First things first. As I haven’t had a chance to see a psychiatrist yet, I’ll have to leave the issue of pharmaceuticals on hold for now. Right now, my focus is on my upcoming play “Mis Papás” in which I play an amateur boxer from Guatemala, a story based on true events.

Mis Papás featuring Victor Ayala

This process has brought a lot of questions to the surface for me. The character I’m portraying had a simple trajectory. To move to a different country, find a good job, get married, have kids. His story, unfortunately, was complicated by a freak medical occurrence, but his desires were always the same. And now, his wife has become the bedrock of the family as he has had to adapt to his new life.

There was a time where my trajectory and this character’s would have been the same. Fortunately, or unfortunately (I can’t tell which at the moment) we live in a time and place where I can make of myself whatever I want. People who follow my posts will know I am exploring polyamory and beginning to understand my gender fluidity. They will also know that I’ve changed my priority from achieving career goals to checking things off my bucket list.

But am I being brave by choosing the road less travelled, or am I simply afraid to commit to any one thing in particular?

In order for my life as an artist to pay me back, I must commit to something. Committing to these last eight weeks or so of intense physical rehearsal has made my body fitter and healthier, and I feel I have become wiser through trying to convey another man’s story on stage. Should I, then, choose a longer term trajectory to net me more? Is this even the right way to think about art, like a system of exchange, or has my upbringing in a capitalist system corrupted even the purity of my craft? Am I an artist to serve myself, or my community?

And if I choose to live for the day, what will I have to show for it? Maybe the only thing that matters is that my life was interesting to me. But is that level of selfishness sustainable? If we all thought the same way, what would society look like? I want to be a good man, but I want to be true to myself. I don’t believe these two things are ultimately mutually exclusive, but I don’t see anyone else out there like me, with the same complex of desires and emotions to honour, so I suppose the only thing to do is blaze my own path. It’s a lonely road.

I wish sometimes I were more ‘normal’, that the typical story society tells about men would suit me.
Does it suit anyone anymore?

When Pedro Sr. lost his ability to understand what he was hearing, as you will see in the play I’m in, there was someone he could rely on, and this woman fulfilled her role unquestioningly. Was this the happiest these two could be given the circumstances? Could not Stella, his wife, have left to find her own truest joy? And would that have been more important than remaining loyal to her husband? If I were in his situation, would I want my wife to stay, or would I wish for her to find a better man, a healthier man, and leave me to my own devices?

None of these questions have a clear answer for me, not as of yet. I don’t suppose I could play the role if my mind was made up one way or the other. That’s not the way real life works, as I am continually surprised to find out.

In the form of a 12-round boxing match, Mis Papás is a bilingual, passionate, hard-hitting and personal adaptation of two immigrants whose “happily ever after” has an asterisk put on it. Years after immigrating to Canada for a better life, Stella and Pedro’s story is rewritten by a life threatening infection. 

If you’re in Vancouver, BC, CHECK IT OUT

Victor: Fortunately, or Unfortunately, we live in a time and place where I can make of myself whatever I want.
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