on the topic of my 25 little-known selves

tagged on facebook; was afraid of breaching some sort of etiquette, so here i am now. well, it's been a while since i answered any of these memes anyway. should be fun. :)

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1) my folks like telling me i was born at home, as in literally, as in a house, not in a hospital. i'm the eldest in a brood of three, and incidentally, also the eldest among first cousins, mother's side. yep, it's a pretty young family.

2) i used to be this child beauty queen, or something. when i was younger, like in early elementary, i was more often the class muse than the class president, seriously. i never really knew why people were under this common notion that i was, i don't know, pageant-material. i suspect my aunts were in cahoots with the teachers. i don't know. anyway, the gowns were itchy as hell and i hated all of them.

3) or maybe it was because i was this really small girl. i was first in line THE WHOLE TIME i was in elementary, because i was small. and maybe in the early 90s, small = cute = class muse. jesus, the trauma. anyway, maybe this is why i did well in school. i was up front and i had no other choice other than listen and copy notes, and whathaveyous.

4) i was not only small, i was also a push-over. in kiddie parties, i used to go to some corner to sulk and cry because i didn't get any sa pabitin -- because i was small. i know, crybaby much. well, i used to cry over everything anyway, my aunts couldn't leave me in school because i'd bawl. hahaha. my aunt then figured she could leave her umbrella by the door and trick me into believing she was still there when in fact she wasn't. well, it actually worked.

5) my mother is one of the greatest women i'd ever had the pleasure to meet and be with. she died when i was twelve, it was leukemia. she was a chemical engineer and a certified workaholic. we didn't even know she was sick until she came down with a rather nasty flu one november day. a week later, she was dead. it was all a whirlwind. people still say i look exactly like her. sometimes, i still hear her in my head whenever i decide on something -- or maybe it's just that i think a lot like her already by now. i still dream about her, especially when i am stressed. in those dreams, she usually comes home from a very long business trip.

6) i was in this ateneo summer program called ajss in 2000. i wasn't even supposed to go, had not our top batchmate given her application to me. it was the summer after third year high school. it was supposed to be this five-week college simulation program, where the ateneo introduced us to their campus, their subjects, their labs, etc. i passed the entrance test by some miracle. this was where i met some of my most brilliant friends with whom i still keep in touch with until now. in those five weeks, i lived in eliazo (the girls dorm). and that was one of my first bouts with some real intense friendships. and just how intense? we cried at the grad. I KNOW. <3

7) i was sixteen when i got into UP, and i was so scared. i'd never been more scared in my life, that i actually, during the summer in between high school and college, joined some sort of catholic charismatic group - i was *that* scared. i had wanted to go to ateneo, because that was where all my ajss friends were going, but it just wasn't within my family's means. i entered UP with a heart so afraid. UP was beyond my comfort zone, and being thrust right into the middle of it? it was something i never regretted. best years of my life, if you ask me.

8) my love for basketball began right on the street where we lived. the boys next door one afternoon mounted this basketball ring on the buko tree between their house and ours. we used to play a lot of those three-on-threes until dusk. my mother hated how i came home all dirty and smelly, at times even bruised. i may have been ten or eleven. yes, you can safely assume that from this really small girl, i became one of those kids who got out of the gates at 3 p.m. and got back around dinner with only one slipper because of tumbang preso.

9) while i do know how to bike, i do not know how to roller blade. instead, my mother got us (my sister krista and i) these nifty roller skates with four wheels in two rows, those you could attach to the bottom of your sneakers, perhaps thinking they would be easier to balance. we ended up breaking her vases. jesus. anyway, as if that weren't enough of a warning, my parents went on ahead to buy me a skateboard - which i'd never really learned to ride (i mean our street could only be that long). anyway, if you ask me where it is now, i'd have to admit that i broke it. don't ask how.

10) i used to be really good in math. again, this was perhaps mostly perception than a gift, and again i suspect my aunts were in cahoots with my teachers in making me believe i was this math genius. hehehe. anyway, i used to join these inter-school math competitions. i used to go to these contests with two other boys, who eventually pursued math-related things. i won none of them contests, not surprisingly, and i ended up taking a course that's not related to math at all - journalism. but then, since the past really has a way of reminding you of where you'd been, i ended up in a job that has taken me close to math c/o the business section. and really, it's not that bad, once you get the hang of it.

11) still speaking of math - my main chore in a group dinner or whenever we have something delivered to the office or just whenever there's an occasion that calls for the pooling together of money, may it be a party, a videoke night, a futsal game, etc etc - is to divide the tab. unless of course i am incredibly smashed i couldn't even hold coins or tell two bills apart.

12) and one more thing about math - i believe i must have had incredibly talented algebra and trigonometry teachers in high school. really. i absolutely think there was no way i could have retained all these concepts if not for their mad teaching skillz.

13) as a subject, i really loved english. and i guess, the teachers really loved me back. hehe. seriously, in high school i was closer to the english department than i was any other department. that being said, i confess that i liked hanging around in the faculty room because, given my family situation at the time, it felt really good to surround myself with all these older women, whom i could look to for that support that i felt was missing. no, i wasn't gay yet in high school, but looking back, maybe i was getting there? hehe. but really, my relationship with my high school english teachers tided me over the rather difficult, confusing times.

14) i still marvel whenever i realize how i wasn't really gay in high school, considering how i even had a stint with the high school women's basketball team. seriously. i attribute it mostly to my mother issues, but seriously, how could i have missed all the hints? hahaha. instead, i was running after boys who either had no idea i was attracted to them, or were even not worth the attention at all, or were just immeasurably arrogant. to confess, of the three guys i had eyed in high school, i like the immeasurably arrogant one the most. (is he even on my facebook, i wonder.)

15) and now we come around to talking about boys. in college, my "batting average" for my boy-crushes: 9-11. It reads this way: of the eleven guys i had a crush on at one point or another in college, NINE turned out to be gay. and, to finish off the statistics, of the two straight ones, one is now already happily married, while the other... let's just say he had a calling but then he got out of it just recently. hahaha. peace bros.

16) i was eighteen when i met a girl. she was a friend of a friend. and since we're both living our own happy lives now, i'll give you the standard issue story: it was the first time i realized i could feel that way about someone of the same sex, and that being said, i guess that explained a lot as to why our affair was, to say the least, tumultuous. it was a rollercoaster ride of emotions good and bad. it was july when i first told her, i was halfway through a pack of cigarettes. incidentally, that was also the first time i told her that i was gay -- that night i also told her that i had feelings for her. talk about dumping everything all at once on the poor thing. anyway, whenever people ask me if i would change anything about how i had lived my college life, i always say no. i'd do everything just the way i had, retaining even the stupid pathetic choices, because clearly, if not for them, i wouldn't be here right now.

17) i learned how to smoke in 2001, in a bowling alley, using a marlboro reds stick. a blockmate of mine taught me, because i was intrigued, and i didn't know better how to cope with my new found freedom, all this living away from home thing, all that shit. it tasted like wooden shavings, if you ask me - not that i had by then already tried ingesting wooden shavings, but you get my drift. my blockmates used to kid me about being this neophyte smoker with shaky hands, back in the early days of the habit. i didn't even learn how to light my own cigarette until weeks later, thinking that if i didn't know how to light one i wouldn't be able to indulge in the habit all by myself. social smoker lang daw, ika nga. i ended up smoking for at least seven more years.

18) throughout those seven years, i'd tried to quit several times--especially whenever i got sick. in those moments of perceived willpower, i managed to go two to three consecutive days without a puff, but with much torture. it was difficult not to smoke when everybody else was smoking, seriously. during some attempts, my friends and i would flush cigarettes down toilet bowls in an elaborate ritual even. we'd be clean for a week max, and then, succumbing to the pressure of school work and love problems and everything else, we'd be smoking under the skywalk again. hahaha. last year, i quit the habit for the nth time. i'd been clean mostly since.

19) speaking of vice, i am a beer drinker by nature. hard drinks and i have never been good friends. i made the mistake of indulging catcalls to do tequila shots with friends, one october night. i spent most of the day after huddled to my toilet bowl. three years earlier, i and my freshman girl friends tried to finish off a bottle of gin, just the four of us. this was mostly in celebration of another girl friend's birthday. i ended up bonding with their sink, and later, with their arinola. it was harrowing but it makes for fun inuman session sharing.

20) i name my stuff, except my cellphone. i've named all my computers and even my flash disks. my current laptop's name is panda. my old one is infinity, and the one at home was something we called fondly as "profanity" - precisely because it was so slow, it was impossible not to be profane in the middle of using it. my flash disk is named gibs, while the divisions of my bigger portable hard drive are named addison and izzie, after my favorite grey's anatomy girls.

21) how could i have failed to talk about buffy in any of those first 20 items? anyway, show me a buffy episode season 3 onwards, and i would likely be able to tell you what season it's in and what the name of the episode is. i tell you, i could get obsessive sometimes. my favorite buffy episode is the season ender of season 4, which was like this elaborate dream sequence. it was magnificent. my first exposure to buffy was a scene in one episode during season five, where willow and tara dance together while floating in mid-air. yes, buffy was essential to my coming out party, and i really have to thank joss for bringing lesbians to my tv.

22) i met *the* girl when i was 22, online. i was new at work and i was stalking blogs of officemates whom i hadn't had the guts yet to make small talk with. in the process, i stumbled into a rather interesting blog. she was sparkly and happy and at that moment i was in love with her, theoretically. i say in theory because we hadn't really met yet and i wasn't even sure if she was in the country or pinoy to begin with. what i was sure of though was that she was into girls. further research would eventually tell me that she was in fact a college friend of a few of my officemates, and reveal some other rather difficult connections of the work and family kind, etc. i was disheartened. right then she was within reach but all the more off limits, as they told me that she in fact was in a relationship. i met her *met her* about a year later - she practically walked past my table at work. we were introduced by a common friend, and she recognized me as someone "from online."

23) i never really had the guts to flirt with her until a couple of years ago. by then, she had ended her previous relationship, and had just gotten into a new one. disheartened, again. people told me i was too slow, but then again i had no idea how to do this anyway. several months of nonstop everyday textage later, i told her i liked her. i could still remember how she had phrased her reply: "it would be a lie to say i do not feel the same." still gives me the shivers when i remember it. we'd never looked back since, and here we are now. <3

24) i've been working for almost four years now with the inquirer. i used to be an editorial assistant for metro before i transferred to research. i like this job because it treats institutional memory as an asset, and right now, i totally see myself staying put for a long time.

25) someday, i want to be old enough to matter. right now, i have no dreams of becoming rich, or having kids, or being famous even. someday, i just want to be someone people listen to, someone people find worth listening to, and maybe, when i'm old enough, someone inspiring. and then, as they say, we can have a revolution. chos.

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