There is nothing more exciting than First Grade. I remember that day so well. Dad was home getting me and my sister ready for the big day. Mom was out running errands. It was a hot summer day in Southern Brazil, the skies were getting heavy with dark clouds. “Your mother is home”, yelled dad from the kitchen, mom rushed us out of the house in that unbearable heat, and we hopped on the city bus. “Good luck” she said, kissing us good bye. I turned my back, and mom was walking away. First day of school...
First day of School, 1st Grade, 1990
Mom showed up at 5:30pm to pick us up. My first grade teacher pulled her aside “Your son needs help” she said. “Your son only plays with the girls; you need to speak to your husband”. My mother related the news. Father lifted me up by my stomach, grabbing me by my shirt, digging his nails deep into my skin, and slammed my body hard against the cold concrete floors. “Grab the belt” he screamed, now comes mother hitting me with that ice cold buckle from my dad’s black leather belt. Please, mom…
1986 me and Twin Sister, Marcia at our neighbor's house.
High school, dreaded years, I’d become desensitized to the name calling. “Faggot” bullies yelled. Every day. It’d become a habit. I was in a new class with two new students. I thought I’d finally make a friend. I will never forget the day leaving class, I was pulled into an empty classroom, pushed hard down against an empty desk. “You want to be a little girl, faggot? We will treat you like one”. One of the new students pinned my body down, while the other tried to pull my pants off. Tears were streaming. I left my body. Someone, please…
Gramado, Rio Grande Do Sul, 1997 (15 years old)
I decided to put behind me all those years of suffering, and placed them somewhere in the back of my unconscious mind. I remember the day I was leaving for the airport to move to America, both my parents told me they couldn’t take me to the airport, “they had more important things to do”. My sister had just had a baby girl, and she was living at home at the time with her boyfriend. She was the only one there. I remember when the taxi arrived to drive me for 2 and half hours to the closest international airport, it was only the three of us. I hugged my sister good-bye, and placed a big kiss on my niece’s cheek. And I then felt the sadness come over me and the tear started to fall. I would never be around for her to know she had an uncle that loved her so much, and changed her dirty diapers whenever her mom was too overwhelmed to do so.
I waved good bye to the both of them, as the taxi pulled off the curb and drove away, the tears were falling, but now they had changed from sadness to happiness that I am getting a new beginning in a new place, a new home far away from all those memories. I will be okay.
When I first arrived at my new school, I was so busy trying to keep up with the American life style, the American way of doing school, that I did not have time to feel concerned with my mental state. It had been now six months since I had moved away. I spent my First Christmas alone. I called home, just trying to get some love from my parents, but when I called they quickly hung up because they didn’t want to talk. I sat in that empty dorm room, with barely any food. The cafeteria was closed for the Holidays. All I was living off was the ramen I could get off the vending machine downstairs. I did not have a car nor friends that were in town. So I couldn’t get to the closet grocery store. That was my first Christmas in America.
The sadness started to creep back in. I thought I was able to keep those feelings stowed away, but I was wrong. I was a gay men living on my own at some college dorm far away from anyone I ever knew. I never felt lonelier. To keep myself busy I got a job as custodian in one of the school buildings. I would walk from my dorm room to the school building. I’d leave at 4:45 am and get there by 5 am. It was only part time work. I’d be off at 8 am, and then be left back alone with feelings of sadness and loneliness. That was the routine for the next few months.
It was a hot dry summer. I had been living in Utah now close to a year. I had made friends with some guys from school and we got an apartment off campus. I had been severely depressed for months now. I was seeing a therapist on campus, and I was being medicated. It didn’t matter how many pills I took, I just could not overcome the sadness, and the feeling of rejection. I recognized now that I was gay, and it was not going away. I still kept it a secret from everyone. I feared that the bullying and harassment would start again, just like in my high school years.
One Tuesday morning, after work, my mind was racing. I hopped on my bike, and peddled as hard as I could to get home. I walked into an empty apartment, dark and damp. No one, no roommates. I walked into the bathroom, and refused to look at the mirror. I could not bear to see my reflection. My eyes were glazed. I looked empty. Right next to me, on that bathroom counter there were pill bottles. One by one, I twisted and popped those bottle caps. I don’t remember the rest. I woke up the next day in the Psychiatric ward of the Provo Hospital.
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among young LGBT ages 10-24. I was lucky enough to have been able to learn that nothing was wrong with me. Although my family did not accept me, I learned that I still matter. Reflecting on my experience, I know, there is young boy somewhere crying tears of defeat, and self-loathing hate, wanting nothing more than to be loved by his family, pleading someone, please…
Source: "Facts About Suicide." Facts About Suicide. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Jan. 2017.