how to give it to him straight

(no pun intended)

Let me start by saying this isn’t an easy post. I went back and forth. I finally decided to publish it after having a long talk with my cousin who convinced me that this is indeed AN ARTICLE WORTH WRITING and that I shouldn’t be scared about what people will say or how they’ll react because I never was before this anyway.

 

I know. I think I’ve always known you’re gay and a part me of thinks you’ve known for awhile too. I won’t insult you by describing the times you made me realize it but like Bobby’s mom said, ‘You always know.’ I don’t know if in the many conversations we had, you tried to tell me. If you did and it didn’t work out or I just wasn’t listening well enough, I’m so sorry. I can get caught up in the noise sometimes and you know we’re a noisy crowd.

There are days when I feel so helpless because I can’t just hug you and tell you it’s gonna be okay. You haven’t even trusted me with your secret yet so all I could do is wait for the time when you’re ready. I wanted to write this for when that time comes. This will be the proof that I’ve always supported you, whoever you are and whoever you choose to love.

It won’t be easy because we still live in a society where you’re an anomaly (that word hurts me more than you know). Trust me when I say it’s all gonna be okay. I’m here for you. We’re all here rooting for you. When the harshest, most painful slings from others and even from people you love come, I promise to stand beside you and just be around for whatever you need.

I want you to know how much I love you. I hope when you finally get to read this you’ll be a proud, happy and free man.

photo from comingoutjournal.tumblr.com

I am reaching out to all those who were in my position or those in his. What should I do? I don’t want him to think no one cares. WE don’t want to make the mistake of just ignoring it but in the end make him feel unaccepted or that he can’t tell us anything.

 

***

Note: Bobby from the entry is a reference to Prayers for Bobby a 2009 movie exploring the life of a closeted gay Christian finally coming out to his family and how being ostracized drove him to take his own life.

 

 

 

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i’m just not into him (the guy best friend stereotype)

Dedicated to every girl and guy who were ever told they’re more than friends

Okay so most people in my family (and some from my peer group too) think I was in a relationship with this guy- an old friend. I used to be okay with the taunting and the teasing- when we were friends at least- but lately it seems it’s all they ever string my life with. It just comes across as juvenile to me. Don’t get me wrong. I’m okay with a good love story. In fact, I look forward to it during family sit downs because that’s probably the only part of my life I don’t consider a damn priority. Hearing it from other people makes me feel normal.

What is it that truly gets to me?

Clearly it’s not just the matter of getting paired up with a guy I was once friends with. That’s just the symptom. The disease is the overwhelming feeling that my own family (some of them) might know very little about me if they do at all. Don’t they get it yet?

I HATE BEING PAIRED UP WITH GUYS ESPECIALLY MY FRIENDS.  I cringe a little each time they do  (not because my friends aren’t attractive- they are). If I am casually seeing someone, dating or in a relationship, I’d downright say it. They don’t have to wring it out of me. To me it seems that they’re saying I’m incapable of keeping strictly platonic relationships with guys which is sad because I don’t have many female friends.

There are things only a your guy friend can do and everyday I’m thankful I have a few. 🙂 (photo from http://www.pinterest.com)

I love my guys. I DO

BUT…

that doesn’t mean I picture a romantic future with them if I even want that at all (another issue all together). Except for my few good moments, I’m mostly a cynic for relationships and marriage and fairy tale endings. Shouldn’t that be red flag enough?

I’m not sure if it’s projection or tradition but the way they see all male friends I talk about or hang out with, it’s as if they’re all relationship material. My best friend for instance is one attractive man and I’ve known him forever which means we’re super comfy around each other. Their thought process is he’s a guy. She’s a girl. They’re always together. They must be a couple. Let’s tease her and find out. When did that stereotype start and who suggested it? I’m gonna go and hunt him down because I wanna be able to spend one day, share one experience I had with him and not have it be turned into some dramatic romcom.

photo from diaryofthebrokenhearted1220.wordpress.com

photo from diaryofthebrokenhearted1220.wordpress.com

Maybe most their guy friends (or girl friends for the men) courted them or if they didn’t it’s because they’re shy or whatever lame excuse they have for not dating someone they like. I’M NOT IN THAT SITUATION AT ALL. If I like a guy and want to be relationship with him (which is not very often), I’d tell him. I won’t stay on the friendzone. Anybody who truly understands me knows that.

I know society is partly responsible for it too. At some point we’re painted a picture where guys and girls cannot be friends without developing deep-seated romantic feelings for one another (total bullshit if you ask me) so most adults and even some youngsters too expect that to be the norm.You have to understand though that new norms are created everyday especially in areas of human life as subjective as friendship.

Don’t expect every person to fit the stereotype because there are always deviances like me. I have a bunch of male friends and if society never labeled it weird, I wouldn’t even be writing this article.

It feels normal to me.

The bottom line is I love my friends- guys, girls and all in between- regardless of how people perceive our relationship to be. It just gets exhausting explaining myself sometimes. Any suggestions on what I should do?

that Christmas Spirit

Okay, so I’ve been busy once again but I finally found time to work on an entry and it happens to be on the eve of Christmas. I thought it would be fitting to talk about the Holiday season.

One full serving of nostalgia anyone?

My oldest Christmas memories were of desperate attempts my parents tried to convince me that Santa is real. Although there has always been some doubt at the back of my mind, I believed them. I mean if he wasn’t real how would I explain all those big stuffed toys and cute dresses he gave me while my parents gave me books and board games. It just didn’t make sense, to the 5 year old me at least. The gifts were so different but now I kinda get that’s the point. It was my parent’s way of cherishing the playful child in me without encouraging me too much to be rowdy.

Now that I’m older, I appreciate Christmas very differently. I look back and see how much effort my parents put into making it the perfect holiday, how my aunt would spend the whole afternoon cooking pasta for the whole family, how my grandparents would herd us to the Church to spend a night in prayer and how we’d all wait for midnight, sitting around the table and sharing a feast.

Those memories aren’t isolated moments anymore. They all tell me how Christmas is supposed to be, filled with love, spent with the people you care about and remembered with a happy heart. I’m now 22, no more presents under the tree (mostly because they let me choose my presents or just give my GCs), no more Santa stories (actually I’m the one telling them now) and no more parents almost sneaking out to prepare  my surprise but I still feel that spirit of Christmas, that overwhelming feeling of being loved, cherished and cared about.

It’s not just the gifts (which I truly appreciate by the way). I guess for someone who is often cynical about being sentimental and emotional, this season reminds me why it’s okay to appreciate the efforts my family and friends put on making this season the absolute best for me.

photo from imgfave.com

So here’s to all of us, spending a day or 2 with the most important people in our lives. Have merry Christmas everyone. I wish you all the love and happiness in the world.

November 1st

A few months ago I did a tribute entry for my grandfather who passed away. Well here in the Philippines, we take celebrating All Saints and All Souls day to heart. It was something Papa (that’s what I call my grandfather) inculcated in us very well too. We’d go to the cemetery bearing flowers, candles and food on the first of November. We’d spend the night praying and talking about how the people who passed away lived their lives and how it affected ours.

It’s a time of recalling, honoring and celebrating.

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This is the first time we won’t be able to do it with Papa instead we’ll be doing it for him. I can’t say it’s easy when this time last year he’d be the one fuzzing over the preparations. Where are the candles? Did you buy the flowers yet? What time are we leaving? He’d keep badgering us til we’re finally ready. This year, no more questions, no more badgering, only the quiet knowledge that we have to continue this tradition in his honor. We have to continue to celebrate his life and everything that he has taught us.

So to all those who are celebrating their loved ones’ lives with us, my prayers are with you and I’m hoping that you’ll pray for us and those we’ve lost too.

 

***

By the way, I know you guys must be thinking that November 2 is all Souls Day so we should visit cemeteries then but for other people that date isn’t a holiday. They’d have to skip work to pay their respects so most of us just decide to do it on November 1st.

healthy conversations

One of the many reasons why I love coming home is the amount of time we spend still sitting on our chairs around the table long after we finished breakfast.  I was raised by two academe-loving parents, with a dad that always encourages discourse so imagine how that translated to my extra curricular activities all through out school.

breakfast

Just this morning we started talking about the PDAF Scam, arguably the most embarrassing issue plaguing the  Philippine Congress today. We discussed facts, what we thought about them, where the government should go from here, how this issue affects legit foundations and so on. It’s a frustrating topic considering how much casually the accused are taking it and how fearful the witnesses are for their lives, WHAT A ROLE REVERSAL. Shouldn’t the crooks feel the least bit ashamed or distraught if not afraid? Shouldn’t the witnesses feel more relieved and hopeful? That’s clearly too much to ask in a society where thieves are put on pedestals while the rest of us look up to see their bum excreting billions of stolen money. (See how hyped I get because of this? It’s almost funny.)

*calming down* Anyway, it’s reassuring to have people around you who you can discuss absolutely anything with and not feel as if you’re overstepping or acting like a total dork (which I am, by the way). I don’t know if many people have this with the their families or friends but if you do then you know how important it is to feel heard, to feel understood. Those long breakfast conversations may seem like boring routines we can get rid of but to me they’re boosts I need to get me through many more discouraging days.

So here’s to being heard and being understood.

Penafrancia Fiesta in Naga City

I was raised by a pious Catholic family, deeply committed to practices and festivities that come with the faith. Many of you guys must have already guessed that my grandparents are still very Hispanic in practice and are therefore very strict in imbibing traditions they grew up with to us, the ‘NEXT GENERATION’. Although I am now more liberal, I am still deeply attached to some of these practices including the one we’re celebrating now, Penafrancia Fiesta. 

penafrancia

Every September, for almost a century now, people have been gathering from all over the world to offer prayers and join the festivities for 9 days in honor of ‘INA’, Mother Mary- as she is better known. More than the long walk, the rain, the multitude of people pushing each other in an attempt to touch Her, it is a spiritual journey and I’ve always found it rejuvenating.

The process may not be for everybody but so far it has worked for me so for anyone who feels lost and would want some time to pray, think or be one with those who are also searching, this may just be what you need.

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why we all love reunions

At different points in our lives we decide that the best thing to do is move on and live our lives towards the path that would help us grow the most. That usually means leaving people we’ve met, ones who we used to spend every waking second with, while awkwardly meeting new ones. It’s never easy especially if you’re not the type to open up quickly.

The key for me is to know that moving forward and meeting new people doesn’t mean saying goodbye to them completely. Yes, the relationship will change but so do most other relationships that you will have. I may not spend every vacant period with my college friends anymore but we still enjoy trips together or the occasional coffee after work. I try my very best not to take them for granted and to recognize that they still are an important part of my life even if I don’t see them as often as I’d like.

with meh

an entire afternoon with my Remontados Debate Varsity family

That’s why moments like yesterday are ones I live for and always look forward to. Reunions with old friends who I feel most comfortable with, who ground me in the best possible way. We all love the chance to reunite with our friends because it reminds us of who were, what we used to love and what made us really happy once. Our relationship with them, their recollection of us also underlines how much we’ve grown and how far we’ve come.