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ONLINE JOURNAL 2002 ~ SOJOURN
Of what I do know: there were several houses on my grandfather's land, enough to shelter his whole family and their families. He grew up on that land. It was his father's. Then, it was taken away. The land is still there... barren. My mother has received letters from her family telling her that my father's lands are just empty now. They were taken away in spite. Not even utilized. I never remembered my grandfather protesting about it either. He seemed happy with his life here in America, and happy just to be alive with his family.
Everytime I used to visit my grandparents, I always played with this little toy horse that my grandfather had. It was black and white and had a removable saddle, but other than that, it really didn't do much. I loved that toy! My grandfather died in 1988. I was about fourteen. The horse remained with his daughter, Sofia, for over a decade. I'm surprised she didn't lose it. I asked her for it after grandma died last year, and she knew exactly what I was referring too. I now keep it in my bedroom, on one of the windowsills.
Family defines us... doesn't it? It's our starting point. We either are a product of our environment, a product of a revolt against it, or we walk somewhere in the middle. I think I'm "somewhere in the middle". I was born in the United States in 1973. I grew up here. I was educated here. I have more freedoms here than I would have had anywhere else... more opportunities... more of a chance for a happy life... but I am also Cuban. Many of my people have lost their homes and left their families. My mother has not seen her brothers or sisters for over thirty-five years. This is not her home. She was not raised here. She came here with her family and... merely survived and lived on. My mother loves this country, but like so many first generation immigrants from Cuba, she arrived in this country already with a sense of loss in her heart. There is no place like home...
What defines me? I once thought that I knew. I've been stripped to the core, poked at, laughed at, analyzed and criticized. I've been placed on a mantle. I've been dismissed. I've been beaten down and dragged up. I've been spit at. I have laid on the floor and in a stranger's bed. I have looked in the mirror and not recognized the face staring back.
I have loved.
I have laughed.
I have lived, and I have the power to change my life.
For a long time I was looking for definition from other people. Who was I to them? What did I mean to them? Do they need me? Do they love me? I wanted to feel as if I was a part of something, and in that illusion, I thought I would somehow find peace and my place in this world. I was wrong. I have gotten up from the floor and put on my socks and my shoes, my shirt, my pants and my dignity. I have put on my pride, and done up my hair. I have walked down the hall into the bathroom and cleaned the mirror so its reflection is clear of streaks.
I have opened the door, and walked outside.
I have felt the sun on my face and the wind kiss my back and send chills down my spine. I have bathed in the river of tomorrow and drank its salty water with an unquenchable greed. I am an artist and a dreamer, and I have always been... beautiful. I am the son of poet nobles and of gypsy kings... and... of gypsy... queens. I am the warrior shaman's last reserve of courage. I was born on a mountain high above the clouds and I have felt the rain bathe and baptize me a nature's child before ever opening my eyes to greet her skies.
I am wicked... and I am free.
My father is currently in the hospital. He underwent open heart surgery on Martin Luther King Day. The surgery took just over seven hours, and went by without any complications. He's expected to make a full recovery and possibly even feel as if he's twenty years younger. Unfortunately, knowing my father's character and personality, he will prolong the recovery process as much as possible. Already, the more "pleasant" parts of his personality seem to have been magnified, but I have come to the conclusion that he is a human chihuahua - all bark, but no real threat.
My mother - well, she's probably upset that he will most likely outlive her, and the few years of her life she was planning to spend alone and peacefully, have just been shot to hell.
My sister and I are finally starting to build a "bridge" between us. There's communication now and a growing sense of understanding. I have seen a very VERY different side of her lately and all I can say is... "You've come a long way, baby".
Mabelyn and I continue fueling PANDORA magazine™. It's going to probably be a long and tough road to walk before we're finally published, but I'm very confident in our skills and in our inevitable success. PANDORA magazine™ has a lot of power behind her and I don't think the world will now what will hit it.
And yes... I'm single again, and have been since late October. I loved Todd very much. I will never deny that. Going into details is pointless, but for a long time afterwards, I was angry. I was very angry... and partly... with myself. I have learned a powerful truth this year; People treat you how you let them.
There is a beautiful life ahead of me, and someday someone worth the journey will walk it with me.
P.S. For the curious - The Photo Albums at Azodnem.com are down again. I'm working on a redesign for some of the pages. I'm never fully satisfied with that section - I wonder why? I have far better things to do than constantly restructure those pages.
My father's birthday present finally arrived in the mail yesterday. I bought him a book containing pictures of pre-Revolutionary Cuba from Amazon.com. It's a beautiful book, and as I figured, both he and my mother recognized most of the scenery and buildings. They loved it. I might get a copy for myself.
Last time I saw you
You had a way so familiar,
But I could swear by your expression
That's the pain,
Happy Birthday, Todd Michael Thomas.
My fish did not die. I thought it did.
Also, Happy Birthday, Robert "Asmodius" Glanzman.
Jason's grandmother past away yesterday afternoon, after an extended bout with ovarian cancer. It is in those moments of great pain and loss, that we discover the true strength that has always resided within us. The darkness is never as dark as we fear, and the tears do have their end.
My great-aunt, Mina, also past away on Friday. I hadn't seen her since I was in high school, but I remember her being a very feisty and well educated lady. She lived in D.C., and her health had prevented her from making as many trips up to New York and New Jersey to visit some of the other relatives she has up here.
Our way of life has been indefinitely changed. Can I get home today? Will I be safe? Are those I love safe? Will they get home? Is home safe? Violence on this scale has never hit American soil since Pearl Harbor. This is our generation's Pearl Harbor. This is worse than Pearl Harbor. History repeats itself, yet again.
I couldn't come home on Tuesday. I was trapped in upstate New York without any means of getting home safely. I had to spend the night at Concetta's. Her family opened their home to me. I'm grateful. We were glued to the televison. Clip. Clip. Clip. Crash. Crash. Crash. The World Trade Center Twin Towers really are gone. It wasn't a special effect. It wasn't a hoax. It wasn't a movie. We had to just turn it off at one point. We wanted blood. We wanted vengeance. Most of America does. This is not over. Violence begets violence, and this has just begun. Heaven help us all when it finally ends.
I left work early on Wednesday to try to get home. I'll most likely be taking the ferry for awhile. There were more people on the streets of the city than I would have expected... but there was such a silence. That silence was the loudest sound I had ever heard in all the years I have been commuting to New York. There were at least three to four police officers on every corner of 42nd... two or three police cars per block. I saw a few buses heading towards the tunnel with police car escorts. Is this Manhattan? It is now.
Todd is safe. He's able to get home and to work. I can't even express... Mabe's OK. Rob's fine. Jason. Oneida. Tony. Dee. The others. I've been lucky. Everyone I love is still alive, but we all know "someone". Someone who wasn't lucky. Someone who lost a husband, a brother, a father, or a "fill in the blank".
We've all been affected on some level.
I've been up since 8:30. I went to the nearby MAC machine to get some cash. Then I basically did some errands, cleaned up my apartment, and then finally decided to sit down and work on Azodnem.com like around 3pm.
My father was in the area, and stopped by... "This all the Fidel Castro's fault. The Communists are involved, and Russia wants to take over Puerto Rico." Whose ass did he pull that last one out of?
I listened though. I listened because I have never heard this man complain about his life. Not directly. I wanted to know that he is in pain too. That he can feel pain. He can. Does that prove anything? Does that make him that much more human to me, and less of the monster I feared as a child? I don't know.
Lately, I feel like Azodnem.com has done nothing but serve my own vanity, which, of course,
It is an organization that you can donate love letters, journals, writings, etc and so forth, to and help preserve gay culture and experiences. It's something to think about... or do you have to be famous to donate?
Were not life full of mournful change, the soul would
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