Hello everybody. For the first time in a very long time, I took the time to read past issues of Oasis, I was able to go thoroughly over each edition, at the end the memories came back and I tried to figure out again the reasons that made me start participating as a columnist. In a way I think that I had forgotten how everything started for me, how hard the first steps were, and how at some point I wanted to share my experience, as far as I could be helpful to others. Thats how I had my first attempts for writing to Oasis, I have to admit I was and still am quite a lame writer, but at least I try hard, and now let me try to recapture a little bit how Oasis has marked my life, both as a writer and also as a reader.
My first approach online was when I was 15, I already was quite clear about my sexuality then, but only as a inner thing, I wouldnt share any of my feelings with others; I had this wall around me, maybe we all have created it at some point, it protects us from the harm the outside world can cause, but its certain that it doesnt protect us from ourselves. Nobody knew about me, I wouldnt have dared to tell anyone face to face what I was, I was really scared about their reactions but in the other hand the Internet was offering me this opportunity to open up, all about letting some light enter that wall I had created around myself in terms of my sexuality.
So the first thing I did was start entering chat rooms in Spanish language, I feeling really odd about being so young there, most of the people there would be at least 25 years old, so I used to lie all the time about my age, but still something was missing there, I wouldnt find anybody who was more like me, a young gay guy trying to find others like him, so my search for new lands started, I discovered a whole new world of youth resources in English language, it was like paradise, I found Oasis among those, and simply found there a shelter for me, a place where young gay people living all of them in very different circumstances and places would write about their lives and emotions, having the right space to do so, where they would reach others like me, searching for answers in a world where sometimes we would feel very lonely.
Around that time I remember at night I would go out and enjoy the view of the city lights and would ask myself if I was the only gay person in the city, I would feel that solitude to the bones, I was pretty sure there was at least somebody out there having the same feelings I was living, so I wouldnt lose the faith about finding somebody like me, so there I can see one of the first things I found in Oasis, the chance to identify with people like me, young people making their way through life, and especially gay youth. So then reading others columns really made a difference, made me feel close to someone, for the first time in my search for answers about my sexuality I felt I wasnt alone. Then I started to go into IRC to #cranberries, where by fate I met some of the greatest people online I could have ever met, the amazing thing there was that the channel wasnt gay in the first instance, but many of the regulars were gay, and everybody there would be open about their feelings, so the emotion of being accepted not only by gay people but by straight ones really gave me the strength to keep going. There was when I started to share the feelings inside of me about being gay, when that wall I had created before slowly started to disappear.
So in small ways my life was starting to change then, for the first time ever I was being able to speak my mind about my feelings, at least online I would be able to talk about boys with my friends, but still it wasnt enough. The outside world was starting to put the pressure on me about dating girls, I wanted to remain honest with myself, in case I had ever dated a girl I wouldnt have only lied to the girl but most important to myself, and even more when I was completely sure about who I was, there was no question about that. So when the first insinuation like "when are we meeting your girl?" came at home, the thing about coming out came to my head, I didnt want to be hiding who I really was at home, so I really started to think about telling them about my sexuality. First of all I knew they loved me a lot, so they would never kicked me out of the house or anything like that. I knew it wouldnt be easy, but in many ways I felt safe about telling them, and I still believe that the circumstances for everybody to come out are always different, so we can always wait, there will always be time and a right moment to do it when we feel safe about ourselves, and the most important thing we are convinced that we want to do it.
So I was all convinced about my sexuality and felt safe about telling my family about me, so on my sixteenth birthday I decided it was time, and I did, after the congratulations time while they were all together around me I told them, it was really hard, and I can still see myself when slowly the words "I am gay" (of course in Spanish) came out of my mouth, suddenly a wave of silence flooded the room. Its a silence I wont ever forget, there were no screams, simply tears, the most expectedly shocked was my father, who maybe even to these days still struggles about the issue but I know and thank him for giving me a chance and accepting me as he has done to date. My mother took it amazingly well and since then weve come to be closer than ever. I can tell her my feelings and really share my emotions and fears with her, my siblings were only shocked in the beginning but they have learnt to take it with the warmest support.
So after coming out to my family very few things changed at home, we all lived with that, and I guess they all realized I was still the same, nothing had really changed in me, they simply knew something more about me that made the picture more complete. It wasnt easy in the earliest days, I remember when we were all together and a gay scene would come up I would still feel this kind of embarrassment, that started to fade away with time, when they didnt know I could still be under the anonymous mask and pretend I wasnt part of the thing that was going on the screen.
The things at school were a little bit different. There I had to be more careful, first of all I was studying in a religious school, so the ignorance about homosexuality there was immense, we were thought that one could become gay just by masturbating too much, and that was just the beginning of the hell called gayness for some teachers. So I shut my mouth about my sexuality there, I always acted the way I was, but I had to simply hide the fact about my sexuality. Many times it wasnt too comfortable, especially when a girl mate had a crush on me, but on the other hand I was able to establish friendships that for sure were based on the fact whether I was gay or not, they were relationships about what I was about, and simply I can say they have developed to be in some of the greatest one can have, of course you can count those with the fingers on your hand but its still more than enough.
This is about the time when I started contributing for Oasis, I had been a passive reader for more than a year, so in a way I was ready to payback in a small proportion for all the things that I had gotten from others columns, for their passion, their inspiration, their strength to keep going and give something of themselves every month. In the beginning me was a lot like trying to make clear many of my ideas about love, the meaning of being gay, and any issue that would be related to that and my views over that, I think it always represented a good opportunity to think and analyse my views about something in particular.
And life kept going, I started to live love for the first time in my life, I cant say it was easy, but surely I can say it came in beautiful and different ways to explore feelings towards somebody. My first love was a whole intellectual adventure, that I dont regret about having lived it that way. I learned a lot, I grew a lot, I started to create my philosophy about love then, I dreamt a lot there, and still nothing happened. In a way its still a frustration about not having been able to express my feelings, but the feeling was always there, in the deepest part of me, and now I can say it was an unique experience that gave me so much. In the love part I can surely say Im no expert, and I dont want to become an expert either, I do feel love is one of the purest feelings one can have, and its something that takes time, patience, dedication, exclusivity, and a heart, and as important a will to give in the first instance, then share, and as important the receiving part completes the circle of love. I know sometimes I get too abstract when it comes to things about love, but for sure its something that isnt easy, but if I died tomorrow, I can surely say Ive loved in my life, Ive given myself and simply have been embraced by the emotion of love. (Ill leave this subject now to a further column which could be as big as this one is already)
And so everything kept moving, I finished high school, and started college, moved to a new city, a big one, it was completely like starting from scratch, creating something I could call home, that for sure took me a long time and many headaches, discovering independence, and for sure that step led me to find myself again in a different perspective than I had had before. For sure it helped to see me as an adult, responsible completely for myself, being alone for sure changed many things, made me feel that sometimes the changes in life arent easy but for sure beautiful to live in the long run, when we see the results and how we come out I think they all make sense and we value them as our lifetime experiences.
My journey through the past issues of Oasis has been delightful, its shown me that even when in terms of my life many times things havent been easy, theres always some light, theres always solace somewhere. I thank for all that I have received from the contributors, hoping that my little corner in this e-zine has been at least useful to somebody, just by that Ill think its been all worth it. I found in Oasis something I didnt find anywhere else, a space where all the opinions, emotions, expressions, ideas and questions about being a gay teenager had a space, an open forum where the gay youth could open up to themselves and the world. Browsing past editions.
I rediscovered the impact that the words on Oasis have had on me, and Im truly amazed at how important all this has been, maybe I didnt really realized that at the moment, because I was in need of so much information that I went through everything and absorbed it, and now that I have the chance to read those things calmly I can find myself four years ago, trying to discover who I was, and stand for my feelings, no matter what. Ive been able to start standing for what I believe, to fight for what I am, understand my uniqueness, and for sure Ive found the right space here, where all the different faces of gay youth are expressed, where we understand that its really hard to define what gay youth is about, but being able to see they have a voice and a diversity of great importance, where we all learn from others, and therefore can respect them for their opinions and beliefs.
So I thank all the people that have contributed here, both editors (Jeff) and staff, and readers, everybody that has given a little but of himself to create and keep this alive, for me Oasis has created a critic spirit within the gay life, to stand for my values, to have a life that is not gay but human in the first instance, that has no doubles, only one Miguel that doesnt have to hide anything to anybody, the one whos gay, but before all that is a man searching for happiness, and will always fight to be honest and true to himself. Understand that we dont always have to agree, that we always have the chance to be different even with the ones that already are considered. This is it, maybe a lot of my story but also all the things that Ive gotten from you people, and I thank you for that
Remain true to yourself