* Reprinted with permission from the summer 2012 special issue of Positively Aware. See link at end of article to read more.
“When I was 17, I was disowned for being gay after my mother read some of my journal entries. I was forced to leave my mama’s-boy existence in the suburbs of Long Island. I fled to New York City with my newly found freedom and found work in night clubs like the Sound Factory, the Tunnel, and Roxy. I used sex as a way to cope and escape my troubles. I was lonely, missing home, and welcomed any and all kinds of sexual attention as a substitute for love”.
How does Rob Vassilarakis keep steady these days? Where does he find hope and strength? “There is power and freedom in prayer,” he says simply. If the God of his prayers has shut some doors in his life, it seems clear Vassilarakis has his eyes on the open windows.
“I tried reaching out to my mother a few times, but she had become a religious fanatic and her sermons and crying on the phone would leave me feeling emotionally depleted, leading me to severe bouts of depression. I eventually had to make the decision to sever all ties with her without ever telling her about my HIV status.
“There is no rhyme or reason why I should be alive and as healthy as I am all of these years later except for and through God. Through prayer I maintain in conscious contact with the God of my understanding, not the one who was depicted for me in my youth. My relationship with Him is one that I continue to develop through prayer and meditation.
“For many years I rejected organized religion because I felt they rejected me. In turning my back on them, I also turned my back on God, but He was always there for me. Many crystal meth addicts don’t make it back from where I’ve been. They have their physical and mental health irreversibly damaged, their cognitive or motor skills impaired, and those with compromised immune systems deplete them further, sometimes to the point of no return. I have been spared of all of that.
“All of my faculties have been restored. I am in the best shape of my life, despite all of those years that I abused and disrespected my body. This is one of countless examples of how God continues to work in my life.
“I don’t say any of this to brag. I say it in acknowledgment and in acceptance that God has another plan for me. ”
To read the article in its entirety click on the link below:
Simply (click here) Rob
Advocate and artist, a man of words uses them to spread truth.