Oct. 4, 2022

Fernando Velez discovers that it takes more than merely coming out to find true happiness

My guest, Fernando Velez, shares how painful being in the closet and unable to be himself was for him.  He describes how hard he tried to get the love and validation, that he needed, from others... friends and partners.  It never worked out that way.  He experienced constant rejection until he realized that he couldn't expect acceptance or love from others, unless he was willing to give it to himself first.  Fernando is obviously an old soul, who shares much wisdom.  If you struggle with accepting and loving yourself, this episode is for you.

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Coach Maddox  0:03  
Hello, Fernando Velez, and welcome to The Authentic Gay Man Podcast. I am glad to have you here today, sir.

Fernando Velez  0:10  
Hey, thank you so much for the invitation. I'm very happy to be here. It's a pleasure.

Coach Maddox  0:16  
Thank you. And I feel that I'm feeling that right now. So thank you for that. All right. Well, before we jump in, why don't you take a minute and tell the listeners how you and I know each other?

Fernando Velez  0:28  
Well, we met each other through a Facebook group called the rainbow circle, where it's pretty much a support group of gay men that are seeking to improve themselves. So yes, that's how we met.

Coach Maddox  0:41  
Yes. And we've known each other I'm thinking for maybe about six or seven, maybe eight months now. Seems like,

Fernando Velez  0:49  
yeah, up to just about right. Yeah, your monster.

Coach Maddox  0:53  
Yeah. Awesome. All right. Well, with that, let's just jump right in. So before we get to the big question, tell me what it means to you to be an authentic gay man.

Fernando Velez  1:08  
I think to be an authentic a man, it's been who you are, accepting who you are, without taking in consideration other people's opinions. So just pretty much being yourself.

Coach Maddox  1:24  
You know, I love the one word that really stuck out for me that you said just then was accepting yourself. And I don't know that I've heard anybody else describe it like that. And I absolutely love that. I hadn't thought of it. But I have to agree with you. Part of our on this authenticity is accepting ourselves for who we truly are. Beautifully said Fernando. Beautifully said. Okay, so down to the big question. So what has been your biggest challenge in this lifetime that you've either gone through, or maybe you're continuing to go through and still unpacking and working on that?

Fernando Velez  2:05  
I'd say that one of my biggest challenges for sure it's coming out was one of the hardest challenges coming out and also loving myself. Because it was a pretty tough journey of discovering and acceptance and self love. That I had to go through in order to be who I am now and to be happy.

Coach Maddox  2:31  
So may I ask how old you are?

Fernando Velez  2:34  
I'm 30 years old.

Coach Maddox  2:35  
Okay. And how old? were you when you came out?

Fernando Velez  2:39  
I was 2420. No, I

Coach Maddox  2:41  
was 24 when I came out, all right. So six years? Yes. There's a still a certain newness to it, isn't there?

Fernando Velez  2:52  
Yes, it's I'm pretty, pretty used to but still learning and trying to find out, you know, about the gay world?

Coach Maddox  3:03  
Well, let's unpack that, then what what has been, you know that the coming out? I certainly get that. But tell me more in detail what the biggest challenges have been and how you navigated that?

Fernando Velez  3:18  
Well, you know, since I grew up, I pretty much always knew that I was gay. And I had to kind of like shock, my failings and the way I wanted to do things, because of, first of all, the religion. I grew up Mormon. So obviously, I couldn't show who I was. And second of all, because of culture, as you are taught since you're young, well, not my parents, because my parents was like that. But a lot of people here in Mexico have this mindset that if you are if you are a man, you need to be you know, tough and shelter feelings, you men don't cry, and you have to be tough and all that. So pretty much was very hard for me to to be who I was, and to accept who I was. And, of course, growing up, I always thought that I was there was something wrong with me, or that I couldn't be who I was because people wouldn't accept who I was. So that was the biggest challenge.

Coach Maddox  4:36  
And how did you break through that?

Fernando Velez  4:39  
Well, it was it took it took several years. It took it took several years for sure. Because that path that I just told you about led me to pretty much hate myself. And I didn't want to be me. I was always you know comparing myself to other people, what if I was straight, I wanted to be like him, you know, like, and how a perfect life or at least what it looked like it was a perfect life. And it was a very, I was unhappy and trying to be to fake who I was, of course. And I broke through that. And in until I came out pretty much that I had I realized that I needed to set myself and to, to love who, who I am.

Coach Maddox  5:35  
And what was it for Nando that brought you to that point of, of being able to break through that and what was it that brought you to knowing that you needed to self accept, and you needed to love yourself?

Fernando Velez  5:49  
Well, it's gonna be a long explanation, I will share a little bit more in detail about how I came out to that. Thinking. So pretty much like I told you, through all these years, it's, it's like I had a burden on my shoulder, I didn't have anyone to share this with, you know, like, I wanted to tell somebody, you know, I'm gay. And I want to be myself. Because, you know, growing up, you always hear like, you know, there's something wrong with you, or you have a demon, or you know, you're not gonna go to heaven, or you don't have enough male hormones. So that's why you're gay and stuff like that, you know, you hear all these stupid things that people say. So I was pretty much unhappy with myself. I even tried to commit suicide when I was 16, because of how unhappy I was the burden that I felt was so big, that I couldn't bear it anymore.

Coach Maddox  6:58  
You were just continually getting messages of how wrong you were.

Fernando Velez  7:02  
Yes, exactly. And then after that, I tried to kind of like shock my feelings a little bit. And not to think about how I was feeling at that moment. And I went for a two year mission since I, I was Mormon still, at that point, I went to a mission, I was sent to Idaho, and I was there for two years. So when I came back, I thought that I was still gonna be part of the church that I was going to be active, you know, and let's forget about my feeling like, forget about what I want my needs. And let's just focus on helping other than go into church and, and that's it, you know, there's not gonna be anything, I'm not going to be involved in any kind of gayness or my feelings don't matter. So but as the years pass by, because when I came back, I was 21. Did you specify and I was thinking, you know, I'm not really happy. There's something missing. I feel empty. I feel alone. Even though I have my family that loved me, I still feel alone. i What is wrong in my life, like what's wrong? And that's when I come to the conclusion that I'm not happy. Because I have not accepted who I am. I'm still rejecting the person that I am. The person that I pretty much how I was born, I'm rejecting that person. And I say to myself, I cannot do this anymore. I cannot keep pretending that I someone that I know because I'm really, I'm gay. And that's who I am. You know, there's, I can't deny it. I cannot hide it, you know. So, that was when I decided, you know, it's time. I cannot keep chasing. I mean, running away from myself, keep hiding, because I can't.

Coach Maddox  9:17  
You know, I want to call out, you said you realized you were rejecting yourself. And I want to call out because I through my own experience and through my work with with gay men and the friends that I've had. I think that oftentimes we experienced so much rejection from society and from other people. And I think it's important for us to realize that if you really want to boil it down, the vast majority of that rejection is the world reflecting back to us our own rejection of self. I know for me that when I finally came to the point where I stopped rejecting myself, I still After making myself wrong, internally, magically, all of the rejection that I had experienced out in the world came to an abrupt end. As soon as I fully embraced and accepted me, it seemed that the vast majority of the world did to follow suit and accepted me. What was your experience of that, as you moved into that you stopped rejecting and begin to accept Fernando for who and what he is? And was? How did that affect the outside world around you?

Fernando Velez  10:41  
That's pretty much exactly what he happened, you know, like, I wasn't being authentic with myself. So I guess people noticed it, that was wrong with him, you know, like, there's something odd with him. So when I came out, it was a very liberating experience, all of a sudden, is like an experience, like this happiness that came to me. And little by little, I started to feel that that burden was, you know, claiming me and that I could be myself. And, you know, it still took me some time to, like, tell people, like, you know, the first person that I told was my sister, and she told me, Well, it's, do you want to tell my parents? And then I told her, Yes, I want. So after I told my sister, the next day, I told my parents, I was scared, because I wasn't sure how were they going to take it? And I told him, You know, I am gay and, and I think that I will believe in church, because I cannot be a hypocrite. I cannot, you know, go to church and say that I'm gonna do these things when I'm not when I know that I'm not gonna follow that. So they were attributes or price. But at the end, they they accepted me and they told me, you know, we're gonna love you no matter why, because you're our son, and we can we love you. And since that moment, I knew that everything was going to be okay.

Coach Maddox  12:37  
That's beautiful. Fernando, and you're very blessed. Because not everybody has parents that so easily came around and accepted the way you're describing yours did.

Fernando Velez  12:51  
Yes, I think that's, that's one of the things that made it easier to know that I had the support of my sister and as a pro my parents, that definitely helped me to, to move forward faster, and to offset who I was faster, and to share with the rest of my family and come to a point that I was, you know, I'm just gonna share it to everybody like if you don't like it, well, it's not my problem anymore. I'm not gonna keep shutting myself down or keep hiding who I who I am just because you don't like it? Not anymore.

Coach Maddox  13:31  
So I want to backtrack a little bit because now you know, you're in the present moment. And you can look back on this and we can always see aspects of it when we look back that we couldn't see while we were in it. So when you look back on this experience of before you came out and unhappiness and the pain the not the rejection that you were rejecting yourself. What was the fallout from that? What what how did that affect you? I mean, I know you said you run happy, but can you go deeper into that?

Fernando Velez  14:10  
Well, I can definitely tell you the there are some things that don't change by just coming out. Because definitely, the all the years that I went by rejecting myself and don't loving myself, I cannot tell you that okay, I came out and all of a sudden, yes, I feel happier. But it's still take me some time to realize that I still needed to work on myself and to love myself more. And that definitely affects in a point that sometimes, because you cannot love yourself enough. You try to find that love in somebody else. And it actually happened to me the first time lationship that I had, I was, I guess I was looking for that love that I couldn't give myself that I was not given myself. Probably my thought of my thought process was okay, somebody else is gonna love me. And I ended up in a wrong relationship.

Coach Maddox  15:26  
I think you're describing the foundation of many relations, human relationships, I think there's probably an insanely high percentage of our relationships that are based on our inability to love ourselves, and we're seeking it from someone else.

Fernando Velez  15:47  
Exactly. And not only that relationship, but also some other friendships. Yes, definitely, that ended up ended up wrong. And it was a failed relationship. But also, the way my friendships work, you know, I was always trying to look for approval to, to find that, you know, people telling me oh, you know, you're good. And, you know, we love you, because I was trying to tell, to seek for people's love, instead of giving myself that love and that care that I needed. I guess I was trying to skip that part of you know, self discovery, self love, and just trying to find four people to love me. And that hit me hard when I realized that that was not going to happen, that I couldn't just expect people to love me without me loving myself. So, yeah,

Coach Maddox  16:47  
you're definitely dropping some real wisdom here. So what I'm hearing you say that you're not saying in so many words, is that when you came out, is when the real work started. Exactly.

Fernando Velez  17:03  
I thought that it was gonna be hit that you know, like, all of a sudden, okay, I came out on me. But there were so much emotional damage that I had, from my experiences that I didn't notice, I didn't realize until I was experiencing a friendship experiencing relationships, and fail attempts that I needed a lot of work that I yeah, maybe like a good person and sensitive person. But that doesn't mean that just because I'm a good person, I'm ready. Because I guess that we all need the work, we all need to be polished. And I needed that. And it took me several failed attempts in relationships and friendships, to discover that, okay, you know what, you can't escape that part. You have to go through that work process, in order to be who you want to be. You cannot expect other people to help you and tell you and give you the tools to change, to be yourself and to be happy or that approval because you don't need you. What you gotta do is, you gotta find those tools, you gotta work on yourself, even though it's gonna hurt, it's gonna suck. Sometimes, it's gonna take a little pain, you're gonna take a lot of crying and tears. But it's something that you cannot skip. That's what I went through. And that's the realization I came that I found when I went through all this.

Coach Maddox  18:53  
Well, and because life keeps on happening, so does the work.

Fernando Velez  18:58  
Exactly. I mean, I

Coach Maddox  19:02  
realized at some point many years ago that you'd never get finished doing the work. It's it's a lifelong process. I've been actively pursuing the work now for almost 40 years. And I suspect I will be doing my work until I take my last breath because life keeps on happening. And we continue to be exposed to new things and and we have new traumas and hardships and the universe continues to present us with things that we've never been presented before. So how could we have done the work if it we haven't been presented with it before?

Fernando Velez  19:45  
Exactly. And so we always need to grow to keep learning to keep it's like a plant. You know, we're like plants. We need water. We need this On every day, otherwise we die. That's why we need to constantly, you know, keep nourishing ourselves or spirits or mind. Because our emotions even because sometimes we even try to hide our emotions, we can look perfectly fine and happy. But sometimes it's hard for us to share our emotions, or the way or the way we feel. And like you said, you know, new traumas come new experiences come that affect us in different ways. And sometimes we think that we just move on from them. And, but no, we have to, to work on each individual experience and, and see what we take from it. And if there's something that I can improve, or what happened there. So it's, it's always work, work work every day.

Coach Maddox  20:56  
It is, and I often after these many years, I often wonder what would life be like if I didn't have work to do? I'm not talking about a job, I'm talking about the personal work, what would life be like if I didn't have that to do and there's a lot of people out there that aren't doing the work. And I can't even imagine that I can't even wrap my mind around it. I've been doing it for so long. I have no idea what it would be like to be living a life where I wasn't doing my work. I don't want to imagine it quite frankly.

Fernando Velez  21:27  
Yeah, definitely it will be it will be boring. And implies it's needed. You know, that sort of self development. You know, the time changes, we change our desire, change the things we want change constantly. So we gotta keep working on ourselves,

Coach Maddox  21:47  
we've got to keep up with it. So I'd love to know a little bit more you realize that you were trying to get the love you needed from other relationships, you knew it needed to come from you. So what were some steps that you took? And how did you come to embrace and begin to

Fernando Velez  22:05  
love Fernando. You know, it took me my first relationship that I had with a man, it was a three year relationship. You know, sometimes when we love, we don't see things as they are. And we just care about that feeling of oh my gosh, loving love is awesome. Love is awesome. And, and we keep telling ourselves how amazing love is. But the fact is that love can be good as can be bad. Because I say that love is a drug too, it can be addictive. And we can get addicted to that feeling of loving somebody that sometimes we don't realize the effects that that has on us. And that's exactly what happened with me, I was I get addicted to that feeling of how I felt with this person, or how much love I gave to that person. And pretty much all the all the love that I have to put on myself. I was putting on that person. And yet at the beginning, I guess I was looking for that love. And I was receiving that love. But then after, after some years that when the relationship has changed, and the dynamic of the relationship changed. There were some red flags that I I wish I would have seen that I didn't see because of, I guess my addiction to love per se. I wanted to have this feeling oh my gosh, I feel so great. That I didn't see that my partner was narcissists that I was being mistreated. And that he was not okay to be there. But I wanted to be there. Even though I kind of knew that I shouldn't be there anymore, that I should have ended it. And yeah, so when it ended, it's when everything came.

Coach Maddox  24:16  
You're describing denial. Yeah. You know, when we're, we're more attached to that feeling of love than we are to our own health and well being. And so we turn the other way we turn the other cheek and we don't look at the obvious red flags that are flying all over the place. We put blinders on where the only thing we can see is just that illusion of of love.

Fernando Velez  24:43  
That's exactly right. Like everybody else could see it. Like my sister would tell me, you know, that's wrong. He shouldn't be doing that. Or, you know you you don't have to do this or this is wrong and she would tell me all the time like you But I didn't want to believe her, I'm like, you know, he loves me, I love him, I don't care, you know, and I just know that I love him that I want to love Him. And when he did end, that is when I started to see all these little things that went wrong. And I was like, you know, I need, and I have to change this, because this cannot go on. And I cannot drag this to the next relationship that I have, or that I might have in the future. And that's when I started to work on myself. And one of the things that I guess saved me from pain from drowning myself in my own sorrow was it's poetry. I like to write poetry. So I guess I kind of wrote my journey of the relationship, how it started, how it ended and my pain through through points and through writing. And that helped me realize a lot of good things about myself, and also a lot of bad things about myself that I needed to change in order to be ready for not only for the next relationship, but to be ready for whatever, and to be ready for myself as well. And then also to be to know that if I'm single, that's okay to that I'm a work in progress. And then I'm whatever it's gonna come, it's gonna come. And then for sure, when the nurse relationship comes that I'll be ready. And yes, that's what I realized. And there was a lot of self discovery through writing, journaling. Realizing the patterns that I that I had, the, the mistakes I did, and it's really making new ones.

Coach Maddox  27:11  
And where did self forgiveness play into all of this?

Fernando Velez  27:19  
Well, definitely, when, when I realized that all the crap that I went through, it was because of myself. Because when I told you that, there are some moments that it hits your heart. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, how stupid I was. I'm very sorry for myself, you know, I had to forgive myself for everything that I put myself through. And

Coach Maddox  27:54  
you know, the thing about what you're saying right now, though, Fernando is that you're taking responsibility. You didn't say, you know, what he put me through. Because he could only put you through that if you allowed him to, I love that you're taking responsibility. You're saying this happened, because I allowed it to happen. And that's where our point of power is. Because if somebody else is doing it, to doing it to us, we don't have so much control. But when we realize that we're doing it by allowing it, that's where all our power is.

Fernando Velez  28:29  
That's exactly right. You know, we have to own our mistakes. And, yes, it was my fault, because I had the power to leave the relationship and to end what I was going through. But I didn't. So it's my fault. Yeah, he probably he was not good. The things he did to me and the things he said to me, but I guess what he says on what he does is his own business to take care of. And what I do is my business to take care of, so I should have ended. And like they say one of my favorite writers says that you cannot trust the person who broke you. Your healing as well. Because sometimes we we are expecting for that forgiveness, we are expecting that person to tell us I'm sorry for what I did in order for us to move on. But we don't need we don't need their forgiveness to move on. You know, we can move on from ourselves from forgiving ourselves for putting us through that situation from doing the work. And that's pretty much what I did. You know, I was like, you know, I feel like I am in pain. It took it took me like one year to get over that and to work on myself. But I came to a point where I was like, you know, I'm ready. I'm over it. And I don't have any feeling negative feeling towards him or myself. I'm ready. I moved on.

Coach Maddox  30:14  
That's beautiful. That's really beautiful. You said something a moment ago that I want to backtrack, you said I realized it was my fault. And I'm kind of a word person, because I think words have a lot of energy and power to them. And I just want to throw out there that? Well, I want to ask you, you said it, it. It's my fault. Now, if you change that, I mean, how, think about how would you say it's my fault? How that feels? And then if you change that, and you said, it's my responsibility, does that feel different than it's my fault? Or does it feel the same?

Fernando Velez  30:53  
Well, I guess that suppose responsibilities is more like a positive war, you know, like, it's my responsibility to take care of myself more than it's my fault, because I should have, you know, done this, I guess it's more like a positive or I would say, it's my

Coach Maddox  31:12  
fault. When you say it's my fault, you're making yourself wrong. When you say it's my responsibility, you're empowering yourself?

Fernando Velez  31:20  
Yes, it's more like a positive word, you know, it's my responsibility to take care of myself.

Coach Maddox  31:26  
Words have energy, and that energy definitely affects us. You know, I just did. I did a Facebook Live last week on the difference between saying I'm a survivor, and I'm a thriver. They're quite different. Yes, they have very, very different energy, surviving will drain you of energy and thriving will build your energy up. And yet, it's just a simple, they even prime it's just a simple shift in words, that changes the way we feel about life and ourselves.

Fernando Velez  32:01  
Yes, just like the centers are just surviving, or are you leaving? Because a lot of people say that they survive the daily day? Or can we? It's our choice, we want to survive it or leave it?

Coach Maddox  32:21  
Exactly. So what would you say in all this experience, the three year relationship the year you took to heal and to recover? The time you've spent working on self love? What would you say has been the most profound result of that the biggest change or Aha,

Fernando Velez  32:48  
I'd say that, you know, because after the end, the relationship, a lot of issues came with my self image, again, about how imperfect I was or that, you know, I'm not good enough, or I cannot be loved, or, you know, all these negative thoughts that came to my mind. So, but what I actually realized is that I'm an amazing person, that I am worthy to be loved, that the perspective that other person has of me, has nothing to do with who I really am. That, yes, I am flawed. But still, I'm perfectly imperfect. I'm a work in progress. And there's actually a poem that I wrote about that that we are all masterpieces that worthy of being appreciated and loved. But not everybody understands art. And then that's exactly how it is with us. And as long as we understand where we at, in our journey, and how beautiful we are. That's what really matters. And that's the most the deepest understanding that I came with above myself, that I that I can be flawed, but still I can be perfect in my own way. It's beautiful.

Coach Maddox  34:28  
And I feel that as you say that it's really beautiful. Fernando, you have obviously done the heavy lifting the work. So where are you now what's going on now?

Fernando Velez  34:43  
Well, right now I'm still working on myself. I still learning and I'm doing a lot of reading because I love reading self help book poetry books because that they inspire For me to keep writing and to keep expanding my mind and my self love. I haven't found that relationship yet that I've, that I've been wanted. But you know, like I said, it's fine to be, it's fine to be single. And as long as you keep working on yourself and keep loving yourself, it's, it's what really matters, and try trying to enjoy your life, whatever you do. And that's pretty much where I'm at right now.

Coach Maddox  35:34  
And the work you're doing, how has it affected your friendships?

Fernando Velez  35:41  
Well, you know, I've been able to find more meaningful friendships. Because that actually, I was talking with a friend about this the other day that because he was telling me, I have a lot of friends. And I told him, Well, I might not have our friends. But at least I can say that they're good friends, they're really good friends I have, I know that I can trust. And for me, it's all about the quality than the quantity. So that definitely changed. Because since I was being honest, and truthful to myself, I could connect with people easier. And they can tell that I was being genuine. And, and it's good that you told me this, because it actually happened yesterday, I made a new friendship. It was this girl that we met at this wedding that I attended. And, and she told me, you know, I like your energy, you you're very just You seem like a very honest person. So we, we connected. And, and I'm thankful for all the growth that I hadn't come for not. Because I didn't listen to, to the bad side of myself and the negative thoughts that I had for myself at that point that I was able to push through those moments and do the work to be able to be who I am today. So that definitely affected my not only my friendships, but the relationship that I have with my family, as well.

Coach Maddox  37:21  
And what do you think, gave you the strength and the courage to do what you just said? No, I

Fernando Velez  37:31  
realized that the love that I had for myself, it's greater than what I've thought about I thought it was beautiful. I love that. And a new

Coach Maddox  37:49  
friend. Congratulations. You know, Friends are hard to come by. Yes, friends. So what would you say, based on your story and all of your experience? What would you say the number one wisdom bomb is that you'd like to drop on the listeners? If you could say any one thing? To them? What would it be?

Fernando Velez  38:16  
I would say that even though it might seem that everything is dark, and that you cannot love yourself, and say that there is always light at the end of the tunnel that you are perfect the way you are. Even though sometimes you only see mistakes and all the imperfections that you have. It's like I said, you just need to be polished. But just because you are flooded doesn't mean that your value, their value is less. And you're perfectly the way you are just you just need some loving and work on yourself. I'd say that's one of the most beautiful things when you come to the realization that you are perfectly fine that you are you are not that person that a lot of people think are what the world says you are. So I'd say that that is the most beautiful thing that you can ever do is come to the realization that you are perfect. And that you can be loved and that you love yourself. Perfect.

Coach Maddox  39:35  
I love it. Thank you for that, Fernando. That was beautiful. I loved hearing your story. It's a beautiful story. And I want to I what's coming to my mind now to ask you the question. Have you been told in your life that you're an old soul? Yes. Yes.

Fernando Velez  39:57  
I have actually my My life number eights eight, which is old. There's because one through nine. So I'm eight. And my sister is nice. He's older than me. But yes, I've been. I'm also I'm old school as well. So I don't know.

Coach Maddox  40:22  
Yeah, that doesn't surprise me a bit. I sense that old soul in there Most definitely. So, what a great story. All right, how about some rapid fire questions?

Fernando Velez  40:36  
Sure. You ready? Yeah.

Coach Maddox  40:40  
So when was the last time you cried in front of another gay man?

Fernando Velez  40:45  
Oh my gosh. That was like six months ago talking to my best friend.

Coach Maddox  40:52  
Okay, so you are able to do that?

Fernando Velez  40:55  
Yeah, you know, I don't mind. If people see me cry, I'm a very emotional person. And I like to, to be honest with my emotions, you know, for me, it's very hard to, to hide my emotions. Like if I'm, if I get angry, I'll get serious. Or if I'm happy, I'll smile. Or something. I also I'm also serious, because I'm also thinking and pondering stuff, you know, sometimes I can see something and just think about randomness that come to my mind. And then I get into a deeper thinking in my mind, but I'm a person that shows the emotions very easily. And also, if I need to cry, I will cry in front of a lot of people or in front of one person. I just

Coach Maddox  41:47  
do it. eautiful you're describing transparency? So what is one thing that you hide or keep secret? Because you fear that if someone knew they would judge you?

Fernando Velez  42:09  
That's a good question. Right now, like, it's something you know, I don't isn't like a big thing. But it's a silly thing, but I like Kpop a lot. So, and a lot of people think Kpop is weird. So I guess that it's a silly thing. Like I say, I don't have any, you know, I'm a person that I don't really care what people think. So that's why I don't have like something big to say, because I'm a person that okay, I mean, me like if you don't like me, well, it's your problem and my problem. So I tend to, if I want to be silly, I I'll be silly if I want to, to cry or if I want to sing in a karaoke. I'll do it. I guess singing and being in a lot of karaoke has also helped me with that with self confidence. But yeah, you know, I guess I'm very honest with everything I like, and I share it if I feel like I need to share it. And if you don't like it, or you don't care about it, well, this is your poll and online. So I pretty much don't care what other people

Coach Maddox  43:19  
one of my favorite sayings is what you think about me is really none of my business. Exactly. I love that. So final question. What matters most to you? And why?

Fernando Velez  43:34  
That's an easy question. I'd say my family. My family is my biggest support. They have taught me so many things. They have loved me, they're always there for me, I know that I can always count on them. And they will always be there for me. So my family? Definitely.

Coach Maddox  43:58  
I love it. Well, Fernando, it has been a complete honor, joy and a pleasure to have you as a guest today. I've really enjoyed our conversation.

Fernando Velez  44:10  
Thank you so much. It was great being here. I was I was nervous, but I guess even doing good.

Coach Maddox  44:17  
You've done great. And I think there was just this theme that ran through your whole conversation. And, and it's self love. And that's important. And we can't stress that enough. How self love can change our lives in ways that nothing else can.

Fernando Velez  44:38  
That's exactly right. It's it's something that we we have to realize and to work on if we haven't to stop looking for love in somebody else, or in places or things because the love we're seeking. It's already within us. It just needs to be discussed. Word,

Coach Maddox  45:01  
perfectly stated I love it. So the one thing I want to leave you with after saying thank you so much for your time and your energy and your conversation today is I want you to know that in my eyes you are indeed an authentic gay man.

Fernando Velez  45:17  
Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Fernando VelezProfile Photo

Fernando Velez

Poetry Writer/Human/Life Lover

Fernando is a lover of life and having grown up in a country where being gay is frowned upon, he faced many challenges along the way, but he always knew that love, compassion, and kindness are the key of a happy life no matter the challenges we face.

We can choose to be free the moment we accept and love ourselves.