I had a wonderful time to experience Long Beach Pride with the brothers and sons of In The Meantime Men and AMAAD. Over course of the weekend, we were able to connect and engage with folks from all over the state as we shared good times and education around our programs and services. I had several “teachable moments” with coworkers, community partners, and festivalgoers.
There were more than a few times where I had to step around and reflect to, like my mama says, “see the God” in some of these experiences. So many young men have told me, “thank you for being you,” “you inspire me,” or even, “I want to be like you.” Words that have brought me to tears. I remember times when I was not thankful to be me, when I did not want to be like me. I remember praying to God to help me love me. But then I remember praying to be something to someone besides myself—more specifically, boys like me. Boys who didn’t know their way, boys who felt alone, boys who did not know where to begin to love themselves. I remember telling God and He telling me that my life would make a difference. As a forlorn and lonely youth, I believed it. And for a long time, my belief was all I had. My prayer: help my unbelief. I knew there were other young men who needed me for them. I didn’t have a me, but I’m grateful to me for somebody else. We don’t know just whose destiny is connected to us just being us.
Geraldism: We don’t know just how much power there is to walk in one’s own truth.