When the truth is clawing its way through my being, you are my only solace. I see you everywhere. You’re the first thing I hear in the morning. I fall asleep to your music every night only to hear you in my dreams. You pervade my thoughts, begging for union.
I found you when I was 4 years old and I regret all the times I’ve neglected your company. You are my words. I wrote pretty regularly throughout my childhood/teenage years. I would write poems about people I loved: crushes, singers, etc. For a while I would mostly write out the lyrics of songs I resonated with.
I’ve always had such a strong connection to the written word, though I could never put into writing the sense of comfort they brought me. Thankfully, Bjork did. She said “There are certain emotions in your body that not even your best friend can sympathize with, but you will find the right film or the right book, and it will understand you.” During my darkest times I would write poems about how much I hated life and wanted to die. When I was 16 I ran away from home and my parents tore apart my room, trying to find a clue as to where I had went. They found my notebooks and my Queer as Folk DVDs in the process. I remember my father interrogating me about who one of my love poems was about, where he lived, if we’d ever met. It was torturous, but not as suffocating as it’s felt to be silent for so long after. I’m just now realizing how much that invasion of privacy stunted my future writing and made it so hard to even approach.
Franz Kafka said, “A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.” So, I’m here and I’m writing. I’m writing for you. I’m writing for me. I’m writing because so much has happened and so much has gone unsaid. I’m writing for change. I’m writing in the hopes that my story will help you in any way it can.
Some days it feels easier, almost natural to forget what I’ve overcome. The cycles of numbing have become so routine that to be truly awake feels like madness, at least in the modern world, working dead-end jobs in an atmosphere that sees people as profits or losses. I live for those days/weeks/nights/moments when I am awake, sober, and surrounded by enough love to remind me that I can and did survive my past; the fact that I can build whatever life I want.
See, the thing is, I never really forget. The truth is there, it’s just more real when whatever drug wears off, whether it be weed, booze, or sex. Not to say I don’t love a good party with friends or a night out dancing my ass off, but habitually numbing myself just creates stagnation; a slow uneventful death with nothing learned.
I turned 25 this May, it was the first birthday in a long time that I actually felt. Something shifted so hard that my gears were stripped bare. I went home for my birthday for the first time in three years. It was wonderful and scary as hell to see all the family I had spent my first 18 years with. I have 12 siblings total, the older ones are a half-brother on each side and a half-sister on my mom’s side, making me the firstborn between my parents. Everyone younger than me still lives at home. I never get used to how quickly they grow up, they look so different every time I see them. I’m so scared to think that they’re going through what I did. I’ve told each of them that they can confide in me anything in the world, but it’s hard to see it when you’re in it.
This visit was the first time I had seen my family since I confronted my parents two Christmases prior. I spent a year in therapy preparing for that day and apparently needed a year and a half to heal enough after it to go back. Before I tell you too much about where/who I am, I should fill you in on how. I’ve been living and dying to myself over and again in Portland, OR for almost three years. I was born in Texas, and I love so many people and places there, but there was never a doubt in my mind about leaving. It was hard and painful, but change brings pain and pain brings change.
I grew up in a house that was so many things, hyper-religious bullshit and a tainted idea of love were force-fed to me since I was born. I was even named out of the bible. I was told my whole life that I was named by the “one true Christian god” and that my name meant “a gift set aside for the lord”. The fact that my parents named me after a Hebrew word that meant “sacrifice or offering to god” didn’t really sink in until I was 24. Just recently I did some digging and found that my name derives from the same root as “to come near, to approach…to become closely involved in a relationship with someone.” My research led me to understand that my name doesn’t mean a sacrifice to god so much as it represents what comes after sacrifice; what the gift giver is striving for: closeness with deity. Once I applied my idea of deity, which I see as the energy inside, around and between everything…connecting us all, I was filled with a new-found appreciation for my name. As for my idea of love, I’ve always known that my parents love me, but only in their definition of love. My definition has no exceptions. I see love as more of a state of being, than an action. Your actions speak for themselves. They speak volumes about how much love you’re living in.
When my parents tried to rid me of my “demons of homosexuality”, there was no love involved, only fear and hate. I saw no love in my father’s eyes when he told me to stand at the end of his bed, waiting to be struck by his belt. I didn’t know if he’d do it, but I didn’t care either. I’m not sure I could even feel pain in that moment. I sure as hell felt it later though. I’ve learned that you always feel it, today, next year, the next time you get too drunk..you feel it. So I feel it, I remember. I hold space for my truth and I encourage everyone to do the same. I will never live another person’s idea of life, simply because I don’t want to look at myself and ask what the fuck I want out of this ride.