Jorome Melendez was born John Robert Melendez July 28, 1963 in Sacramento, California, the son of a Puerto Rican father and Panamanian mother with Spanish, German, and Peruvian ancestry. His mother named him after John and Robert Kennedy and, though she had no way of knowing, he was born on Jackie Kennedy's birthday just months before JFK was assassinated.
As the last addition to the Melendez Air Force brat pack, he and his siblings spent their early formative years living and learning in Argentina, New Mexico, California and Panama never knowing the sense of stability and community that comes from having a hometown. And he found his home in the the artistic community he found at each school starting in the third grade when got to skip class and deliver eggs to each classroom dressed up like the Easter Bunny.
After a lifetime of doing the things he could do instead of the one thing he needed to do, his universe collapsed in a storm of unfortunate events and emotional traumas that destroyed the life he never thought he'd have; a life that had become his identity, his purpose, his reason for being.
Whisked away from home, blinded by the darkness of a starless night, lost without a compass, he was alone, naked, afraid to face another day in the forest of evaporated tears, unanswered prayers, silent cries and suicidal daydreams.
But the sun continued to rise and fall and, as the days passed, he realized he wasn't lost.
He had returned to a familiar but long forgotten space he discovered as a child. An emotional playground of infinite possibilities free from the rules, boundaries and restrictions of the physical world. The private space where a little boy explored feelings, built dreams, processed pain.
And he realized that his heart, his soul, the very essence of his humanity had been reduced to a tiny seed buried within the emptiness of a man who defined himself based on position, relationship and geography. And when those things were destroyed in the storm, there was nothing left of the man except for the tiny seed and tears that reminded him of the person he left behind.
The sensitive little boy who cried when boys don't cry; who dreamed of being someplace where there isn't any trouble; who imagined tears raining down over his lifeless body as his soul floated towards heaven; who wore masks of smiles and self deprecation to avoid the hatred of bullies; who found love, acceptance and compassion in the movies he watched, the songs he sang and the stories he read.
In February 2015, after 52 years of doing something else, John Robert Melendez packed up his life and moved to Los Angeles to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming an actor.
And, for the first time in his life, he knew there was nothing else he could do, nothing else worth doing. He was lost, lonely, naked and afraid. And he realized that, for the first time in a very long time, he was alive.