“I’d like to talk to you about what happened to us maybe soon. I’m sorry I’ve been stalling things. I know you deserve that. It’s just I don’t know how to start.”
Some time after I left that house I shared with you, I went back and we talked. I thought things were doing better.
I tried steering and conversation to what happened between us, that day we parted ways.
“Don’t start,” you said. I thought it was because there was someone else with us. I waited for you to open up but it never happened. And then I knew you still don’t know how to start. You will never know how to start. I thought I can leave it like that.
“Let’s remain friends,” you said while we both were still crying. But I never felt there was an attempt at friendship. I was like a ghost in the house where I lived. Until one day, I decided to leave.
When we broke up, you asked me to stay in that house. But that day I packed my things, you did not stop me leaving. Did you really mean it when you said you wanted me to stay?
Can I ever believe you now?
But that seems too much to ask coming from a cheating, lying son of a bitch. And you knew of my secrets.
But I knew about yours, too. There are other secrets that can seriously hurt a relationship, aside from sleeping with other men. We both kept secrets from each other. This son of a bitch took yours in stride. But compared to infidelity, everything else is trivial, no?
You always gave the impression that you valued commitment. I value promises, too, even if I can’t keep them. Like you, enduring too many secrets and broken promises have built a dam of hurt and anger in me.
I couldn’t stand the careful myth-making. I couldn’t stand the made-up extravagance. I couldn’t stand the constant need for validation. No, I especially couldn’t stand the many fake friendships.
I suspect you grew tired of me because I didn’t worship you like you wanted. I saw you as a partner, as an equal.
It crushes me to think that this exaggerated public image I see now was of the same man I loved. Whom I started to build my future around. Whom, near the end, I chose over responsibilities and reputation. After all, I’ve already lost a lot of things in my life. Losing a little more wouldn’t make a lot of difference to me anymore.
I know what I get myself into. Did you ever did?
As promised: If you could give some advice to youngsters reading this on how to be a more interesting, intelligent, and witty adult, what would you tell them? Pang byucon ba? Flilow-up Q: Why did you decide to become an LGBT advocate? What inspired you and how come others aren’t as motivated?
Beau-con levels nga. I’ll answer each question in separate sections.
If you could give some advice to youngsters reading this on how to be a more interesting, intelligent, and witty adult, what would you tell them?
Asyumera na, pero thank you for considering me an “interesting, intelligent, and witty adult”, or at least someone capable of influencing people to be as such.
But I will base my answer on other people and friends whom I consider to be interesting, intelligent, and witty adults.
- Do not take life so seriously. Moments of random craziness are good, as long as you do not leave a trail of dead bodies behind you; people do find that interesting, but not in a good way.
- Do not apologize about who you are or where you came from. Embrace your roots and acknowledge your influences. You are no longer the person you were five years ago, but that person helped build who you are right now.
- Welcome people into your life. Be genuinely interested in other people. Share what you know and be open to people sharing themselves to you.
- Read. Fiction and non-fiction. Science and the arts. The news. Other people’s posts and comments. Recipes and instruction manuals. Poetry and advertisements. Even the graffiti inside public restrooms. Read and think about why those things were written.
- Do hobbies. Work with your hands. Learn how to cook. Listen to music. Watch movies and plays. Go to museums and art galleries. Take an active interest in something.
- Do not be afraid to talk to strangers every once and a while, even if it was just to say “thank you”. If people do kind things to you, you should always say “thank you”.
- Do not immediately take offense if someone disagrees with you. Do not be afraid to disagree with another person.
- Crack a joke. Even if it was corny. Even if you laugh before the punchline. Even if you think other people will not get the joke.
- You do not have to believe everything here that I tell you.
Why did you decide to become an LGBT advocate? What inspired you and how come others aren’t as motivated?
Because I wanted to do something beyond selfish reasons. Because I wanted to make my and other people’s life a little better. Because I realized the world isn’t as pretty or as comfortable as I thought it was. Because I’m gay. Because I’m no longer young.
Someone once asked me something like: at what point does one consider him or herself an activist? I said one becomes an activist when one initiates actions beyond one’s self-interests, because one knows that the world does not revolve around one’s life only.
I had a good life, all things considered. I’m lucky. I want to help make other people’s lives a little bit better, for those who were not as lucky as I am.
That other people are apathetic about the condition of others is frustrating, but I try not to measure their actions against what I think is important. We all value things differently: what is important to me isn’t important for other people and their perspective is just as valid as mine.
There are days when I have to remind myself of that last bit I emphasized. I should not question too much what motivates other people. The only person who should be answerable to my standards is myself.
Thank for these questions, Kia.
We have to unlearn
the affectionate gestures done in reflex,
habits we built. These little
boundaries we will set, moving from “we are”
to “no longer”.
NOTE FOR MY FUTURE SELF:
This has been languishing in my drafts for about a month now. Maybe I’ll finish it, maybe I won’t.
I’m kind of wishing I don’t need to anymore.
Several posts I sent to Tweetitow were not published yesterday and today. I guess their server is swamped again, so it can happen that tweets I sent yesterday will suddenly be published a week from now.
It surprises me, too, how I don’t feel bitter towards couples I see celebrating Valentines.
Must be because of growing older. I’m no longer bothered by some things I used to be bothered with. Seeing people openly displaying their love, not caring who can see, was heartwarming.
I had a late lunch with a friend in Eastwood and we were looking at them happy couples. One in particular were two guys whose elbows kept bumping as they walked close to each other. At one point, one guy was stroking the other’s nape. It was so cute.
Fuck! I accidentally dropped a steel liquor flask on several shot glasses. One glass very nearly fell on the floor! #klutz
I was inside a shop selling collectible memorabilia, waiting for another friend to arrive. I picked a flask covered with cling wrap to see how much it cost. It was somewhat sticking to another cling wrapped flask which I tried to unstick.
One of the flasks fell on the shot glasses displayed below.
“Fuck!” I shouted with horror when I saw that happen. The flask didn’t break anything, but one shot glass was shoved past the edge of the display rack. Good thing I was able to stop it from falling to the floor. Once everything was back in place, I very carefully moved away from that rack.
The liquor flask cost 1500 pesos.
That may have resolved several years of sexual tension. Or it may have not.
This requires a separate post.
My supposed follow-up tweet was: Just because you have the hots for each other doesn’t mean you have to end up as boyfriends. And that’s a good thing.
It’s been ages since I came home this drunk.
I even missed my bus stop and got off at Pasay Road. There were moments during the bus ride when I blacked out a little, I think.
And I woke up with a hangover. That hasn’t happened in a long time.
I was in grade school when my mother taught me how to buy ingredients for food we cooked for lunch and dinner. In the wet market where I used to go, there was an old woman from whom I would frequently buy vegetables from.
I knew her because of my mother who talked to lola one day when she took me to market. I learned lola was also Bicolana, speaking the same language my mother did, which I grew up listening to. In a way, it was that indirect familiarity which made me loyal to her stall.
I became lola’s suki and she frequently gave me discount. But we never knew each other’s names, nor did we meet outside the market. She was, for me, the spry and soft-spoken lola with curly hair. I never really thought of her life outside her stall.
I eventually moved out of the parents’ house. During those few times I visit Makati, I hardly pay attention to the old wet market I used to frequent. The market is still there: There were several changes here and there. The vendors I used to know have grown older or have left their stalls; younger stall keepers have replaced many of the people I used to see. Even after I moved back in again, I don’t buy from the wet market anymore; that task has long been passed to other siblings.
Last night, on my way to work, I saw lola again. She still has her old stall, still selling her vegetables. Her hair is still curly, but has grown white and thinner. She looks thinner and more fragile. How many years has it been since I last saw her? Five? Seven? Time hasn’t been too kind on her, it seems.
Maybe isn’t too late to know her better. Or maybe there isn’t a point in knowing now. We were, at most, passing acquaintances.
I don’t know if I should be happy to see her again, in the same place I fondly remember. Or if I should be sad to see her still working, despite her age and the toll of time on her aged body.