Excerpt for Soundtrack of My Soul: A Look Into the Life, Death and Rebirth of a Schizoaffective Man by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Soundtrack of My Soul:

A Look Into the Life, Death and Rebirth of a Schizoaffective Man

Copyright 2017 Michael A. Ferrer

Published by Michael A. Ferrer at Smashwords

Smashwords Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Soundtrack of My Soul

A Look into the Life, Death and Rebirth

of a

Schizoaffective Man

Michael A. Ferrer


I dedicate this book to my beautiful wife, Sebrina, and all of my kids, Vanora Jane, Lilyana Morgaine, Jacob, KalebKaleb and Rayvin.

I also dedicate this book to all of those people who suffer from mental disorders and feel the judgment coming from those whom do not understand us. You are not alone.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Journey Begins

Chapter 1: Brief Rundown

Chapter 2: Beginning of My Dark Road

Chapter 3: Two Sided Arrow

Chapter 4: Continued Journey on the Black Road

Chapter 5: The Solar Eclipse/Change

Chapter 6: The Phoenix Burns (Faithful Deception)

Chapter 7: Sudden Change

Chapter 8: This is WAR

Chapter 9: Beware of…

Chapter 10: A New Addition

Chapter 11: Center of the Universe

Chapter 12: God is a Myth

Chapter 13: Hitting Fast Forward

Chapter 14: The Day My Spirit Died

Chapter 15: Distractions

Chapter 16: Sober (Why Can We Not Be Sober?)

Chapter 17: Deathly Composition

Chapter 18: Taken

Chapter 19: Vyktor Wolf Erikson

Chapter 20: Why?

Chapter 21: Playing Chicken

Chapter 22: Clarification

Chapter 23: Kidnapped

Chapter 24: Am I Insane?

Chapter 25: Will You?

Chapter 26: Birth or Rebirth

Chapter 27: Boriken Bella

Chapter 28: Oubao Moin (Island of Blood)

Chapter 29: Full Circle

Chapter 30: Hamilton (The Boricua Version)

Chapter 31: Broken Love

Chapter 32: The Inevitable

Chapter 33: Don’t Pray For Me

Chapter 34: Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)

Chapter 35: **Disclaimer**

Chapter 36: Regrets

Chapter 37: Rise Up

Chapter 38: My Dark Place Alone

Chapter 39: Black As Night, Red As Blood

Chapter 40: Weak and Powerless

Chapter 41: Phoenix Rising

Chapter 42: Directions

Chapter 43: This Is Gonna Hurt

Chapter 44: Life is Beautiful

Chapter 45: Nothing to Lose

Chapter 46: Love Conquers All

Epilogue: One Last Eulogy

Appendix A: Poems and Songs

Appendix B: Photographs

About the Author

Connect With Me

Schizoaffective disorder is a chronic mental health condition characterized primarily by symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations or delusions, and symptoms of a mood disorder, such as mania and depression.

Introduction: The Journey Begins

Thank you Great Spirit for causing my heart to stir and begin this journey of placing my past and present on these pages. Thank you to my Ancestors, my Spirit Guides, the two-legged, four-legged, winged, finned, crawling, trees, plants, stones and all in between for being here with me as I begin this journey.

Great Spirit, make me into a hollow bone and flow through me as I write these pages in order to serve and help those that need it. Bless them as they read and if they find any part that helps them as they journey through life. May my ego be at bay, as this is not for me but for our community of “We”.

Guide me as I write that which you want in these pages. Ancestors and Spiritual Guides be with me and guide me.

Jan jan catu! (Yes, let it be!)

Welcome my relatives!

Before I begin, I must warn you that what I am about to write is not planned or even thought out. Last night, as I read my Brother and Uncle's Jim Graywolf Petruzzi's book “Walking with the Earth Mother”, I felt in my heart that I needed to write. This book may become one of both teachings for you and I, as well as completely bipolar in its moods. It will not be an easy one to read nor one to write for me since I will be diving into the abyss of my past and come out with the hope of rising up from the ashes of the present, like the phoenix.

These things that I write may come in different forms, such as poems or songs. It all depends on what Great Spirit leads me to write. As I said, I have no idea what will be in these pages. I am just the vessel that Great Spirit can flow through. I don't even have the title yet. I believe that he will guide my fingers to write and the strength of the Buffalo, Wolf and Bear, and the knowledge of both the Spirit and Earth realm from Crow, all of them revealing themselves as my Relatives and Spirit Guides throughout my 37 years of life on this beautiful Earth, Our Mother.

So, with this I ask that you join me as my Brothers and Sisters as I begin this journey of remembrance and of renewal into this Red Road that I am on. And I ask Great Spirit and Earth Mother to bless you and all of the world.

Seneko Kakona! (Many Blessings)

Michael Kaobanna Guariboki Ferrer

Chapter 1: Brief Rundown

I was born on April 29th, 1980. The oldest of four children, three of which had not been even a thought. Though now I think about them a ton. But that is for later. My parents, Juanita Colon Rodriguez and Albert Ferrer, raised me as best as they could with the limited knowledge that they had about parenting. Now I know how that is, being the father of three girls and three boys. I often apologized for how I was due to this fact. One never knows what parents mean when they say “wait until you have your own kids; they are going to be just like you.” But I digress.

We lived my first twelve years in a small apartment on 4th Ave and 61st St in Brooklyn, N.Y. I don't remember much of my younger years in New York, though they have been coming back slowly lately. My dad was an avid baseball fan and we would walk across the street to the baseball field to watch him play. He was drafted to the N.Y. Mets when he was younger, but could not play because he got stabbed with an ice pick. He an amazing player. His job was a bus driver for the MTA. I never really knew what my mom did, other than that she worked for the Board of Education. They both worked all the time. My mom during the day and my dad overnights. It was rough.

My school life was that of the normal, nerdy kid, who got picked on everyday and who had a very hard time. I wore those huge glasses and goofy smile. I was always afraid of what the kids would do to me. And so I took drastic measures to either avoid school altogether or at the very least get out early. These were not my proudest moments because I ended up becoming a professional liar before the 5th grade. Let me give a few examples. One day, I found out that the school bully wanted to really hurt me. Let's call him Freddy. I was deathly afraid to see him. So, I began spreading a rumor throughout the school that I had contracted AIDS. This was at the height of the HIV epidemic in the 80's, so my saying this was a huge deal. Fortunately for me, Freddy heard about it and refused to be near me. In fact, no one did. UNFORTUNATELY, my school principle called my mom to confirm this. Needless to say, I barely could sit for days.

I suddenly feel the need, as I do when I tell this story, to call my mom and dad in order to apologize. Again. I put them through some hell in my 37 years of being on Earth. Sometimes I wish that I could take it all back. But then I would not be the man that I am today. I probably would not be writing this today if it weren't for the way I was then and the way my parents (and Grandmother) raised me. Both the positive and negative. I am now thankful for it all. Thankful because, though they were quite extreme at times, they were and are lessons from Great Spirit to give strength and wisdom. Now, back to the story.

Another example of my profession was the time where I threw myself down three flights of stairs just because I was bored and didn't want to be in school. You read right. I sacrificed myself for the sake of having something to do. I laid there for 30 minutes, until someone found me. I then acted like I couldn't walk very well. They took me to the nurses station and called my mom. I was excited that my plan worked. That is until we were leaving the school. You see, I was limping with my left leg before and when my mom arrived. But in my excitement as we left, I began limping with my right leg. BUSTED! My mom took notice and to this day I do not remember what she and my dad did to me.

Let me explain something about my mom and dad. As I said before, they did what they thought was right. But their punishments were sometimes very severe. The list of what they did is extensive ranging from spankings, slaps, kneeling on the floor on a bed of raw rice, among many others. I am not saying this about them to get a rise out of you or to badmouth my parents. In fact, it is the total opposite. I am saying this because I feel that Great Spirit is reaching out to those of you whom have been affected by the treatment and abuse of your own parents. And that there is a way out of the hatred and fear that haunts us daily from these abuses. It is called love and forgiveness. One cannot go without the other. You can't forgive and remain hateful, just like you cannot love and be vengeful. It just doesn't work. And you will see this in my life as we journey into my first dark time of the soul. Whether it is your parent, your sibling, your spouse or your own children, remember that we are all human and that we are all related. (More on this later)

Chapter 2: Beginning of My Dark Road

After I finished 5th grade, my mother, brother and I took a trip to Boriken (Puerto Rico) to see my abuela, aunts and uncles. It was a fun summer. Especially because the beach was very much involved and I loved being in the water. In fact, if I could've lived in the water, nobody would be able to get me out.

My abuela lived in a town called Aguadilla, on the west side of the island. She lived less than five minutes from Crash Boat Beach, Benito Cerezo High School and La Milagrosa Catholic Church. Downtown Aguadilla was roughly 20 minutes away and Ramey Base, the old Air Force Base now airport, was about 30 minutes away. If you were to drive or even walk around Aguadilla, you would be enamored with the environment. Most houses were surrounded by plants, mango trees, avocado trees and all sorts of things. And during the Christmas season, you would not be able to find one house that wasn't completely lit up with lights. It was a sight.

But, if you dug deeper you would find an oasis of tropical heaven. One example was the Ruinas Beach. Mother Nature took over an old Spanish Fort with different plants, animals and trees. It is a wonder to walk through, as I had done countless times. One can become one with our Great Mother and Great Spirit in locations like this. And they are all over Boriken.

Now that I have given you a small taste and a huge reason to go to my home country, let's return to the story.

As our time on the island was coming to an end, I began packing my bag. I had many reasons to be excited to go back to New York. One being that I had a girlfriend in elementary school. The other reason was that I was about to start Middle School. Both of these were extremely important in my young life. But the excitement came to an abrupt stop as we got to the airport. My mother looked at me and told me to leave my bags because I was staying with my Abuela and Aunts. Pow! The first blow that felt like a punch to the gut. I stood by the terminal (Yes. You were able to go all the way to the gate to say goodbye), waving goodbye and watching them fly away.

I did not realize it then, but this sort of abandonment would haunt me and open me up to so many rebellious acts. I just didn't see it as abandonment. I really didn't think that she would just leave me here. But that she did and that anger built up until, with everything else that would end up happening, I exploded into a fiery rage. And it all began with this one moment.

If you don't mind me asking you, my Relatives, how many have felt this or any sort of abandonment? I ask because I have come to realize that abandonment or the feeling of being abandoned is, in a lot of ways, the precursor to what we call mental disorders. Now, I am not a psychiatrist or counselor or doctor, but if you look at how our Ancestors lived 500 years and beyond, they lived in communities where nobody was abandoned. They did everything in community and treated each other as Mitakuye Oyasin or WE ARE ALL RELATED as the Lakota Tribes say. This included the Plant people, Standing people (Trees), the Four-legged, Winged, Insects, Finned and even Stone People. If you think about it, abandonment was a non-existent notion as was mental illness in many ways.

Fast forward to today, everything has a classification for mental disorders, fathers abandon their children over anything, mothers look for men/women to fit the role of fathers, elders are treated like liabilities and hassles, our kids learn from watching YouTube and, dare I say, Pornhub for advice on life and sex, and how our relationship with Earth Mother has gone from treating her with respect and honor and love, to taking advantage of her gifts to us, tearing at her flesh and bleeding her dry with our greed like she was trash. The question that comes to my mind right now, as I sit here waiting for my Sebrina to come out of my kids room, is what would, no scratch the would, what do our Ancestors think about our lifestyles now? And all I picture is all of them shaking their heads in sadness.

I think that I will end this chapter on this note. I do not want to send you out with an assignment. Whether you do it or not is not my concern, though I do believe that you will do it. Close your eyes and think of when you felt the most abandoned. The moment you see it, write it down in a journal or a piece of paper. Then close your eyes again and picture in your mind and heart how you can let go of that abandonment. It can be as simple as writing a letter to whomever abandoned you or to yourself saying, “I forgive you for abandoning me. I let this anger go.” You can make an offering of Sacred Tobacco and/or sage/sweet grass to Great Spirit or to whomever you wish. The important thing is to let it go. It will not happen over night, but soon you will not even feel anger towards whoever it was.

Good night my Relatives!

Chapter 3: Two Sided Arrow

I am not sure whether I should post this, but I feel Great Spirit wishes for me to. So here we go.

Several things happened before bed last night. I asked Great Spirit and my Spirit Guides to appear and introduce myself. As I lay in my bed for about 15 minutes, I felt something like a paw covering my nose and laying next to me. I was getting very hot, but not uncomfortable. In fact, it was so comfortable that I slept soundly last night. The being was as big as a Wolf or a very large Dog. His fur was definitely warming and a power that I honestly can't explain.

By the time right before I had woken up, I had a dream. I believe that it was a message from Great Spirit. And it was weird because in a way it made no sense at the time. The dream that I had involved a couple. I am not sure if it was Sebrina and I, but I was at my nieces home. So maybe I had taken their form in my dream. At the very least her husband. There was an argument and accusations of infidelity on both parties. This went on for quite sometime before I woke up drowsy and confused.

I got out of bed after being hounded by our two kids to wake up. It was 7:15 in the morning. The time which Sebrina had to wake up for work. I got up and immediately felt uneasy, and knew that this dream was going to cause issues because of my attitude. I often have allowed myself be taken over by what occurs in my dreams. Do you know what I mean? I am sure none of you have had this happen.

We had planned for me to go to with her so that I could drop the keys to her car at the mechanic and I would come home in my car. But I didn't want her to go to work so that we can both go and I wouldn't have to make a trip 15 minutes away from the house. She kept on telling me that she could not call in. We went back and forth on this, yelling louder and louder. I went upstairs to have my coffee and first smoke. Ok. Three smokes. (Cigarettes, not pot. Just cause I live in I was steaming and wanted to take off and not come back. I often have thought this way, feeling trapped in my own home and relationship.

This feeling is felt by many after a certain number of years. But the lesson that I have learned from Great Spirit is that, unless there is abuse in any form, what is the reason that leaving is even an option? Is it the ego that is making this decision or our hearts?Are you running from your problems created in your relationships? And this lesson, though hard, is a important one. And lately I have been helping some with this exact issue. For me, I would be running away from my problems because I can't be free to do what I want. But I realized how much I love this woman and how much she supports me in what I do and wish to do.

Sebrina came up and went to work. About an hour or two after, I found a video by Nahko and the Medicine for the People called “Great Spirit”. When I heard this and listened to the words, tears began running down my cheeks, goosebumps rising all over my body. I could feel Great Spirit in and all around me. Then I closed my eyes and listened to my heart. Another lesson from Great Spirit. The lesson was this: Our words are like arrows. Arrows have two purposes. One is to give protection from enemies. The other is to hurt and/or kill the enemy. When an arrow is given as protection, it also provides strength and courage. Same goes for words. Words, when given as protection, provides strength and courage in the face of any obstacle. But when an arrow, like words, are flung out they pierce the enemy or anyone in its way. Words can pierce the heart and slowly kill the person. Unfortunately, we tend to use our words against people rather than encourage, strengthen, and protect. And nine out of ten times it is against those whom we love. I know that I have many times, even more without remorse.

This lesson caused me to break into more tears. I immediately texted Sebrina and told her what I have learned from Great Spirit. I apologized from my heart, which is not easy to do. I told her that I love her. She is my world. And I pray to Great Spirit that our relationship grows strong, as I have the same hope for you. Whether single, dating or married. You are all in my heart.

After this, I wrote my dear friend, Jim Graywolf Petruzzi (You may recognize him. Google his name. He is a great teacher.) about my experience the night before. We talked for quite a bit and he brought up that it was the Rainbow Wolf, which is also his Totem. I was so excited because it was my Brother Wolf. Now, the “Rainbow Wolf's heat comes from the heat needed to bring the four colors together and begin to be on.” These were Jim's words to me. And this makes sense because I feel as if that is what Great Spirit is calling me to do. To help the millions of Brothers and Sisters come together, becoming one Tribe. A Tribe of Relatives. Yucayeque Heketi! Thank you, Jim, for your words and thank Great Spirit for placing you in my path! Mitakuye Oyasin!

Now, we may return to our journey.

Chapter 4: Continued Journey on the Black Road

After temporarily forgetting about the abandonment issues, I went on a path of rebellion due to several circumstances. One of which was that, though in N.Y. I graduated elementary school, when, I had to be in elementary school again. In Boriken, the sixth grade is also an elementary school grade. Also I did not really know any Spanish (which is the main language there, though... never mind. What I was about to say can wait.) and I had no friends. In fact, no one liked me due to the color of my skin. (Yes, racism has been and is a reality to many still) I was called “Gringo” during my elementary days and well into my sophomore year of High School.

So, I tried doing what every kid my age does, right? Fight? Defend myself???? Nope! I took it. I let them pick on me, beat me up, even went so far as to try to fit in. But I never did. I was always too goofy, too nerdy, too (fill in the blanks and you will understand). I thought that my life could not get any worse. But, as I was soon to find out, things were definitely getting worse.

Two years after my abandonment, my parents decided to move to Boriken and take me back. Though happy to see them, I did not want to move with them. I wanted to stay with my Abuela Juana. The damage was done and the wound which was becoming a scar, now was torn open by their return. My rebellion knew no bounds, though I was a good, practicing Catholic Altar Boy.

Many things happened in between my abandonment and their return. But they were all minor things that many teens do. I cut class, smoked for the first time and drank for the first time. The normal stuff that I thought was going to make me cool, but ultimately made me the clown and screw up. I have learned from those lessons and now attempt to pass them to my kids. Just in a different way.

For those teens who are on this journey with us, I just want to give you some advice. Trying to act cool for your friends is a double-edged sword. And most times these people that we try to impress by doing things that we normally wouldn't do doesn't make you cool, not even to them. You begin to lose yourself when you choose this way. And teenage years are all about finding who you truly are. So here is my advice for all of you. Go out to the woods, park, forest, lake, where ever you feel comfortable and at home. Sit down, close your eyes and ask Great Spirit, God, Allah, or whomever you pray to for guidance. Ask him/her to help you find the real you. Not the you that you show your friends. And then sit there feeling the breeze, touching the ground, moving the water and see what Great Spirit tells and/or shows you through your senses and Earth Mother. I guarantee that you will leave that spot with a great and powerful feeling of love and acceptance. All you have to do is open your heart and go into it. And then continue the meditation again and again.

I decided to take the Black Road and cause as much trouble while acting like the innocent. Once again, my profession as a liar and deceiver reared its head. And that is what I realized about the Black Road. As long as you stay on it, nothing is off limits and all old habits return with a vengeance. Of course, I felt that I wanted more than to be rebellious.

As I said, I was in the Catholic Church and was working as an Altar Boy. I was fascinated with becoming a Priest. I thought that they were saints. Little did I know that they, too, are human. I went to Church everyday before school and then performed my devious deeds. I became very close to the Priest, whom found out that I wished to enter seminary. I also became close to the deacon of the Church. He took me under his wing. My faith, though I was not a good kid with much anger and resentment in my heart (that was what confession was for, so I thought), was strong. I believed that no matter what I had done wrong, I would be forgiven and when I left this world I would have gained my way into heaven. I loved my Church and would do mostly anything to defend her. Until...

Chapter 5: Solar Eclipse/Change

Before I get into that part of our journey, I need to tell you about my thoughts on the Solar Eclipse 2017. And I am writing this on the day of the eclipse. Actually about seven hours after the fact. The eclipse was not only a special event for the US. It is also a very Sacred event for many Tribes around the world. I will only bring up that which is from my Tribe, the Tainos.

Our beliefs when it comes to any eclipse is that they are a negative event that evolves into a positive and celebratory event through our ceremony. This ceremony is called “Ceremonial de Laikua Wey/ Añouncuru Wey” or Lunar Eclipse/Solar Eclipse Ceremony, in which my Ancestors would spend the entire eclipse praying for either the sun or moon which was being killed by Maboya or Evil Spirit. After the sun or moon returns from Maboya's grip, we begin to celebrate the rebirth of Grandfather Sun (Guey) or Grandmother Moon (Caraya). During this time we do not look at the Sun or Moon. Our gaze stays on Earth Mother. We do not eat or drink anything until after the eclipse.

We all went out to Benedict Park here in town. Sebrina was excited about the eclipse, Rayvin (my 3 year old) was excited about the playground and Jacob (my 13 year old stepson) was excited about his phone. Maybe I will go into why I believe that much of our innovation has failed us. Not right now though. I was excited to be able to pray and be with Earth Mother, barefoot and in my Taino regalia.

I set up my altar with the Sacred Drum, Sacred Sweet grass in it's holder, Tabonuco (Sacred Tobacco), Lighter and Flute. I commenced calling the Four Directions, Grandfather Sky, Grandmother Earth Mother, my Ancestors, my Totem and Spirit Guides. I prayed and then played the Sacred Drum. I prayed for all of my Relatives, the Two-legged, Four-legged, Winged, Finned, Crawling, Plant People, Standing People and Stone People. I also asked for guidance in my life, as well as for Great Spirit to make me a vessel, a hollow bone so that he can flow through me and help all of my Relatives who need help.

After about half an hour, I picked up the flute and began playing a song that Great Spirit gifted me a few days ago. It was beautiful and humbling to be able to play for Great Spirit, Earth Mother, Grandfather Sun, and Grandmother Moon. I felt blessed since I do not play the Flute. I just picked one up at a Trading Post in Denver. (Orr's Trading Post if you wish to go) After playing, my prayers to Great Spirit for all of my Relatives continues.

Grandfather Sun began to come back. The shadow of Grandmother Moon receded. A smile appeared on my face as the sunshine hit my exposed back and a cool breeze filled my lungs. I could tell that Great Spirit heard my prayers and the prayers of all tribes around the globe. It was so palpable. And once Grandfather Sun returned from death, the ceremony was over. I thanked Great Spirit for giving me this chance.

As with everything in life, things happen for a reason. The eclipse caused a change, a rejuvenation on Earth Mother and all of us. Change may sound easy, but it is absolutely not. It is like New Years Resolutions. You decide that you want to lose weight or quit smoking, and you think that it is easy. You get the gym membership or patches/gum Yet a few days later you return back to point A. Now I am not judging anyone. If anything, I am pointing at my own faults. And with the changes that must happen in my life, pain will accompany it.

I wish that I could say that I am excited about these changes. But in reality I am scared shitless. My heart is telling me what I must change. And I know that it is Great Spirit that is telling me. So I am wanting to trust and surrender. But then my mind is asking why. Why the change? Why would I want to bring this pain into my life? So many questions and excuses as to the why bring change. Yet I know that this is how it must be. You cannot have a rainbow without the storm.

You may be wondering what change is it that I am talking about or why I am running in circles around it. I will explain. I believe that when there is a major decision that is going to alter your way of life, only four people should know about it: You, Great Spirit, your Spirit Guide and your Teacher or someone that you can trust, whom will not steer you in the opposite direction. So far, I have three of the four. I haven't spoken to my Teacher since I am not sure who my Teacher is yet. I also do not trust anyone enough to speak to them about it. I know. It is sad. I have felt this way for many years. In fact, since childhood. I believe that this has begun to change since I began speaking with Jim and a Lakota friend from Pine Ridge Reservation, whom I shall not name until I receive his consent.

I believe that one of our problems as a society is that we tell everyone everything. We post it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. And then wonder why people hear different versions of what we said. I did the same. It is what cost me my friendship with my ex wife. But I learned and continue learning that things that happen within the sanctuary of the home need to stay in the home.

Okay. Time to get off of this soapbox that I meant not to be on. Let us continue on this journey.

Chapter 6: The Phoenix Burns (Faithful Deception)

Sorry that it has taken so long to write this part. It is the hardest part for me to write and I now realize why Great Spirit wishes for me to write about it. I still have issues with what happened and it causes much anger towards religions. In particular, Catholicism. As well as a fear to remember the details. But I am letting Great Spirit guide me as I write. And because of this, I open the scar that formed in order for more healing. So here we go.

As I said, I wanted to become a Priest. In fact, I wanted it so badly that I would do Mass for my family. They loved it. Especially my mother. She also wanted me to become a Priest and was so proud when I told her. Her eyes glistened as she saw me as an Altar Boy, wearing my black cassock and the white robe over it. And I loved it. But for different reasons. You see, though I had faith, I saw Priest as having power over their congregation. Anything that they said pretty much went. Especially if you were in favor of the Bishop or Pope. So, this attracted me to the lifestyle.

At the Church of La Milagrosa in Aguadilla, there was a Priest and a Deacon whom I had become very close to. They were guiding me, showing me the different types of Priests that there are. And boy are there many. You have Diosesene, Redemptorists, Franciscans (my favorite of all, pious and powerful), Dominicans, and a ton more. Some were poor, others were not so poor. They all exuded a fire that I wanted.

One day, the Deacon asked me if I wanted to see how a Priest truly lives. This was taboo at the time. Everyone thought that the Priest and Deacons were Saints. They could do no wrong. I believed this as well. I asked him what he meant. He told me that if I wanted, I could stay in the rectory overnight and discover what they do on their “off” time. I of course said yes. My parents on the other hand, weren't as comfortable with it. They thought it best that I not go. But I knew how to convince my mom. I used the same excuse that the Deacon used to get me interested. Finally, they caved.

I remember that day as if it were yesterday. I could not contain my excitement. After I came home from school, I packed my bags and had my parents drop me off. The Deacon was waiting on the porch for me. He said hi to my parents and then guided me to where I would sleep at night. It was about 5 p.m. I looked around, amazed that they had a TV in the midst of all of the statues of the Virgin Mary, and crosses. But it didn't bother me. I finally get to see how Priests live.

The Priest was not there, so I got his room. It was small, but filled with even more statues. On the dresser was a Rosary and several saints cards. The bed had a sheet and blanket and pillow with fake gold borders. So far I liked the way they lived. On the door was a picture of the Virgin and a slide lock (Pay attention to this feature. It comes back to haunt me).

He had just finished making dinner when I laid my stuff in the room. You would've thought that I was moving in with the amount of things that I brought. Mainly books. We sat down, prayed for the food and ate. I do not remember what we ate and it is not important. I just remember that we ate in silence the entire time.

After our meal, we sat in the living room and spoke about what being a Priest was about. He asked me what I thought was their job. I answered his question with the basic “to bring lost souls to Christ so that they would be saved.” I did not mention my true thoughts, though I wasn't lying about my answer. I truly believed this. The methods of saving souls that Priests would use varied and we spoke about it. He agreed with me, but added things that were important as well, such as visiting the sick, comforting the sad, bringing the body of Christ to those who could not come to Church to receive it, and many others. Though to my mind, the power that they had far outweighed all of the others. All of these were great and necessary, but the way that they did it through power and fear was much more important. My ego was playing games with his words and I enjoyed it.

The time was about 9:30 pm when we finally called it a night. We said a brief prayer and headed to our respective rooms. I locked my door for some reason. I laid in bed with a smile on my face. It was such a great day. I fell asleep shortly after laying down. I do not remember having any dreams that night. Just peaceful sleep.

The next day, I woke up to the smell of coffee. I got up, dressed and walked to the kitchen. The Deacon was making breakfast and sipping on some coffee. He, smiled and gave me a cup of coffee. We sat down and spoke about how I had slept. I told him that it was the most peaceful nights sleep that I had had in a long while. He explained that he had to visit a lady at the hospital and I would have to be picked up by noon. I did not want to go. This is what I wanted with all of my being.

After breakfast, I went to the room and gathered my things. Once I got them, we sat down and did our devotions before my parents arrived. Once done, he gave me a card of a Puerto Rican saint. He told me to keep it. That he would keep me safe. By this time, my parents arrived. The Deacon did the sign of the cross over my head and told me that we should do this again. I said definitely. Little did I know that the next time I stayed would be the end of my faith and destruction of my innocence.

When I arrived home, I told my mother everything. She was happy that it went well. Her feelings remained. She was glad that nothing happened, but still had that nagging feeling. I guess that is where I inherited it. She is an intuitive person. I love her for that, though at times I don't until it happens.

A couple of weeks passed before the Deacon asked if I wanted to stay over again. I immediately said yes and my parents gave me permission. When I arrived, he greeted and blessed me. We entered the home and he guided me to the room. This is about the time that I felt as if something was wrong. My instincts were screaming at me and my nerves were shot. I didn't mention this to him. I wanted to be there. I just followed. He guided me to his room. I walked in sick to my stomach. Still I didn't say a thing. I dropped my things on the floor and walked to the living room where he was sitting, watching tv.

After about half an hour, he got up and walked to the kitchen. He came back with some food. It was a sandwich and some chips. We ate in the living room as he channel surfed, stopping on the movie Leprechaun 2. Odd that he would choose this movie. His mannerism was different too. He was talking a lot about the lead females body. Especially when she was topless seducing the guy (only to actually be a fan) and the guy placed his face into it. The Deacon was very vulgar.

Now don't get me wrong, I was a teenager with my hormones going nuts and I could be even more perverted than he at the time. But this was actually bothering me. How can this man of God talk like this? I began seeing a chink in the supposed armor of this saint.

Once the movie was over, he told me that I should shower and then head to bed. It was about 11 pm. I had never stayed up that late. I got up, went to the bathroom and tried to figure all of this out. What was up with these feelings of dread? Why was he acting in this manner? I figured that it was just me. I must be going crazy. It's a Deacon, a man of God.

I finished my shower and went to the bedroom. I closed the door and was about to lock it only to see that the lock was busted. (Remember the other room?) This caused me fear that I had never had before. But I thought that I was being paranoid. I laid down and realized that we didn't pray before bed. Odd. So I prayed on my own and fell asleep. Not a dream appeared in my mind.

And then I woke up startled. Something was going on. It was still dark and something was on me. No, someone was on me. What the hell? This is a question that continues in my mind to this day. I felt the person, naked on my back. My shorts were around my ankles. I could feel rubbing in between my butt. What the hell?!

I tried to move, but I couldn't. I tried to yell, but no noise came out. Tears flowed out of my eyes, wetting the pillow beneath me. The someone started kissing my back. I was horrified, praying that God would let this just be a nightmare and to take it away. But that someone kept going. I could not figure out why this was happening.

Finally, I opened my mouth and a loud voice came out. The someone got off. It was still dark, except for a little light that came in from the window. I turned over and tried seeing who it was. All I could see was the silhouette of the person pulling up his pants. The door flew open and the light turned on. It was the Deacon. What the hell?! He acted as if he had come in, but he already was in the room. He asked me what happened. That he heard me scream and rushed in. My eyes were red from crying. I wanted to believe that he would not do this, but I knew the truth. I was too afraid to say anything. So I told him that I had a nightmare. He wanted to know of what, as he sat next to me. I moved away from him and his face went white. He knew that I was awake. He told me to pray and to drink water. Then left. I did not sleep after this. It was 12 am.

At 6 I called my dad and told him to get me immediately. He asked why. I said nothing. I just said hurry and hung up. I packed my things and brought them to the living room, hoping not to see him. Yet there he was. Sitting in his chair, looking at me wide eyed. I stood there frozen. I could tell that he had not had any sleep either. But he was dressed in his collared shirt.

He asked if I had slept well and I lied. But in my head I was freaking out. I still could not figure out why he would do this. Why would God betray me and allow him to do this? There was no explanation why. I returned to the room reluctantly and began crying again.

Finally, my dad got there. My little brother came with him. He found me in the room and asked what happened. I didn't say anything. I just wanted to leave. We walked out, I grabbed my things and went to the car. My dad was talking to the Deacon, asking what had happened. Turns out the Deacon told him that I was not feeling well and that I had a nightmare.

My dad came to the car and we were off. My eyes still had tears in them and a migraine took hold of me. Halfway home he asked what happened. Though I did not want to tell him, my mouth opened and what happened came out. I could feel the anger welling up in my dad. He tried to make a u turn and beat the crap out of the Deacon, but I told him that I did not want to return there. He took me home.

When we arrived, I went to my mother and buried my face into her shoulder sobbing. She was confused. She asked my dad what had happened, but I beat him to it. At first, she refused to believe me. She even slapped me. She kept saying that I was lying. Then tears flowed down her face. She held me in her arms.

Excuse me. I need a break. I realize just how much this is effecting me. I know that Great Spirit has a purpose for me and for you through my recounting this. I still need to work on this part of my life. A lot more than I thought. I will be right back.

Okay. I have returned. It was not easy remembering this part of my life and it felt like I was there all over again, feeling each moment where I was molested. One thing that I do need to clarify is that I hold no grudge towards him nor the Church, though I do not agree with their teachings. I forgive him and how the Church handled the issue, as you shall see. And I don't hold a grudge towards my mother for not believing me at the time. Remember, I was a pro at being deceitful at the time. For many years I hated my mom and the Church for what happened. But I have since come to terms with them both. It is something that I see many refuse to do now a days. People do not forgive. Now, I am not saying that they need to forget because that is impossible to do. And if anyone tells me otherwise, I will tell them that isn't true. We will always carry the scars of trauma as reminders. But we can either let those scars make our lives a living hell by not forgiving or we can forgive and show the world how strong they are, that whatever trauma they suffered didn't destroy them. They survived. They are Warriors.

Once my mom accepted the truth, she called the Priest. He was furious for two reasons. First, it turns out that inviting me over to stay the night was prohibited. And second, the fact that it happened. And it happened in his Church with one of his staff. He came over immediately to speak to me and find out what happened. Then he gave me an option: either make it public and suffer ridicule from all Catholics or letting the diocese deal with it.

I didn't know what to do. But my mom did. She told him to handle it internally. She didn't want to deal with the scrutiny when it came out. She told me this and I felt guilt to the point where I agreed. I was ashamed. So she told the Priest and he left our home.

I didn't find out until recently what they did with the Deacon. I thought that they excommunicated him, but it turns out that they placed him in a Church in his town, where supposedly he did it to another kid. Honestly, I do not know for certain. But I fear that it may have been true since many of these things have been occurring around the globe and that has been coming into light these past years.

This event became a motive for self destruction on my part. And it became my reason to hate God, the Church and my family. It caused my faith to completely vanish. No longer would I act like the good Catholic Altar Boy. I felt that God had declared war on me and I was going to fight tooth and nail against him by joining the devil and serving him. (In reality myself. I do not believe in the devil now. I find him to be a tool to instill fear, and a cop out for when we do horrible things. I am reminded of that Native American proverb where if you point one finger at someone, you are pointing the other three at yourself.) Even if it meant going to hell. In fact, I welcomed the idea with open arms. This meant war.

Chapter 7: Sudden Change

We are going to take a few moments to reflect on changes that occur daily. Some we create. Others just happen and the results are out of our control. And, in reality, we have no control of change. We can help cause it, but more often than not, change just happens. And our attitude towards said change is what dictates whether it is positive or negative.

Sebrina and I have just discovered out a change that neither of us has any control over. Yesterday, as we were homeschooling our son Kaleb, our landlords asked us to speak to them. Our hearts began beating rapidly. Our minds kept wondering what we had done. We had just asked about getting a dog to be my companion since I do not like to go out alone. Maybe they were upset about it. But we both knew that we were probably going to receive news that we would have to move. And that was exactly the news we got, though for a different reason. And we are not the only ones effected.

You see, they are having to sell their home. I do not want to make public their issues, so the reasons why will be omitted. What I will say is that we are all being effected. They are in my prayers to Great Spirit. They have been the best landlords that I have had and appreciate the two years that they have allowed us to live here.

This is a huge change that comes to us. Great Spirit know why now. But, as I said, attitude is everything. And our attitude is the same and different at once. It is the same because we aren't freaking out. We are trusting Great Spirit, God, Tecamshula. He has provided for us and will continue to do so. We are still alive, healthy and have each other.

The difference in our attitude is a little more complicated, though we are still trusting as to where to go. I believe that we (or at the very least me) need to help the Elders in either the Dine or Lakota Relatives. I believe that it is what we are called to do. Sebrina believes that we need to find our own place. This is a difficult decision. I am trying to be open to either. My brain and heart battle as to what to do. And in part, I am afraid that if I tell her that I will go, that it would end our relationship.

I have gone through many changes in my life. Sebrina calls me a chameleon because my personality and beliefs were constantly changing until recently. From my molestation to present, change has always effected me. And most times I would react negatively, which cause many problems. And I would react worse. It was a vicious circle and I was the one following my own tracks. All the while blaming anyone that I could without admitting fault.

So, my question to you is this: how do you deal with change? Do you trust Great Spirit or do you rely on your own strength? I take inspiration from Water Protectors who PEACEFULLY protested against the Dakota Access Pipeline (the Black Snake) because with everything that they went through, they could've given up and walked away. But they trusted in Great Spirit and continued fighting with prayer. I believe that if we followed that example, changes would come and we would not react in a negative way. Instead, we would give thanks to Great Spirit for the chance to learn from these and move onward.

I want to give you homework. Sort of. I want to ask you to put this book down, close your eyes, and think of your situation. Once you have that in your mind, thank Great Spirit, God, Allah, Buddha or whomever you pray to. It can be a simple prayer of “Thank you for the life that you have gifted me.” He/she will hear you. And in doing this, how do you feel? I bet a ton better and ten times lighter. If you want to feel this way daily, do this the moment your eyes open in the morning and before you close your eyes.

Let our lives become a walking prayer of thanks. I guarantee you that your life will be better. And others will see it. Will you do this? I hope so. Now back to our journey.

Chapter 8: This is WAR

After my molestation, I still went to Church. I was forced to. No longer did I want to become a Priest, nor do anything that involved the Church. But how to tell people that I no longer believed in God. Nor that the Priests that served him were not as saintly as they portrayed themselves to be. So, I did nothing. I acted the part, but was dying on the inside every time I walked through the door. I learned really fast how to put on a fake smile and act like all was fine. No one had a clue of what happened or of how much anger I felt towards God. If it was up to me, I would hang Jesus up again and nail him to the cross.

My parents had no clue. In fact, they still thought that I wanted to be a Priest since I would still went to pre-seminary retreats with my brother. But I did it because I was in charge of picking up the money for cab fare for a group of us that were going clear across the island to the retreat. I would cut class, show up at the rectory downtown (different Church), let her know how many were going and get the money. Sounds like a good deed, right? Well, what I didn't mention was that I would lie about how many were going and keep the extra for myself. There goes my profession again.

Now, I have to be honest. This is the first time that I have mentioned this to anyone other than my wife. So there may be a lot of people angry. I want to say this to them. I am sorry, from the bottom of my heart. It has been a weight that I have carried for 20 years. I hope that you will forgive me.

This went on for four years, I think. Pretty much until I left Boriken at 17. But it wasn't enough for me to steal from the Church. At the age of 16, my freshman or sophmore year of High School at Benito Cerezo, I knew that I had to do worse. I wanted the Church to hurt like I was hurt. And I found that way through a group of people who practiced Santeria, an Afro-caribbean form of witchcraft. They would do multiple things like sacrifice chickens, read bones, have ceremonies that I will not bring up here. It immediately captured my interest and I joined the group near the Church.

These people were upset at the Church for what had happened in the past with the slave trade and the near genocide of the Taino people. And their anger came to a boil when the Priest of La Milagrosa began speaking against them and building a new, larger Church. We all knew that it was time to fight back. And they knew that I was still forced to go to that Church, so they used that in their plan.

Here is another confession that no one other than my wife knows about.

The plan was to go into the Church construction with a human skull taken from the cemetery nearby, lay it right smack in the middle where the altar would be placed, make a circle of chicken's blood, with four black candles and a rosary wrapped around the skull. Afterwards, we would do a ceremony to curse the Church and the Priest. That was phase one. I wasn't there for this because it had to be done in the cover of night.

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