Monday, December 5, 2011

Teenage Nightmare

I was probably depressed all my high school life. It didn't help that I studied in a Catholic school for boys (and gays) and that my parents' house was far from the rest of my classmates. And definitely, it didn't help that I was figuring out for myself that I was not like my classmates: unlike them, I liked them much more than the girls whose photos were in their wallets. My family was also in shambles: my straight brother hated me, being an overachiever that I was, and my sister was discovering that she fancied girls as well. And my parents were splitting up and fighting like crazy.

I drowned myself in television soap operas and nonsense local shows, listening to my cassette tapes, watching Laser Discs(!) and, I feel embarrassed to admit this but it's the plain truth, I was doing some cross-stitching. Seriously. Of course, nobody but my family knew I was doing it. My mother sponsored me and bought the DMC threads I needed. I think I was able to finish at least eight separate cross stitch work and I felt proud of those things. They were framed and are still hanging on our house walls in the province.

Picture the typical nerd/geek in a high school: chubby, with glasses, brooding. That was me. Except I didn't dig comic books and science fiction stuff--I was not really into reading until college. My classmates knew me as the math genius (not really, and UP Diliman proved this later on) and they teased me and my prominent forehead endlessly.

I was drifting--in senior year, I didn't even know what course to take. Heck, I didn't even know what to do with my life. I ticked the box that said Computer Engineering in the UPCAT application form because I didn't know what to do. I passed the exam and, as if fate intruded, UP Diliman didn't accept me for engineering but for any non-quota course. Great, I thought, even the university didn't know where to place me.

I contemplated committing suicide many times. I thought that there was no hope for me: I didn't have close friends at home, I was crushing on a lot of my classmates, and I thought I would die a virgin. The idea of getting a crush drunk and raping him crossed my confused mind. In my head, I was fucked.

You know the proliferation of "It gets better" video after the LGBT community joined forces to stop or help prevent teenage gay suicides? I needed that the most in the mid-90s. Only the Internet was not yet popular back then, and a lot of people like me were still hiding in their safe, warm closets.

I remember feeling like a complete shit, that my life was worthless, and that being gay was the worst thing in life.

I remember crying alone in the dark where no one could see my sad fucked-up face. I remember covering my loneliness and forgetting my problems with every cross-stitch pattern I finished. I remember jerking off nightly, and even doing it in public areas: in the library, school transport service, school toilet, and even in the classroom (while the teacher was teaching). Maybe, unconsciously, I wanted to get caught, get noticed. Too bad I was too good at hiding things and jerking off inconspicuously.

So how did I survive and leave this hell?

I held on. I didn't do any thing stupid. I just let life do its thing.

The biggest turning point in my life was the time I spent a year in the seminary. And this probably deserves another blog entry. It was all good after that. I went away from my family, went out of the seminary to go to UP Diliman, where I felt free from the past, and finally, as cliche as it can get, I found love. But the road wasn't smooth, of course; I was heartbroken many times, had my share of flings, and a couple of serious relationships before I realized that I'm finally settled and happy with my Luigi.

It's the first time that I wrote something about my high school infernal life. Maybe this is the reason why I'm very optimistic now in my adult life. It's true, that damn cliche: what doesn't kill you can only make you stronger.

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  1. After so many years, I've heard this story again. Hehe. :) Yup, you're one tough guy.

  2. Things happen for only two reasons - make you weaker or stronger - the latter fits you perfectly.

  3. proof that life just gets better.

  4. nietzsche was a bitch but the mofo got it right. i found myself smiling familiarly while i was reading your post. good to see that it really did get better for you. :)