Personal Diary, Second.

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

Remember that time?

You were twenty-seven, sitting in the car with your mom, driving north on 148th street. She was driver, you were passenger. Somewhere between Stark Blvd and Marine Drive—I don’t remember, it doesn’t matter. Those were reference points that only Portlanders will know anyways. The real kind, a very specific kind, the kind of Portlander that grew up shopping at Mall 205 before the city was weird, hip, trendy. Like I said, it doesn’t matter. The point is I remember you started to cry in that car ride with your mom. I couldn’t remember clearly at first, I felt like it was early in the morning, like 5am, but early morning didn’t make sense to me because the one thing I very clearly remember is that you ended your trip that day at night. You arrived at night. So I checked your old e-mail and flight itineraries and yes, it was early. A one way ticket, a 6:55 am flight from Portland to Los Angeles, followed by a 1:50 pm flight from Los Angeles to New York City.

But back in that car with your mom, in Portland, somewhere between Stark Blvd and Marine Drive, probably about 5 am, you started to cry. You’re such a cry baby man, I’ve known you your entire life, and man, sitting here and thinking of all the times you cry, it makes me laugh. Sometimes it’s endearing, other times, it’s like, dude get a grip. It’s a family thing, your family is emotional, but I don’t think your mom did anything to comfort you. Maybe it’s a Vietnamese thing, a cultural barrier, I don’t know. I think she just kept driving. Staring ahead. Let’s pretend she said, “Kevin, you’ll be Ok, it’ll be fine.” Just for the sake of dialogue. I’m sure she didn’t, she didn’t even know why you were crying. I mean, why were you crying?

Oh yeah, you were scared. But c’mon Kev, it wasn’t like you were leaving for war. You were moving to New York City. Like millions before you, and millions after you. Yeah, you had never been there. Yeah, you didn’t know anyone. Yeah, you didn’t have a lot of money. But man, remember you moved to New Orleans never having been there? That worked out great. And that time you moved to Los Angeles? That was fine. And Belize? Not so much, but hey you survived. And you’d survive this. I mean, obviously you did.

But yes, you were scared. It’s allowed, man. Because New York City was different. Different from New Orleans, different from Los Angeles, different from Belize. It wasn’t a place or a destination, it was a concept, an idea. It was a dream.

Move to New York City, live that life, live that dream. That’s what you wanted and that’s what scared you. Dreams can’t break unless you make them real. And there you were. Twenty-seven years old, in a car with your mom somewhere between Stark Blvd. and Marine Drive, about 5 am, or at this point 5:07 am, crying. About to move to New York City, about to become that photographer you dreamed of. Or at the very least try.

And so you went.

And that was what? Five years ago? So why the hell am I telling you this now?

Because I know you Kev, like I said, I’ve known you your entire life. My entire life. And you’re scared again. As scared as you were moving to New York City, you’re scared of leaving it.

You built a life here, a home, the beginnings of a career. And you’re leaving it. All of it.

And for what?

For a dream.

Change always happens before you’re ready for it, but I believe in you Kevin. I told you that before you moved to New York, and I don’t know how much I actually meant it. But I mean it now, and don’t you ever forget it.


  1. Jem

    Wow, Kev! That was very moving and very touching. Thanks for sharing and making yourself so vulnerable to your public. That’s such a brave thing to do. So courageous, man! And it really makes you so likeable too. I like you! And I want to thank you for your project. It is so interesting and heartwarming to have glimpses into so many gay men’s lives. What a privilege! The photos just make it so real too. Fantastic project. So this next venture of yours I’m sure is just going to notch up the whole thing and add to in a big way. You doing so much to put us gay folk on the map. Thanks, Kev, for a great job. Well done! Jem

  2. Gary

    Your words and your photographs lboth come from the same deep source: your transparent heart, full and brimming over. I am grateful to you for sharing your gift with the world. You are contagious: thanks!

  3. Ray Smythe

    Kevin………….change is and will always be a constant in life. Embrace it and don’t be afraid of it. Continue to believe in yourself and your project. Your project is not some little mamby-pamby deal….it is a real and awesome. You will be making a difference in the lives of gay men around the world. Plus, you will be making changes with straight folks seeing what a diverse group gay men are around the country and world. Stand TALL and walk PROUD as you are doing something very POSITIVE for Humanity. xoxox

  4. Colin Nairn

    I’m not a crier, If i encounter it in public I cocked my head from side to side like a confused puppy. Perhaps not as cute or caring. Its not that I don’t care but I am frightened it might be contagious.To say I don’t cry is untrue but if it does happen only a tiny tiny bit of moisture is released. I must have a water shortage. Anyways, nice article it made me laugh at myself.

  5. aidynjsevilla

    I used to live on 148th!! Nice reference. Thank you for going on your journey even though it was scary, and thanks for sharing so much of it! Hope your future endeavors are just as rich.

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