12 years ago, at age 17, not even half way through my senior year I was awoken by my best girl friend at the time who lived with her dad and was getting beaten. In the middle of the night I got a call and I took my moms van to go drive her to her grandma and grandpas house. We got to talking and crying on the couch and somehow fell asleep. When I woke up it was 5 am and when I had gotten the van back to the house it had rained and it was very obvious I took the car in the middle of the night since I was the only sibling driving then. I park the car in the garage, walked up to my room quietly and tried to go back to sleep before school. Next thing I remember is my mother at 6:30 am shaking me vigorously to wake up. The look on her face, tone and her next words spoken will never forgotten. “You have 30 minutes to pack what you can carry and get the hell out of my house.” ……. With 0 places to go, I went to the only person I knew which was 15 miles from my mothers house down a busy interstate. Being stopped twice by strangers to ask if I needed a ride. I don’t know if it was the distortion on my face from crying or what, but both offers were declined. Looking back now, I’m surprised. When I did get to where I was going about 4 hours later, from carrying 4 full bags on my shoulders, my upper body was completely numb for hours after the bags came off. Now the person I was now living with temporarily, basically an older gay man who felt sorry for me. That’s not it though. Living there didn’t cost money because I had none. But the price wasn’t free. This random person I known a week and was now staying with was the first person I had ever heard anything about HIV from. Not because he was giving me helpful advice about the virus and how to be safe. But because we were having sex for a equal to “rent money”. Multiple nightmares about that period in my life still occur but I am extremely blessed and fortunate nothing in that sense was passed to me, especially being 17 and not knowing ANYTHING about the severity of the situation. It’s VERY important and a parents responsibility to inform there child of all risk whether you accept you child as gay or not, especially if they are sexually active. If you don’t know, good chance they are. If a new, possibly confused parent with a gay son or daughter is reading this now I will leave a link to a HIV prevention drug called PREP below. Just knowing could save your child’s life.
The only key details left in this segment…
1. Still to this very day I have NEVER been asked why and where did I go that night I took the van.
2. NEVER have I been asked where I went that next day and who I stayed with.
3. This event has caused a mental dark cycle of having imaginary conversations with my mom about what it would take to love me like she does my step sisters and half siblings. What other than being placed through “conversion therapy” AGAIN will be good enough? ( This was through “my church”) and the program is called “FREEDOM COUNSELING”. This person who “counseled” me was completely blocked from my memory, name everything. Until a few weeks ago when I saw a trailer to a film called Conversion. Which happens to be shot about that specific therapist. Once I saw the name I looked him up on fb and many awful memories and things he said came back to me. But what topped it all off was seeing my mother is still friends with him on fb.
This is a good ending point for Part 1
Message I want to be heard from this is to ALL PARENTS….. FUCKING BE THERE, as long as your child is trying, be there no matter what. Because my moms biggest blame for a lot of the things she did was pointed to her father committing suicide when she was young and not having a father be there growing up, seeing her first son being born or walking her down the aisle at her wedding. Absolutely awful and not taking away from that, but what’s worse is when your parents biggest crunch turns into your own. And she didn’t have to be dead to do that.
Devin P Bryant
Vocals/ Cinematography/ Edit- Devin P Bryant
Music: Inspired by True events- Tori Kelly