April is the month that I celebrate my new birth; two years ago I was in the lowest moment in my life. After many years of counseling, ex-gay therapy, thousands of dollars spent on psychiatrist, psychologist; many prayer times, healing times, even casting out the evil spirits I thought they were tormenting me. Dozens of books I read about the subject, took many classes, spoke to many friends, pastors, counselors, priests. Suddenly 39 years of self rejection and hate to me came into an end when I decided that my life was not worth living anymore. For many of you this will be the first time you hear this, but I think finally the truth has made me free. Two years ago I was not able to see a solution to my life; I had two choices: one, to keep living a lie, pretending who I was not, and trying with all I could be the husband, the son, the friend and the pastor I needed to be. Second, it was to kill myself. Yes, I know it sounds very drastically, but a free life was something I could never imagine, especially after truly believed that “homosexuality” was not part of God’s design. So one afternoon, I prepared everything from my departure; I wrote a letter to Paula (my ex-wife), to my parents, my family and friends. I put classical music, grab a knife and went into the bathroom of my office, closed the door, and tried to end my life.
This makes me very sad, to the point of almost crying, because I was not able to see life beyond hiding. It is amazing how my own religion and faith took me to the point of almost ending my life. Did I really understand where the grace and unconditional love of God was? LIFE in the other side of hiding happens when we recovered our dignity as human beings by being vulnerable not only to others but specially to me. It was not what the world was going to give me, but about what I could give to myself: LOVE.
April is extremely emotional for me, and as always the only way to cope with my own pain and healing t, is when I am able to write my thoughts, wonders and doubts. Throughout these two years I have learned to love, forgive and believe in myself. The more time passes, the more grateful I feel for my good friend who ran and frantically look for me, until he found me, in that dark and confused room. Every time this month comes, I remember the words of my ex-wife and friend, who left her job and ran to the place where I was in miserable despair, and said: “For many years I prayed for you to change, until God told me that I was a selfish woman. So now my pray is that you can be happy. I release you, and when you find your partner I will be there to support you”.
Every time April is here, I am thankful of the great support I have received from all my family and the acceptance of my parents; and the many friends who stood with us (Paula and I) in all the process of getting separated and believe in a new life.
It is funny to know that I ended up working in a place where I am empowering people to believe they can make the difference, but at the same time I have empowered myself to believe the same.
Well, in the midst of celebrating two years of freedom, I wrote this raw poem, which a title:
What it means to be…..?
To BE is not a lifestyle.
is not a decision I made one morning.
is not a struggle, or an imperfection.
is not a sin, or a face in life.
is not to be weird.
is not to be different.
is not that I like all the men I see in the street.
is not only about being sexual.
is not about not wanting to change.
is not because I do not know what to do with my life.
It is about being real with me,
is about celebrating who I am,
is about not being ashamed,
not being afraid,
is to bring back my dignity as a human being,
is to be proud of my Latino heritage,
is about understanding each other’s life experiences,
is about not lie anymore,
not hide anymore,
not pretend anymore.
It is about dancing the colors of my rhythms.
It is about embracing my identity.
It is about writing my hurts, making the words
heal my rejected heart.
It is about speaking truth,
It is overcoming “machismo”,
ignorance, bigotry, and homophobia. (Even to myself)
It is about having coffee with friends,
about being vulnerable to the world.
It is about holding the hand of the person I would love,
and know that we will be ok!.
It is about finding common ground with others who have been oppressed,
to reach each other,
to learn from each other,
to help each other,
to encourage each other.
Because I am just a man,
gay, Latino, and an Immigrant in this country.
But most of all I am a human being,
this is my true identity, and it relates with you,
with everybody I encounter every day.
so at the end,
I see as you can see,
I hear as you can hear,
I talk as you can talk,
I feel as you can feel,
I hate as you can hate
I cry as you can cry,
I care as you can care,
I judge as you can judge,
I pray as you can pray,
I love as you can love.
That is what it means to be…….