Today is my one-year mark writing for Instinct Magazine. It has been an incredible experience. I have learned a lot, made tons of mistakes, met some awesome people, and did I mention ‘made tons of mistakes?’
When I first signed on to write for Instinct, I was coming from a background of creative writing and local journalism. I dabbled in undiscovered screenplays (with the exception of one that picked up an award somewhere), poetry (still working on getting that anthology published), and some extremely long, poignant (IMHO) Facebook statuses. I’ve always been extremely wordy–even now, as I write this, I realize I’m already going on a tangent, but that’s just how I roll. But Instinct has been a new venture that has opened my eyes to many aspects of the world that I had missed.
As a full-time librarian, I had committed myself to my career so much that I had essentially forgotten about my love of writing. I put writing on the back burner for a few years so that I could focus on working with my community—something that I absolutely do no regret because I still have so much growth to do in this respect as well. I work with a predominantly Latino, immigrant community and each day working with them is an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. This is a community I am comfortable with because it is my home. Instinct has taught me, above anything else, how to get out of my comfort zone and tap into other aspects of my life. I’ll admit, It’s been scary. I’ve had to take a step back—multiple steps back—reassess some parts of my life, and learn more about what it means to be a queer person of color. I have been gay my whole life, but I did not start living my life as a gay man until my mid-twenties, even after I was already in a long term relationship.
I struggled with coming out at multiple junctures in my life. First to my friends, then to my family, then to my colleagues, and lastly to myself. It’s taken a great deal of soul-searching and affirmation to myself that I am worth so much.
Writing for Instinct has been something that I have been able to do to prove my worth to myself. It has been challenging, yes. I have had to juggle long hours working multiple jobs and then nights and weekends of writing, coordinating interviews, selecting the right photos, etc. And don’t get me started on the readers—I love you, but why do ya’ll hate me? As only one of two writers of color on the Instinct staff, it has been quite difficult to share experiences as a marginalized Latino with an already marginalized LGBTQ community. It’s been hard to speak about politics, religion, drag, murder, LGBTQ rights, travel, coming out stories, film and television, popular culture, and more because I realize that even though I have this outstanding privilege of a platform, I sometimes cannot get past feeling like the nine-year-old, chubby Mexican kid battling his demons just trying to make it through the world.
So why am I writing this? For those of you who are still reading, I want to make a point to say that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that I have had to rediscover myself. As ridiculous as this sounds, Instinct has given me my second wind. It has been therapeutic. In many ways I have been able to heal through the creative process and exploration of topics that we cover. I am in love with writing again, I feel more in touch with the LGBTQ community than ever before, and I feel like I am part of a family of individuals who are trying to contribute to the world with our perspectives.
Among the articles I wrote this year, these are some of my favorites:
Yes, sometimes our posts are too sexy for you to read or view at work or you may not agree with some of our contentious opinion pieces, but we do it because we love it! I honestly feel that my voice has been heard more in the last year writing for Instinct than the 32 years before that. What I want to encourage all of you to do is to find your piece of happiness. If you are feeling like you have lost your groove or gotten off of that path, get back on. Do something for yourself that will make you want to conquer the world–I know–how cliché, but true! You owe it to yourself to be living your best life. It may take a little sacrifice, a lot of falling and getting up again, you may even lose confidence at times—but never give up because the world needs to hear your voice—in whatever way you want to share it.
Thanks for reading – and easy on the shitty comments!
This piece was created by one of our contributing writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other contributing writers when it comes to this subject.