‘I am Colin’: How one local lost family ties and regained them

Yoga instructor hopes to use his story for healing, dedicate life to helping others overcome

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‘I am Colin’: How one local lost family ties and regained them

Colin Krikac explained his long path to self-acceptance at Cafe Moro.

Colin Krikac explained his long path to self-acceptance at Cafe Moro.

JACOB BERTRAM | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Colin Krikac explained his long path to self-acceptance at Cafe Moro.

JACOB BERTRAM | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

JACOB BERTRAM | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Colin Krikac explained his long path to self-acceptance at Cafe Moro.

DAISY ZAVALA, Evergreen news editor

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Colin Krikac left his mother’s religious home at age 14 over his sexuality. Nine years later, Colin and his mom have found connection again, but they still have healing to do.

Krikac said, though coming out as gay changed his life, it doesn’t define him.

“Reality is that my sexuality is not who am I am, not even remotely,” he said. “I am Colin and I love loud clothes and I love to dance and I love yoga and I love weird hippie shit like a full moon. I also happen to like men primarily and that’s it.”

Krikac was raised in a conservative Jehovah’s Witnesses household. The 23-year-old said he remembers the expectation of never breaking rules and being hyper-aware of his actions.

His mom has no ties to the religion now, and said she has never been happier.

“I was born and raised a Jehovah’s witness and that is a lifestyle that is strictly forbidden and condemned in the religion,” Rebekah Jones said. “So my ingrained immediate reaction [to his sexuality] was, hell no.”

Even as a young boy, Krikac said he felt like he wasn’t like any of the other boys and girls.

“It was around 14 when I’m still playing Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and all of my guy friends are really liking girls,” he said.

Krikac said there was a boy in one of his classes who had the coolest watch. It had different features like different time zones, and he loved it.

“He’d let me wear it every single day and I always felt so on top of the world, I just loved wearing his watch,” Krikac said.

Then, one day a friend told Krikac she had a crush on the boy with the watch. He said he lost it, screamed it wasn’t fair and ran to the locker room.

“I was just so confused by the reaction and then the bell rang and all of the boys started coming in and I realized as we were changing that I was not like everyone else,” Krikac said “And I liked boys.”

Krikac said he somewhat suppressed the feelings, but he also turned to people and asked what they thought of gay people, whether they thought he was gay. Some said yes.

“There was a little bit of an acception process.” Krikac said. “[Realizing] maybe I could have the option to accept myself too.”

Before he came out to his mom and his family, Krikac said he came out to his school.

Krikac said he walked in on his mom reading his journal where he had written down his thoughts regarding his sexuality.

There was a moment when Krikac wished he’d had the opportunity to tell his mom on his own terms.

“The journal was in plain sight, so some part of me for sure wanted it to happen,” he said. “I didn’t know how to tell my mom so I think that maybe that was almost on purpose but it was still hard to process … and there was still this feeling of, I wish it didn’t happen like this.”

Jones said she found out because Krikac had made a Facebook post, but said she did go through his journal and was in denial of the situation.

Krikac grew up in Rancho Cucamonga, California. He said his mom sent him to live with some relatives in Cloud Croft, New Mexico, when he was 14 years old, where he lived for three years.

“The more Colin and I talked, the more we realized we weren’t going in a healthy direction in our relationship because he wasn’t able to be truly who he was and I wasn’t able to be who I was, because all I’ve ever known was, that [being gay] is not good,” Jones said.

The start of high school in New Mexico was rough. Krikac said he received a couple of death threats and some people defaced his locker when he came out, but he didn’t want to pretend to be straight anymore.

Krikac said he understood why his mom sent him to live with his aunt and uncle in New Mexico.

“She knew she couldn’t change me so she knew the change would be in her,” he said.

Krikac said his mother tried to understand who her son was.

Jones said throughout the years they realized the move to New Mexico saved their relationship because she needed time to put things in perspective.

“There was a day when I never thought I’d see my mom at my wedding and to hear her say that — it was one of the biggest turning points in my life,” Krikac said.

He said once people got to know him, their attitudes became more neutral, which allowed him to make friends in a place far from home.

Krikac said after his dad passed away, he realized he didn’t have a father figure growing up after his parents separated when he was 5 years old.

“I was coming into finding myself and getting rid of the expectations people put on me and myself,” he said.

Krikac works as a yoga instructor and manager at Sanctuary Yoga and plans to go to massage therapy school. He hopes to either open or be a part of a wellness therapy healing studio.

Jones said she is very proud of who Colin is today. She said he is funny, kind and handsome, and just happens to be gay, which doesn’t make him a bad person.

Learning how to use my history, my pains, my stories to help other people [is what I can contribute],” he said.

Coming out is primarily a personal journey, Krikac said.

Everything comes with time and the sooner it gets taken care of, the sooner you come out, the easier your processes gonna be,” he said. “Because it’s the worst secret, it’s the worst thing to hold on and the worst thing to create so much fear around.”