There is a small ledge
in the corner of our balcony.
It is the perfect spot for dying.
Sometimes I imagine myself
pulling up a chair
and getting on the ledge,
the wind on my face, a whisper
caressing, softly coaxing
The darkness below
I think to myself,
“How easy it is to take a step”
for a split second
the rush of finally being over the edge
There is a small ledge
in the corner of our balcony.
It is the perfect spot for dyi—
It’s refreshing to:
* have a boss whom you can actually talk to and share some common interests—like Sherlock, Good Omens and the genius that are the British, in general
* be told that they couldn’t take you in the position you applied for, and instead had a spot created for you, just because they saw your potential and thought, “Hey, we have to have this girl on our team,”
* have a boss who makes you feel trusted, listens and accepts your ideas, and even goes on a limb to lend you some (expensive!) books so you can learn more stuff about a particular section in the magazine (and then tells you that in the future maybe you can take charge of that section, too)
* have a boss who finds a balance seeing the good and the bad—she’s not afraid to critique you (but does so in a helpful manner that really shows she genuinely wants you to improve) but also gives you praises when she thinks you’ve done a mighty fine job
* be on a team that are on good terms with one another. No tension, can have fun, but still focused on the work.
I’ve only been here a month and a half; I’m so happy, but somewhere along the back of my head, pessimist!Kitty is screaming, “How long will this last?!” But now it’s just a relief to have a job that actually teaches you and gives you a chance to seize opportunities (because at some point they think, ‘you can.’) I’m crossing my fingers that hopefully, I’ll get to keep this job in the long run. God knows I really want to.
NOTE: I was so hesitant to post this, because this was so emotional and so…self-absorbed? (Can’t fight the proper term, dammit.) But my mom hurt me big time when she shunned my community. And I just had to let this all out. For myself, mostly. But for you guys as well. I’ll e-mail it to my mom, soon. I just need to find a little courage first. I’ll start here.
Oh, and if I sound stupid, I apologize in advance.
But like my friend said, “It’s you. It’s your thing. What’s stupid about that?”
So consider this my coming out party. Enjoy.
Remember when I was a kid, I didn’t like playing with Barbies and dolls? I had hazy visions of it, but it was confirmed when I saw my file in the guidance counselor’s office. She was my friend, and I managed to peek into my folder. There it was, in my scrawly handwriting: ‘Favorite Toys: Cars and Batman’. I was starting to feel differently then—somehow I knew I wasn’t like my girly classmates, and this was another addition to my hunch.
I attributed it to just being boyish. I had two childhood friends who were both boys, and we always played together while you hanged out with their parents. So maybe it was because of that; who knows?
Remember you enrolled me in all-girls’ school in first grade? I think it was the start that you as parents became stricter. Maybe you wanted to limit my interactions with boys. Maybe it was because we were having problems at home, and you saw boys as a nuisance. I didn’t really care; I was young. But things changed. You may have not noticed, but of course I did. It was me doing the changing.
It all started in the fourth grade, Mom. I found one of my classmates pretty—when she walked inside the room it was like she radiated a kind of blinding glow. Of course, it being an all-girls school I was exposed to lesbian relationships. I saw upper classmen holding hands all the time, some even sharing a peck or two on the lips. I was in fourth grade, though—I knew it was happening all around me, but I didn’t really process it. But ever since I paid special attention to that classmate, I started feeling something that I couldn’t shake off. So once the opportunity presented itself, I figured, what the heck. I’ll join the bandwagon.
I didn’t know what happened, Mom. But girls gravitated toward me. They thought I was cute. And I was young, looking for a thrill, and I found it. It was fun; flirting with the girls, making them smile, making googly eyes, holding hands. I had a string of girlfriends—remember, you even saw one of the Valentine’s Day cards? You laughed, then. You said it was okay; girls couldn’t get me pregnant. You probably thought it was just a phase. Honestly, I did, too.
You see, I fell in love with a boy. He was tall, dark, and handsome. He had this piercing almond brown eyes and he was so quiet, and so refined. He was also nice to talk to. (Remember, he called and you were the one who answered? You grilled me after our conversation on the phone, and I almost thought you were going to ban me from using it. You didn’t.) I was twelve. I had no idea why I was attracted and why I was growing up to be such a big flirt but it was so natural for me. And I knew he liked me too; knew from the way he would always call at night. Play the guitar for me, and sing for me, even though he insisted to others that he had no talent. I was so attracted, and harboring such intense feelings. I was twelve, but what was this?
It was then I started to wonder why I was attracted to girls and yet attracted to boys at the same time. Was liking girls a phase or was it turning into something else? Anyway, things got complicated and he and I just became friends.
I had another girlfriend after, when I was thirteen. I liked her; she was very pretty, but we didn’t last—she was too forward but jealous all the time. Then said boy and I got our chance again. And even though the relationship only lasted for a few months it was a few years before I got over him. I didn’t show it, but I was pining for him at the back of my head. Sure, I dabbled with a few girl crushes, but I never got over him.
Then this girl came along. I fell hard. Again. There was something about her that pulled me—maybe it was because I was learning so much. And I know that you know that for me, the brain is the sexiest part of the body. She had a diverse taste in music, and we both liked the same things, so it was kind of a give and take. I took in her musical influences and we shared a mutual love for anything Japanese. Plus, she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind—she’d honestly tell me when she thought I was great (especially when it came to my writing) and would critique me if she thought there was something lacking. I knew I was falling in love with her, and I was always brave, I never backed down from something like this. I was honest and told her how I felt and she accepted me.
There’s that word, acceptance. She embraced me wholeheartedly. Whatever I am, whatever I could give. And it was then that I knew that this wasn’t just a phase, mom. This was for real. It took me a few years to know, really know who I am. It wasn’t something I saw on TV and copied. I discovered it. I went through it.
When we broke up, it was the worst. I had grand visions of us—me and her against the world, and then changing it, making it accept us. I was so dead inside, and for a time I swore off women. I had a couple of boyfriends afterward. Both relationships were life-changing, but you know, I never really turned away from who I was. No matter what I did I always had an attraction for girls. I don’t know how to describe it—I found them irresistible, fascinating; sometimes I even imagine being together with them. I knew, you know (I wasn’t just open to the idea, there’s a difference), that if one girl stood out, if a girl managed to make me fall, I wouldn’t give her up.
Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. As you know, I’m with a boy whom I love very much. I can see my life with him; you know that too. If there’s one thing that separates him from the others it’s that he knew from the start who I was. Did he understand it at first? No, but as we got to know each other eventually, he did. Of course he’s a guy, he thought it was interesting, but unreal. But you know me, mom. I never back down. If he wanted me, he would have to take all of me. Liking girls and all. Does it piss him off that I’m attracted to the same girls he likes? At first, yes. But did it scare him, did it do anything to make him change his mind? No. And that’s why he’s different.
So, now do you see, mom? I’m bisexual. I always have been. It means I’m attracted to boys mom. And girls.
Do you understand why I’m supporting the LGBT community? Why their happiness is my happiness? It’s because I’m one of them, mom. I’m fighting for them because I know it’s my fight, too. And I’ll die fighting, mom. Until I see that we have equal rights, and that people don’t condemn us for being who we are, especially those religious sects who see us as an abomination, I’ll continue fighting.
Do you see why I was so hurt when you posted that bit about having to need a scientific explanation for being a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender? That you believed it was a choice and not something we were born with?
Take this as proof: my hormones are imbalanced. I grew up having an excess of testosterone in my system. That’s boy hormones, mom. I’m your proof. I know it might seem far-fetched, but to me it makes a lot of sense. And even though I’m fixing it so I can have children in the future, it doesn’t change that I am bisexual.
And if you still need a “scientific” background: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saO_RFWWVVA
And it isn’t a choice, really. It isn’t a switch—we can’t turn it off when we want to. It’s who we are. We may sometimes conform to what the people want us to be, but it will pain us. It will break us. And in the end, it will just show through.
Don’t you think, that if it were a choice, there will be no LGBT community at all? If we can just shut it off, and function like what society asks us to be, maybe we would’ve done it a long time ago? Maybe there won’t be people who take their lives because of the discrimination other people give to us. Maybe there won’t be people who face the battlefield just to get people to accept us. It isn’t a choice. We’re wired this way.
Like my good friend said, why do we need to justify who we are, anyway? Why do we need to justify if what we’re feeling is love or otherwise? Aren’t we just like you? Does it matter which gender we love? Does it make us sinners? Do you think God judges us for this? I don’t think He does, so why should you?
This conversation can go on and on but I’ll end with this. It was a long and hard path to accepting myself for who I am, mom. I’m not going back. Like I said, I’m going to fight. I’m going to fight until you understand, mom.
Besides, I’m still me, mom. I haven’t changed.
DISCLAIMER: This is a lengthy post, mostly written for my benefit than yours. I might have rambled a little bit (or, you know, a lot) because it’s so hard to write about a band that you’ve been a fan of almost all your life.
I’ve never seen an international act performing in a concert before. The closest I got was when that kid from the Mexican telenovela “Luz Clarita” went to the Philippines and my dad made us watch from the Gen Ad area of the then Araneta Coliseum. I was a kid, and I was happy singing along while watching from the huge ass screen.
Years later, numerous bands and singers came to the country for concerts, and even though I was interested with them, I never actually bought a ticket. One, I was a student and didn’t have the money for it, and two, my dad would think it’s a waste of time. So you can say I never really paid much attention to these kinds of things.
But it was a different story when I learned that my favorite band (it sounds corny, but yes, MY FAVORITE BAND OF ALL TIME) was coming to the country as part of their world tour. My friend Denise texted me the info last December, and I nearly fainted. “Seryoso ka ba?” I asked, my insides screaming. “Wag kang mag-joke tangina.” But she was dead serious and I immediately contacted my twin, Mimmy, who has been a fan for as long as I’ve been. We knew that this was that one great event we were waiting for; Hanson had already gone to the Philippines twice, and we had missed both concerts. We felt like bad fans, like we let them down because we weren’t even aware that they came to the country. I myself broke down and cried when I heard that they were here in 2004; I couldn’t believe I was so out of the loop. I didn’t have the right to be called a fan! Anyway, this time around (pun intended, haha) we had to go the concert no matter what and get the best seats possible, even if we had to go through hell just to score tickets.
When the news spread that Hanson was coming to Manila and Cebu (thanks to Dayly Entertainment’s religious updating of their page), a lot of my elementary and high school batchmates contacted me saying that I was the first person they thought of when they heard of the band’s concert. I was secretly happy they remembered—like it was in itself an affirmation of the love I had for the trio.
December came and I lost my job, and I was panicking that I wouldn’t get enough money to get good seats, since I’d be spending my last pay getting gifts for my loved ones. Plus, I wasn’t a member of Hanson’s fan club yet, so I didn’t have access to the members’ pre-sale of tickets. Good thing my dad always gives us money as his Christmas gift, and I used that to get VIP tickets. Yessir, I couldn’t settle for just Patron seats. Mimmy and I decided to get VIP spots, smack at the center of the Smart-Araneta coliseum, a few feet from the stage.
But it didn’t stop there. When Hanson announced that they were holding their very first Members Only Event at the Coliseum, Mim and I scrambled to become members, scraping whatever money we had left. Hell, we weren’t going to miss the chance to be serenaded FIRST and to take group photos with the band. It was a good thing, too, because we weren’t able to go to the autograph signing at SM North Edsa’s The Block, mainly because we were already broke by that time. Haha.
As the weeks passed and the date neared, Mim and I were a bundle of nerves and excitement. When the week of their arrival came, we launched into battle mode and carefully planned what outfit we were going to wear. Of course I didn’t want to look shabby in the picture with the guys behind me!
Fastforward to their arrival (I was nearly in tears, and my heart was hammering against my chest like crazy), Bandila guesting and autograph signing, the day of the MOE and concert finally arrived.
When the band came out and said hello to the small crowd of members I was left speechless. I stood immobile, my mouth slack. There I was looking at the face of my crush, my first love, Taylor. Not in front of a screen but in the flesh, standing a few feet away from me. I didn’t know how to feel—it was like a clash of happiness, relief, excitement. After all these years of appreciation and utter devotion to the band, I finally had the chance to see and listen to them live. It was surreal.
When the time for group photos came, I couldn’t move. Inside I was thinking, “Are you fucking crazy? Photos with Taylor behind me, are you freakin’ serious?” And I guess it was that momentary hesitation that cost me. The girls in front of me already crowded around Tay (figures) and I approached Ike instead, and he smiled and put his hand behind my bare back. “Smile and look at the lady in gray,” he whispered. I died, really, and nearly jumped ship. Ike was so nice and he even shook my hand after the photos and I felt guilty about not appreciating him all that much throughout the years. Ike, man, I have newfound respect for you.
Leaving the Coliseum after the MOE, Mim, Johanne and I were breathless. We couldn’t stop gushing and reliving all of the band’s actions. When the time for the actual concert came, I told myself that I wasn’t going to be nervous and speechless again. But who was I kidding? When they entered and played the first notes of Waiting for This, I nearly broke down. I had been waiting for this, 15 long years to be exact.
The band was nothing but amazing. They didn’t have any fancy gimmick, just pure electricity. I got into this band because their first album was catchy and upbeat bubblegum pop, but I’ve heard their music evolve, and in every album there was certain purity to each soulful melody, and the passion overflowed in each song. Hanson had always been about the music, and their Manila concert showcased just that.
I’m not going into the details of their music, because I’ve never been good at giving proper reviews. I am going to say that I was glad that the Coliseum was filled with fans who weren’t just there because they remembered Hanson from their “Mmmbop” days. No, I was with fans who knew the lyrics to their This Time Around, Underneath, The Walk and Shout It Out album, and it was riveting to be singing (screaming) your lungs out along with other people who knew what Hanson’s music was all about. Who cares if we weren’t able to join the crowd standing in front of the barricade? Our seats were actually at a good vantage point—we stood up on our chairs, rocked out to “Where’s the Love,” “Crazy Beautiful,” “Can’t Stop,” “Penny and Me,” and “If Only,” and took in the melancholy music of “A Song to Sing” and “With You in Your Dreams.” In fact, when those two songs played I finally cried. It had finally sunk in; I had fulfilled a dream and I was awake for the whole ride.
Taylor said, “I’ll make a promise. We’ll be here in another 15 years if you promise to be here, as well.” Well, you can be assured that I’ll do good on that promise. It doesn’t matter how many years you ask of me, I’ll be here, the ever fangirl, just singing along and bringing your music into my soul.
(phone rings and I answer it)
Dad: *angry* O, gising ka pa?
Me: *annoyed* Yes.
Dad: Bat gising ka pa?
Me: (Thinking: Why did you call me if you’re just going to be angry that I’m still awake??) Di pa ako inaantok.
Dad: Anong oras ka ba natutulog?
Dad: Bakit ganun?
Me: Di pa ako inaantok.
Dad: Hay, nako, Aiel. Sinasanay mo na naman kasi yung sarili mo na ganyan. Magkakasakit ka na naman. Di mo ba alam na uso ang sakit ngayon? Sasakit na naman ang ulo ko sa pagpapagamot sayo. Umiinom ka ba ng Vitamin C?
Dad: Bakit hindi ka umiinom ng Vitamin C e bumili na ako ulit?!
Me: *frustrated* Okay, okay. Iinom na ako.
Dad: Ok. Gusto mo ng burger?
15 mins later…
I love my dad, really.