Everyone has a story, a past. A collection of people, things, and experiences that play a powerful role in shaping the who we are and who we hope to be.
At times, it feels like we can never really escape the skeletons or wish away the scars inflicted on us by those we love–and those we didn’t. Anthony is no different.
But he does show us that when we stop running from those skeletons and stop covering up the scars, we’re blessed with a priceless gift: a powerful story of transformation meant to inspire ourselves and those around us.
Growing up I was a porkchop. I’ve always had to deal with oppression in regards to my appearance. Even in middle school I was called a “fat boy” and the “fat faggot,” until I got into high school. Then to no avail when I lost the weight, I was called “sick” and “scrawny.” There was no way away from how people judged my appearance. When I grew into my 20s, I was able to tell myself, “You’re fine. You don’t need to care how they see you.”
In the past, other people’s opinions have made me feel really low about myself, made me think I wasn’t worth much especially if I couldn’t fit into a specific group. So now, I try to compliment myself because I believe that before you can ever go out there and make a mark on the world, you have to be comfortable with yourself. I used to be hypersensitive about my appearance, but now how I look has become how I feel about music: I don’t like just one genre or one look.
When it comes to beauty, especially when I hit rock bottom and I didn’t’ know who I was, I knew I had to work on myself from the inside out. I see myself as a creation of God and coming from women, I decided to start there. I wanted to get to know the feminine side of myself. I wanted to embrace the side of me that could be pretty and put on feminine things to see if my internal masculinity and personality would still shine.
It relates back to my own philosophy around beauty, acceptance, and intimacy, which I believe is being able to tell yourself, “Okay, I’m going to wear this pink sweatshirt, and I’m going to love myself no matter what someone may think or say about it. I’m going to wear this tie even though there’s no special event and everyone may think I’m doing too much when everyone is wearing graphic tees and sweaters.” Acceptance of oneself in all your entirety is the first step to being able to do the same for others.
I used to be hypersensitive about my appearance, but now how I look has become how I feel about music: I don’t like just one genre or one look.
Men can be effeminate. Being able to go on that journey within myself and relish and embrace everything that is “girly” about myself helped me embrace the masculine elements of myself, such as my beard, the hair on my chest. It allowed me to embrace the duality that exists within myself.
As a result of this journey, I realize I’m still growing but I’m more comfortable with the man I’m becoming. Now, Anthony is okay with being seen as a gay man or as a straight man. I’m no longer a naive kid; I’ve accepted what I believe is ugly about myself, and embrace the girliness in my ways. I continue to study my delicate features, and tenderness to further get to know and nurture the male energies of who I am.
Through this journey, I’ve learned to accept three parts of myself: my femininity, the woman within me because I come from a woman; my manliness, the harder, more aggressive angular parts of myself; and who I really am. Then the flowing embodiment of both, who I was meant to be.
I’ve become okay with the idea of not falling in love or being with anyone. I’m fine with my future being the man who has a big family and a beautiful wife! Though I’m just as fine being the nomadic snowy haired man traveling the world with a suitcase! Love is so much more than having someone to cuddle up with at night, someone to complain to and or grow with.
I’m okay with being solo and I would love to surround myself with people who feel the same way, people who can be self assured knowing love starts with one…not two. I want to be the love amplifier, the dash of salt in the potato salad, someone who finds love in everything. Someone who reveals to others how true love comes and grows from the simplest of things.
I’ve learned to accept three parts of myself: my femininity, the woman within me because I come from a woman; my manliness, the harder, more aggressive angular parts of myself; and who I really am, the flowing embodiment of both.
Right now, there’s this idea of being “savage” and doing anything you want despite how it affects others. But I often ask, “Why can’t it be okay to be a sweetheart?” I’ve always been shunned and put down for being a considerate person, and at one point in my life after being emotionally broken, I decided not to be that happy go lucky person anymore. I didn’t want to listen to anyone because it felt like no one was ready to listen to me. So in result I became the beast, I myself became the savage.
I was running from myself, but in all reality the real me didn’t find happiness in the mindset of, “Me over everything–money over everything.” It wasn’t genuine and it wasn’t pleasant. But besides myself I believe those who look for solace in that selfish “savage” demeanor, and those who aren’t capable of dealing with pain in a optimistic way believe becoming harder will protect their already hurt feelings.
So they create this edgy nonchalant character in hopes of their true selves being protected from more emotional trauma. But I’m a little bit different, as much as life sucks at times, whatever comes my way… have at me. I won’t put up a savage front to appear unbreakable. To be strong is to be able to own up to your pains…and be able come back from them a “warrior” not a savage.
I believe what you put into the world comes back to you. Yes, I make mistakes. The Anthony I am today ain’t perfect: I indulge myself in things I shouldn’t. I’m still hard on myself. I have my insecurities just like everyone else does. But I’m just the lover who wants to be there for people. I don’t want to be the one who puts others down.
To this day, I get weird looks from others and get looked down on by some family members. In the past, I would have felt the need to be petty, going tit for tat. Now, I’m the person who is okay with it. It’s all love and honestly I appreciate people not agreeing with me because it helps me realize and remember how the world isn’t made up to be the way I see it. I’m damn proud of the person I’ve becoming.
The more I grow, it’s almost as though I’m seeing a cocoon and me finally turning into who I’m meant to be. Something that was once leather studded, and with the stench of cigarettes is now a butterfly.