I grew up in a time where I was not suppose to have a voice. I was a dark skin Latino. I was gay. I was on constant survival mode. I wasn’t embraced and I knew that anytime I chose to be seen whether it was with my voice or my presence I would have to prepare myself for someone, anyone because they were going to say something. Backing down wasn’t a choice. I learned that at a very early age in the hood even if it meant I was going to lose physically I made sure that you remembered our confrontation. It was about respecting me, having to think twice before starting with me. I sharpened my tongue because it had to have a ready made arsenal of words that I can stand on. You couldn’t hurt me without me hurting you back verbally. What was funny is that being gay at the time (80’s) everyone tried me. Not just the straight over machismo guys which in my eyes were the most threatened by me but there was also the real smart guys, the not so attractive guys that wanted to make passes at me on the hush, the angry women who never understood or the religious zealots for you can’t be born gay and even the quiet ones. The ones that disturbed me the most were the ones like me-gay. It seemed like everyone always had something to say that was not nice or tried to put their hands on me.
Being young it tends to break your spirit. You want to go away and find a place that is peaceful, not full of hate and dirty looks, a place where you are embraced and nurtured exactly for how you are. More times then not that place is not home. It is within you, it’s in books, it’s in the pages of your diary or journal, it’s in the music, it’s in the dance. That is where I found me. Even if for a few hours it was my space. I was happy there. It’s where I nurtured all things artistic. So while others did it to entertain I did it to survive. It’s where I wrote the wish it could be, this is how it should be and one day it will be. When I danced there was no identity lines. Your feet was your fave and I had a very pretty set of feet when I hit the dance floor. It was between the pen and the dancing that I found me. I found my worth. I found my gift. The special thing that was common amongst others that were into the arts, any type. 


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