Thursday, September 27, 2012

Day One

This blog is about family; my family, about life; our life and about the mystery of God; a God, I barely know. Along my journey and beyond my dreams, He insisted on showing me his generous power and presence by giving me a load of gifts and opportunities. 

I guess I should start from the beginning so you will know where I come from. I was born in the mid 60's to Juan Carlos and Ana Maria; a young, married, Catholic couple. I was their firstborn son and it is assumed that in their early 20's they were caring, loving and they had lots of hopes and dreams for their new family.

My brothers, grandfather, sister and me
We lived in a 2 room house, pretty poor for today’s standards yet with a big lot and potential. Although, in time, the house expanded as the family grew. In fact, our inside bathroom was inaugurated when I was born, before that we had a water closet outside, 4 wooden walls with no roof and a toilet seat. My older cousin, from the city, would love to go in there because he said he could see the stars while he was sitting on the toilet, we used to laugh about that for years! Additional bedrooms and social areas were added to the house every year matching with my mom pregnancies.

By the time I was 18 years old, we ended up having a house with 2 levels and a pool, 7 kids, an occasional pet and a pair of over tired parents. We all lived there in a very small town in Northern Argentina, a hot, dusty town lost in the woods of the subtropical region in the province of Salta.

First explorers opening roads in C. Vespucio
My grandmother, along with her sisters and her single mother were the first females to occupy the tents of the once encampment called Campamento Vespucio.   They were innovative in opening the first cantina that fed the men working at the Oil company run by Don Francisco Tobar, Circa 1925. My grandmother Francisca was a pioneer in my home town, married at age 17 to a 40 y.o. man named, Lorenzo Brito, she had 8 kids which one of them is my mother. Their wedding and her life as a wife deserves a whole separate chapter!

As a child I grew up with the feeling that I was in the wrong place, I didn't fit in and each year a new born sibling would become a contender for my parent’s attention.  I would often complain to my mom as to why she had to have so many kids and I have so little opportunities. I dreamed, often, that one day some random parents from Europe would recognize me as their legitimate son  and would come to pick me up and take me to that imaginary world where I would belong. A world of luxury, sophistication and Egyptian antiques,  I prayed for that. 
 I remember, vividly, one day I went to my mom while she was tending the laundry in the backyard and said – “Mom, I want to be an Egyptologist”. I was 9! She looked at me and said – “great.”  With a funny smile on her face, she didn't fool me. I was smart enough to know she was saying that just to be nice but she didn't believe it.  

I was a curious boy. I loved hieroglyphs, secret codes and labyrinths. I was an avid reader of my mom’s Reader Digest Selections and her anatomy books, (she was a nurse).  I live in a world of fantasy as much as I could.  All I had in my mind was to travel, discover and get the hell out of there. Soon, thereafter, by using a dictionary, I found out I was homosexual.  I was, by definition, a person with a sexual “depravation”  by the age of 11, just one year after I took my first communion. 

Hopeless for my future moral incapacity to be a happy “normal” person, I started to build a person, who after years, I barely recognized. This was a person  full of fears, resentment, hate and high expectations accompanied by a very low self-esteem.  I desperately wanted to feel loved and to be accepted. 

The years of high school were hell for me.  I barely remember details and my practical mind has erased most of the memories. I do remember though being bullied daily, hating my body and my entire family. 

College was my first taste of freedom and social acceptance but I wasn't ready to make something good of it.  I just used that freedom to let all my demons work in a very auto destructive path and became addicted to people, sex, lies and drugs. 

I dropped out of Architectural School when I was 23. After I left one of the most prestigious Universities in Argentina I asked my mom to be locked in a cage so I wouldn't kill myself! I got to the point where I couldn't live like that anymore, I was scared and desperate that I was going to die. A few days later I went to rehab to treat my drug addition and I remember my father leaving me there like a package and telling the admission person, do whatever you need to do I am done with him. 

During those 2 years of treatment in an isolated house in the middle of the mountains in Salta, I learned a bit of who I was, how to change some of my behaviors and to recognize my feelings. I remember crying in that place every single day, they used some medieval techniques of confrontational therapy and dynamics groups that will look like demonic practices for those who were not familiar with it. In the house of feelings (that's the way they used to call it) we live with no electricity and cooking our own meals and cleaning the house (what it used to be an elementary school, abandoned after the rail company decided to leave the town vacant) for 2 long years, we had a personal tag that we needed to keep moving in a board that included all the spaces of the house, any time we forgot to move the tag to the correct location we were be confronted. After a few weeks of adaptation, it became an interesting life game, I have to admit I had great memories from the adventures during that process. 

When I left Argentina I was 10 years clean, I had just about enough of children, family, unfair gods, bulling and discrimination.  I was ready for the “American Dream”, my own idea of a dream at least, a dream of freedom; financial and moral freedom. I was ready to conquer the corporate world with my unusual talents. I brought, with me a poorly translated portfolio, 2 suitcases, a codependent relationship, a few hundred dollars and millions of expectations

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