This post is going to be very different from anything I've ever written before. Normally I don't like to share too much of my personal life on my blog, there's only been two exceptions that I can think of in the past where life has become too much to bare and I've used writing as therapy to get over, get through and get on with it all.
What you are about to read is a true story that comes from one of the darkest periods in my life. I believe this experience is why I'm not afraid of death, because in many ways I stared death in the face and still chose life. I was determined to trust God and watch him turn my situation around. A year later he did.
2005 was a year I will never forget. As I looked around my one bedroom apartment in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles I had everything that a 25 year old man could want, a career, a new car, a new apartment, close friends, good health, and more dreams and aspirations than I could write down on a single sheet of paper. But for some reason I was still unhappy and often times depressed. I wanted someone in my life to love and to receive that same love in return.
I would find out later that I needed to learn to love myself more before I attempted to love another.
He came into my life one Sunday night in February and upon meeting him I knew my life would never be the same. We ate dinner and talked, I was excited that I had finally met someone that was gay and christian and didn't have a problem identifying publicly as such.
Before the night was over I found myself wrapped in his arms sobbing. I don't remember what he said or how he said it, but all of the times I had been ridiculed, rejected, and promised to be loved unconditionally only to experience the opposite, all of that pain came pouring out through my tears.
I had never allowed myself to be this open with a total stranger, he was the first. There was something different about this man, it was at this moment he took a hold of me and didn't let go for the next six months.
Over the course of this time I went from being single to being coupled with a live in boyfriend, in a matter of weeks (Mistake#1). I began to lose my identity, his wishes became my command. "It's me and you against the world he would say".
Nothing else mattered, I desperately wanted to maintain a long term relationship and in order to do so I believed that sacrifices had to be made, at least that's what he told me. I just ended up being the only person in the relationship making the sacrifices(Mistake#2).
Within a couple of months I had isolated myself from most of my friends, I was not taking dance classes or auditioning regularly, my agency representation was in jeopardy(Mistake #3), and I began to see red flags, but my desire to have someone in my life to love me caused me to overlook the obvious, this man was TROUBLE.
There was not a day that went by that I didn't have flowers, candy, or a card delivered to me at work or waiting for me when I got home. My co-workers were envious and I felt like the luckiest guy in the world. Never mind the fact that I agreed to relenquish ownership over makng sure my monthly bills were paid on time. I trusted him and wanted to him to play a leading role in our household(Mistake #4).
I had never been with someone before who wanted a partner, someone to grow old with. He knew the right things to say and most of all he knew I was gullible enough to fall for it. On the surface his motives were not based on sex or material wealth and that alone was hot too me, not to mention the fact that when we made love everything in the world stopped and all that mattered was that moment when our bodies connected and I began to experience a feeling I had only read about in books.
So the search was over, this was the man I was going to marry and on my birthday April 16th in front of a small group of friends he proposed. On one knee he asked me to pledge my life to him and I said yes.
Over the next 3 months my life and the man I thought I knew began to change slowly but surely right in front of my eyes.
The comfortable life I had created for myself began to fall apart. My finances were in shambles, my friends were distant, I was in danger of losing my apartment, and I was growing increasingly unhappy with the man that I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with, but I was determined not to give up on us(Mistake #5). So at his request I packed up my life and moved an hour away from L.A. , away from work, friends, dance, and civilization. It was just he and I against the world.
Fast forward to August 19, 2005. I enter an empty apartment at 2:00 A.M. after working all night and commuting an hour home to find out my fiancee has been arrested. This was the beginning of a nightmare that only seemed to get worse.
Charged with two felonies, the man I thought I knew I didn't know at all. I pick up his cell phone that he left behind to check his voicemails only to find out that I was the only person being monogamous in our relationship. The love I had claimed as my own was being shared with two other men in my bed while I was away.
As if that wasn't enough I had the privilege to speak with his ex-wife that I never knew he had and learn of his 4 children that he was not supporting. Everyday there was a new revelation about his life. God I look back now and I wonder how in the hell was I so stupid. My mind, body, and spirit felt violated. Why do the people who profess to love you usually end up hurting you the most?
The next year of his life would be spent in prison and I would spend the next twelve months picking up the pieces and making sense of all of the life lessons I learned the hard way. I wish once this relationship ended it could have turned into a distant memory, but the consequences of his actions and my inability to stop him when I saw things spiraling out of control will be felt long after I can no long remember the details.
This post marks the end of a chapter in my life that has defined what pain is for me. I refuse to allow any negative experience to be totally negative, there always has to be a positive side. I know if I hadn't gone through this experience I wouldn't be an activist today and I wouldn't be writing this blog. This could have broken me but God saw fit to give me the strength I needed to use my voice to impact the lives of others. He still has yet to apologize and for a while that's all I wanted. But today I've decided to forgive myself for the mistakes I made and that weighs so much more than any insincere apology he could ever evoke.
It's over. Finally.