Hello! Welcome to the first Secondary Sunday in a series of stories that I will be sharing with you in the future.
Let’s hope we have more of these coming for a while (to be honest I already have at least six of these ready and some more in the making).
The first Secondary Sunday is…
I’m a secondary character in your life; only in your story when you read my words.
To you I exist only in the confines of the internet. But I have a life. I eat, breathe, cry and live when you’re not here to see me.
There are so many things you don’t know about me.
You don’t know that when I was born I didn’t cry, not for almost a minute. Not because I couldn’t but because I didn’t want to. You don’t know that most of my life has followed a similar path.
All the times that I haven’t cried have been because I didn’t want to. It’s not that I couldn’t cry when the earthquake happened, when one of my great uncles died, or when one of my friends was going away. I just didn’t want to.
I didn’t want to feel, is what I mean.
You don’t know that I once saw a man kill himself and I managed to keep it together for a full hour before it hit me that he had died. You don’t know that I cried myself to sleep that night. Not because I couldn’t stop but because I wanted to.
I wanted to feel, is what I mean.
You don’t know I inherited my name from a long, long line of Marias, all ready to dedicate their lives to Jesus and their church.
No one has ever called me María.
You don’t know how long I spent drawing lines everywhere I could, notes, ground, tables and even my own skin… for reasons I couldn’t understand.
I didn’t want to understand, is what I mean. I wasn’t ready to.
You don’t know that I’m writing these words more than a week in advance to when you’ll see them. I’m drinking a glass of coke and my mother is humming under her breath as she creates with her hands a dress from pieces of fabric. My sisters are upstairs, sleeping or watching videos, or staring at the ceiling wondering how many of their life choices truly led to this point in their lives. Or maybe that’s my cat. Maybe Lady Clementine Walburga Black is now staring with vacant eyes at a spot on the wall while my sister wonders if she’s seeing a ghost.
My sister doesn’t believe in ghosts, is what you don’t know.
I’m afraid of the dark.
I’m afraid of being alone, is what I mean.
I’ve never hated something as much as I love being alone. I’ve never loved myself as much as I’ve hated my self when I’m alone.
You have to hear your thoughts, is what I mean.
I have so many thoughts. Some of them you know, or you will know at some point in the future.
(I’m not good at shutting up)
(I’ve never said everything I thought)
I tend to swallow my words. I tend to only say what I think others could take, what they want me to say.
I used to tell my mother I couldn’t envision a heaven that turned Queer people away because I thought it was unfair to them. I once called myself an ally, I told my mother I wanted to see my friends happy. I used to think I scorned our priest’s idea of heaven because I was sad about all of those people who believed and were hated by God.
I used to be one those people, is what I mean.
I still cry when I hear Troye Sivan’s “Heaven” is what you don’t know.
There will always be a part of me that longs for heaven, is what I don’t want to know. I will always wish I could be that María that can go to heaven… I will always wish my faith hadn’t withered away with the years.
I used to wish my mother could love me the way I am, is what you don’t know.
She loves me more than words can explain, is what I know, but she can’t fully understand me or my choices, is what she wants me to know.
I once fell in love with my best friend… is what I didn’t know.
She broke my heart when she told me she hated me and thought I was a weak cry baby, and she only stayed by my side because she was afraid of what our mothers would say if she made me cry. I never really understood why it hurt so much that I can’t truly forgive her to this day.
I loved her in a way I haven’t loved anyone ever again, with pieces and parts of me that have long ago eroded into sawdust. I held her with the hands in my mind that would only ever be able to be delicate with her.
All of those pieces that loved her with abandon are gone now, replaced with something fierce and tender that will always be a part of me.
I love my friends, all of them. I love them without restrictions and with no conditions. They could go away and never talk to me again and a part of me would forever love them. I would never be able to hate them because I have given everything I am to them.
I have never loved anyone, is what I want you to know.
Not the way movies and books show you.
I’ve never loved myself, only the parts of me that people have told me they loved. They were made beautiful by being touched by someone else.
I used to cry myself to sleep and wish that I was dead, is what you don’t know.
I prayed to a God I couldn’t fully believe in anymore to kill me everyday for years.
I’ve never tried to kill myself, is what I mean.
I’ve only ever hurt myself, is what I want you to know.
I once fell asleep holding my legs against my chest with burning arms and shaky hands. I cried into the soft inside of my elbows and wished I had the strength to end it all. I tried to hold onto all the dangling and dying pieces of myself so fiercely that for a second I believed my mother’s God would be able to forgive me for being broken and wrong. I tried to keep all the tiny, fractured pieces that made me up inside a thick skin where they wouldn’t be touched by anyone ever again.
I told my parents I wanted to die once, or twice, or maybe a dozen times, is what you don’t know.
I can still feel my dad’s arms as he tried to hold onto me and make the bad thoughts go away, is what I mean. My mom still acts like it’s something that never happened while praying for me, my soul, so that I can be guided back to God’s arms.
“I once fell in love with a woman, mom.” Is what I wish I could tell her. “I’m not broken or wrong because I like boys and gals and non-binary pals, mom.”
I’m not broken. I wish I could tell myself.
Scars don’t make me beautiful but they do remind me of the places I’ve been.
“I’m alive.” I wish I could tell the people who made my life miserable in school. I’m alive even while we all thought I wouldn’t. Is what I tell one of my closest friends in the dead of night while she echoes similar words.
I wish I could hold her with burning arms and fierce fingers so that she will never slip away from me the way we’ve both craved so many times.
I have best friends, is what you don’t know.
I never had friends, is what I mean.
I have fallen in love with my new friends in a way my first love would never understand. I have given them everything I wished I could give to the person who broke my heart and more. I have given them the selective pieces I hold dearest, the vulnerable and passionate sides of me, hoping and knowing they wouldn’t be crushed. I have even given them the sides I know I can never love. I have given myself so completely to them there is nothing left to give, to keep, to hate.
I have found my soul mates in the shape of my best friends, is what I want you to know. I can hold onto them as strongly as they hold onto me. They will be all that is left of my heart once I’m gone.
I will never truly be gone.
I am better now.
You don’t know that I got up this morning with a fresh scratch in my arm and anxiety burning a hole through my stomach. You don’t know that I cried while reading this, drinking coke and listening to my dad as he argued with the politicians of the TV.
You don’t know that I backtracked, that I erased and replaced things.
You don’t know the things I don’t want you to know, and that’s okay.
You have a life away from this single moment in which you allow me to be a part of your story.
You will never know how happy I am that you still have a story.
You will never truly know anything I ever tell you because you will never really know if I’m lying.
But I want you to know that for this moment, right this second, I love you and I wish I could tell you I am proud that despite everything in your life you made it here.
I am happy to be a part of your story, even for the briefest of seconds, even just once in a lifetime. I’m glad our lines touched.
I’m glad you’re reading this, and I’m glad you lived.
I’m glad that no matter what, you’re still fighting.
I’m glad you’re you.