Life isn't always good, but living is always great!!!
At a young age of 5, I knew there was something very "different" about me. There was this very obviously external but an even more internal difference about me compared to all the other boys. I wasn't interested in most typical boy activities. Yes, I enjoyed going outside and having fun, but I'd rather stay inside with my sister and play tea party or with her Barbie dolls. Growing up in a very strict Pentecostal home, it was even the more confusing for me. I grew up with it embedded in my mind that gay people will go to hell. So I battled this all my life. I dealt with the tormenting storm that raged in my head continually. At the age of 12, we moved to rural Arkansas. You just don't know hate until you move to a good ole straight boy kind of a place. The bullying I went through was unbearable at times. My 7th through 12th grade was a living hell on earth for me. The constant teasing and name callings became so bad that I felt like I'd be better off dead than to continue to endure the abuse. Sure I went to the teachers and the principle, but they just sugar coated it and said, "oh it will be ok just ignore them". That is what is wrong with our school systems then and today; they don't want to admit there are bullying issues because then they have to admit that they are failing as leaders in the educational system. I mean how does a child ignore being called queer, fagot, bootie bandit, d$&@ sucker and nig&@$ lover? (The majority of my friends were black girls, so I also was called racist names). The teachers and principal didn't realize nor care that I was having thoughts of suicide. The school I attended was 7th grade through 12th grade. It had this creepy old musty basement that I use to fantasize about hanging myself. Even today I can smell the musk filled smell that permeated the air down there. It was the perfect place to end my pain. I remember thinking how much easier it would be if the abuse just simply stopped. I remember saying this is the only way to truly end the pain completely. I remember thinking how less of an embarrassment I would be to my parents, my family and my church if I were just dead and never admitted that I was indeed gay. I would have hung myself in the basement because no one hardly ever went down there and they wouldn't have missed me anyways; well until they started smelling my decaying body that is. Yes, my parents, of course, would have been looking for me, but the school basement would have been the last place they would have thought of looking. It as just a place where they stored props and stuff that the school never really used anymore.
However, there were 3 main reasons, at this time of my life, that I didn't end my life and they are as follows:
1. My parents would hurt so terribly bad and I couldn't stand knowing that I brought them so much pain. They instilled in me great morals and strong Christian values that I still to this day apply to my every day living. My Mommy is my everything. She has always been my rock. She has always been that person that made me feel important and special.
2. As I said earlier, I was raised in a Christian home. Not just a Christian home, but a Pentecostal Christian home where you go to hell if you sneeze wrong. Just kidding, but not really. I was taught that one, it's a sin to be gay and I will go to hell, then secondly, if I committed suicide then I also go straight to hell. So call my teaching right or wrong, it saved my life. My love for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit was stronger than my desire to go to hell. So I thank my parent for teaching me the love of God and that you have to follow rules in life.
3. Let me tell you about this wonderful and loving black lady that worked as a custodian at my school. This God sent angel took it upon herself to protect me from my bullies. During lunch breaks when she would see that I was being picked on or bullied, she would secretly bring me into the custodian's office so I wouldn't be attacked. It may sound strange to some, but I can still hear her sweet voice saying, "baby don't let those bullies get you down. Don't let them get to you. Pray and give it to God and keep on being the wonderful young man you are". After encouraging me she would say a simple prayer over me. Then we would watch whatever soap opera was playing at the time.
Had it not been for those three reasons, I would have never lived past the 7th grade. I would not be writing this for you to read. Some may ask, are you bitter? Not at all. My strength and my faith are only stronger because of the things I went through. It has made me a better person and a stronger person.
The next part of my life is very difficult to talk about because it is a demon I hate to conjure back up. From childhood to my early teen years, I was molested by my uncle. He wasn't the only one that molested me, but he was the one that did it on a daily basis. It was a very dark and dismal time in my life. As a child, I was trying to deal with the entire gay issue that myself didn't understand. My uncle knew I was gay. He picked up on it as so many others did and acted upon it like a lioness on a gazelle. It was a ying and yang type situation. What he did was so very wrong to do to a child. NO CHILD SHOULD GO THROUGH WHAT I WENT THROUGH. He scarred me for life. Then, on the other hand, I desired that part of my life so much, that he became that addiction fix for me. It was just like a drug. He used to tell me that if I ever told anyone that he would hurt me or he would tell my parents that I grabbed his penis. Then as I got older he said that he would bring harm to my loved ones if I ever told. I knew what we were doing was wrong and I knew it was destroying me internally, but I just became so used to the needles and didn't even fight the drug anymore. I remember wishing I was dead so I wouldn't hurt any more or wake up to deal with this sexual monster. Once I met my girlfriend, eventually wife, he stopped, but then I use to worry about him abusing my kids. I remember watching him with an eagle eye. Had he touched one of my kids I would have killed him where he stood. Am I bitter? Not really. I learn about 20 years ago not to let others control you. I saw this church marquee sign that read, "Those who anger you, control you". That resonated deep in my soul that I still apply it to my everyday life. Even though my uncle never apologized to me before he died, I forgave him a long time ago so he could no longer control my life. He's dead now and I pray he made things right with God before he died for the pain he caused me and others in my family. Yes, I recently found out that I wasn't the only one that he molested. I still can't bring myself to say rest in peace yet. To everyone reading this, if you have been through this, my best advice to you is to forgive them. Not for them, but for you. This allows YOU to take the control back from them and back in YOUR hands. Give it to God and let HIM take care of the monsters. God doesn't sleep and He loves you and so do I.
Now skip forward to 2009/2010 when I finally came out to my wife, kids, and family. It was the single-handedly most difficult thing I ever did. It brought pain and shame to so many people. I hurt everyone I loved. Then in the process, I lost a lot of people who I thought loved me. I remember this one time I was having a very bad day from the battle inside my own heart, soul, and mind. I took a very long depressed walk back to my old house where my, at the time, wife lived because I needed to make sure she didn't hate me. You see what some may not understand is this, my wife and I were best friends. We started dating at the age of 15 and was married at the age of 17. We were married for 24 years when I came out as being gay. Even with that, she stood by me and we were still friends. This is just how amazing this lady was/is. Well, I was on Alma St crying and just so confused and just not sure about whether I even wanted to live anymore. All I could think was if I were dead it would make everyone's life better because then they could just get over the fact that their husband/daddy/son/brother/cousin/friend was a big gay guy now. As I was walking I heard a noise behind me. There was a butane gas truck coming down the road at a good rate of speed. I positioned myself to jump out in front of the truck and just end everyone's suffering, hurts, and pains. Right as the truck got to me, just as I was supposed to take that leap of fate, I couldn't do it. I remember collapsing into a squat and screamed my lungs out. I was mad because I chickened out and I was angry because I even thought about killing myself. Let's just say I am so glad I didn't jump because now I am married to the most amazing man. My amazing 5 kids have given me 12 BEAUTIFUL grandkids. I'm extremely happy with my life. Yes, there are those who I valued as my best friends and close family friends that still don't talk to me. Heck, my own church exiled me pretty much, but I had to let that go because cream rises to the top. Are things 100% in my life? Of course not. Nobody's life is 100%. Am I bitter? No boo. If you change the I to an E, then you'll know what I am. I'm BETTER.
This is just a small insight into my life. This is just a drop in the bucket what all I truly went through. This is why I'm so passionate about Team LifeLines Suicide Awareness & Prevention, Inc. This is why I blow up the Facebook page every single day with stuff about if you need help I am here. This is why I make sure that people know they are loved and that they know that they are NOT ALONE. I want to make sure the girl, boy, woman or man doesn't jump off the ledge, jump off the chair with a rope around their neck, swallow those pills, cut their wrist, pull the trigger or jump in front of the truck like I almost did. I want to be, Team LifeLines wants to BE THE VOICE that screams out I LOVE YOU, YOU ARE IMPORTANT, YOU HAVE A PURPOSE, I WANT TO HELP YOU, DON'T DO IT. We need to be, no we HAVE to be their LifeLines. Please join me today by joining Team LifeLines, donate money, donate time to help me raise money at fundraisers and or come out and help us make a difference. I'm leaving the link again for you to register on Team LifeLines. May God richly bless you all. Remember if you ever feel unloved,
I LOVE YOU TO THE MOON AND BACK!
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