The whole and their parts
I wrote this book with all that is in me. The good the bad, the imperfect human parts of me. Each part labeled something different. As I learn more, experience more, I am not just getting older, I am evolving. I am many things, below are some of the many pieces of me. I do not speak for others, I only speak my truth.
At the age of 12, I started writing poetry as a coping mechanism to deal with my life challenges. I grew up in a family where my mother was often cold and distant. She was more of a guardian than an actual parent to me. I also had a stepfather and was the eldest of four siblings, me being the only stepchild to my stepfather. Needless to say, I was the black sheep of the family. Growing up, I had endured many trials and tribulations. I suffered from mental, physical and sexual abuse from those who were supposed to love and protect me the most. I found myself self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. By the age of 15, I was a drug addict. It was at 16 when I told my mother I was gay. Instead of the warm and accepting embrace I was hoping for, my mother asked me to leave her home. I was left heartbroken and afraid. I had to figure out how I was going to survive on my own because I didn’t have the help of my family. I was afraid to seek help from agencies and outsiders. I did not want to be put into the foster care system or even worse, for them to find out I was undocumented.
I immigrated to this country at the age of 4 in 1989, and did not become a legal resident until 2015. I had to quickly come to terms with my limitations. I was underage, gay, undocumented, homeless and a drug addict. Life was anything but easy for me. I battled with depression for most of my life and had attempted suicide 3 times by age 18. I came very close to succeeding one of those times. I somehow found strength and motivation even in the midst of my despair. Writing was the light at the end of the tunnel for me, my only means of survival at the time. I have been diagnosed, misdiagnosed, and tried a variety of different forms of treatment. Unfortunately, none of these methods could “cure” me of “my condition”. I have greatly healed and coped with my demons through the use of writing and painting. It is in my poetry that I have been able to record my story. It has been one of tragedy, endurance, and harsh realities.
Throughout all odds, I call myself today a survivor. I have succeeded! I stopped doing drugs at the age of 19 and made the decision that my past circumstances would not dictate my future. I worked hard to save money for my education and I am now completing my second year of graduate school. I am married to an amazing woman and we have a beautiful child together. They represent everything I have ever wanted in a family. When I look back at the girl I used to be, it is hard to believe we are the same person. Though I am not ashamed of my past, I celebrate my beginnings because they have made me who I am today.
My story is detailed in my poetry throughout my first book, Not a Fairytale. I opened up and shared my story with others because it is my hope that I can help anyone who is facing similar hardships. After I came out of the shadows and openly spoke of what I went through, as a human being, I found that there are so many people who have gone through similar obstacles. Hearing their stories of resilience moved me and inspired me. It reminded me that I am not alone. Like me there are many who have stories that need to be told. Power from visibility, our stories are valid, they need to be heard.
Finding myself among others like me gave me the strength to write my second book, Not a Writer, where I discussed my then reality. Since then, I have not only grown older, I have evolved. I know that this is only a step forward, healing is a lifelong process so this is not the end. I have learned so much and healed through therapy and writing. Yet, one thing remains the same, I continue to have hope. Hope that through telling my truth others will be reminded that they are not alone, you are not alone.
No matter what your beginnings are, they do not define you. You decide who and what you are. I am still scared about speaking out, about telling my truth, my story. However, if I want to help others I must be brave. Being brave does not mean I am not afraid, it means I am afraid and I do it anyway. I will continue to help others find their own strength so that they too may heal. To those struggling with your own obstacles, I would like to say to you: you will survive, you will succeed, you will be loved, and you are worth fighting for. I hope my story reaches those who need it, and to all others thank you for reading a part of my story.