Joshua S.

January 2000


The dreaded reality of coming home from college has arrived, and these few weeks will give me the opportunity to reflect on who I am and want to be. My so-called 'vacation' started a little earlier because my grandmother died on the sixth of December. It's kind of hard now without her being here, and yet her death gives me hope and strength. Her words are all I really have anymore, and they mean so much to me. I know she will always be a part of me, and her love will help me become the person I have always fought to be.

My parents and I recently went to the local 'Texas' restaurant, a greasy little joint where the elderly flock to, and I couldn't help but stare at the faded eyes and dying bodies of those who surrounded me. They survived so much pain, loneliness, and hardship, and yet they smiled at me. I just sat there gazing at my oatmeal and wondering how they could ever have been so strong. I forgot to smile back at them, and they all probably thought I was some self-centered teenager, but I was consumed by their legacy. I was in awe with their wrinkles, their scars, and their passion to live. I caught a glimpse of a boy who I tried to forget, and I couldn't help but be humbled. I continue to struggle with the past ... wanting so much to erase it, but all I can do is hope that I continue to change and appreciate those around me. It also helped me come to terms with my grandmother's death for I know she is happy now, and she no longer has to live in an 86-year-old's broken body. No longer will she have to take bottles of medicine just to be able to sit alone at dinnertime while eating a single piece of toast.

I know she is happy to see her husband after twenty-nine years, and I'm happy knowing she is in heaven looking down and finally being able to truly smile again.

I know now that without mistakes there is no happiness, and without pain and loss there is no love. I've always tried to be safe when it came to loving people. I feared loneliness, vulnerability, and the pains of devoting yourself to someone. I cared deeply for someone, Carlos, and now he is leaving for seven months. He has helped me realize that the old saying, "it's better to love and have lost then to not have loved at all" is in fact true. I was happy with him just as I was happy with my grandmother, and I don't know what I would have done without the memories they have given me. I know happiness comes from within me, and with every day I fight to achieve self-content. I have a remarkable family, and two very close friends who have helped me remember happiness. Without them, I would continue to feel bitter towards life, and want only death for myself.

I know I will see Carlos again after his internship in New York, but things won't be the same. I fell in love with the fantasy of falling in love with him, and now it seems I'm back at square one trying to figure myself out again. I know I will be fine without him, and at times I will miss him. If things are meant to be then New York won't stop it, and so I move on alone once again hoping for the day when I will love, be loved, and most importantly, be capable of loving myself.

The wonderful saga of being home and trying to find happiness despite it took an interesting turn when I had to go to confession. For all you non-Catholics out there, this is when us sinners go and confess our wrong doings so that they will be absolved. Homosexuality for the most part is still looked down upon by the older generations, and so I confessed the fact that I have been with a man, and care for him greatly. The priest told me that homosexuality is a sign of selfishness and impurity. He said it is okay to love men, but there is no gain from man to man sex ... so why do it? He also went on to say that I need to learn to control my temptations, and God will absolve me from these feelings. I think this confrontation has helped me realize that I'm not ashamed of myself anymore. I believe God has made me this way for a purpose, and without this gift I would not be as open-minded, I wouldn't know what I would want to do with my life, and I would have never been with such an amazing person as Carlos. My family and friends accept me, and I know in my heart God does as well. Everyone has a right to their opinion, and that's all they are to me ... people with opinions that are too stubborn to even try to understand. So, I smile at this man who feels he has my best interests at hand, and I walk away with the confidence of knowing God is smiling down on me today. It's all about what you believe, and faith can get you through anything.

Here I am, a nineteen-year-old boy whose biggest problem at the moment is missing people he has allowed himself to get close to. I realize now as I try to consume my time with anything remotely interesting, that life is sweet. I just never took the time to see the world as it is. The only important thing is that those you love are happy, and at times they won't be, but you can help them through it. Life can be so cruel, but I know I can help change a little piece of that. This is my gift to the world, and I believe this is our reason for living. Forget the trivial things, and just believe in getting beyond today. Thank You.

Joshua S.


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