Wednesday, December 29, 2010


When I was a kid, music was always present at home. From the opera and zarzuela my dad’s always listened to, to typical Spanish music from the 60s, 70s, and 80s listened by my mom and sister every Saturday morning at the big room where the record player is. However, I never seemed to feel any kind of passion towards anything my parents and sister listened to. When I turned 10 in 1997, the first internet connection arrived home. I started searching for some music in English, as I had been studying the language for three years already and I enjoyed it, so I thought it was a good way to hear native accents and learn new words. Along came people like Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, and Marvin Gaye. Their music reminded me of what I had been loving ever since I first saw Sister Act and Sister Act 2 back in 1993 and 1995. I followed the lyrics and learned new words. It soon started to become a habit the fact that I only listened to music in English.

This helped me forget a bit what I was going through at school. Only a couple of classmates talked to me but the rest spent the day insulting me and making fun of me. They even plotted against me so I made a total fool of myself. It was tough. As we speak, I still don’t know where all that came from. I guess it was because I was the one who worked harder and got better grades and they felt pressed somehow. I was utterly unable to react, I never answered back, and that made me stop believing in me as an individual… big time. My mom wanted me to visit the school’s counselor and I did so, but it wasn’t of much help. Meanwhile, my dad didn’t seem to care, he didn’t believe in therapists and never sat down to ask me how I was or how I was handling things. I don’t have any memory of him caring about me during this time.

One of those hideous mornings, right before I went to what I used to call hell, I was having breakfast and MTV was on. One of the videos that came on was ‘Reflection’, the main track out of Disney’s Mulan which was performed by a short blonde young girl called Christina Aguilera. I remember that I wasn’t even looking at the TV set when it came on, but, as soon as that girl opened her mouth I thought that it was one of my old souls who was singing, but no, I turned left and saw a white blonde girl singing with such intensity that it gave me goosebumps. I memorized the title of the song and downloaded it as soon as I got back home from hell and listened to it over and over again.

Some months later, Christina released her first single ‘Genie in a Bottle’, and I loved how she was able to pull a strong ballad à la ‘Reflection’ as well as a groovy song like ‘Genie in a Bottle’. On a trip to Madrid with my parents, my sister got me Christina’s first album because she knew I had been following her for some time. When we got back home, I burned it in a cassette as I didn’t have a CD player yet. I used to love doing this as I always spent a long time on the artwork.

One day before my 12th birthday, my sister was ready to tell my parents and I what she wanted to do in the future. She smacked us all on our face when she said she wanted to become a nun. I didn’t expect that but I didn’t mind it either. My dad kept silence, and my mom started crying her eyes out and smashed and ashtray to the floor (she used to smoke back then). I wasn’t sure I understood what was happening, I didn’t think it was such a big deal and I was pretty sure my mom was blowing things out of proportion, but then again, I was 12 and my opinion was not going to be taken into consideration. That was the beginning of another hell, not only did I have to put up with a nightmare at school, but also at home. For months, my parents stopped talking to my sister and not a day went by that I didn’t see my mom crying. My life was a mess, I didn’t feel secure anywhere, from one hell to another. I didn’t know where to run and I had nobody to look out for. I got to a point where I just couldn’t bear to see my mom hurting so badly, and every time I heard her cry I would run to my room and put my Walkman on with Christina’s tape in it so that I couldn’t hear her. I turned the volume up and concentrated on the music and the lyrics hoping it would be over soon. With a rough situation both at home and at school I started suffering from depression soon.

Some years elapsed and along came Christina’s highly anticipated fourth album ‘Stripped’, after the Spanish version of her debut album ‘Mi Reflejo’ and her Christmas album ‘My Kind of Christmas’. I was 15 and nothing had changed much, to be honest. Well, things went a bit better at home with my sister’s decision and she was already in Madrid. My dad kept ignoring or wanting to ignore my emotional state as ‘it was not a big deal and I was probably attaching too much importance to the situation’.

I was very familiar with English then and ‘Stripped’ presented a much different Christina. Lyrics were complex, deep, soft, and sometimes dark. I still had two years ahead before moving to high-school and I hadn’t felt comforted by my mom’s words in all those years. Unexpectedly, I found a group of friends who told me exactly what I needed to hear. Their names were ‘Soar’, ‘Keep On Singin’ My Song’, ‘Fighter’, and ‘Beautiful’. They spoke right to me and showed me the importance of individuality and how I should look at bad experiences thinking that, in the long run, they would make me the person I am today. After school, I used to listen to ‘Stripped’ while my mom finished making lunch. I wasn’t having the brightest days ever straight away but things didn’t look so dark either.

As months went by, I realized that I didn’t care as much as I used to anymore. I literally started to don’t give a fuck about anything around me at school. I studied, got good grades and started to think about how different things would be at high-school and the different options that I’d have at college. Those four friends truly saved me from depressing times, and I started to look at things from a complete different perspective.

In 2006, I was probably having the best time in my life so far. I was in Salamanca in my first year of college. I finally decided to major in English, actually. Everything at high-school went great, I had a blast and I had the chance to make real friends. 2006 was quite a big year in terms of getting to know myself. I’d been knowing for quite some time that there was a piece that didn’t seem to fit in me. I wasn’t sure what that piece was or how I should place it within the overall scheme of my persona. That year I finally realized that that piece that didn’t seem to fit in was the fact I was gay. Honestly, it was not hard for me to learn to accept myself, as I saw that I kept doing the same things as before: I went to class, I met my friends, I listened to music, I went to the movies… nothing suffered a big change. It’s something that I’ve never hidden, my classmates at college were completely cool with it and my friends from high-school were very supportive from the beginning. Even my sister who, as a nun, anybody would think she’s supposed to have a conservative perspective towards this kind of issues.

On summer 2006, I went back home for the summer. For my parents nothing had changed since the day I left home to start college, but for me, a lot had changed. I felt more complete and more aware of who I was. Though I never had to fight against accepting myself as many do, I was deeply wounded inside because I knew that my parents were never going to understand and support this side of me. I didn’t feel the necessity to tell my dad, because, as you’ve previously read, I never felt consistently bonded to him. So this was just another thing he had no idea about. Nevertheless, the situation with my mom was way different. I was used to telling her absolutely everything, even the most insignificant things, so not telling her this was taken by me as a sort of betrayal.

In August, 2006, Christina released ‘Back to Basics’ a throwback to the old soul and jazz which immediately brought me to my gospel roots. This album was more positive and cheerful than ‘Stripped’. It was a celebration of love and how everything looks perfect when you’re with that someone that ticks all the boxes. This throwback brought my mind back to the late 90s, and I realized that I hadn’t changed that much whatsoever and it also woke the passion in me to find that ideal person to share unforgettable moments with. It was beautiful to know that I maturing together with Christina.

The worst part of all the coming out process was feeling that I was betraying my mother. As any mother out there, she had pictured the brightest future for her kids: a good husband for my sister and a good wife for me, a good job, and many grandchildren to spoil and look after while mommy and daddy wanted to spend some time alone. Well… it was nothing like it. After all, it was my sister’s decision to become a nun, but it was not my decision to be gay. I never decided to be that way, so it was tremendously tough to know that I was going to hurt my mom with something I could not control. I felt bad, really bad. All her expectations towards my sister had crumbled and I’m sure she expected me to meet them.

I was a very desired baby. A year before I was born, my mom gave birth to another baby boy. His name was Damián as well, but he died only two days after being born due to heart problems. You can imagine the pain of a mother after witnessing her own baby die. I truly believe that’s the most painful experience anybody can go through. So yes, when my mom learned that she was pregnant with me she immediately went out of the depression she threw into after my brother died. I can say that, due to those special circumstances, I was a spoiled child to a certain extent.

The day I came out to my mom I was having lunch with her and my sister. She told me she was going to help me handle the issue. I didn’t tell her straight away, I told her ‘I wasn’t sure about my sexuality’. She figured out the rest… She didn’t even care about how I was gripping the situation. All she had to say was ‘Don’t tell your dad, you’d kill him’ and ‘God has punished me with my children’. This last quote was especially painful as I couldn’t believe she didn’t appreciate the fact that my sister and I had always gotten alone, been responsible, gotten good grades, and been respectful to others. All she cared about was the fact that she had a nun daughter, and dead son, and a gay son.
After reading the last two paragraphs, you now have a wider view of all that I had been carrying for years. I never ever told anybody about this, not only was it too painful, but also I knew that nobody was going to be of much help really. But something was constant, the presence of Christina in my life. With ‘Stripped’ she helped me believe in my individuality and she taught me how I must not care about belonging to the mass. God made me this way for a reason, and there’s always a path for everybody. So since then I think that God’s getting me ready for something big. With ‘Back to Basics’ she gave me all the positivity I needed and woke in me the desire to find someone who loved me for me. ‘Back to Basics’ made me realize how important it is to be true to oneself, Christina never did what people expected her to do. She did what she believed in. And that is something I’ve been following ever since. She was real, humble, and talented. She was my strength to carry on every morning when the sun was not shining outside.
Better days came, not right after, but I learned to channel all these issues. With ‘Bionic’ I was ready to get rid of that pain and finally enjoy the person I had become. It couldn’t have been released at a better time; I was ready to have fun. There’s still quite a journey ahead, and I know that, as long as I have Christina to look out for, everything will be fine.

When I talk about Christina Aguilera I talk about a friend, a friend who never turned away when I needed her, a friend who always had the right words to say, and a person who is to blame for half the way I am now. My devotion for her goes beyond liking her as an artist, her songs, her performances… I admire her as a human being. Christina is one of my best friends, I get happy for her and I suffer for her. In other words, I LOVE Christina Aguilera.

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