Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Burning in hell, again.

OMG! I received a phone call from my parents last night and decided to answer it because I had been avoiding them long enough and yes, I avoid speaking to them on a regular basis. I have my reasons.

The conversation started out well with my dad, it always does. Then my mother got on the phone and surprisingly, it went well for all of 5.2 seconds. I think that was a record for us.

At 5.3 seconds, she asked me, “Do you go to a Messianic Synagogue?”

My answer? Plain and simple, “No.” And that’s all she needed to sideswipe me with a religious freight train, telling me that I was in the wrong religion because Jews don’t believe in Christ as their savior and that I was going to burn to hell. Yes. Really -she said that.

My mother has had no qualms in telling me 2 out of 3 times that I’m going to burn in hell for this or for that. Yadda, yadda, yadda. You’d think I’d be used to hearing it by now, she did start on her tantrums when I was only 13 and by my calculations, it’s only been what? 30 years that I’ve heard I’m going to burn in hell.

At first, it started because I’m gay, now it’s because I go to a Jewish (non-messianic) Synagogue. What my mother doesn’t know is that I consider myself more spiritual than anything else. Not Jewish, not Christian, not Baptist, not Catholic, not any fucking religion at all. Just Spiritual.

What’s truly sad is that she is so caught up in her own religious insanity that there is no reasoning with her. Believe me, the entire family has tried, for years. Her belief’s about religion and the fear of God’s punishment has driven a canyon through our almost non-existent relationship. And I won’t fool myself, either. Regardless, on the new reason I’m going to burn in hell, it all comes back to me being gay. I know this for a fact!

She will never know what I believe in, what I like, what makes me happy or sad, or who I am. I have lived most of my life knowing that I am her single, most, biggest disappointment.

To me, paying the price of being true to myself has come at a huge cost. It has cost me the luxury of having a loving, caring, nurturing and sane mother. Even to this day, her words cut through me as though I’m hearing them for the first time, again.

That being said, embracing who I am, doesn’t make the pain of what I’ve lost any easier.

I share my experiences, not to get sympathy, but in the hope that someone will find comfort knowing that there are others  who bear the cost of being true to themselves, as well. You are not alone.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Coming out

Everyone has their own coming out stories. For some of my friends, it was simply not to deny that they were lesbians. For others, it was what I called the weekend lesbian warriors, which consisted of going to a gay/lesbian club on Friday and Saturday nights.

For me, however, coming out meant screaming it from the rooftops and I didn’t have a rooftop high enough or a voice loud enough so I did the next best thing. I came out on the front page of the Miami Herald, October 16th, 1983 (hey, no comments about the year) Sunday edition. This is the picture the news reporter used, which is also my favorite photo.


Can you imagine the exhilaration I felt? Everyone, everywhere would know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had accepted who I was. I bought dozens of newspapers, not including the free copies the Miami Herald gave me, and distributed them everywhere I went. Yup, that was me, parading around like a proud rooster on that warm, sunny day.

My all-to-full-of-myself-attitude lasted for about as long as it took for my distraught family to call me, insisting that the newspaper had made a mistake. It never occurred to me that my Cuban family would ever see the American newspaper and the last thing I wanted to do was to hurt my grandmother.

There I was on the phone explaining that the news reporter was right. That I was in fact, a lesbian, and that now, everyone knew it. It broke my heart that my grandma found out that way. I was so caught up in doing the right thing by my community that I neglected to think about the right thing for myself.

Do I regret coming out the way I did? Yes and no. Yes because I wanted to be and should have been the one to personally tell my grandma. She shouldn’t have found out from her neighbor. And no because it was something that I needed to do to start claiming my own individuality.

Fear not, my grandma loves me very much, and excluding my parents of course, the rest of my family is extremely accepting, especially since I have a wifey they all love. Shit, now they call to speak to her, instead of me. Go figure. LOL

My lesson? Think through the consequences of my actions – a lesson that has stuck with me for the last 28 years.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Boogie down!

This week, I wanted to celebrate and what better way of doing that, than to showcase the music that has helped, supported or just brought us together as a community? Get your boogie on and dance!

Monday, April 18, 2011

I was "Born This Way"

BornthiswayemailPeople have asked me if I would change anything about my past. Here’s the thing, it has made me who I am today. So, my answer is no.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been through things that made me wish, I had never been born. Yeah, one day I’ll share the details, but for now, trust me when I say that I’ve learned some pretty serious lessons.

There isn’t much you can say that I can’t in some way relate to. Child abuse, drugs, attempted suicide, psychotic break, rape - been there and I don't ever have to go there again, but that's for another post.

My childhood wasn’t prefect, far from it, but I’ve taken my lessons and put them to good use. I’ve worked at getting rid of the shit I didn’t want, and I didn't want to continue the dysfunctional cycle that encompassed my family.

Only through blood, sweat and tears was I able to break many unhealthy cycles and it didn’t happen without pain, if it had it would have been a vacation, not one of life’s lesson’s.

Lesson’s are supposed to hurt. They are supposed to turn our world upside-down and make us not only question, but challenge ourselves into being a better partner, a better parent, a better person.

A friend once told me that “Love was letting go of fear.” I didn’t understand until I started doing some soul-searching of my own and realized that for most of my life, I had reacted out of fear. Fear of not being loved, not being accepted, not being heard, not being respected. Fear had dictated most of my life and I was none the wiser to it.

For me, Born This Way is more than mere words. It’s a dedication and a promise to myself to continue striving to become the best of who I am.

It’s a reminder that even though I am still a work in progress, I am perfect in my own right and as Lady Gaga said, "I was born to survive."

Friday, April 15, 2011

Learned Lessons

I remember times when I said, “I wish someone had told me that.” Well, I’m going to share a few of them with you.

I’ve learned that:
1- Time happens. It doesn’t alter course for anyone.
2- You have to love someone enough to let them go.
3- There is no such thing as “winter” air for your tires.
4- You can go on, long after you think you can’t.
5- 70% of my grey hair is from buying a house.
6- Success is measured by the friends you have, not who you know.
7- You don't have to follow your friends off a bridge.
8- NEVER get in the way of someone’s coffee-break.
9- If you’re doing something you can’t tell your partner about, you shouldn’t be doing it.
10- Give time, time.
11- Life isn’t fair.
12- I’ve learned to take hints.
13- No one can win an argument with a cop, except a Judge.
14- My gut is seldom wrong.
15- Karma’s a bitch.
16- At some point, staying out until 4 AM is just painful.
17- Some people are just not tired enough.
18- Miscommunication is the biggest communication problem people have.
19- Bad things do happen to good people.
20- People deserve a second chance, not a third.
21- If I don’t love myself, I can’t expect others to love me.
22- Between 40 and 60, age is relative.
23- You usually find something when you stop looking, including love.
24- You can’t run away from your problems, no matter where you go, there you are.
25- Most people don't masturbate enough.
26- Once a cheater, always a cheater.
27- I don't need a "Real Man" to show me what I'm missing.
28- I'm more of a man then most males I know.
29- Mine will always be bigger.
And finally,
30- NO ONE can fix, stupid!

Share some of your lessons…

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Whose God?

Coming to terms with who I was at such a young age, didn't deter what I call my unruly teens. Coming out wasn't enough for me. I had questions I needed answers to.

When I was almost 18, I ran away from home and the most painstaking part of that was leaving my younger brother and sister behind. I felt as though I had abandoned them and to this day, I still carry some of that guilt, but the truth was that running away probably saved my life.

For many years, I found myself living the American dream. Sex, drugs and rock-n-roll (well, it was more of the, The Rocky Horror Picture Show instead of rock-n-roll) but you get the point.

I had to experience the world for what it truly was, not the sheltered bubble my parents raised me in and so, I ventured out.

This is the part where most people would rather not talk about, but what the hell...

One thing my parents really drilled into my head was the concept of God. My life spiraled out of control while I tried to find a happy medium with what they had taught me about God and the life I knew I was supposed to live. I lived with the belief that no matter what I did, I was going to hell as punishment for being myself, and I gave my guardian angels a run for their money. Yes, the idea of a "hell" was that embedded in me.

It wasn't until my third suicide attempt that one of the state appointed therapist asked me what I had learned about God. My answer? Everything my parents had taught me. Then she said, "you learned about your parents God. I want to know about yours." Little did I realize that simple statement would change my life, forever.

The real work began when I started questioning the type of God, I had been taught to believe in. A vengeful and punishing God, who would make me as I am, then banish me to hell for it.

After years of therapy, I formed my own beliefs about a loving, kind, forgiving and nurturing God. I was finally able to say that God didn't betrayed me or play a cruel joke on me. I now believe in my own God, and she believes in me.

Feel free to borrow mine, if your're afraid of yours :0)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Realizing who I was…a defining moment

Here’s a bit of history that most people don’t know about me.

Growing up, I never had a moment when I thought, “Shit! I’m a lesbian.”

From a very young age, I always knew that the other girls were different. As far back as I can remember, girls liked boys, and they liked wearing frilly, lace outfits. They weren’t like me. Even back then, I had a chivalrous attitude toward women. I wanted to hold the door open for girls, show them exclusivity, to treat them with respect and be someone that they would be proud to stand next to. 

Then, I hit my teen years, and my parents started to notice that, their pretty little girl wasn’t so girlie, after all. I remember that dreaded day in Junior High when my mom threw away all my jeans, pants and shorts leaving me with nothing but dresses and skirts to wear. Do you know how hard it is to play baseball or hop over fences in a freaking dress? Not to mention that the boys who were afraid of me, just didn’t see me as tough after I paraded around in that hot pink chiffon dress. I had officially lost my pecking order and the feelings of not belonging, set in. I spent most of my younger teenage years searching for other’s like me. I was lost and alone in world full of people.

My parents started, what I call, religion hopping until they found a church that was willing to baptize me for the 10th time.

When that failed to save me, it was therapy. I remember the therapist asking me if there was anything I felt I needed to talk about and my grand answer was…yeah, my parent's inability to commit to one religion.

While I was hospitalized, the therapist discussed my fascination for wearing pants/jeans/shorts and for me preferring to button my shirts left over right, which I later found out was traditionally designed for men, as opposed to right over left, for women. Who knew? I just knew it felt more comfortable for me. Little did I know that it was the sweet makings of a butch in progress. LOL

When therapy failed to cure me, exorcism was next and oh boy, what an experience that was!

There I was, 14 years old and sneaking in way past my curfew, drunk and feeling not so good, if you know what I mean. Sitting there next to my mom were two priests armed with crucifixes, candles, bibles and their little smoking things, which made my stomach, turn south. Due to the alcohol I consumed at the party earlier, I don’t remember much except that I puked on one of the priests.

I was baptized, hospitalized and exorcised in an effort to save my soul, but save my soul from what? It wasn’t until I met my first love, at the tender age of 15 that I finally understood.

She said, “You’re a girl. You're not supposed to like girls. It means you’re a lesbian and besides that, you’re too damn butch for me.” She kissed me and walked out of my life, forever. That brief encounter taught me more than any church or therapist ever could. As her soft, tender lips pressed against mine, something inside me clicked and I knew I was no longer lost.

Right then, the heavens opened up for me, and I swear I heard the angels sing, maybe it was from all the baptisms, but that was my, Damn! I am butch hear me roar moment. Not to be confused with my coming out moment, two different subjects and two different stories. And the rest is history from there.

The one thing I remember clearly from my childhood was that even though I didn’t know what I was, unconsciously, I knew that being attracted to girls was a part of who I was.

What if any, was a defining moment in your life?