Worthy: The Best of Today

By Esteban Herevia Jr.

I wish my fifteen-year-old self could see where I am today. Do I bring in millions of dollars? No. Do I live in a big house with fancy cars? Nope. But I’m happy, and back then I would have wanted nothing more.

When I was fifteen, I came out to my parents. Instead of being met with love and showered in acceptance, I found myself with nowhere to go and pressured to live inauthentically as I grappled with my sexual orientation and religious beliefs.

Over time, I found myself going to extreme measures to hide my sexual identity–turning to conversion therapy as a source of relief, using prayers and fake smiles to hide the depth of my pain. I wish I could say that it was a short-lived reality. Sadly, I kept myself in a cycle of torment for almost a decade.

I would imagine your first question is, “Well, what changed?”. I didn’t have the language to describe the motivation until now.

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The answer? I realized I had worth. What I was told was my greatest separation of self was actually the most beautiful part of me. I started to understand that my time and energy had worth. My gifts and talents and their development had worth. My areas of growth had worth. I am a person wonderfully and beautifully made who is worthy of love and dignity. Hiding and lying wasn’t worth it. But, I was.

Photo by Erin Peterson

And you know what’s absolutely wild?

You’re worthy, too.

A worthiness that honors every part of your body, that flows through every piece of your soul, that calls you beautiful precisely where you feel the most self-conscious or have experienced the most criticism. A worthiness that calls out the deepest and darkest hours and names them holy–all of it is worthy. 

You are.

My Uncle Joey was one of my biggest champions. He was a gay man living in San Francisco. He was a world famous opera singer, an accomplished musician, and a fearless advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and the inclusion of homeless youth. He was fueled by his own experience of exclusion and discrimination. He loved me and knew what it meant to protect me from a world he so harshly experienced. I lost him this January. 

His passing has been extremely painful for my family and me. We learned, however, that it has been even more painful for the community he left behind. While he was very important to me, his passing revealed he was valued by so many others.

He was recognized as a citizen of significance. He was a recognized volunteer with a national organization that serves LGBTQ+ youth. He was in a PBS Great Performance. He was a leader in his faith community. To me, he was my uncle, but he was so much more to everyone he encountered.

It’s tough shaping a reality where he won’t be present. Yet, I have unlocked a treasure chest in my process of grieving.

He had the opportunity to make the best of every day, and he did. Sure, he had things he was dealing with. And no, he wasn’t perfect. The key here is he maximized every moment and every relationship he had.

We have the same opportunity. My goal with our time together is to maximize the best of what we have available to us today. I’m not focusing on deficits. I’m not talking about weaknesses. I’m talking about the very good things that rise while all the crap falls. 

Photo by Erin Peterson

So, the best of today? Well, it’s your worth. I promise every dream, every desire, every joke you make that you secretly want to be true, every expectation, every disappointment, every time someone told you no, every kiss, every fight, everything–it’s all worth it. Our job is to understand the best of it.  And, I hope we can experience it together.

Esteban Herevia

​​Esteban Herevia Jr. (he/him/his) is the President and CEO of Spokane Pride – the organization that produces the Spokane Pride Parade and Festival. He co-founded Wonderfully Made Spokane, a non-profit entrusted with increasing inclusion and celebration of LGBTQ+ people in faith communities. Esteban is the Strategist for Health Justice and Belonging at the Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. And, he was recently recognized in the Spokane Coeur D’Alene Living 20 under 40 list for 2021.

read all of esteban’s articles here.

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