Becoming Whole: The Making of a 21st Century Man
Becoming Whole is a series of autobiographical essays about the life of a gay Caribbean-American man, born in Brooklyn, New York in 1953. In these essays I describe how I see the world and wrestle with the psychosocial challenges encountered in my particular cultural context. Through the arc of this personal narrative I write about how I struggled to find an identity and a way to belong; how I overcame the fierce dictates of my father and discovered the way to following my own dreams; how I raised my daughter as a single-parent; struggled with the issues of race and class; and ultimately entered ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.
This story of becoming whole provides not only a window into what it means to be gay and black in post-modern America, but what it feels like to be a stranger. I wanted to articulate the unique experiences of an immigrant family, as well as aspects of the lives of boys and men that connect us all to one human global community—attempting to survive life’s obstacles, searching for a place to belong.
Gender, identity, and alienation—issues we all face—are explored. Family, infidelity, abuse and sexuality are also discussed with as much honesty, humor and insight. Additionally, I address illness and mortality, as I describe the challenges of my own pre-and post-cancer surgery and experience with AIDS.
In this second collection, Grand Illusions, I have included essays that explore “illusions” which kept the truth hidden from others and me. What one chooses and allows others to see is the common thread in this new collection. Here, I look beneath the veneer to discover the truth about my sexual orientation, the joy and pain of single parenthood, real feelings about my father, and the fear of becoming impotent after prostate cancer surgery.
Grand Illusions suggests a longing for truth—a longing that provides motivation for my own personal journey. It is my hope that you too will be able to identify with this quest. Perhaps the following pages will encourage you to overcome the things that keep you from seeing the truth in all its forms—the illusions that get in the way of your becoming whole.