the cacophony, as a snowball effect, I evidently exploded. That's when I decided I needed to resort to my soap opera acting skills and make an over-the-top melodramatic scene in public -- and by "public" I mean the five members of my family.

Since I couldn't obviously change my tragic predicament, I logically opted to remove my physical self from the situation. The only way out of this hellhole was to get back to civilization -- back to my mom's apartment via a train to Nice.

So on the morning of December 30, 2009, my physically and mentally depleted bootie packed my bag - I actually only took my Macbook and my toothbrush - and a la Linda Evans in Dynasty, I pathetically announced what I was sure to be a devastating news: my immediate departure. Ironically, the only thing that was devastating was the discrepancy between what I had expected to happen - a collective deluge of tears, the five of them crawling on the floor begging me to stay - and what really happened - NOTHING!

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Either they thought I was bluffing or my acting skills were not bad enough to qualify me for a daytime Emmy, but I found their indifference abnormal. I quickly regrouped and tried again.

"Alright guys, I'm leaving for good," I said in my best dramatic tone.
"Ok, see you later," they replied in unison.
"I'm not kidding, I'm leaaaaaaving," I insisted.
"Ok, bye," they persisted.

"W.T.F?" I thought to myself, "who are these people? Shouldn't they be more responsive to my adieux? What part of adieux didn't they get? For God's sake that's a French word!"

Clearly, at that point I couldn't back down; it just wouldn't have looked good and would have defeated the purpose of my whole poor-me self produced mini drama. Next thing I knew, I was at the bus station waiting for the shuttle that would drive me to the deserted train station in the middle of nowhere to get to Nice. And even there - both the bus and train stations --I remained confident one of them would be running after me.  It wasn't until I boarded the train that I realized no one was coming to get me.

Yet, because I am a hopeless optimistic, or perhaps I've been watching too many cheesy romantic movies, I then convinced myself that, in a guilty fit of compassion, they would all hop in the car and rush to Nice to pick me up when my train would pull into the station. Hmm, not so much! When I got to Nice and saw that there were no homecoming parades or cheerleading squads to welcome me I knew I had pretty much fucked myself over and that I was totally screwed. How far do you go with no keys to your mom's apartment, no juice remaining on your iPhone, no cash left and a de-activated credit card?

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Well, in my case, I went as far as where there was free WiFi (a hotel lobby) to connect my laptop to the internet and send a virtual SOS to my guardian angel in Paris.  
Of course, I also jumped on the golden opportunity to resume my "I am the victim" Soap Opera role and alert the rest of my family in the US of my homeless situation inflicted by the villains - my mom and her animal barn.

Long story short -- like that's possible --thanks to MY man in Paris who's made a career at saving my ass, I got to spend three days -- including New Year's Eve -- in the company of an extraordinarily exceptional gay male couple, housed in a luxurious condo overlooking the Mediterranean sea - it was so ... moi!

Meanwhile, in the span of those three days MIA, my family went out of their cozy vacation way to absolutely not show one iota of worry about me. Total number of "where are you?" phone calls I received from them: ZERO!

Frankly, it made me feel super special -- as in superbly abandoned and rejected: happy 2010 to Mona, you now officially do not belong in your family!

Cut to the grand finale: the mother/daughter face-to-face confrontation where all hell broke loose! Let's just say it was so intense, incendiary and loud that even my brothers were too mortified to step foot in the room.  After two hours of yelling, screaming, sobbing and unloading years of anger and resentment, I finally got the closure I needed: one simple "I love you" from my mom.

What I realized about my family, besides the fact that I wasn't after all the one needing therapy for all those years, was that while I can't live with them, I certainly can't live without them!

Someone once told me that while you may not always know where you're going - obviously I didn't having spent most of my trip in planes, trains, buses and automobiles -- you should never forget where you're coming from.

I surely came a long way, literally and figuratively speaking. But in crossing an ocean and bridging the 10-year gap of absence, I succeeded in my seeming failure to accomplish one big personal victory: I won the age-defying battle in finally convincing my fellow French people to stop calling me "Madame" but "Mademoiselle!"

There's no place like home!

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