Published by Bill Braga in Memories, Psychology, Psychiatry, Shamanism
I left Rio and was arriving in Juiz de Fora, another delightful city that had won me over. Our history, mine and that city, was recent but intense nonetheless. This place is a piece of Rio, as the mineiros, term used for people from the state of Minas Gerais, say, maybe that’s why I like it so much. This time, not even the scars left on me from my stay could keep me away from there. For as much as I don’t return there frequently, that city, or rather it along with some people who reside there, also reside in my heart.
Juiz de Fora represented a trial in my life a few years ago. Simply because my father had moved there after his return from London and had assumed his homosexuality. He lived together with his partner, Marquinhos, in the Non Governmental Organization that they set up, The Gay Movement of Minas, MGM. I had gotten wind of it already and knew about the work that they were doing but I had never been. He coped well apparently, with his sexual orientation but I did not officially know his companion – I only knew him from my childhood as a friend of my dad’s. It was a challenge for me to overcome getting there. I don’t mean during my times in Rio, at this time that city was a second home for me. My first trip there was by a happy coincidence of fate. I was on a research trip that led me to meet the inevitable and opened up a world of possibilities for me, diversity exposed itself bare-naked.
I did some research, in the far off year of 2005, about the history of the pharmaceutical business in Minas Gerais. It wasn’t a subject that seemed attractive to me at first, but promised good pay, so I went for it. With a little researching, the theme showed itself fascinatingly, and the story, depending on the way it is done and told is truly precious. One of the places that the team working with me should have gone was Juiz de Fora. I readied myself to go, telling everyone that my dad lives there. Right away this kindled everyone’s curiosity, they all wanted to know what he did. I hesitated at first, dodging a bit, but gradually revealed to my colleagues the curious story.
I ended up going alone this first time. On the way there I realized how big the expectations were, how I would react, what the world that my father lived in was like, it seemed so distant, the world of the gays. It isn’t as distant as I imagined. In fact, in some ways, like with feelings of ownership, the straight lag far behind compared to homosexuals.
After all, while our culture is still forming minds, we are all, gays and straights, human beings, above all. But is there an essence of the human being? An essence… What about madness? Could it be caused by a malformed essence? I remembered the theory of the four humors, which explained the madness and melancholy of the middle ages. Do you suppose that there is a cure for me? I lose myself in daydreams, and almost forget the story I am telling. I was telling of my first visit to Juiz de Fora. Ah, how that city left an impression on me. How it came to dwell in my heart. Not just because of the beautiful women that flutter around there, but by the lovable quality that the people have. Karaoke bars aside, however cariocas, brazillian name for people from the state of Rio de Janeiro, they consider themselves to be, because the short distance between Juiz de Fora and Rio. Interesting, but let’s get back to the facts, or at least what I recall of them.
So I went researching, faced the inevitable. But he was so warm hearted with me that the inevitable became enjoyable. The receptiveness that my dad’s NGO had, which was also his house, was remarkable. In fact, it has also become my second house. And the guy, without exaggeration and sounding too sappy but what I received there was truly surprising. They were all so proud of my posture, everyone wanted to know who the famous son was. Curious. I would like to be able to continue telling you, but at this very instant the meds are making my vision hazy. And they even call me to take another injection. They want to stiffen my creativity. What did I do that was so bad? I can’t remember. The few memories that I have are painful. But if we reconstitute the thread of this narrative, you and I, we can understand why. The whys move us, and we never decipher them. But we cannot stop trying.