My Life: Latino Perspective Song Review

Best way for retaliation, beat them at their own game

Standing at the mountain top, scream it loud and proclaim

I am proud of my culture and my heritage

God’s gift, I am Mexican American!

Leon B, a new artist from Orange County, California, just released a song called Latino Perspective. In it, he sends a rally cry for all Latinos across the nation to unite, proclaim their heritage, and be proud of it. At a time where most artist are rap about getting money and being on drugs, it’s refreshing to hear an honest  take on the climate of today’s Latin community. Leon B urges those in his community to take a look at themselves and realize that there’s no limit to what they can contribute to society. With an old-school beat and honest lyrics, Latino Perspective sends a powerful message and gives us a glimpse into the music of Leon B.

 

Click the link to hear the full version of Latino Perspective

Also, subscribe and follow Leon B at:

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKG47Qj5YKuOlBxF4O_j5Rg

Twitter: https://twitter.com/whoisleon_b

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/whoisleon_b/

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My Life: The Unspoken Monologue

As a school assignment, we were to give a presentation about the reasons why we wanted to be a therapist. I, of course, decided to write a monologue about my life and how it led to me being in a classroom learning skills to become one. However, as the weeks progressed and my monologue became more personal, I decided that I was not ready to share. Instead I gave a presentation using family photos that showed a glimpse into my personal life. I concluded by saying that I wanted to be a therapist for my family. Funny, how I almost convinced myself that this was the truth.

Through the process of looking at my childhood, adolescence, and adult life, I discovered just how much of my past I had been running from. I do hope everything makes sense. Thank you.

In order to understand why I want to be therapist, I had to reflect back.

I thought of when I was a kid and how I constantly heard my mom get yelled at by my dad.

I remember how she just stood there, took it all, and begged him to stop drinking.

I thought about when my dad drank, his anger, and the pain I felt when he hit me and my older brothers.

I remember my older brothers, the drugs they took, them getting locked up, and taken away.

I thought about how alone I felt, the bad thoughts in my head, and how scared I was of someone finding out.

As a child, I wanted to escape my family.

But those thoughts of hanging and drowning myself became unbearable.

Instead, I decided to separate myself from my family. That way their problems were no longer mine.

My older brother wasn’t schizophrenic. He faked all the voices he heard in his head. And just for attention, he lost those twenty pounds. Barely slept. Never showered. He stunk so bad from not cleaning himself after going to the restroom that my dad forced him into the bathtub, yelled at him, and threw water on him until he was clean. Slowly his screams faded. He never learned his lesson.

My other brother, I hated him. His promises and his lies. The last real conversation I had with him was when we were both outside staring at the clouds and he turned to me and told me that things were only going to get worse from there on. This was before the meth. Before he got locked up for breaking into an empty house to sleep in when my dad finally decided to kick him out. Before the drugs messed with his head so much that he could barely speak in complete sentences.

At the age of fourteen, I convinced myself that they deserved it. We stopped talking soon after.

Years later when both were deported, I was too focused on school to care. And when one of them went missing, I was too concerned with moving to San Francisco to pursue a degree in a field that helps people that he never crossed my mind. And when I graduated, I was too obsessed with finding the right job that I had forgotten to visit the remaining one. And when I got the job, I was too stressed out to notice that he needed my help.

At the group home, I worked most days and long hours. Heard all these tragic stories by clients. I thought I was making a difference.

Then one day, a client ran away and I ran after her. I didn’t mind her cursing at me or the fact that I was running into traffic. I needed to save her. We ran far until she eventually got tired and decided to lie on the grass. She turned to me and asked why I didn’t just leave her. Nobody wanted her and nobody cared. I stood there silently. As she began to cry, I thought about how alone she felt. Her life full of pain. How much she reminded me of my older brothers. All her life she struggled with abuse. At the age of eleven she started using drugs. At thirteen she was arrested. And at fourteen she was sent to the group home. Before she ran away, she was told that she needed to stay there a few months longer because she was caught using drugs again. She told me she felt stuck and just wanted to be home and see her family. As I looked back at her, I finally said that I cared for her and the only thing that mattered in that moment was her. She began to cry again, but a few minutes later she stopped. A staff came and we were able to get her to return back. The next day she thanked me for running after her and to let me know that I was fast as hell. I smiled. Weeks later she relapsed and months later she ran away again. I will never know what happened to her or if I ever made an impact.

So why do I want to become a therapist?

Because of the guilt. Because I convinced myself that if I help others, it will ease the pain of not helping my older brother’s. But it won’t. And I will continue to search for that missing void in my life. And it will hurt. But in time, I will learn to let go. Learn that not all the things I experienced were my fault. I know that’s not the healthiest reason. Or a good one. But that’s the truth. And perhaps, that’s what that assignment was all about.

 

Here’s a link to the audio version of my post. Thank you for all the support.

The Roommate Who Saved My Life

When I was 21 years old, I moved to San Francisco by myself. At that time, I didn’t realize just how lonesome the real world could be.

This is the story of how my roommate saved my life and how I wasn’t there to save his.

His name was Justin, a sailor who had recently moved from Maine to San Francisco in order to attend the local community college. He was white, short, and skinny. He often wore tight t-shirts, tight cut-off shorts, and too much makeup that made him look feminine. He fit my stereotypical image of a gay man, so I knew he was gay when I first saw him. He was flamboyant when he wanted to be and usually spoke whatever was on his mind, no matter how inappropriate his comments were at times.

We were the complete opposites, but we got along quite well. We shared details about our lives during the first days he moved into the house, and we quickly developed a friendship. I wanted to be completely honest with him, so I decided to tell him I was gay. At first, he looked at me in shock and then, very excitedly, told me he would take me to gay clubs, bars, and show me around the city. I smiled. He was my first true friend in San Francisco.

On our first night out, Justin gave me vodka to calm my nerves, but I felt more nervous and drunk by the time we arrived at the club. Once inside, I couldn’t believe I was seeing men kiss, touch, and dance with each other. Suddenly, I became part of the gay world and I felt strange and partly scared. I wanted to go back, but Justin didn’t allow me. My world had just been changed and Justin was to thank.

While inside the club, Justin warned me that the gay world was all about sex and that I should be careful because men in these clubs prey on younger guys. I looked around and saw a room full of friendly men; his comment confused me. He advised that long-distance relationships do not work because most gay guys cheat; I assured him that my boyfriend and I were happy even if we were living far away from each other. Finally, he told me that most gay guys in the community have fucked around with each other, so a true gay platonic friendship was rare. I didn’t know what to say; I had no intentions of messing around with him.

That night an older man tried to take me to his place because he knew I was drunk. Luckily, Justin found me before my panic attack worsened and we took a taxi back home. After that incident, he told me that he would be there to protect me. And he kept his word.

I can go on and tell you about the many times Justin took care of me when we went out clubbing or how he called me a prude for being so afraid to show my sexuality. Or that one night he said I dressed too “straight” and decided to dress me in a tight flannel shirt that showed some skin. Or how we spent hours in his room talking about music, our families, our relationships, and the little friends we had. But that’s not the story I want to tell.

Justin passed away in April of 2012. He was only 22.

I had only known him for 2 months before he moved back home, but that was enough for us to consider each other friends. But soon I became busy with school and we hardly talked. I last messaged Justin a few weeks before his death to tell him that my boyfriend had cheated on me throughout our relationship. Justin was right, gay guys often cheat.

I learned of Justin’s death later that month. It was ruled as an accidental fall.

Truth of the matter, Justin had been going through some hard times. He didn’t have many true gay friends he could talk with about his problems, so he often took trips by himself when he wanted to clear his head. I often wonder what would have happened if I was there to talk with him during the night he fell off the tower. Truth is, I often think about him.

You see, Justin tried to teach me about the gay community, but he taught me about life. Older, more experienced, individuals can take advantage of younger, less experienced, people. Sometimes relationships just end or people cheat while being in one. More importantly, he taught me that true friends are rare.

I needed Justin during that time in my life. The gay world for a newly “out” individual can be dangerously lonely.

On the night he moved out, we were avoiding that awkward goodbye hug. Finally, after constantly checking his room for any missing belongings, he approached me. He gave me a hug and said that I was one of the good guys. He said that I shouldn’t be afraid of being myself, my gay self, and to take care of myself. I told him I would try to be more gay and for him to take care of himself too.

If I knew that would be the last time we would see each other, I would have hugged him longer and tighter. I would have thanked him for being there to teach me about the world and for protecting me from the bad guys. I would have told him that I loved him for being himself. I would have told him that he could always talk to me whenever he wanted to cry. But I didn’t say any of that.

As he drove off, I waved goodbye. I then went to his empty room and cried.