In this week’s Fan Corner meet Jason Alcantara, a writer and path traveller on his way to discovering himself. The following is one of the most heartfelt, honest and real submissions I have received since we began to collect stories from you in the summer of 2012. All the stories I have read from readers and fans are courageous and extraordinary, and these words below are, too, and so very raw and so very beautiful.
Thank you, Jason, for sharing yourself with others so intimately. – Naima
Make My Words Cry
The journey to self-awareness is more than looking in the mirror. For me, it’s about dealing with pain, guilt, happiness and love. It’s about digging deep in my soul where I have hidden all of my deepest emotions. Emotions I have kept guarded by an impenetrable wall. The safest place for pain and hurt is non- acknowledgement or so I thought. Until they escape from their cage and confront you. It is in the midst of this confrontation that even the strongest man can succumb and cry. I cry through my prose and to understand my inner battles to realize that my formulated words are my tears.
“I make these words cry and each letter my tears,
For somehow, all the pain has taken over my ability to feel.
I believed in you that I opened up and gave you my all
I believed in you that you would catch me when I fall”
-Excerpts from Make My Words Cry
Growing up, I had always yearned for a close relationship with my dad. He was there in presence but the emotional connection wasn’t there. He provided shelter and food but I wanted him to provide me with guidance. He was a man of few words yet I yearned for his wisdom.
Although we shared the same eyes, we saw things differently. Those tears I dropped on my pillowcase at night in the morning turned to disdain. I was a bastard to his work and to his stern prideful ways. My heart was empty like the seat I reserved for him during my football games. Then I discovered that his dad, my grandfather, died when he was only 14. My dad’s father figure was the man in his mirror.
He had to be his own father so how could I have expected him to be more than what we had. My tears at night then became strength in the morning. I started to realize that his silence had made me the man I was becoming. He gave me 70 years of what he knew so that I can become a better father to my own son. Those tears of pain I poured into my prose have turned to tears of joy.
“Still I owed you my life, couldn’t pay you with your expectations
To you nothing was right; still I paid you with respect and patience
I have your eyes yet we still saw things differently
Your blood in mines yet my life to you was a mystery
Then I understood- your father figure was the image in the mirror
My father was the hood and you were nowhere near the picture”
-Excerpts from Self-Made Man: Dedicated to My Father
Crying is a form of cleansing for the soul. Without heartaches, betrayal, and distrust I would not fully understand what love is. Immersing everything I felt into my writing gave me an opportunity to be honest with myself. Self-love really does lead to real love. Pain is a difficult confrontation. But going through it gives one the strength and appreciation for sincerity. It’s like you don’t know what you inflict until you feel the infliction yourself. There is the dream of every little boy of finding love and it lasting forever.
Unfortunately, reality is that sometimes it takes a few broken hearts to find that one that makes your heart alive. Marriage was a destination I traveled only to realize that you have to have the right traveling partner to make it work. Divorce in itself is a conundrum of emotions that preys on your heart. A wounded heart learns from the hurt. The good thing is love also has the power to heal. My heart bled in a form of ink into paper. It was like an open-heart surgery where I took out all the pains of my heart and transferred them into my prose. In doing this, my heart found salvation.
The destruction of my heart led to the rebuilding of me. A “me” that was more mature in handling a delicate fragile subject as love. With my soul cleansed, I am now in a healthy relationship in which there is organic growth because of the reciprocation of respect, communication and love.
“She is Heaven on my earth, the sun in my sky
I see my dreams through her eyes
And between her thighs
I see my unborn child
And between her sincerity
I see my smile”
-Excerpts from Soulmate
Death is like a kidnapper of happiness except it doesn’t hold it for ransom. A person cannot cry enough tears to ever bring a person back. We simply do not get over it; we just learn to deal with it. The day I learned that my dad was dying of cancer is forever tattooed in my memory. But the day I held him during his last second of life is embedded in my heart.
As I held his cold hand and watch his eyes slowly close it open my eyes to the reality that I no longer had a father. I was thoroughly engulfed with sadness, confusion, doubt, guilt and sorrow. This was then when I realized, that those battle with pain and the lessons learned from my past, had prepared me for this ultimate pain.
I couldn’t say the same for my mom. I saw and felt her pain with every drop of countless tears she would shed with just a mention of his name. This pain was new to me. I was not only dealing with the pain from the loss of my father but from pain of seeing my mom lifeless. As I buried my dad, it was like my mom’s passion to live had also been buried with him. This put a large strain in my heart because no child wants to see his/her parent hurting.
As a coping mechanism, I once again cried through the use of my pen. The tears told of the pain, the loneliness, and the hurt that my mom encountered. It gave me a perspective of my mom’s angst. In which gave me the strength to help my mom heal. Now when I look in her eyes, I don’t see tears but a newfound hope through the lives of her kids and grandchildren.
“What happens when half your soul is gone
And the look in your eyes is one of an irrevocable stare
she can’t sleep even though its only in her dreams
that she can share life with him again
A simple remembrance
not only triggers the tears to fall
but the heart to ache
She slowly withers away
like his cancerous body
from a reality that no longer includes
His warm smile”
-Excerpts from Death Becomes Her by Jason Alcantara
There is triumph in pain and adversity. For each tear I have encountered have not only became a sentence in my prose of self-awareness but a lesson in self growth. As I internalized each emotion, and nurture them, through my pen I birth an escape for those who share the same emotional dilemma. Sharing my inner thought s and feelings give hope to those who may not yet know how to “cry”. In this journey my triumph is within. My struggles of dealing with pain have given me a canvas to refine my soul.
Each word I wrote, each sentence I compose, and each prose I completed gave me an escape for all the emotions I had caged in. I didn’t know how to cry because I was taught to be strong and to not show weakness. As a man, I had to keep my emotions to myself but it wasn’t until I made my words cry that I truly became a real man.
“For with every pain you can only grow strong
For every bad note still contains a good song
And while I live with scars, I been given strength
For every experience of pain is heaven sent
And though sometimes the picture is imperfect
Painting the picture is worth it”
-Excerpts from Imperfect Picture by: Jason Alcantara