PROUD REFLECTIONS - Healing the darkness that LIM

June 4, 2017


It has been 13.5 years since I first came out to my family and 13 years since I first arrived in NYC as a refugee gay man. As you can imagine my story is no different from that of many men who's declaration of self was met with rejection and eviction from his their known existence. We arrive numb and in shock over the complete 180 degree turn our lives take because of a few words spoken out loud.  

Three years ago on my 10th year Anniversary you all celebrated with me when I first decided to share my story and the aftermath of my coming out that shockingly I lived through and overcame.  I won't bore anyone retelling that story (and any who feel they want a refresher course may follow this link to that earlier posting: Ten Years of Pride & video.)  That celebration although earned was a bit premature, or it could have been Part I celebration of two.  As I mentioned above, we arrive numb to the world because our minds can barely grasp the radical change of our loved ones had chooses even though they were whom we shared our entire lives with.  So in this jungle of a city where there is no time to wallow in sadness, I did what many before me had done, suppressed and  blocked any wounds that posed a greater threat while simply dressing up the rest with bandages in designer labels.  


With the passing of the months and having survived the first Holiday Season doing anything but what I grew up so accustomed to, along with my many work achievements proved to be me more than enough personal victories to make you think that like the phrase goes, "time does heal all wounds" and mine was no exception.  As my exterior persona grew and developed a thick confident exterior with layers that  created the illusion of depth, that was all the proof I needed to support my theory that I was fine and finally fixed.  That was until this past Spring when a boy I long had courted agreed to get to know me better despite my profession.  The sex was mind blowing better than any I have had in my entire life and despite our generational gap, he a millennial and I well you know I'm 40, we tried to communicate as best we could. If we could have only transferred  that bedroom explosion into the rest of our lives this  would have been a match made in Heaven but that was not the case.  As he drew closer to me it began the unraveling of my designer bandages and I was suddenly staring at a man I had not gazed upon in 13 years. Resistant as any to show that broken self that lives in me (LIM) I reacted like nothing you can ever imagine, relentless to not reveal any part of that man that once was I, I did everything unimaginable to not share that pain. His fears, confusion, lost sense of self, insecurities, and dawg on low self esteem exploded out of me like a river and created the most extreme behaviors of rage and anger and pain one can ever imagine.  A total mess and a total contrast to my external existential self.  

A war raged on within me, each Man declaring "this is me".  The professional man, the polite friendly neighbor, the loyal friend, the reliable colleague, the cooperative roommate, a teacher and mentor to many, a composed lover to countless more fighting with the rage and anger of that other broken man in me whom I suppressed and never healed with superhuman strength he was far more controlling of me and my actions.  Unchanged in the least that broken man in me; who arrived here 13 years ago as a boy getting off that greyhound bus on 42nd street scared, confused, lost and lacking any direction remained intact, holding on to the only thing he could; his pain that broken boy defined himself as; no longer a son, or uncle, or brother, or nephew or cousin to anyone, he was alone. He created the worst kind of habeck between this guy and I that I regrettably reveal here because it cost me losing the love of a special man. His relentless out of control attempts will even undermine this post and seem like a futile attempt at saying "I am sorry please come back to me", when in reality I regrettably must admit that quite the opposite is what I must do, if he were to miraculously propose such a thing, because I have so much healing to do before welcoming anyone into my life.  So, I thank him for having had the patience to stick around for three months as the beast that LIM was unleashed upon us.


While I would give anything to be with him my logic understands that until I don't heal that boy I had to suppress in order to survive, and until that happens no love with him or any other shall be possible. He has held a mirror to what LIM I would be fooling myself if I did not get the proper help needed to heal him and fix me completely, so that another great man won't be scared by the beast the LIM.  


To you, that special man whom I love with all my heart, before all of you I say, "In the past three months I made countless of mistakes and even more mistakes to fix the other mistakes, creating a complete mess of mistakes, but among all those mistakes and poor choices I made one good choice: loving you!" And in loving you with all my heart I gained enough clarity to see that it is I who needs to be fixed before attempting to dangle from your arm.  Losing you has been a high price to pay for suppressing a pain that was given to me, and the only thing now that allows me to pay that cost is the hopeful thought that by the time I meet the next special man I will be fixed up enough to love again, with just a few beautiful flaws - LOL!


As I have told you in private I tell you once again here, you will get No more; "I'm sorry", or "Please", or "Come back to me" or "I love you"; I've spoken far too much already LOL.  Let the silence of despair and stillness of healing fill the void.  In the meantime I will heal my broken self from the past, heal my heart from this lost so that I may continue to stand before all of you as the 40 year old gay Black-Dominican man living Proudly in gay wellness in NYC.


Happy Healing PRIDE 2017 - Remember that what lives in man (LIM) can hurt him most!



Leo Donato 



Hope you've enjoyed the remainder in this Pride Photo Showcase entitled: PROUD REFLECTIONS - Healing the darkness that LIM

Captured by Brooklyn photographer @Lazarus25Photography. 


Since this blog post was written I am happy to share that I have been back in therapy and have made huge strides in healing myself, and I am proud to say that I am well on my way to a full recovery in less time than I anticipated.  Thank you for your support and love!








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