I was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey. I grew up with a mom, dad and a younger brother. I grew up in a very Hispanic household with an extremely strict dad who used alcohol as a coping mechanism to overcome his own demons. Throughout my childhood my dad attempted suicide three times all while I was present. When I turned 19 I helped my mother check my father into a rehab center where he was then diagnosed with schizophrenia. The year I turned 21 my dad committed suicide and I was forced to make the decisions to donate his organs.
My entire childhood was dark, full of anxiety, anguish, and pain. I never quite had the chance to understand who I was, who I was becoming, and what I wanted for my own life since I was so absorbed by my dad’s mental health illness. After losing him, I decided to leave everything and everyone I knew. I was tired of the toxic life I was forced to live and decided to join the military. My first year in the Navy I came out to my mother and told her I was attracted to women. Her reaction was beyond hurtful and she could not accept me as her lesbian daughter. My brother gave me a similar response and I stopped all contact with them for two years. Not only had I lost my father to suicide, but I lost my last two remaining family members due to my sexual preference.
The military became my home and my shipmates became my family. During my third year in the military I met my wife whom at the time had a 6 year old daughter. We got married pretty quickly which also made me an instant mom. My wife gave me the family I had been searching for while also helping me heal and face my many demons. After we got married I reached out to my mother and she apologized for how she treated me. It took a couple more years for her to fully come around and understand my own family dynamics but at least she was trying. In 2018 my wife and I decided to get pregnant and we agreed that I would be the one carrying. On September 26, 2018 our daughter Karter Amanii was born. She was born on my dad’s birthday which was the greatest gift of life to me. Karter has now been the glue to my marriage and the glue between my family, my mother, and my brother. I am now 30 years old and my mother is a grandmother, loves my wife and two kids more than I could ever imagine. I have an incredible wife of 6 years, a beautiful 13 yr old daughter, a toddler, and a mother who tries every single day to rebuild and forget the past. Moral of the story is to never give up and there is always a light at the end of that very dark tunnel.