Season 1 Episode 2: Growing up at the Border with Mikey Agundez

Caminante, no hay puentes, se hace puentes al andar. 

Gloria Anzaldúa

Welcome back to our Queer Circle. Today’s guest is Mikey (he/him), a queer/gay Latinx, Mexican-American Chicano from a border town. He studied Broadcasting at CCSF, interned in a Farming Internship (Rogue Farm Corps Portland OR Chapter), and Local Agriculture Projects in San Francisco/Occupied Ramaytush land. Currently he specializes in Vegan Farm to table Restaurants understanding the process that goes from germinating a seed that will provide awesome beautiful fruits to creating in a unique restaurant experience. 
Contact Mikey on Instagram @mikitosf

Listen to this episode HERE

Music by Purple Fluorite (Bandcamp // or all the streaming platforms)


Ep. 2 Mikey Agundez

[Lo-fi ambient music plays]

Billy: Welcome to a Queer Circle podcast. Today’s guest is Mikey Agundez. Mikey is a queer, Latinx farmer, who specializes in the germination of seeds all the way to the food being brought to your table for a vegan restaurant experience. Mikey is going to share what it was like for him to grow up on the border. 


Mikey: Hello. My name is Mikey Agundez and I am a Mexican-American, Chicano, Californian, there’s so many labels that come based on where I come from, where I was born. I am from a small border town by the name of Calexico, which is considered to be a farming town in the Imperial Valley, which is right between San Diego, California and Arizona. I did grow up in a very Latino influenced environment, which is the city that borders Mexicali. I did grow up in a very special family dynamic. I do have three brothers. The oldest brother is considered to be a straight male and then followed by gay, gay, and then baby gay, which will be me. Many people ask “Wow! How did that happen? Did your parents make you gay? Did your brothers make you gay? Who made you gay?” and to be honest, who the hell knows? This is how we were born. This is what we identify with and it’s been a journey, I would say, for myself and to my brothers discovering who we really are as a queer Latino in the United States of America. So I did grow up with three older brothers who were much older than I am, there is an age difference of 11 years, 9 years, and 7 years. So they did consider me to be their little baby brother and did bring a lot of joy to their lives as little kids. The funny story about me being born was my mom was desperate to have a baby girl and as she got pregnant it was a big surprise because, you know, my mom was getting already older and I was unexpected and, you know, this was back in ‘82, ‘83 she was going to see her doctor and the doctor announced to her that I was going to be a baby girl, I was going to be a female. So there was a lot of joy in the family and everybody was happy because finally she was gonna have her baby girl and my dad was gonna have his baby girl as well. They chose my name, which was Nadia and I think it was based on the ice skater from Russia that was an Olympic ice skater back in the 80s. They also planned all my baby showers, which they had a lot of baby showers and they were little girl themed baby showers and everybody was just really, really happy that finally a little baby girl was gonna be born. However, I would say a month before, weeks before I was born the doctor saw something else and he confessed to my mom, “I am so sorry Senora Agundez, but it’s gonna be another boy.”. At this point, my mom was really stressed because I already had the name of Nadia and everybody was starting to call me Nadia, but eventually she had to change my name and she gave me Mike, which is my dad’s given name, which he never liked and that’s why my older brothers never took his name because he just found his name not having any creativity and you know, it’s not really a Latino name either, but that’s what my grandmother gave to my dad and that’s the name that I got, because I accidentally turned into a baby boy in my mom’s stomach and not a baby girl. 


Billy: Mikey’s dad was recruited for border patrol, like many Latino men were recruited after the Vietnam war as border patrol was trying to change their image. Mikey’s mom was a housewife and a lot more. 

Mikey: On a daily basis, my mom was very, I would say, a socialite to her own standards. She was the socialite of Calexico and there’s something way special, being a socialite in Calexico. 


[Music Plays]


Mikey: One of my earliest memories of me kind of being curious about being queer or kind of knowing that there was something different about me, and this was a time that my brothers were also young, they were 11, they were 12, they were 13, they kind of didn’t know what their story with queerness was. They were kinda trying to, you know, I guess figure it out themselves, but they were also young children as well and I remember my mom would make dresses, she would sew dresses, she would make all kinds of dresses. She would make dresses for quinceaneras, she would make dresses for weddings, but then she would always make dresses for little girls and she would sell them to her friends. So she would always use me as a model and she would tell me “Ponte esto”, try this on and I just wanted to feel what it was to have a skirt and spin around and twirl and this was the 80s, so just imagine how these dresses were, and also being from Calexico, the fashion sense there is totally different than what we see. I remember that she didn’t even question her putting these dresses on me, because she just thought it was fine, she thought it was normal, and she made me feel very comfortable and I think that was the first time  I felt really comfortable with my mom, this was probably when I was three years old. Her just letting me act as I wanted to act. If I wanted to be walking like a little girl, very flamboyant or just pretend, she would laugh, she wouldn’t judge me. I think it’s a very special moment in one’s life because to be honest, in a lot of our community in Calexico if a child and a parent were to be acting that way, let’s say it’s a little boy who would wear a skirt and get excited, that child might have been in trouble. That child might have been, you know, told “That’s not what you do. Why are you acting that way? That’s for little girls. Little boys don’t act that way. You need to be more of a man. We need to train you how to be a man.” and in reality there’s also abuse behind that because, you know, a lot of the times back then for little kids, especially being a Latino kid, and acting very flamboyant, most likely you would get spanked or you would get hit on the face because that’s not what you do. I’m not saying that happened in all occasions but I’m saying I’m lucky that it didn’t happen to me. One of my first moments of me feeling that I was a queer child is kindergarten, for sure. I always had crushes on girls, but I also had crushes on boys and those crushes always came because I thought  they were nice people. They would do nice things to me. They would make me feel good in moments and we were so innocent, we were so young that I always kind of felt some sort of feeling for both sexes. I did know that wasn’t right. I did remember that, you know, you’re a boy you have to like girls, you’re a girl you have to like boys. Eventually, around that time kids start sort of figuring out things. They would call me out in a sense like “Why you act like a girl sometimes?” or “Why do you move like a girl? Why do you hang out with all girls?”. They were very curious about me. I was also always a chubby kid, gordito, all my life and I own that as well, but then they would tease me for that, “Why are you so chunky? Why are you so fat? What do you eat?”, you know? “Do you eat this? Do you eat a lot?”. So it was a lot of questions that I feel as a kid I would be asked by a lot of my classmates, but in reality, they weren’t asking these questions to insult me or to make feel uncomfortable, I think they were just curious themselves and there were a few that maybe were, you know, trying to be assholes to me or whatever, but in reality I feel that I grew up with a group of kids in school that kind of were comfortable with me and even though I was different and I was a target to be teased, because of the way I acted, because of the way I looked, I kind of had it easy. My father was a very tough dad, tough love 100%. He really, really was a father that told us “You need to get it done. You can’t be lazy. You need to go for it.” and I feel because he had so many struggles being Latino in the Bay area and, you know, being discriminated. He graduated from Union High School in 1966 and I feel Latinos from that community were not encouraged to go to college, to go to school, because that wasn’t a priority for a lot of people and I think my dad always knew that us being Latinos was going to be harder for us to make it out there and then not also just being Latinos, but also he had 4 children that were born in Calexico on the border, so for a lot of people they’re going to be looking at their children, at his children and thinking “Oh, they’re really Mexican. They’re really from Mexico.” But I think he had an identity crisis as well, growing up, but aside from him being a hardass all the time and really forcing us to just do whatever we wanted in life, just be responsible, pay the bills, and be courteous to one another as brothers and a family. We were really lucky to have him, because he was very stubborn sometimes. He kind of had a very republican sort of mindset to a lot of issues, but he also had a very liberal mindset and, you know, before he died, back in 2015, the last 5 years of his life, my dad was very sick and he had a lot of internal problems, but as he grew older and the last 5 years of his life, he just started to confess to us how much he loved us and that he didn’t care of having 3 gay children. He didn’t care what we would do with our lives. He didn’t care if we were going to get married, we’re going to get married with a guy, with a girl, we’re going to have children, we’re going to adopt them. He didn’t care and when he started expressing himself to us, I started reflecting on life as a kid and my dad never made it hard for me at all when it came to my sexuality. My dad will buy me all this stuff and this Lisa Frank stationeries, so that I could get creative. He knew that was for little girls. He knew what it was, but his question first when I would ask him to buy me a stationary book from Lisa Frank he would say “How much is it?”, because he was really cheap. My dad was a very, very cheap man, not that it’s bad. He just wanted to save a lot of money for us to be able to do anything we wanted once we grew older, which makes sense. But it was all about that if it was a dollar, perfect. Two dollars, maybe no. Three dollars, absolutely not. So that made me feel really good because I was never scared of asking him anything, I was never scared of being in my room and dancing to Thalia, dancing to Madonna, dancing to, you know … Just acting as I wanted to act and not being afraid of thinking “Oh my god, my dad’s gonna think this is really gay.”, “Oh my god, my dad’s gonna think this is really bad.” or like “He’s gonna come in my room.” and nope I didn’t care. He would walk in my room just to scare me, just to embarrass me, just to see my reaction, but he was a very, very supportive father and I feel very, very lucky that I had that. That I didn’t have to suffer or watch what I said or how I acted. Yeah, so that’s why I consider him and my brothers my heroes in so many ways, because they kind of knew that I was different, they knew that I was special and they knew that I had this confidence too, of not really caring what people would say about me and, yeah, they allowed me to be who I was and I think a lot of people in my position don’t have that or wouldn’t have that but, yeah, I did. So definitely my heroes. And I did have a few mentors growing up. I did grow up in a very, very Catholic environment.  We were that family that would sit in the front row every Sunday at 9 a.m. in the morning. We would get dressed, we would go to mass, we would do all of it. My mom was very, very, very Catholic. Easter we came, we had to participate in all these events: Good Friday, Good Thursday, Good Wednesday and Holy Saturday and Easter and Holy Monday, I mean we just did it all. I didn’t mind, I felt, as a child, it was a place where I went to escape, because there was always gatherings around the church community in Calexico. There was always festivals, there was parties, there was food, there was, you know, a lot of fun activities and I knew that I had to believe in something and I knew that I had to pray to Jesus and I knew that I had to follow those rules and I knew that. But I also noticed that a lot of my friends wouldn’t go to church and I would notice that a lot of our neighbors didn’t go to church. So I would ask my mom or other members of the family or friends who were dedicated to the Catholic church, I would ask them “Why is it that this person doesn’t go to church?” and a lot of the answers would be like “Well they don’t want to go to church because they don’t want to be better humans. They don’t want to go to church because they might be having troubles in their lives, but we go to church so we’re perfect and we’re perfect and just continue going to church and just continue praising the Lord.” I was a child of the 80s. My brothers do always tease me that I had everything growing up. When they grew up as little kids, they didn’t have so much resources, whereas when I was born, there was MTV in the house. So in the 80s, you know, all this pop culture kind of grew up a lot and was coming out and one of the persons that really caught my attention as a little kid, and it probably happened around 1988, 89, was Madonna, which I called her my godmother and why was it that I got really hooked to her was she was showing these videos in churches and she was performing on a stages in this very elaborate church setting and there were crucifix burning, there were saints crying. She was talking about abortion, she was talking about all these things that I felt she was kind of talking against the Catholic church, the place that I would go every week, the place that I would visit every week and there were some sort of connection to all of that and me being lucky, I had 3 older brothers and I would always ask them “Why is this happening? Why is this video showing crosses?”. They would kind of explain to me why, you know, the themes that she was expressing, as we all know, she did talk a lot about the Catholic church. She was going against it, because in reality she probably grew up in that environment as well and she was abused by the oppression as those types of religions basically do to some people and I feel that during that time, she gave me advice in the sense of you could go to church and church is good, but watch out, you gotta be careful what messages you’re getting from your priest, what messages your getting from your community in church, because it is true a lot of the messages that these church communities are giving people are horrible, they’re bad. These systems of religion really, really, really oppress people. They become depressed, there’s a lot of people that have committed suicide and people don’t really talk about it and it’s very sensitive to talk about that topic, because even to tell my mom this she would kind of feel uncomfortable or sad that I’m saying those things. However, I feel that those types of environments are horrible. I’m not saying your belief with Jesus Christ should be made fun of or anything like that, because everybody has a right to believe, but all these systems were made by men, because they wanted to control us. White supremacy is responsible for Christianity, for Catholicism, Jesus Christ is not. I feel Jesus Christ is rolling in his grave, because we’ve done this. We’ve created these systems that really, really fuck us over and some can’t see that. I do see it, but I am lucky that Madonna gave me that advice as a little kid and told me, “You be you. You do yourself and just be truthful to yourself.” and I thank her for that and I think that’s a reason why I feel that I owe it to her, because it kind of made me understand that system as a child. Another mentor in life that I haven’t seen in like 20 years was my Spanish teacher Mrs. Ana Montes in Calexico High School. Why was she a mentor to me? Being Mexican-American, sometimes we grew up not knowing that there is such a big world in Latin America. There’s so many cultures that come together and when I was in high school I took a Spanish AP class with her and she taught me and showed me a lot of different literature from all over Latin America. From Jorge Luis Borges in Argentina to Ana Maria Matute in Mexico, Sandra Cisneros, and my favorite author Gabriel Garcia Marquez from Colombia. This teacher was really awesome, because she really exposed me to learn more about Latinos and to really know that we’re a bigger melting pot than we think we are and because of that, I feel that she also gave me wings to explore more, explore the world, explore people, and not just stay in a box, in a bubble, that Calexico, my hometown, I love my hometown, I love going back, it’s very special, the reason why I am also today is because of coming from there so I will never bring my hometown down, but in reality, there’s more out there than staying there. So she was one of my mentors as well and one of the few teachers that I really felt that really cared for her students to learn and become ambitious in whatever they wanted to. Depression is a bitch. 


Billy: Mikey remembers being 15 years old when his father read him an article about Matthew Shephard in the national paper. 

Mikey: And he was killed, because he was gay and I remember that this made national news, I remember my dad reading the paper and reading me the story about that happening and in school, the word got around but it’s something that people still didn’t feel comfortable talking about and when I was 15 and me being 15 in 1998, you know, I clearly knew that I was gay at this point, I clearly knew what I was and I got really scared, because I felt that by me being gay, by me being different, that would’ve been an outcome that could have happened to me and I couldn’t talk to anybody. I couldn’t express myself, I couldn’t tell somebody so that somebody could tell me “It’s going to be okay Mikey. You’re going to be fine.” and that really sucked, because it really made me realize that I had a long journey ahead of me to really come out full circle to who I really was. 


[Music Plays]


Mikey: And for me to come out and tell somebody that I was gay or wanting to talk about this issue was hard and it was one of the times that really made me realize that I had to really grow a thicker skin. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I knew that I had 2 older brothers that were going to influence me throughout this journey. Another time that depression really hit me was probably my final days of corporate America. 

Billy: After moving to San Francisco, Mikey continued working at a bank and found that he was dissatisfied with the way that they were being pressured to make sales and so he needed to find something that was more authentic for him. 

Mikey: And I was going to school as well. I was going to school for broadcasting. I wanted to be a weather person which is still pending. By the time before I was 30, that’s when I left it and I did come out to my dad as well, before, but coming out to my dad was really easy. He told me that he knew. He told me that he loved me and he told me that, you know, I also have 2 gay brothers, but he told me not to tell my mom. He told me to keep it a secret. He told me that we were better off my mom not knowing and I agreed with it, but then 3 years passed and I was like “No, she needs to know. She’s my mom. She’s the last person on Earth that doesn’t know I’m gay.” and my brothers had already come out to my mom and my dad, once again, my dad very simple, but my mom was a challenge for them as well and when they came out to my mom it was more like “I don’t want to talk about it, okay.”. The second one, “Mom, I’m gay.”, “I don’t want to talk about it.”. But then eventually, when I came out, and I know she knew that I was gay, but I wasn’t going to have her reject me like that and basically when I came out, I told her “You need to listen to me, because I am your third gay son that is coming out to you. There’s something going on here and you need to be there.” and her reaction wasn’t good. We didn’t talk for 6 months. I remember it was my high school reunion and I went to Calexico for my high school reunion and I didn’t go home, because I didn’t want to see her. I was scared of my mom. I was scared of her thoughts, you know, because when I came out to her, she told me “That’s the devil. The Catholic religion does not want that.”. I don’t know why she would tell me that. I don’t know why, but eventually, at that time in her life, she wasn’t listening to us. She was listening to a higher power, that sucks, because that’s the last thing you want to hear your mom tell you. So around these two events, me coming out to my mom and not being so easy and working at an environment that was very hostile and very abusive, was horrible in my life and I was so depressed and I needed to find something and my 30th year was coming as well, so I knew that I needed to be in tune with myself. As soon as I told my mom it was like it’s all done, all the rules after this are my rules and nobody’s gonna get to control what I do, what I want to do or what I am. Whatever kind of queer person I want to be, I’m not embarassed. 

Billy: In time, Mikey’s mom was able to find some healing with her sons and acceptance and while this was happening, Mikey was learning a lot about San Francisco, the community, and his place in it. 

Mikey: That community as well, you know. People are like “Oh my god, you’re gay! Gay pride is so cool!”. Yes, it is a time that we need to celebrate ourselves and stuff, but there’s more than just that, because racism, shaming about body shaming, shaming about you being masculine or being too feminine, it’s out there and that is a very, very bad thing where we are all trapped in this. Coming to San Francisco was the best decision I could have done, because when I got here it gave me that liberty for me to just be who I wanted to be and I remember I was working at a banking center in the Sunset district, it was inside a Albertsons, and that’s where I met one of my best friends still to today, which is Crystal. Crystal definitely was another godmother. She definitely guided me as a new gay to San Francisco and I’m very gratefulf for her, even though sometimes she thinks that I can be too much, but who cares. But anyways, I love you dear. Speaking of people supporting you, like, she’s one of them. You know, I started hanging out with gay people and I noticed that there were all kinds of people out there. I noticed so many different things and I was so curious. You know, I was 22 and being a 22 year old, regardless straight or gay or whatever, you’re kind of still insecure in life. You don’t really know much, you might be embarrassed because of the way you look and this and that, but coming to San Francisco, one of the things that I did notice was there was not a lot of diversity. There was only one night that I would go to the cafe and it was called Pan Dulce and Pan Dulce was a Latino night, but I swear to god that a lot of the people that went to that night were from other places. They would come from San Jose, they would come from Sacramento to come to that night here in San Francisco, but in reality the gay community in San Francisco was mostly white men. With COVID-19 and having so much time, I started cleaning my closet. I found a lot of secrets that were hidden that I forgot about it and one of the things I found was a journal and this journal was for my english class in 2007 and the teacher made us write entries everyday, which I did, but I noticed the first month I turned in the journal, she didn’t read my entries and she just made sure that I wrote. 

Billy: Mikey’s homework assignment ended up turning into a confessional, where he began to share deeper things about his experience in the gay community, some of his insecurities around being Latino and how he was negotiating those things. He wanted to share an excerpt with us. 


Mikey: So here’s one. “I love to look at white boys. I don’t know why I like them so much. I just get so turned on by them. I like their hair. I like their tan. I like their colored eyes and all that stuff. There’s nothing sexier than a white man who knows how to dance. It would be so easy to be a good looking white guy. They don’t have to try at all. That really gets me sad and mad sometimes. Why did I come out looking the way I do?”. That’s a very powerful statement. I totally forgot about this journal and I totally forgot about those times which I think it totally means something that I forgot about that. I don’t think like that no more. I’m not like that, but to read this is very powerful. Me coming out of Calexico and facing the world, and Calexico is where all Latinos, San Diego Latinos very conservative, very military people, and then Arizona which was near us, very conservative, so I kind of grew up in that environment where I knew the white man had the higher hand and I was never told “Watch out for the white man.”. I was always told “Watch out for the Black man, don’t be like them.”, but I was never told “The white man is going to abuse you too.” and I do say here that I am upset because I don’t look like them. 


[Music Plays]


Mikey: One of my also earliest moments of San Francisco was kind of exploring my sexuality as actually as actually going out there and having sex. I mean, you’re 23, you’re 24, you have your hormones going and you’re now free and gay in San Francisco and you just want to go and have fun, but holy moly that’s a totally different world. There’s all different kinds of sex, you’re exposed to all these different fetishes. You know, me being a thicker, chubby cub, man that I am, I right away found out that I do have admirers that go by chubby chasers. It was very embarrassing for me to be categorized as a bear or in the bear community, because somehow I felt that in the gay community, back then, the bear community, in the places that I was going to and the people that I kind of would hang out with in the bars and in the clubs would kind of make fun of that community, because the guys didn’t have beautiful bodies, they were chubby, they were different and I just didn’t want to be part of that. I didn’t want to be categorized as a bear, because I felt that I was degrading myself and I was 22 and, you know, I needed to have a great body, I needed to have this image. But in reality, I’ve always been chubby, I’ve always been thick, I had to come to this conclusion and say “Mikey, you’re never going to have a 28” waist. You’re never going to have a six pack. This is who you are and concentrate on being healthy and eating right and living a very healthy life.”. Yeah, but in reality also exploring sex could be really hard, because in the beginning, I remember that I was so insecure with my body. I didn’t want to show my body during sex. I was embarrassed, because I right away thought “They’re going to be looking at me. They’re going to be judging my body. They’re going to be judging me by the way I look.”, but you know, that’s not the case, because once you start growing older and you start getting your confidence, you kind of realize that there’s a lot of people out there that don’t care how you look, they’re attracted to you for who you are and thank god, because you know I love sex and I love exploring it and I love just trying new things and with all this, being safe is really important and being honest with your partners. Turning 30 definitely was a really big time for me, because I kind of was free at this point. I had confessed all my confessions and I’m really good at confessing, being an ex-Catholic and altar boy and all. There was nothing that I was hiding. There was nothing that I was trying to pretend to be something I wasn’t, but I knew that now it was time for me to find what I really wanted to do. I was just about to leave my career in banking, so that was going out the door. So what was I going to do next? What really was going to make me learn something new or just feed me as a human? And, you know, being in San Francisco and living in San Francisco, food is a very big thing and I think a lot of our money goes to awesome cocktails and great food, especially being in your 20s and being new to the city and wanting to hang out with all your friends. So I kind of knew that I was impressed with food here. I was impressed with how I would hang out with my friends and have really amazing food and all these different kinds of restaurants and stuff, so I kind of thought that I was the route I wanted to go to and I knew that it was great money. I knew that working in restaurants here, if you knew how to do the job, you would get really good money. The advice my dad gave me was “If you’re gonna start working in restaurants, you should start from the bottom.”, again, my father, tough love, “Apply for a dishwasher, so you can learn what it is to dish wash and I’m guaranteeing you in a week they’re gonna tell you, “Why are you dishwashing? You need to do this now.” and I ended up taking his advice and I started as a barista, you had to wash dishes and everything, and I left my career and I was really happy, and I started working for cafes and then eventually, I worked for a museum cafe and I worked for a restaurant. The first restaurant I worked at is a farm to table restaurant on Hayes Street and all of the front of the house was white with blue eyes, I was the only Latino and they would skip me. They would never turn me into a server where I was able to earn more money. They would give the opportunity to a younger, very good looking, blue eyed person and all these people were like, “You should be the manager! You should be the one serving the people, because you’re so good.” and everybody saw that I was being discriminated against at this restaurant. After this restaurant, I found another restaurant that specialized in Mexican cuisine and that’s the restaurant that really, really, really made me open my eyes to farming. The restaurant is connected to a farm and I just found a very interesting connection and it all made sense, yeah, you go to a restaurant, vegetables, you have to farm them, you know. I always had a green thumb in myself. I was in FFA, which is Future Farmers of America, in high school and I did work on plant projects, I remember, and I did plant projects in my house, my yard was a good sized yard. The only thing about growing in the desert is that it gets really hot in the summer so everything dies, so it’s a different sort of weather pattern. However, I remember that I always had passion for growing stuff and Mother Earth and cultivating and I knew that all my great uncles and aunts were migrant workers in California, I mean, generations and generations even when California was Mexico, a lot of my ancestors, that what they did and that’s how they provided money to the family. A lot of them got kicked into Mexico in the 20s and the 30s, because that was also what was going on. They were taking your land away, because you were Latino, California was now a United States state. It was horrible, but I knew that my green thumb came from my ancestors and eventually, I moved into this place in San Francisco that I currently live in right now that has a very nice space in the backyard where I can grow stuff and I moved to this to this place, I really saw that and I said “I need to start utilizing and practicing my skills.” and five years into gardening, I decided to maybe try farming. I thought that it was a thing that was going to make me realize a lot of things. However, when I really made a decision was in 2017. I ended up doing a farm internship in Oregon. It is a farm internship by the program, Rogue Farm Corps Portland Chapter, and I was in basically a farm in Gales Creek, which is west of Portland, where I was hosted by a family for 9 months and we worked on a lot of different farm projects. I think when you start doing farming, the first thing you gotta make sure you know is “Can you farm 8, 10 hours a day, 5, 6 days a week?”, because it takes a lot for you to farm. Weather, watering, irrigation, germinating, it’s a whole process of different things and right away, when I went to this internship, the first two months, that side of it was easy. So now it was up to me to really get into the practices of farming and I loved it. I was able to understand that this is something that I want to pursue in life. I definitely loved the fact that there’s something therapeutic and zen about farming and growing stuff and germinating stuff and yes you can grow stuff, but how long can you maintain it. It’s all practices and you really, really need to be in tune with whatever you grow and I am very thankful that I chose this career now and I think I have a long way to go, because I am at ease with myself, because of my connection with Mother Earth. I feel that everytime I feel depressed, if I’m angry, if I’m anxious, I step to my backyard and just stand around my plants that I’ve grown for eight years some of them and it’s like your children and there’s something soothing and there’s something that really, really just makes you feel good and my stress levels definitely go down every time I am surrounded by nature or Mother Earth. One of the things that also love is that as we move forward in time and especially all these crises this year, 2020, ay yai yai, it’s been quite a year, a lot of people are more curious about farming and growing and eventually, we need farming and we need to continue growing to survive as humans. That’s like the most important thing that we need to do in life, not building buildings in downtown San Francisco that are now empty, nobody’s there, because now everyone’s gone from San Francisco. But we need to be more in tune on the importance of growing organic, growing the way we need to grow. If I would go back to Calexico and see Mikey, Mikito, Agundez as a 15 year old kid, I would be very excited to have a chat with him. I would definitely tell him to continue being creative, to continue exercising any creative spot he has in his mind. I would tell him that he definitely should grow a thicker skin, because he is going to face reality when it comes to him looking the way he does, his background, but in reality him being different is going to be very important because that’s what makes him who he is and yes, he might be struggling right now with having to go to church, because his mom was telling him to go to church and he didn’t want to go to church no more because he was getting older and he knew that it was kind of all bullshit but I would tell him that that is going to end soon. I would tell him to just be proud and not be scared and help people and share his story and also guide people, but as well, let himself be guided by people. I would tell 15 year old Mikey also that cultivating Mother Earth is something he has inside that might not be presented at the moment, but eventually it will be there. So for him to be more in tune with Mother Earth 


Billy: Mikey, thank you for joining us in the Queer Circle. Thank you listeners for joining us as well. If you want to learn more about Mikey and his journey, you can follow him on instagram @mikitosf or go to our website, 


[Music Plays]


Billy: Music from today’s episode was provided by Purple Fluorite from the down(cast) tempo mixtape. You can find this album and Purple Fluorite’s other works anywhere streaming is available: Spotify, iTunes, and beyond.