To Top

Meet Manuel Gomez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Manuel Gomez.

Hi Manuel, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I was born into instability. My mother was schizophrenic, and my dad was an alcoholic. I felt insufficient in my upbringing and was never good enough for my dad. I always live a life of uncertainty. It was unique to have my parents yet feel like I was parentless. My parents provided the basic needs to survive, and that was the extent. I never felt loved. This left me riddled with insecurity. So much so that I wanted to escape. Living in Arizona, I chose the U.S. Navy as my way out. Knowing the ocean was the farthest place from the desert. I loved my time in the Navy. However, circumstances beyond my control derailed my service. During a deployment, I contracted a unique form of tuberculosis called scrofula. My service was cut short. Dealing with the physical changes and limitations reduced my ability to serve as a whole. I dealt with PTSD, and this abruptly ended my service. I was separated unexpectedly without support. This augmented my insecurity about not feeling good enough; I turned to drugs to cope with the emptiness.

Even though I found my spouse during my service, her unwavering love was not enough to make me feel whole. The drugs led me to flunk out of nursing school after the service and down a path of destruction. I ended up in prison due to poor choices hitting rock bottom. During my incarceration, I reconnected with my faith and had to address my inner negative distorted beliefs. I had to come to terms with all the pain and suffering I caused my family to endure because of my mental health issues and addiction. I made deplorable choices and deserved to be in prison. I hurt a lot of people. Fortunately, I found myself in prison and embarked on a healing journey. Today I am working to be a better father and husband. Upon release from prison, I was allowed to work in social work. Someone gave me a shot, and I fell in love with social work. I am now in Grad school pursuing my MSW. I have been given opportunities to serve on the board of directors and am working towards healing. I still struggle to adjust and am trying to focus more on my family.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Life has not been a smooth road. I have been my worst enemy, my ego has gotten the best of me. I have always wanted to feel accepted. This has led to a bumpy road. Due to my faith, I understand that my journey is for a purpose. I have failed to realize I have the most amazing wife who has endured my bullshit for sixteen years. I owe her my life.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I currently work as a consultant assisting organizations develop programs that support formerly incarcerated individuals and military veterans re-enter society. It is my passion to assist individuals re-entering society discover the best versions of themselves. I have had many jobs since my release. All with a unifying theme of serving others.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
Everything is going to be ok. All problems are temporary. Practicing a life of love will always lead to happiness. I come from nothing. I didn’t come from an affluent background. My destiny was incarceration. I have learned that hard work pays off. If you are given an opportunity, exploit and ensure you use it as a platform for upward mobility. Never stop learning. Education is vital to extricate yourself out of socioeconomic factors that were imposed beyond your control.

Contact Info:

Suggest a Story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in local stories