Between the ages of 2 to 5, I knew I wanted to be some sort of an entertainer. My youthful imagination was opened by three Females-Marilyn Monroe, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Britney Spears. My dream was all I could think about. Their world had an undeniable glamour that captured me from my earliest of memories and coming from a family of I’d guess you can say Rednecks I was a different kind of Travis. One that would add a whole new kind of sass to my family tree. In this post I’m giving those of you who read a tiny piece of my history and in honor of Pride Month a look into when I knew something about my feelings were colorful.
Don’t allow what others have to say influence how you view yourself or how you view people. Have an open mind when it comes to learning about others. The experience can be once in a lifetime. Keep your pride humble because everyone should have a sense of pride in themselves. - Paul Travis
On March 11th, 1992 my mother said to the doctor, “Pull him out by his f-en hair already!” This is after almost 36 hours of labor. I wasn’t ready to make my debut…just yet. Stubborn from the beginning, hunny. I came into this world out of wedlock to a single mother and was the first of 5 grandkids, which had two of my family members mad. My Aunt and Uncle had a thought process of entitlement to the fact since he was the eldest they deserved the first grandchild. I came into drama with a crown (literally my hair went around my head giving me a bald spot on top)
and was put on a pedestal by my family. I kept my Moms maiden name Travis, which also had extended family upset saying I’m not really a Travis. Like bye already!
My biological father as I wrote in an article for my column actually wanted my mom to have an abortion. To this day I haven’t met him, but I do have a Dad that my Mom met around the time I was 1-1/2 years old. He is the only father I have known. I wasn’t aware of the stuff I shared so far until I was old enough to truly understand and I asked the questions because I feel I have a right to know everything. All of this turmoil with the unconditional love my family gave even if it were tough love at times helped shape the strong, confident person I am today. As this is all surface because I did write a draft of a memoir last year and it goes much more into detail about my reflection and backstories. I wanted to share this because it goes with what this post is really about.
Very religious people use to and some even to this day whole heartily believe you are not born gay. Here’s the real tea. From a very young age I always knew my heart felt stronger about the male gender different from the female in a butterfly kind of way. I didn’t even know the term gay or that it even existed. It was brought to my attention I was gifted with what I learned to be emotional intelligence. I understand myself in an advanced way, like I am well beyond my years. I didn’t grow up with any gay couples and the men around me are all hunters, fishermen and they drive trucks for a living. All the things society stereotypically would consider to be manly. Even though my family tried to get me into those things my heart didn’t vibe with it and you can’t make me do something I don’t want to do. I was a young boy in love with the picture of Hollywood and the glamour behind it all. I was always a colorful soul. I played with pickup trucks but I always loved playing with Barbie’s. I went outside and made mud pies, but also would like to dress up and feel fabulous. Some people around me didn’t understand it at first but eventually accepted while others just knew from when I was a little boy. I was aware of my feelings in first grade.
In Disney fairytales I always related to the female who wanted a prince. In movies and television shows I always loved a powerful female, or the starlet of that particular creation. I use to pretend to be Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), two WWE Divas (Lita and Torrie Wilson) and not that this is out of the ordinary I would lip-sync to Britney Spears. I love being a guy so I didn't/don't want to be a female. I remember in my bedroom during grade school my mind created a whole scene like I was creating a story as I went to a different world performing ‘Lucky,’ which I understood because I knew what it was like to have it all-even though I had hard times during those years my family gave me everything they could-be loved yet feel so misunderstood and alone.
In reality who hasn’t felt alone and misunderstood? The feeling gets deeper when a certain group becomes a target of hate for the way God made them and it’s showcased across every media outlet. It’s hard to not say it’s because a group of men thousands of years before wrote being gay is a sin. There is a huge difference between reading about something and experiencing it first hand. You never really know until you walk a day in someone’s shoes, and no matter how much glamour mine may seem to have a lot of people would return them. I know the truth because I was born the way I am. Everyone has a right to an opinion and to feel a certain way about whoever they want. You should always acknowledge your feelings but don’t let them control you. We may all come into earth the same way, and leave but our stories are all different. What you choose to learn is up to you. I can only speak for myself.
In life I have been blessed from my upbringing. My Papa who spoiled me with everything I have ever wanted and gave me the nickname Boop- it was funny especially when I got smart with my mouth he would yell in his deep raspy tough voice, “God dammit Boop,” I even got chased around the house with a gun belt before, but he couldn’t catch me. I hope he’s proud of the person I’ve become and am becoming. He is missed in my heart dearly. My Grandma who is my best friend and a walking angel-truly if she wasn’t in my life I don’t know where I would be. My Mom who is a dramatic person with such a kind heart but yet she is so strong and the best mother I could have asked for. She put a great foundation underneath me. My Dad who didn’t have to take on the challenge of raising and providing for me because I wasn’t his child at first, did, along with his family who loves me like I am blood, especially his parents. My Aunts and Uncles-even the two who were mad about me being the first grandchild in the family-loved me unconditionally while others showcased it differently I learned from each of them. I feel where one family member may have lacked in my life I had another one come through.
They were a team in helping shape the person I stare at in the mirror today, but also I am part of that because I strive to be the best version of myself and from the day I could speak I made sure to let everyone around me know what’s up. I’m not perfect and I make plenty of mistakes, but again who doesn’t? Are you guys starting to see a pattern yet? We are all the same but our stories, experiences and journey are different. Don’t allow others to make a judgment for you. Get to know the person before you place them in a stereotype. I may have some qualities of a gay man, but I also have my own unique ones. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I get stereotyped because if you got to know me, which some of you have especially my readers and listeners you can see I’m just Paul Travis.
One of my families’ biggest fears was how the world would treat me when I came to accept myself for who I was and share it because of what they have seen. I always wondered why would they? From my earliest of days I held my own and stood strong because that is how I was raised. Most importantly even if negative words did hurt I don’t give a damn what others have to say about me. Just be ready for me to come at you like you did me. I don’t like fighting, but I’m not afraid to stand up to anyone and I mean anyone, just ask people around me or who use to know me. I was raised in the Southside of Scranton Pennsylvania and later grew up in Minooka. I’m one tough cookie and I may have rainbow sprinkles on me with some icing, still, I’m not the one to try. I have a sensitive soft kind big heart with a ton of sass but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a backbone.
I speak my mind when I feel something isn’t right. I stand my ground firm and I stand up for my values, especially for the person I was, who I’ve become and who I am becoming. If I am being honest with myself part of me does it because of you guys. Always love yourself and take the time to get to know who you are. Don’t allow what others have to say influence how you view yourself or how you view people. Have an open mind when it comes to learning about others. The experience can be once in a lifetime. Keep your pride humble because everyone should have a sense of pride in themselves. I wish I could go on and give more details but like I said I wrote a draft of a memoir last year. I will be revisiting it soon as I keep meeting with agents for my novel series. I love you guys and I hope you have the best day ever. Feel free to share your very own story in the comments below, your views on what I wrote or share what you think.
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