Updated: Aug 2, 2021
“ When I told him it felt inconsiderate, he texted me this within seconds: “You are not who you say you are.” He couldn’t be more wrong."
Someone that barely knew me for a month, for whom I opened my home and showed many gestures of kindness, stood me up without much consideration after hours of thoughtful preparation for plans which had been made at his request. When I told him it felt inconsiderate, he texted me this within seconds: “You are not who you say you are.” He couldn’t be more wrong. This is who I am: I am someone who was sexually abused by an older man on a swing in a dark basement when I was six. I have carried 320 pounds of that pain in the form of fat through teenage years that isolated me from the carefree experiences most people take for granted. I have had 400 square inches of skin surgically cut from my body and thrown into a bucket of trash. I have held my beautiful mother’s frail hand while her cancer-riddled body shut down and she left this world with one final excruciating sigh. I have sat on a cold metal chair and looked a stranger in a white coat straight in his piercing blue eyes as he told me I was hiv positive, not long after I had finally found the courage to reveal the part of me I had kept hidden for most of my life. I have been given a ride home by a charming gay man, when I first moved to San Francisco, who showed me a sweet picture of his daughter, offered me some of his Snapple, and then, when I was mostly unconscious from whatever he had put in it, beat and raped me repeatedly for hours before he dumped me by the side of a highway exit. I kissed the father I once hated over and over on his cheek while he died on the floor of the bedroom where I was conceived, my arms wrapped around him, covered in the blood that seeped from under his t-shirt. I have been told by my husband of seventeen weeks that he was having sex with other men and leaving me because he hadn’t actually loved me for two years, the time when he had realized I “wasn’t perfect.” So the truth is, yes, I do know who I am. I am a man who takes every moment and turns it into a lesson that hopefully teaches me something and makes me a better friend to myself, a more present soul, and, someday, a deserving person’s loving partner. And when I say that I am that man, I mean a warrior of experiences that would cripple others with a will less resilient. Because my spirit will not be destroyed. Not by words. Not by a punch in the gut. Not by neglect. I am a man who can forgive what others say in pain because I can see that we are all vulnerable, all learning. I am miraculously generous of heart, except that now I expect nothing less in return. But you cannot say that I am not who I claim to be. I am stronger than I would have ever thought possible. I am more loving and curious than I was yesterday, and more grateful than the day before that. I am more alive at this second than in my wildest dreams. I am here. I am present. I am Mathura.