My Latest Story
Updated: May 31, 2019
It is June, and therefore LGBTQ+ Pride Month. This June is also the one year anniversary of the start of my latest story. And considering the subject matter, I think this anniversary month is very fitting.
Very first idea
Last summer marked the end of my high school career. Although I had graduated, I was still scheduled to participate in a missions trip with other students and teachers from my school that summer. We went, for our third time, to Haiti.
I absolutely love Haiti and have been blessed to make many lifelong friends there over the years. Despite the great time I had during the trip, I remember really looking forward to going home. There were many factors that contributed to this (unrelated to Haiti) that I won't get into now. The point is that, especially toward the end of the trip, I was so excited to leave. I remember being sleepless that last night. My bags were packed and everyone in the room with me was fast asleep.
Sleeplessness was definitely not new to me at this point and I'd developed several different strategies to deal with it. One of those strategies, my favorite, is to tell myself a story. I'll make up a story in my head: with at least two solid characters, conflict, passion, etc. And from there I'll let it play out before me until I drift off to sleep.
I can clearly remember that on this last June night in Haiti, I thought up my latest story.
Since I first thought about it, this story has changed, and it has changed me. I went from thinking about it to writing it down. From writing it down to stopping the process altogether. I started writing it again, with pen and paper this time. I typed it up and printed it. I edited with red pen and highlighters, and went through and edited the typed version on my computer. I am still in the editing and addition phase. There are still several parts of the story that I am still discovering, but the point is, I am a year into this revision process. This dream, this story, and these characters have officially been with me for one year.
I have been so secretive with this project. Because of its subject matter, because of its rough draft state, because of my own insecurities, because of its vulnerability. No one has read it but me.
I remember when I first got into sharing my writing, I published pieces chapter by chapter on Wattpad.com.
[While in high school I spent most of my days in a policed school environment where I heavily filtered what I said and wrote and did. I did not use profanity, I stayed out of trouble, and I did the best I could to stay in the good graces of authority and stay under the radar.]
When I began writing stories, especially after the first writing program, I experimented with characters that were not all morally good. I experimented with profanity in my writing, with kissing, and partial nudity. But I was sooo afraid, even with my pseudonym. I was afraid of being judged for what I wrote, what I thought about, what I felt, and what went on in my head. So I filtered my stories. I filtered my stories so much, cut a little out here, cut a little out there, until I was completely changing them. My stories were becoming something that I did not even want them to be, all because I was afraid to be real, true, pure, raw, fearless, and honest.
I worked past this fear little by little. I wrote fanfiction, adding plot-lines to characters and settings that were already created. In accurately portraying characters that I was merely borrowing, I punched through the wall of timidity. I wrote more explicitly, staying as true to form to the raucous, fearless characters (and writers) that I so admired.
But this fear has not completely left. I think now though it has gotten better. It has shifted into a sort of perfectionism. I want to get my story to the place where I can stand beside it fearlessly and confidently, knowing that I did my very best to portray what is in my heart.
And finally, the subject matter...
Whenever someone who notices me writing asks what my story is about I give a few different answers. It's a love story, I say. Or, it has a lot of action. Or it deals with themes of mental health. I remain very vague in my description.
I can say now confidently that all of these statements are true. My story deals with all of these topics. But I will elaborate...
The two main characters of my love, action, mental health story are Renaldo and Fridel. They are two latino men who fall in love under very one-of-a-kind circumstances. Renaldo is a spy, a soldier, and many things. But when he first encounters Fridel, he is a bank robber. At the time of the robbery Fridel is a former art student, a current bank teller. They soon discover in their changing world that the circumstances are much bigger than either of them, or anything they could have imagined. All the while Renaldo comes to terms with his poor mental health. This is their story. [update: many of these plot points have changed significantly]
*Phew* That felt good to get off my chest. I'm not sure when I will be finished with this story but I know that it will be beautiful. And that it is beautiful. I have received so much support and am so thankful. I am fearless. I know that I can do this. I look forward to the future and what this story will become.
Everyone deserves to be seen and portrayed in a beautiful, extraordinary light. Everyone's story deserves to be told despite religion, race, sexuality, or ideology. Love is the key. And love in all forms, is glorious.