My 29 year-old cousin came out yesterday…

And I would say about 95% of the family knew he was gay… Except his mother, his father and a few other family members in denial.

My cousin happens to be my first cousin and my third cousin. My uncle (my mom’s brother) and my aunt (my mom and uncle’s first cousin) decided to be sneaky when they were young, and a child resulted out of that incestuous relationship. My uncle and aunt never formalized anything (my aunt’s dad wanted to kill my uncle of course), my grandma and her sister didn’t know what to do with themselves, and God knows what else went down at the time. My uncle moved on and has been married or shacked up a couple of times after that, and had 2 more sons. My aunt never moved on.

My cousin has had such a hard life. I can only imagine what it must have felt like to know that you’re the result of incest. Your grandmothers are sisters and your parents are first cousins. You were not desired. I guess some would even consider him an abomination. I will give my parents all the credit in the world for raising me to not be judgmental of others, and to always love my family regardless of what life threw at us. I have always loved my cousin, he’s a wonderful, sweet, hilarious and talented artist. Since he was very young, he could draw and paint masterful pieces. I’m not sure when exactly I figured out that he was gay, but I’ve known for a long time. So have most of my family – the ones that live in the 21st century at least. The ones that still live in the Stone Age “don’t know” or are too deep in denial to see…

My cousin had 1 “publicly known” girlfriend about 10 years ago (or maybe more), they were together for around 7 months. I think he really tried to be straight, but that’s not something you can choose to be. He has had an unmatched obsession with Christina Aguilera ever since “Genie in a bottle,” and is currently holding two teaching jobs at important universities as a drawing/fashion design teacher… You see where I’m going here right? Clear as mud? I thought so too.

I swear I thought he would never come out. He was so firm in his apprehension to show any signs of being gay, that I even questioned my gaydar, but I must say I got hooked up with a pretty good one since birth.

The tables turned 3 weeks ago, when my cousin was actually kidnapped in Venezuela. Over there, it’s like the national sport – “express kidnapping,” where they take you, drive you around and ask you to go to an ATM to withdraw funds or let you call for a money reward. Since my cousin is not really well off, they threatened to murder him and dump him in a river. Wouldn’t be the first, won’t be the last. For some miracle, he was kidnapped with his friend whose parents were able to come up with some of the money these indescriptible inhumans requested, and they were released about 5 to 6 hours after they were captured.

We all were relieved to know that he made it out alive, since not many people live to tell that story. Turns out, that moment was completely life-changing for him (in more than the obvious way), as he promised himself that if he made it out alive, he would come clean and come out for good. I guess he realized life is too short to live a lie and be as unhappy as I’m sure he was. He is the son of a very uptight and bitter woman, and the macho of all machos. He has probably lived all his life hating himself, trying to not be something he was “wired” to be since conception, and he just couldn’t take it anymore.

Last night I called my mom who just so happens to be in Venezuela for some medical reasons, and I heard her anguish over the phone. When I asked what was wrong, she tried to brush me off but I insisted until she said “Your cousin is coming out to his mom as we speak.” I’m pretty sure my blood pressure dropped and I don’t even know what else went through my mind and body. I was happy for him, but I knew this wasn’t going to be pretty.

I couldn’t get the details until just now, and they’re not good. Apparently, last night was filled with sobbing and screaming. He feels like a horrible human, a piece of crap, less than nothing, and kept asking his mother to forgive him for being who he is. My aunt went into complete shock, anxiety and most importantly, suicidal mode. She is currently on a self-mandated one-way guilt trip to hell. She keeps saying it’s her fault, she wants to die and can barely contain herself in her body right now. My mom had to give them both sleeping pills last night so they could calm down and find their slumber. I would not want to be in that house right now.

I really can’t imagine what it’s been like for him, living for so many years knowing/feeling that everything that has to do with him is “wrong.” I really wish I could talk to him and console him, but he doesn’t know that I’m updated on the situation. My mom apparently told him that I knew about his sexual orientation and that most of our family has been in the loop for years, and that made him feel even more ashamed. I feel so helpless and sad, not even remotely able to put myself in his shoes.

If you’re still reading this and you have gone through something similar or have any advice to share on how to deal with this situation, I will more than appreciate it.

At the moment, I’m just shitting bricks waiting to hear when my uncle finds out.

Today, I paid for my dad’s dinner for the first time

I’m 23 years old. Tonight, my brother, my dad and I went to dinner. Tonight, for the first time ever, I paid for our dinner – but more specifically, for my dad’s food.

This is a HUGE deal because:

1. My dad is a Holocaust child. His family was well off when he was born, but because they were Jewish, they were kicked out of Egypt and not allowed to take anything other than what they were wearing (and two diamonds my grandma swallowed to help them later on). After moving through countries a few times, they finally settled down in Venezuela and were taking off economically. My grandfather passed away from a heart attack when my dad was 13. My grandma did some intense budgeting with the money they had in savings, and made it last 4 years until my dad and his 2 brothers were out of high school and could get jobs. My dad worked his tail off his entire life, and I myself saw his struggle to succeed. Money is a huge deal to him [insert Jewish pun about money here], and his biggest mission in his life was that none of his 6 children would have to endure the economic hardships he went through.

2. My mom grew up in Colombia foster child style, living with whatever relatives would take her and my uncle in, while my grandma went off to find money in Venezuela. At one point in her life she had 3 or 4 jobs. She also worked day and night with my dad to make sure my siblings and I would have a better life and better opportunities than she did.

3. We moved to the US, and due to documentation issues, I was not allowed to work until I was a Sophomore in college. By that time, I had decided I was going to get a good enough resume with my involvement, so that when job-hunting came around, I could have some sort of experience. My parents both were all for me studying and being involved, and never pushed me to work. I didn’t get a “job” until Senior year, and that didn’t even count… I was unemployed for 6 months after graduating until I got my current job, last June. It’s super official in a huge global company, and I am so happy – and getting paid in a legitimate and timely manner for the first time in my life.

4. My dad and I are very alike – we don’t like bothering anyone, people doing us favors, or others paying for our stuff. We’d rather pay for 3 football teams to be fed before letting others pay for us. He wouldn’t even let me pay last year on FATHER’S DAY!

I spent all day coming up with a plan to pay. I even thought of talking to the waitress before our meal so she would have my credit card on hand when the time came to pay so that my dad wouldn’t have a chance to reject my request. It didn’t work out like I wanted, and by the time the check came, my “plan A” was our the door. So I grabbed my card, and had to wrestle my dad for about 5 minutes until he finally give in and let me pay – not without a look of suffering in his eyes and a knot in his throat.

I just got home and he called me to say thank you, and that even though he felt bad for letting me spend money on him, it made him so proud to see me so settled and so grown up.

Tonight, I paid for my dad’s food for the first time. Even though I’m sure this is not going to become a standard for us, it felt freaking good. Still does. Can’t wait until this father’s day! 🙂

Jon Stewart, please marry me!

I’ve always been a fan of Stewart and Colbert’s shows, particularly of the way they bash idiotic political comments. Usually, the bashing is more than well deserved – and this is one of them.

Live, and let live

602193_4720966297965_320785344_nWhat a wise saying.

With this being such a controversial day in the United States given the possibility of marriage equality for all, I felt compelled to post a little something about this issue.

As straight as I am, I have always believed that everyone has the right to be happy with whomever makes them happy. Today, I changed my profile picture to the red equal sign in support of the many, many gay friends and family members that have been brave enough to recognize their sexual orientation publicly (as sad as it is to think that there is so much homophobia out there, preventing people from being themselves).

One of my friends is usually SO very opinionated on social media when it comes to politics – as if she herself were lobbying for them – and her posts today were no different. First, she didn’t know what the red equal banner was for, and once it was explained to her, she tried to be sarcastic about it. Then, she posted a bunch of “conservative” (understatement of the century) lines about how God only acknowledges a marriage between a Man and a Woman and people should just be happy with a civil union and blah blah.

This friend of mine got married about 3 years ago, and has a one and a half year old daughter. All I wanted to post on her ranting status was – “What if your daughter came to you at some point and said ‘Mom, I’m a lesbian’? Would you reject her? Would you want her to ignore her feelings for someone of the same sex because you condemn them? Would you not want to see your daughter getting married and uniting her life to that person she loves – just like you did some years ago – because ‘God’ wants her in a heterosexual relationship?”

I understand that not everyone will agree on things, and to this day civil rights are a huge issue in the US and in many other countries. But to go on social media rants with hurtful opinions and saying how much “all the red flags in my news feed are bothering me” – then you’ve lost me. You can’t be religious for what’s convenient, and then when you don’t agree you turn your back. “God is love,” and whatever else you want to say to me… If you come with your sermons, then you better be great at backing it up and sticking to ALL of it.

50 years from now, once all these equality laws have passed and people are living in a truly equal society, they will look back and say “wow, these people were in the cusp of closed-mindedness and the stoneage,” just like we do today when we frown at slavery, racism, sexism, and more.

Delayed Relationship Debate… Trying to gather my thoughts on this one

I have been meaning to write about this for the past 2 weeks, but I needed to let the topic simmer in my head before I went and wrote all kinds of dark, hopeless and pessimistic thoughts here. So, let me preface this by saying that I have never been in an official long-lasting public boyfriend-girlfriend relationship before, mostly because:

1. I didn’t really like the guys that liked me and were heading down that track

2. The ones that I did like, were trying to get in my pants without any sort of established relationship.

Nothing out of the ordinary here, just the good old struggle that comes with being a girl. Anyways, that was just a disclaimer that will make sense later.

I think when I was very young, I really couldn’t wait to be asked out and have a boyfriend, get married, and have kids. It was like my ultimate dream – right around 9 years old. And oh, how things have changed. At this point I’m 23, and I am not the biggest believer in the existence of healthy, functional relationships. My close friends today have pretty much all been in and out of relationships for the past 6 years or so since I’ve known them. I’ve been a part of all of those relationships, became friends with the significant others, and at one point was even the maid of honor for one of the ones who got engaged… And through all that I have witnessed and been intricately (too much so) a part of, I can honestly say that I’m just about to completely give up on the notion that there’s such a thing as a genuinely good relationship. By this I mean a relationship where there’s no cheating, no emotional or physical abuse, a good balance of reciprocity, a level of independence, a healthy existence of jealousy, and a good amount of arguing that will always be there.

Trust me, I’ve thought to myself “maybe I just need new friends” and “maybe I’m just expecting some kind of Disney ‘happily ever after'” – but I’m really not. This might also be screaming trust issues, daddy issues, jaded, etc… And yes, there’s a little bit of all of those in there, maybe more than I’d like to have or admit to. But seriously please explain this to me –

1. Friend A: With boyfriend for 2 years, 3 months. Was a virgin with a few issues who finally gave up the V-card 2 years in (poor guy)… 2 months later, the guy breaks up with her the day before her birthday (actually, no – they went on a “break” that day, and 4 days later he changed his relationship status to “single” on Facebook, that’s how she found out it was actually over). He was a nice guy, but honestly he was super quiet and then when he was drunk he was hilarious and wouldn’t shut up. That was a huge red flag for me but still…

2. Friend B: Came into college with high school sweetheart and too much baggage I guess. 5 years together. They were the ones that got engaged and whose wedding I was helping to plan. They got engaged when he was 20, she was 19 (I know, I know) because she was ready for the next step and they had all these plans.. Only for her to realize that he wasn’t the man she wanted to be with, break off the engagement, get back together, get re-engaged (with a new ring), break up AGAIN, get back together, cheat on him and FINALLY end things for real. She kept both rings by the way… Here I’m 100% on the guy’s side, not on my friend’s by the way.

Friend B has recently entered a new relationship. The guy seemed extremely different from what she was used to (and from her life in general) but I thought it would be a good change from the path she was on. Turns out this new guy who is a seemingly harmless computer-fixing/comic-con type of nerd, is actually a possessive A-type guy, completely closed-minded to everything related to alcohol, going out and partying (ok fine), very into S&M (not really a problem, just a huge surprise from just looking at him), and who “weighs” my friend every Saturday and pushes her to lose weight and get to a healthy BMI (ok now I’m pissed). I’m fully aware that he can push as much as he wants, and it’s up to her to stop him, but really though!

3. Mom and Dad: this is extremely complicated to even get into, but picture a perfect couple that everyone looks up to and envy. The kind of couple that goes so well together that you just want what they have. Together for 30 years until dad decides he doesn’t love mom anymore (completely understandable) and then with really intricate lying goes off with the woman they’ve known for almost 20 years (who is also married and whose daughter is my Goddaughter) that ran their business, and is now in a relationship with. No words about my feelings here.

I could go on here for pages and pages, but my point is, in all the people I have gotten actually close to and have seen first-hand the ins and outs and the good and bad of their relationships… I have become horrified by the bad – but even worse, by the fact that the person who the bad is being done to doesn’t seem to realize or have a problem with it.

I am literally scared of what’s out there. Is there really someone that you match with so well, that doesn’t expect you to give up your life and dreams, that doesn’t leave you for your best friend, that doesn’t have some hardcore mental disorder, that is not a diagnosed addict or booked sex offender/criminal…. etc?

And I know that “normal” is subjective and completely exclusive to each individual and to that relationship… Maybe because I haven’t been in a stable and serious relationship myself, I might be looking at the bad outweighing the good. But is the good THAT good to override all of the REALLY bad?

For the record: It might not be the best idea to start a blog on an emo day

Or maybe it is? Maybe being more “in touch” with my feelings, thoughts and emotions than the usual might provide for a great post. We’ll see.

This morning I carpooled to work with my best friend. Even though we’re best friends (and have been so for around 5 years at this point), I still don’t understand how we can be quiet when we’re together… Like there’s nothing to say. It doesn’t always happen, and considering the fact that we live literally 1 minute away from each other, work together, and spend about 80% of our weeks breathing in the same oxygen space, it might be acceptable to not have anything new to say. Anyways, I digress (as I do on an all too regular basis).

As I drove, my thoughts were going crazy as usual, more uncontrollably so than any other day. One of the thoughts that popped into my head was something along the lines of “I love my brothers. A lot. My older brother practically helped raise me and I can’t fathom a world without him. When actress Brittany Murphy died, Ashton Kutcher (who co-starred with her in “Just Married” and dated her briefly during the shoot) tweeted ‘the world got a little less bright today’… I think that is exactly what I would say if my brother were to pass away. The world would feel less bright, less funny and less everything… Same goes for my little brother.”

Who thinks of this? Am I really that morbid/negative? I don’t like to think I am, and I actually love to talk about how positive and optimistic I tend to be. Sometimes though, the “dark and twisted” Meredith Grey side of me is all too powerful, and my deep thinking goes into overdrive. I have always had these kinds of darker thoughts, which led me to a lot of anxiety, fear and deprivation at one point a few years ago. I have learned to control myself and get past the thoughts and fears by rationalizing, but it is really a daily challenge in itself, regardless of what fun adventures life decides to throw my way.

When I got to the office and got online, I see on Facebook that one of my high school classmates passed away. I didn’t know him well, but my class had a traumatic 4 years while together, since every year of our lives while in school someone passed. It hits us extra hard every time one of us goes.

With my morbid morning thoughts and this “confirmation” that the only requirement to die is to be alive, I have spent the day ruminating about life, death, decisions, kids, future (or lack thereof), and everything there is to think about, leading to a completely unproductive work day. I have come to the point where I needed to put my thoughts in “paper” because they’re not doing much in my head. Hope to overcome this emo bump ASAP so I can get back to being my happier self.

The positive aspects of this not-so-peppy day are:

1. Nothing makes you think more about life than death. The parting of others makes you think about your blessings and reasons to be thankful. It’s a reminder we all need.

2. I will tell my brothers, mother, and as many people as I see fit that I love them, just because.

3. I finally created my blog. I have literally been considering this for years, and have even opened some accounts in the past but it just hadn’t worked out the way I wanted it to. This time is different though.

At almost 600 words at this point, I think I overstayed my welcome and the length of your attention span.

Happy reading, and until next time.