This post will probably be the hardest task I will come across in my writing so far. I always try to be honest in what I write, but this is a step further. This is transparency at its most raw. I have debated with myself for years whether I would ever put these things in to words, but it is time for me to put them to rest.
Anyone who has known me longer than a year knows that sexual promiscuity has always been a huge part of my life. My reputation up to this point, has basically been woven together by mistake after mistake. I have lived my life until now searching for my worth in the company of women. For a long time, I just could not figure out why sex was so important to me. As long as I can remember, there has just always been this curiosity in me. There has been this power that comes from being sexual and being good at it. That same curiosity is what has lost me most of the great things in my life. It has cost me more than I ever could have gained. We can look at our generation of young men and we think to ourselves that being constantly aroused and overly sexual are just what come with the territory in pubescent boys. We forget that these young men were once innocent children. Most people who know the mistakes I’ve made forget that I was once an innocent boy. Bad habits don’t appear from thin air. The tendencies to indulge in porn and become womanizers are not traits that every boy is born with. These things are learned. Much like so many boys all over the world I learned too much too young.
The things I am choosing to reveal in this confession are things that I have rarely ever spoken about because until recently I hadn’t realized how much they have affected me. I have made so many wrong decisions. There are so many mistakes I wish I could take back. So many people that I have hurt. I had to sit down and force myself to try and find the root of why I was doing things that I really didn’t want to do. In doing so I had to come to terms with things I did not want to face. Being in church I have had to share my testimony a lot. So much to the point I had it memorized on which details I was willing to share. I was the little ghetto boy with the drunk father and sick mother who got in to fights, messed with girls, and secretly loved to write. The part I have only told a handful of people is the fact that I was molested when I was 5 years old. It was by an older girl who I can only guess was about 15 or 16. I was in Puerto Rico visiting my grand-mother and there was a weekend she and my grand-father had to go away, so she left me with a friend of hers. An older woman I had never met before. I stayed in this woman’s house with just her and I believe the girl was her grand-daughter. I have always been a quiet child so I pretty much kept to myself. When the old woman wasn’t in the kitchen cooking, she was in front of the tv. I remember spending a lot of time outside because she had a hammock, and I loved to swing in them. The first day I was there I remember laying in the hammock and looking at the sky and all of a sudden I felt someone pushing it. They pushed harder and harder and I just laughed. It was the girl. After a few minutes she stopped, got in and laid next to me. I felt uncomfortable, but because I was so quiet I didn’t say anything. It didn’t take her long to start doing what she came to do. As we laid there she turned my head and started to kiss me on my lips and in that moment I felt my entire body freeze. I can still remember how she kissed me. I remember what her face looked like because my eyes were open the entire time while hers were closed. I can still vaguely remember how her tongue felt in my mouth. I never moved. Every muscle in my body was a statue. I just laid there and let this strange girl kiss me and rub her hands on me. To this day I don’t know why I never said stop. I think, at that age I just thought it was normal. She was a girl and I was a boy. But why didn’t I like it then? Why did it feel wrong? Eventually she stopped, looked me dead in my eyes and said “Don’t tell”. I stayed there for what seemed like hours. I was literally terrified to move. I felt embarrassed, confused, and sad all at the same time. I never cried. I wanted to so badly. I remember that day so vividly because it was the first day I ever ached for my mother. All I wanted was for her to come get me and take me home. But, she wasn’t there. I was all alone with this strange woman and this girl. That night I was terrified to go to sleep. I was in a strange room on a big bed in the dark all alone. As I laid there trying to make out the shapes in the dark the door opened and the girl walked in. She had on a long pink Puerto Rico t-shirt and I think she was only in her panties underneath. Again I felt terror take over and my body froze. I closed my eyes and tried my hardest to pretend I was asleep. I could feel her crawl under the covers and lay right next me. She tapped me trying to wake me up but I didn’t budge. I could feel her wet hair on my neck and her breathing next my face. She started to kiss me behind my jaw and rub my chest and stomach as she moved her body closer. I wanted to yell. I wanted her to stop. I just couldn’t get the words out and I wanted to cry out in frustration. She kept kissing. Kept touching. After awhile her hands started to move to other places on my body. She pulled my shorts and underwear down to my knees and started to touch my private parts. This is the part that gives me chills to this day. I could feel her hands moving and rubbing. I tried to move but her hands just followed. At one point I even tried to kick her away but she got on top of me and pinned me down. She kept kissing and fondling me. At that moment I don’t know why I didn’t scream. I wanted to. For some reason I remember feeling like I would get in trouble. Like somehow it was my fault this was happening. When she was done touching me she grabbed my hands and put them on her breasts and other parts. My arms were limp while she just kept rubbing my hands all over her body. She started breathing harder and harder and then it just stopped. She got off the bed and walked out of the room. I was alone again and this time I was sad, and exhausted, and scared, and angry. I was angry at her, myself, my mom, my grand-mother, and the old woman. No one stopped her. No one called to check on me. So there I was laying in that strange bed by myself not really knowing what just happened. I pulled my shorts up, crawled into a little ball and I cried. I cried like I have never cried before. It was one of those silent cries when your mouth is wide open and your eyes are shut so tight you can’t open them. I cried until I fell asleep. The next day the old woman had called my grand-mother because I refused to come out of the room. A couple of hours later my grand-mother shows up and opens the door to the room and I couldn’t even look her in the eyes. I sat on the floor with my head down until she picked me up and carried me out. I put my face in her neck and closed my eyes because I didn’t want to see the girl. To this day I still don’t know her or the old lady’s name. I never wanted to know. I spent the rest of the trip being really quiet. My grand-mother kept asking me what was wrong and why I wouldn’t eat and I just shrugged my shoulders. But, when she would ask if I missed mommy and if I wanted to go home, I always said yes. I wanted to leave so badly, so she sent me home early. That was the last time I went to Puerto Rico.
When I came back I was different. I was still quiet but I was angrier. I was rebellious and disrespectful. Especially towards my mother. I started to look at my body differently. I started looking at women differently. I didn’t feel like a little boy anymore. It wasn’t until recently looking back I realized my innocence was stolen. The filter that keeps children pure was gone. I wasn’t just a little boy anymore. When you’re innocence is gone you start to notice things you’ve never noticed before. The way people kiss. The things two adults say to each other when they think you don’t understand. Even things on TV are different. The world is a dirtier place when your eyes are opened. The next two years I spent in and out of trouble because of my mouth. I had become very disobedient and rude. I talked back to everyone. I was especially mean to the girls in my class. The girl who molested me left me feeling very bitter and confused about girls.
This next part is probably my deepest, darkest secret. This is the event that I have done my absolute best to keep buried. There are a total of 3 people who know what I am about to share. It wasn’t until I fully confronted and accepted that this happened that a lot of things became clear about who I am. Growing up I was the only kid on my street for a long time. I spent a lot of time playing with toys on the front porch or riding my bike up and down the sidewalk. When I was about 8 or 9 a new family moved in two houses down from mine. There was a father, grand-father, son, and an older daughter. It wasn’t long before me and the son started to hang out because there was no one else in the neighborhood to hang out with. He was older than I was. He was 14 and a freshman in high school, and his sister was 17. We spent a lot of time doing normal stupid kid stuff. We played a lot of video games which I hated. Practiced jumping fences, and tried to sneak into the strip club at the end of the street. He was the only friend I had outside of school. There was never anything in our friendship that ever struck me as odd. There was no warning sign for what happened next. It was a typical day. We had both gotten out of school and went to his house to play video games in the basement because that’s the only place we didn’t bug his sister. Looking back at this moment I can still feel how different the atmosphere was that day. He hadn’t said much until in the middle of the game. Without looking at me he asked “How do you think people know when they are gay?” I don’t think any 8 year old in that situation knows how to answer that question. So I just said “I dunno”. Then he asked me “If you do something with a guy but you still have your clothes on, do you think that’s gay?” Again, I didn’t know what to say, so I just shrugged my shoulders. The only thing I knew about being gay at that age was that it was wrong. Being gay was the worst thing you could be. I didn’t know why. I didn’t know what it meant. I just knew that I wasn’t and wasn’t allowed to be. After a long silence he turned out the lights in the basement and turned off the TV so I was just laying down there in his pitch black basement. Out of the darkness I felt his hand touch my face. I had no clue what he was doing. He moved his hand down my chest and as it got lower I asked him what he was doing. He said “I just want to see something”. Every part of my body began to boil. It was the same feeling I got with the girl. Here I was all over again fighting to move or do something, but I just laid there. I didn’t know what was happening, I just knew that I didn’t like it but I could not stop it. I felt weak. He started to rub me on my private and my whole body went numb. My mind was racing, my heart was pounding, and I kept picturing the girl over and over. Every time I flinched he would just say “it’s okay, as long as we keep our clothes on it’s not gay”. But, it didn’t change how wrong it felt. As he rubbed me, he was rubbing himself. Then he laid on top of me and started to move back and forth. All I could feel was his heavy body on mine while I tried to breathe. Then he just stopped and got off. I didn’t say a word. I just got up and walked home. Once again I was all alone. My mom was always working and my brother was never home. I sat in my room on my bed. I was silent and I didn’t move. I hadn’t really understood what just happened. Was I gay now? I knew I didn’t enjoy it, but because it happened did that mean I had to be gay? That night when I went to sleep I cried again. I was so confused and angry all over again. All I knew was that I never wanted to see him again. Until more kids moved into the neighborhood I barely left my house. We never spoke more than two words to each other after it happened but I saw him almost every day. And every time I did I wanted to vomit. I got even more angry because again there was no one around to protect me. I knew I could never say anything because then people would think I was gay and I knew that I wasn’t. How do you explain something like that to your mother and brother? I thought a lot about telling my brother, but I knew he would literally kill the kid. So I kept it in. I never spoke about it or wrote about it until now.
After that everything became sexual. My sense of humor. The things I watched on TV. The girls I talked to. I was determined to prove my manhood. I was determined to get a girlfriend. It had become an obsession to prove to myself that I wasn’t gay. Every girl I flirted with. Every fight I got in was a way to prove to myself that I wasn’t any less of a man. This is when the habits began. I started to watch porn. I only talked to girls who liked to talk about sex. I became obsessed with making sure that every girl wanted me. I changed who I was based on every girl I flirted with to make sure that they would like me. I needed that attention from girls. As I grew so did my sexual ventures. I was always eager to get further with every girl. It was my mission to make sure every girl knew that Mario Del Valle was a man. Eventually I was hooking up with almost any girl that was willing. It was to a point to where I would do things with girls I was in no way attracted to. I was doing things and saying things that I didn’t want to. These habits were a part of me now. I stopped caring about how I felt when I was doing stuff and just focused on doing it and making sure it was good because I wanted the girls to keep wanting me after. It doesn’t take a psychologist to figure out I had major insecurity problems. Every girl I ever kissed or hooked up with, was in my head, the only way to fight my insecurity. I had turned my body into a woman’s plaything. The scariest part was how I could I just turn off my emotions when I was doing these things. If I didn’t want to I didn’t have to feel anything. I could sit there and turn my mind off and not think about anything or who I was hurting. In my head I was doing what real men do. Some of you who read this may never know that feeling, and I pray with all of my heart that you never do. You wake up one day and realize that there are two of you. There’s the good normal side and then there’s a monster side. I wish words could do more to describe the duality of being a sexual instrument. It is literally like a trigger. Everything can be normal one minute but the second you get aroused you must have it then and there.
I never thought about men in a romantic or sexual way, so when I stopped worrying about proving I wasn’t gay it was already too late. My mind was too far gone and nothing made sense to me unless it was sexual. It was normal for me to hook up with a girl and not think twice about it. It was normal to kiss who ever I wanted and it not mean anything. I had completely disconnected my heart from my body. If you’re heading to that place, or are there now, change. You will leave a trail of damage and rubble in people’s lives bigger than you can handle and it will destroy you. Your guilt will catch up to you, and you will hurt the people you love most in the world, trust me. Amazingly, it has taken me 24 years to finally put a value on physical acts. It has taken 24 years to understand that my body wasn’t meant to be used for degradation. To understand that no matter how many girls I hooked up with not one of them would make me more of a man. 24 years… It took 24 years for me to start learning how to love myself.
My habits have earned me a tarnished reputation and broken relationships. A reputation I accepted because in my head it was easier to be Mario the bad guy, than it was to be Mario the boy who was molested. It may not make sense to some of you. It didn’t make sense to me at first. But the truth is, it’s easier to be the villain than be the damaged sad story. I hate pity, more than anything. So I found comfort in being the bad guy because I controlled that. I could change that part of me. What I couldn’t control was my past, and that wasn’t acceptable. I could throw myself a pity party, and tell myself I didn’t know any better. I mean honestly there was no one around to teach me any better. But, what good would excuses do me now? They don’t change anything. They certainly do not change what I have done. All I can do now is accept my mistakes. Understand that I am not that person anymore, and above all forgive. Forgive those who have hurt me, but more importantly forgive myself. I cannot stress forgiveness enough. Had I forgiven myself sooner I wouldn’t have ruined the great things I felt I didn’t deserve. Had I been honest with myself there would be one less broken heart tonight. Until you can look yourself in the mirror and have peace, you will always find a way to destroy the good things in your life. It took my whole life for me to face my demons and call them by name. It was definitely by no means my own wisdom or strength. I had to really sit down and let God work in my heart and bring these things up from the darkness before I could even think of trying to move on. There’s no possible way I could ever explain the fear and anxiety I have writing all this knowing people will read it. But, healing isn’t about pretending the wound isn’t there, it’s about accepting that it exists and learning to push through the pain.