Meet Mario Gonzalez, as he shares his story as a part of the I KNOW LONELY Project. If you have followed along with Only7Seconds over the past 2 years, Mario is probably a familiar face. From SHARE Day videos, to film production, photography, and content creation, to having an internship with us this summer, he has been an integral part of creating Only7Seconds what it is today.
Growing up as a latchkey kid, Mario shares how loneliness led him into getting involved in substance, alcohol use, and negative decisions as young as 6th grade. When his mom suffered a severe stroke and suddenly passed away, 13 year old Mario made a promise to change.
As a first generation high school graduate from an immigrant family and now a senior in college, Mario reflects on the decisions- and more importantly, the people- that shaped him into who he is today. Mario also gets vulnerable by sharing about a dark time during his sophomore year of college and how a friend taking 7 seconds to reach out is why he is alive today. “I’m a living example of what this message can do”, he says. Mario is a communications major at Whitworth University, a photojournalist, and an artist and creative who is passionate about storytelling.
And this is his story.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST:
READ MARIO’S STORY
“Mario Gonzalez was born in Mexico and moved with his family to the United States when he was three. Up until first grade, Mario lived in California. “My first memory is living in California as a four year old, so the United States is all I’ve known. My parents were immigrant workers, so everywhere that there was work, we were there.” Mario and his family ended up in Manson, Washington, because of the work opportunities in the local apple orchards.
Due to his parent’s long work hours and being the youngest of eight, Mario grew up with a lot of freedom as a young kid. The summer before sixth grade, Mario began to run with a bad crowd and started doing drugs and drinking alcohol. “I was eleven when I first started to smoke weed and get into trouble. I got the urge to just be the cool kid or whatever. I had a little bit of myself just being like ‘this is not you.’ But for the most part, I ignored that completely and did whatever I wanted to do.”
SHOWNOTES & RESOURCES
Connect with Mario: @mariogonzalez.co
Grief & Loss of a Loved One: If you or a loved one are struggling with grief after the loss of a loved one, check out the resources from Dougy Center.
Suicide, Depression, & Anxiety: If you or a loved one are struggling with a mental health challenge (suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety) visit these resources from NAMI.
DACA & Immigration: If you need support or resources regarding immigration or interested in learning more about DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), please see United We Dream.
3 WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT THE I KNOW LONELY PROJECT:
1. Intentionally connect with someone you care about! Who is the first person that comes to your mind right now? Send them a text, give them a phone call, set a time to grab lunch. Connection is vital and sometimes, we have to make time for it.
2. Rep the I KNOW LONELY merch! A fun way to share the project is to rep some merch from the I Know Lonely collection in the Only7Seconds Shop. From cozy hoodies and sweatshirts (just in time for fall and in fall colors!) to new sticker packs or a trucker hat. Shop the full collection here.
3. Become a monthly donor! We know there are so many more stories like Mario’s that need to be told. Stories that share their own experiences through topics like anxiety and depression, addiction, mental health struggles, incarceration, losing loved one to suicide… everybody has a story worth telling. And you can help us share them with the world by supporting the I Know Lonely Project with a monthly gift. Even the smallest gifts can make an impact. Give here!