I am an American made up of Cuban parts. I am the last of 3 highly accomplished children who broke his parents’ hearts by coming to terms with the truth. My parents never understood the anger and disappointment I displayed but they have come to recognize the beauty and peace I have encountered when I embraced my identity. I told them 6 months ago and surprisingly the world didn’t end like I had expected, instead I was embraced by them. They love me and the rest of my family loves me, too. They vowed to always stand by my side and want nothing but happiness for me.
I never imagined coming out to my family so soon but life threw me a few curve balls that forced me to face the music. For starters I needed to make good on a promise I made to myself after having left my ex. I vowed to never date in the dark. I made a promise to be honest and live life the way it was intended for me. As luck would have it I met someone who made me re-examine myself and made me think deeply about what I wanted. Secondly, I was tired of being upset, being angry and watching my life pass me by. For all the accomplishments, for the all the successes, I remained a failure in my private life. I did not know what it was to love to freely, to love openly and to love honestly. I wanted to love like everyone else and I decided that I needed to make it happen.
Since this is my story and I am the writer I have begun rewriting the pre-planned history everyone thought I would live out. I came out to my friends first and each of them accepted me. Next I came out to my older brother, next I told my parents and lastly I told my sister. It was not easy for them (huge understatement); they asked me why, when, how, and I simply sat and watched as the dreams they held inside crumbled. I cried with them and shared their pain yet reassured them that the son they’ve raised and loved had not left nor abandoned them.
Accepting myself as a gay man has been a long, difficult journey. I suffered in silence and wondered too often when and how it would all end. I withdrew from those who loved me because I was afraid to love myself. When I reached my breaking point, all that was left of me was my true self, far stronger than I could have ever imagined and with that strength I was born again and faced my deepest fears head on with a quiet resolve I never knew I had. I have never felt stronger in my life as I do now.
To this day I will never know what came over me but what I do know is that it saved my life. Each day is a challenge but the peace and joy I experience through honesty reminds me how important it is to be true with myself and those who love me. Although there are times when I wonder what will come next, what matters for me now is the present. It truly is a gift.