Posts Tagged With: Spanish

Finding THAT Connection

Sometimes most all of us would benefit from a good whack in the head to be reminded that we need more perspective in our lives! Lazaro 8The whack that just caught me upside my head was Lazaro Arbos and his American Idol audition. Lazaro, a 21 year-old ice cream scooper from Florida, has had a stutter since age 6 that has deeply impacted his life. I cannot imagine the courage it took for this brave young man, with a pretty severe stutter, to sit in front of television cameras and share his story. By the end of the audition he had tears of joy dripping from his chin – and so did I.

What an indomitable spirit he must have! His family immigrated to Florida from Cuba when he was 10 years-old Lazaro 16and his parents still speak Spanish. This would make me guess that he learned English well after the stuttering began and is now bilingual. Reared all of my live in the United States, at 40 I immigrated to Colombia, South America, and have had GREAT difficulty learning the local language of Spanish and I do not have a stutter to overcome. This young man has whacked me in the head reminding me I have to stop making excuses and learn Spanish or this inspirational moment will have been wasted.

At one point he says – things that “normal” people would think are so easy becomes so hard for him. I do not doubt that a lot of things are more Lazaro 7difficult for him, but I hope he misspoke using the term “normal” people in a way that could exclude him from being “normal”. My brief moment of sympathy was quickly followed by shock. This guy that just inspired not only me but thousands, does he feel he is not “normal”? Watching it the first time, I just wanted to give him a big hug. Watching it again, I wanted to shake him and say, “NEVER feel you are not ‘normal’!” But the confidence, courage, strength and intelligence he must posses to be bilingual while having a stutter and giving such a heartfelt performance convinces me, and I hope, he just misspoke.

I am such an easy target for a story like his because I have a real empathy for his situation. I had hearing difficulties as a lazaro 14child and out of a necessity created my own language. It was actually the official language of the little world I lived in – within my own little head. Lazaro’s mother Gisela says she often had to speak for him. My little world also had a translator, my older sister Darlene. People would listen to me jabber on and on (one thing that has not changed about me), not understanding a word, then ask Darlene, “What did he say?” Then she would relay my message perfectly in English. She was really the only one that truly understood me, having to also translate for Mom and Dad at times! At age five, I began to learn to speak English, the language of the people in my new world. I no longer had to live in my isolated world and began to FEEL more and more connected to this much bigger world outside my little head.

My translator Darlene & Me

My translator Darlene & Me

Acting as my translator, Darlene and I built a unique bond. Now we are adults, we often argue and fight. In thinking about this I have come to a realization why – I struggle wanting her to understand me to help translate who I am to a part of the world that does not understand me – my family! Our rifts are about religion, politics, as well as lifestyle. While she and my family remain very religious, conservative, and content; I, on the other hand lost my religion, tend to be liberal (I really think I am what they now call a Progressive), I am openly gay and live what I have convinced myself is an adventurous life given the constraints of a life dealing with limitations because of Multiple Sclerosis. So I try and hope for her to understand me so that she can translate so I can feel a connection with my family again. We do make real effort, but for now… I am still jabbering on and on in my own language and feel I NEED that ONE person that understands me to help the world (outside of my little head) understand me!

Seeing this video surprised me because I felt I was witnessing Lazaro’s moment, the moment he found “MUSIC” was his translator and people beyond his Lazarofamily could understand and connect with the world he has been isolated in for so long.  He found his Darlene!  I think he FEELS he has connected; others see, feel, and understand his world a little more. Not only is music his translator – he sees that it is an APPRECIATED talent. He has found some of the respect he has craved and deserves.  Feeling this connection has to be incredible! He has been actualized as a member of the bigger world. The talent that until now has been comfort in his isolated world can now be shared – WORLD, MEET LAZARO!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/18/american-idol-lazaro-arbo-stutter-video_n_2501225.html?ncid=webmail19

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Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Prince Without a Kingdom!

As a child, I loved “Mr Roger’s Neighborhood”.  My favorite part was when he visited the “land of make-believe”.  At this very young age of watching and enjoying “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”, I was being sexually molested by a young man in our neighborhood and to cope – I created my own “Land of Make Believe”.  We lived on Johnston Chapel Road in a community named Johnston Chapel that was accessed by exiting at Johnston’s Station exit from the interstate.  So being a “Johnston” was key to my fantasy world and in my mind “The Johnston’s” were royalty.  My land of make-believe was based partially on reality, but much was IMAGINARY.  Initially it may have been a way to cope with the trauma in my life, but soon it became home, comfortable and real to me.  In my world…. I was royalty – I was a Prince!

Pioneer televangelist Oral Roberts’ openly gay, gay rights activist, grandson Randy Roberts Potts was interviewed in the February issue of Details magazine (link at bottom of article).  I saw so many parallels with one major exception… he was royalty on the Oral Roberts University campus or “compound” as it was called by some and it wasn’t just in his mind!  He has been able to parlay his experience into not only an inspiring story, but also a “cause”.  He is traveling the U.S. with “The Gay Agenda”, simple performance art based on the realities of typical day-to-day lives of many gay men.

Randy Roberts Potts inspires me….. but what can I do with this inspiration?  I have survived childhood sexual molestation, I live daily with Multiple Sclerosis, I write with intent to advocate for the poor / disenfranchised / marginalized in our society; but that is as far as it seems to go.  I have tried to summon support to get heard by elected officials (only to be ignored).  So what am I NOT doing to convert ALL this inspiration into action?  How do I get feet under my words?  I am inspired to do……????  What next, what do I do?  Write more about it in this blog that has not earned me 1 dime?

So this brings me to the heart of my frustration – lack of money!  Money may not be able to buy happiness… but it sure can help accomplish a lot of other good things.  I see Cadillac Escalades at churches and think…. couldn’t they have settled for a Chevy Tahoe and done more good for fellow man with the difference in money?  I do not know how to inspire without funds to do something!!  lol  I do not even have a car, but even if I have access to a car – I don’t have gas money!! lol  No wonder the rich just keep getting richer…. the poor have no money to advocate for themselves!  I get inspired, I get frustrated not being able to but that inspiration into action, I get depressed and look for inspiration and then the cycle starts all over again!

I know the problem is me!  I have been “inspired” to learn Spanish for almost 5 years now and still have a very limited knowledge of Spanish!  lol  In a post late December, I highlighted a young man, Johnny Robinson, that reached out to help another young gay man struggling.  He was inspired, took action and reached out.  His inspiring youtube video has been viewed more than 400,000 times by people all over the world.  But sadly, he reported on his facebook page recently that a young man in his own school committed suicide due to issues with being gay and bullied.  How can we (the willing to help) do more to help others?  I was proud watching Johnny’s video when he says, “I used to feel helpless.” “But then…” (he grins) “I stood up for myself”  I see confidence and sincerity.  He even goes on to offer his e-mail.  

What more can we do?  How can we help these young men and women find that even if they cannot stand up for themselves – there are some of us willing to stand WITH them?  Randy Roberts Potts is like me… a Prince without a kingdom and here is Johnny Robinson (homecoming) KING of his kingdom.  Yet there are some that will not ask us to help in spite of our offers.  The displaced gay royalty wants ALL of you to know …. you are STRONG and when you feel helpless…. there is help.  If not us – The Trevor Project (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/ or 866-488-7386).  So, how do I find MY kingdom, get past my excuses and start my own “Gay Agenda”? I start by asking for your help, asking you to let me help us all find our inner strength!

http://www.details.com/culture-trends/critical-eye/201202/preacher-oral-roberts-grandson-randy-roberts-potts-the-gay-agenda

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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