St. John's Confidential File
MSJ: Ray, what were your early days growing up like? Was it easy or challenging?
RAY: No, I don’t remember it being easy. I guess more of a challenge than anything else. My father was very controlling. Possibly because he was an engineer. And the only way he saw things were from his own point of view. The church was one of my earliest influences at the time. Another was the Day-Care Center; there were a lot of unhealthy things going there involving sex which was very confusing. It influenced me tremendously because I didn’t know who or what to trust or depend on. I was deeply angered because of my experiences at that Center. I’d go home angry and take it out on my brother. I also had migraines at the age of six years old, my folks didn’t believe me, thought I was pretending. Yes growing up under those conditions was very confusing and causing many questions about myself as well as the world in which I seemed to be trapped in.
MSJ: Did going to college make a difference in how you viewed yourself and other people around you?
RAY: Even though I was an under-achiever in school, I was a veracious reader; it was my escape at the time. And I had to make my own decision instead of dealing with parents and relatives who were determined to make choices for me. Even when I was only seven years old, my grandmother suggested that I should become a teacher. The family even thought I should go into the ministry, imagine that when I was barely out of my mother’s womb. In community college I did take some courses in Police Relations to be a policeman. But even that didn’t give me the satisfaction I needed so much.
MSJ: Didn’t you have a passion to become something that no one else possibly might influence, something that only you had a fascination for?
RAY: Well, I was always doing what I was supposed to do, you’re right. My first real dream was to go into forestry. My dad used to take us camping when I was about nine or ten years old and I loved the Red Woods and when I was making a decision about my future in school, my dad was against the forestry idea, and said that I was to study business. And I felt I had to because of getting the financially support needed. After all, I wasn’t ready to go out on my own at seventeen years old. My parents never were supportive with anything that I wanted or decided to do. They had to have total control.
I finally ended up going to Cal State Northridge as a Business major. I decided to take an Economics class and I got from that class a better understanding of human behavior. A much better idea than classes taken in psychology. I needed to find out why I felt different, unloved and not part of the in-crowd. Of course I had my church group that helped a lot. The first place I worked at was IBM after I graduated. I did well but I was very immature emotionally. I think my grandmother was the source of most of my emotional problems. She was very abusive verbally and emotionally. You had to agree with her in every way or you were not acceptable. Believe it or not, she loved me deeply. It was an amazing situation.
MSJ: Your mother was an artist and you also excelled as a singer, didn’t you have enough determination to pursue your music dreams?
RAY: Yes, my mother was a wonderful artist in all media i.e., color, pen and ink, charcoal arts, murals all of it. I learned to see light from her. I had an eye for photography, too. I eventually bought my own canon, it was run on battery. I loved taking pictures of animals, plants and nature, generally. I’ve always wanted to do nudes, but it was hard for me to relax in an art class drawing a nude at that time in my life. I’d like to try again and see how I might handle it now. As for my singing, I love performing and I love all types of music. But I have to be very practical as well. That’s why I became a flight instructor. Flying a plane is truly an exciting responsibility ”“ it’s you and the space around you. And it’s totally exhilarating and I truly love the experience each time I’m in the air.
MSJ: Would you say that when you’re flying a plane that it’s a powerful force of self liberation?
RAY: Definitely! It settles me down and I experience clearly a joy that’s quite wonderful. I’m forced to remember that I’m the source and responsible for everything in my own world. And I reminded again that I’m responsible for my own happiness. When I got married and had a son, even though the marriage didn’t work out, I still experienced the power and love that only a child can give to a parent.
MSJ: Today when you look in the mirror, what do you see?
RAY: When I look in the mirror, I see myself as a force but one as a kind of magnet. That’s who I am, the reason why I’m here. I want people to accept who they are, who they might be, that it’s not too late to discover one’s inner truth. It’s exciting when you see it happening with other people.
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