I get it, when I see the junkies that look straight out of the 80’s. The are dirty and look homeless. Their behavior brash and aggressive. Some smelling real bad. I know them. I understand them. I also understand the ones that maintain a job, barely making rent but keep the facade that all is well. All dressed up and well perfumed but behind closed doors they smoke or sniff the night away. I know these individuals because I was them once.
I get the extreme pain that they are in. They prefer to not mb themselves so as not to feel and face the pain it realization. What so many can easily work through for them it’s devastating.
I knew a crack whore who was in her orine the highest paying nurse but came home one night from her shift and found her home vacant, no husband and no children. It left her so bare that she signed out on life. Then there was the man that was a college professor teaching math. He had an incredible mind and absolutely joy to speak to. His wife died and he no longer saw purpose. It was too much for hm to bare so he let it go and went to the streets.
These affects that we look st at times in disgust or not Willie my to understand are individuals that just weren’t given the tools to cope. Some were brutally abused as kids and ran off. Some of them hit the streets and made heads or tails of life as they went. Some Tek into the arms of someone worse than what they ran away from. Some through live were introduced to it from a loved one. The bottom left me they don’t want to feel, they done want to realize. It’s just way too hard for them to carry or come to terms with do the run and run to whatever can take them outside if themselves. For some it’s sex or food or shopping or drugs or love. It’s such a Gard cycle to break especially when the ones who inflicted it are called family.
Can addiction be arrested absolutely! But the work is arduous and painstakingly deep. It requires letting go pf all you learned in terms of coping, it’s communicating, it’s being so raw with yourself that not even your own shadow has space to hide in. It requires forgiving those that hurt and betrayed you. It requires forgiving yourself for not knowing, not understanding. It’s about going back to the very young you. The you that this all happened to and nurture it back to the present with kindness and love and patience. It will not happen overnight. This part of the journey is for the long haul. It starts with commitment the one trait addicts are extremely flawed in because the commitment is with self and addicts don’t know this.
The first time I ever heard the word it felt like I had gotten picked up and slammed on the floor. It took my breathe away. I don’t know what the word meant! I never heard it but the way it came out of his mouth it made my hands tingle, it made my stomach drop and it agitated me. I knew it wasn’t good. He said it loud and full of hatred. I was able to feel every eye in the room look at me. If there was ever a Carrie (their all gonna laugh at you) moment in my life it was this one. I could feel the tears brimming threatening a downpour but I didn’t allow it. Something in me told me don’t you dare cry. I looked around me then back at him. He yelled this word that for the years to come I would wear like a scarlet letter. He branded me right there in the lunchroom publicly! I held my head up and walked away. I knew it was never going to be the same ever. I knew that I was going to add this to the list of things I would have to fight against. I also knew that till the day I die no one was going to say that to me in that manner, that fashion. I left and found myself in the 2nd floor bathroom. It was there that I let the rage out. I cried, no I waited! It was guttural. I wanted to punch all the mirrors. I wanted to inflict pain on him. I wanted to make him feel just as embarrassed but I knew I wasn’t going to do a thing. I was already defeated a while back and had no fight in me. What I did know was that no one was ever going to make me feel less than or make me feel ashamed of who I was by calling me FAGGOT!!!!!
I was doing some Spring cleaning which involved putting some things away in storage. One of the things I was putting away was some photo albums that I had. Yes there are things as pictures like real photos from a camera roll. I started flipping through the album and I came across this photo. I was a cute kid of only 8 years of age. I look at his smile and it’s way to surreal. I can’t understand how I had so much resilience. How at that age I just smiled for that camera when I was living in so much fear. This face in the picture was beaten all the time. I walked on eggshells and already knew how to look at body language and the music mommy was hearing. It was from there that I knew whether it was going to be a great day or a day where I had to stay far away from her as possible. At this age I was so scared to speak or move for mommy ruled with a strict iron fist and a painful backhand.
At this time in my life I was molested multiple times. I was deathly scared of him and he was persistent and made sure he got his 3 visits in weekly. He also silenced me with bodily harm and threats of death. He was the one that instilled the fear I had of being alone, of being around multiple men at the same time. He was the reason I was a bedwetter. The beatings I received because of it. He gave me anxiety every time which was constant because he was always around my family and lived on the same block. He tainted my belief of what love was. It was him that made me believe for a very long time in my life that love hurts, love is non-existent. That all I was to offer was sex because who the hell wanted to love a faggot! He became the blue print to the men I would love- unavailable, not mine, secretive and 2nd best.
That little boy in the picture already knew how to fight mentally. I already knew that life was not going to be easy. That the world was cruel and I had to maneuver around it. I had no voice at all let alone an understanding so all I had was my mind. All I had was music and make believe places I’d transport to in books. There was no safety at all and I wouldn’t have any till my teens. I was broken in so many ways that I can’t believe I am here. Though sad to see this pic I salute that little boy who hid all this in that smile if for just one second. Te amo negrito porque viviste una tragedia y saliste campeón. I love you little brown boy because you survived huge tragedies and came out a champion.
I believe in magic! There I said it. Now I don’t mean the fairy, elves kind of magic! I am talking about the ancestral, birthright, genetic magic. The type of magic that you are given and born with because it runs in your family, passed down with no permission to the one that is born with it. They call us witches at best but there is levels to this. There are healers, curanderas, montaneras, mediums and psychics. There are ones that speak to the dead, expel bad spirits and even get mounted with spirit guides so that there are words of wisdom given to those present. This is gift and how you practice it is called La Obra or The Craft. It is an amazing experience to witness and be a part of. Your body starts to tingle and your senses become acute. Your gut tells you that something is going to happen and the air around you becomes electric. It’s like the air is stretch it like a tight wire and at any moment something is going to give. then you witness the most beautiful thing- spirit. A moment of something absolutely not from this plane. If your lucky you will be spoken to and given a confirmation or a message that shows proof that what you are told no one ever knows, it is something that you have whispered to yourself and GOD at a specific moment and time and it is being told to you verbatim. That there is no way on earth that it is false to what you are experiencing. This is the magic I am talking about.
The magic that gives you an edge. That if you are born with this gift it gives you a sense at looking at death differently. You know that there is something more than just the physical body. That there is a place we go to when we leave. That there is a spirit and a soul and they are very tangible and fully operable without the flesh. It is an inheritance of the everlasting kind. You never walk alone and depending on your gift you find that this world we walk in is a whole lot more than just lights and sidewalks. You overhear conversations that have no source, as if someone is sitting next to you and talking to you. You feel more. You sense things before they happen and at times you see what others can’t see. This gift comes with a responsibility. It is going to guarantee you that you gain some level of discipline whether you want to or not. this gift can be very rude and it has no respect for timing of there is something you need to do or get done. It is a blessing, a kiss from GOD and a sign from your ancestors that you are a part of a tribe, a lineage that has suffering, history and warrior written all over it. There is no denying it either. Sooner or later you will have to pay attention to it. Sooner or later you will have to embrace it for what it is.
I sat to watch the documentary “Life With Boy George”. In the 80’s he was international. He broke gender norms from the gate. At a time when that was a death certificate he showed the world the true him.
When I first saw him life wasn’t the same. I was a very young kid watching one of my favorite shows “Solid Gold”. It was a show that gave you the top ten hits with dancers and in between they had the popular acts perform. This particular episode had Boy George. I was in love with his song “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me”. I never saw the artist and actually thought it was a woman who sang it. When it came time for him to
perform and I saw him I can remember feeling absolutely confused. Here was a man with long colorful braids, gorgeous makeup looking prettier than most woman strutting on stage. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. It changed my whole world. I finally saw someone that spoke what I felt inside. Finally there is this androgynous man letting the world see him in all his femininity. I no longer felt strange or weird or sick or abnormal. Seeing Boy George on T.V allowed this 9 year old, definitely gay, flamboyant, super Latino boy the right to be himself. It was there that I knew that I was not the only one that felt this way. It was seeing him perform that I understood as well that it was not going to be easy but that I can live. It was such a life changer. In my room I had a wall, just one wall with cut outs from magazines of any and everything that I looked up to. Within 2 weeks I managed to fill it with Boy George. I also managed to be more proud of myself. Less fearful of being authentically me. It was in that moment of time as small as it lasted that I knew I was ok .
It happened at a very young age but I didn’t realize it till I was older. As a matter of fact it had been forgotten till I guess it was time to remember. By that time I was more than ready to come to terms with it. It was around the same time that I started to understand that it ran in my family. That if it wasn’t me it would’ve been one of my siblings. I had always seen the dead. Well at least in moments when it mattered. I can only imagine how many times I had spoken to the dead as a regular conversation not knowing that they were. Then there are plenty of moments that I know. I knew, well felt that this person was not complete, for lack of a better term. My energy would be on high alert. I’d get these butterflies in my stomach, this strong feeling of anxiety that was unexplainable. It would go away when the individual left.
The earliest recollection was from what my mother has told me. I was a little kid no more than 5. I ran out of the living room into the kitchen telling my mother that there was a man sitting in the living room on the sofa. That he came to say goodbye to me because he never met me. He told me his name and said goodbye. Mommy thought I was nuts until I said his name. She looked at me in disbelief because there was no way I knew who he was. She had left him and those memories when she left Puerto Rico promising never to return. She went to the living room and no one was there. I pointed to the chair that I saw him in. I do remember Mommy scolding me for making things up and before she could finish the phone rang. It was a call from Puerto Rico. They told her that the man I had just finished mentioning had just passed away. He was her uncle. One of the very few men in her life that loved and took care of my mother. After that my experiences didn’t happen till I’d say a year later.
Mommy took me to a Botanica. At the time they called it a Centro. The reading they gave Mommy in reference to me would be her secret till I came into my own in my late 20’s. It was then that the prophecy they told her would come to pass.
You cannot tell me that I need to lie down and just exist. That is no longer a choice. I am not nor have I ever been that person. Growing up I was persistent and never took no for an answer. Even in my darkest times in my life I knew this couldn’t be all. I always found my way. I always found a means in which to succeed. I always went into survival mode when the world said no. The world pretty much didn’t hold me or nurture me and tell me I’ll be OK. It never made itself a safe space. I had to create that. At times I had to do it with anger and fists but I made it happen. If anything the world told me why I can’t. That there was no place for me. It made sure that I saw a thousand reasons as to why I could never. For me all I needed was one reason out of 999 to create fire within me to prove the world wrong.
I am here. Present and alive, fully aware that though it is not a guarantee it is better to try and live then to just stay and accept anything that comes my way. I want my piece of the pie regardless of the size of the slice. I am no stranger to the hard work. I am not scared of the battle nor the war. No stranger to struggle. I know what it is to make a little something out of nothing. I’ve greeted many sunrises without and went to sleep with. So you see I wont settle nor sit nor lie down to your concept of what you think of me. My capabilities, my DNA, my wiring, my existence and legacy depends on that I come to the table with something. I can’t be the invited guest that just wants to eat at the table without bringing a thing. I am not that friend/relative that overstays their welcome. No! I come ready! I come willing. I come wanting. I come to learn. Remain flexible to possibilities that destiny will put after lessons learned. I will make my space and leave behind fear. I’m moving forward.