I grew up with my siblings and my step-father. My mother was the glue that kept us together through it all in her own dysfunctional way. She wasn’t much of a hugger or smothered us with a lot of kisses. She ever so often told us she loves us and never let us leave the house without her blessing. She made sure that growing up we had a roof over our head. She made sure that when the holidays came around we had brand new clothes on our backs. She made sure that the beginning of school and the last day of school we looked as spiffy as possible. That little Puerto Rican native of no education did this all on her own. When she met my step-father she held him down as well. No one had to teach my mother to work. That amazing discipline was built into her. She came from Puerto Rico with it. No one ever told her to stop working after 8 hours every single day. My mother had a vision and never allowed her lack of an education to tell her that she couldn’t do it. I thank GOD I have it. Sometimes I wish that I had that sense of “don’t give a shit” my mother had.
When I think of my mother it marvels me that the word NO was never part of her vocabulary. I am more than sure she fought her own demons when life’s adversity hit her but she never believed that she couldn’t get what she wanted. If she thought of it it was automatically attainable. I never once saw my mother ever fold. When shit got harder she just embraced herself, stuck her heels into the dirt and pulled back. She fought for her respect and space in life. I am absolutely marveled at what this little illiterate jibarita did with her life. Mommy would always tell me- “Never envy the next person Andres because if they can get it so can you. You don’t know what the story is on how they got it.”
This is how I am for the most part. I always had to fight for mine. I always have to be very aware that not everyone that smiles has good intentions. I had to learn real quick that being who I am was going to be a guarantee that men and women will always test me and try to take what is mine just because they feel that they can. It was not an easy life. This lifestyle I live comes with automatic trips and falls. I am going to get hurt, abused and beaten at least once. No matter how protective my family was with me. It is just the way this lifestyle is. Mommy always loved me no matter what and I truly believe that this helped immensely. Mommy never once told me that I couldn’t make it just because I was gay and dark skin. If anything she would tell me- hijo tienes que ser hasta mas. Mommy made sure I understood that people were going to mean to me because of me being gay and if it wasn’t that then it was because I was dark. She knew that I would have to excel in anything I choose to do. This is how it is for me now and I can’t do a thing I have no passion for. If my heart doesn’t feel it I just can’t do it. I can’t find myself not doing a thing that I don’t love. I wear my heart on my sleeve with what I love.
I give my mother all the credit for the stamina and the will I have to keep living. She didn’t allow someone to tell her that she couldn’t do it, if anything that just put more fuel in her fire. She never looked at herself as less than just because she didn’t have the education like the other woman did. She knew that she just had to succeed and wouldn’t settle for just getting by. She raised all of us up with a hard hand, a sharp tongue and a lot of love the only way she knew how- a pura bofeta! I am not saying her methods were the best but they instilled certain things in me that I can honestly say a lot of the youth of today lacks and needs.
So today I take my hat off to her. This little woman that never stopped working, never stopped trying, never stop climbing. To my mother who taught me that you yourself become your biggest deterrent in life. To the little jibarita that taught me that where I come from is an asset. That I can be all I want to be. that through hard work, self-dedication and a sense of kiss my ass I can get anywhere I want and do whatever it is I desire. Gracia vieja te agradesco un monton!!!!!!
I was a very feminine kid. Since I can remember I was always picked on and that is where I learned how to fight. To me it was very natural to be the way I was. I never once thought I was different or that I acted different. To me my ways of being were just as natural as any other kid. My brother played sports I didn’t. I was more into hanging out with the other girls on the block. My mother didn’t say a thing of how I was. Well not in my early years.
Anyway there was a time when Joanne had to go run an errand and left DJ Bacardi to watch us. My baby brother was always a tough kid so people never really bothered him. They told my brother that he can go out and play. When I went to walk with my brother DJ Bacardi pushed me back on the bed. My brother left and when I as left alone DJ Bacardi started to hit me. While hitting me he placed my hand on his crotch. I pulled away and that’s when he got on top of me and pulled my pants off. At that moment Tommy walked into the room. DJ Bacardi told him to shut the door and look out. That’s when he took my innocence. That’s when I think I lost all trust in safety. I was never the same after that. It would take me at least 20 years before I got in touch with the effects of what this act of rape and sexual abuse did to my life.
I have to say that this child abuse from the 2 brothers lasted at least 3 years. It was 3 years that I didn’t say a thing. 3 years that I hated them. The way these two would abuse me and in places that they did it made me feel less and less safe.
One day my mom had thrown a party at our house. Everyone came from the neighbors to family. My mom at this time was also known for throwing parties or get-togethers as she would call them. We lived in a railroad apartment at the time and the only 2 rooms people were in were the living room and the kitchen. The next room was my brother’s room and as company kept coming in my mom would throw the coats on top of the bed. All the lights were also off in the remainder of the rooms. Well I was walking to my room and DJ Bacardi was in my room which was next to my brother’s. He jumped out of the dark, grabbed my mouth and said shut the fuck up. He said to go to my brother’s room and he covered us with the coats. No one was able to see a thing . he pulled down my pants and just fucked me right there. I can remember feeling so alone and dead. Here was this animal force fucking me and no one heard a thing. I even remembered that my mom came into the room and threw a coat right over us. Through the whole time no one came to look for me. Not once did he even stop his rhythm. He fucked me, finished, picked up his pant and left back to the party. I got up with my pants down and went to my room. I got to the back to the festivities a little later and he was there and the way he would look at me would just bring back what he said he would do if I told anyone and that was kill me.