Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Price Of Bravery; Counting Back From 40

I’ve never boasted about being brave and in light of some of the stories I’ve heard from folks who came to the U.S. from other countries, I know that there are varying degrees of what bravery really is.

I remember being 15-years old and being asked by my parents – in a good cop-bad cop way – if I was gay. The two people I feared most in life discovered evidence that pointed to my being gay and confronted me in an inquisition that ended with an ultimatum. My father insisted I give it up – being gay – or leave his home.

Even then, leaving the only home I’d ever known to live on the streets of NYC seemed like an easier prospect than denying who I was. It just seemed that I had finally taken a deep breath after having hands around my throat and allowing those hands to take hold again was unthinkable.

The next three-to-four years of my life were difficult at best. I bounced from friend’s homes, to well-wishers to folks who will prey on children in the name of charity. I suffered indignities that I succeeded in repressing so far in my unconscious, that today, the very thought of speaking them out loud hurts my chest.

When I finally met my first partner, I endured a physically abusive relationship in the name of having a stable home. Dangled outside a 4-story window, precariously held by a belt loop from a car moving at 70 miles per hour and having my face slapped so hard I wished I’d passed out so that my nose didn’t hurt so bad – all in the name of normalcy.

Living my life as an out and proud gay man was a choice that came at a very high price. While I have an open mind toward folks who do not share a respect for diversity, I have a difficult time sitting back while someone is disrespected or treated inhumanely. Similarly, I cannot relate to someone who in adulthood struggles with coming to terms with who they are and living in their truth.

As my 40th birthday approaches, I’m filled with a sense of pride at how far I’ve come from that frightened 15-year old boy that was cast to the wolves. So many of the youngsters I remember sharing the street with are long gone, consumed by drugs, disease and despair. It is by God’s will that I’m here. It is by God’s will that I have the resilience to show bravery as the man HE created.

To my fallen friends who didn’t have the luxury of a fourth decade of life, I acknowledge that I’m here because of you. Your bravery taught me the skills to survive and, at times, you took the blows intended for me. Today, I can only live in pride and truth because the price of bravery is too high to squander on present day pleasantries.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow

Ty said...

These are the stories that I believe so many of young, and closeted gay people need to here. Coming out, sometimes, has a price but there is life afterwards. A life without having to continually lie about who you are or who you want to be with. A life where you can breath and just be. Thanks for sharing.

thegayte-keeper said...

WOW WHAT A AN ENTRY...THANKS FOR SHARING THIS...YOU MADE IT FOR A REASON.

Anonymous said...

Sir, your authenticity has slain me.

My heart keeps turning over and over again. You have moved me to tears, which is a feat due to some of the very things you described – the good and the bad. I can feel how this entry came from a very sincere and private place, and was beautifully written.

Thank you so much for speaking, sharing and walking in your truth. It is these types of testimonies that save lives and renew spirits.

I do not attend church, but brother you brought the word! Thank you. Now I smile.

TODD-N-ATL

Caspar608 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeremy said...

Wow! Interesting road.

E said...

Cocoa Rican...your story of your experiences makes me both happy and sad. If you hadn't gone through what you've been through, you wouldn't be the man you are today.

I know you'll have a fierce 40th in the PR..:-)

Joey Bahamas said...

U are truly brave,Unc! Brave because you haven't become bitter and pessimistic about love and life. It's a lesson so many of us can learn.

love,

JB

One Man’s Opinion said...

Wow, you put it all out there, brother. Thank you so much for sharing that story and being real about it. I also checked out your new, blog and was watching the Color Lines documentary. It took that damn blog forever to down load. lol

~Feenix~ said...

Greetings,

I truly believe that everyone has a talent. It takes some longer than others to acknowledge, and then begin to practice, that talent.

Like me, one of your talents appears to be expression. Being able to deliver a message with such conviction is a TALENT...

In your post you spoke of life and not once did you point the finger and place blame. You accepted the road you traveled and by doing so EVERYONE can walk away with something by reading your post.

Much Love,
~feenix

Check me out: www.feenixfire.blogspot.com