I know that I am not a friendly person—someone who doesn’t bother to make the first move to get close. My blank stare, as experienced by a few bloggers I had met unexpectedly, is enough to send people away. Because of this, I have always been tagged masungit, suplado, maldito in the workplace. These are just some of the most common misconceptions of people about me. I know, because I got these feedback from a few close friends who were brave enough to tell what they knew was the truth. To add further insult to my injured ego, a new team mate just told me that I am too reserved and apathetic to everyone around me as if I don’t need anyone to live or to get through with the job. She also added that I am too frank when being asked or when I am expressing my take on something.
Honestly, I didn’t like the way she confronted me but the mere audacity impressed me. The conversation led to a series of discussion that continued for a few days, because we got to talk only on our breaks. She is a graduate of BS Psychology and was obviously making a guinea pig out me, but i didn’t mind, because it’s better than talking to dead person. She said that it must be my defense mechanism, which is fine, but I must be doing it too much. I tried to take in everything she was saying and realized that she could be right.
I told her that I am just being careful with everything I say or do, that I don’t want my dirty little secret affect how people perceive me. This way, I get the respect that I deserve. People look up to me not because I am cool, but because of the respect I am giving to myself and the quality of my work. I’ve seen a lot of gay people being mistreated or discriminated because of their outrageousness. I had the almost same fate when I was in high school.
I didn’t even know that I was gay, then, or maybe I wasn’t just ready enough to live it. Nevertheless, I was bullied because of my awkwardness, my puny physique, and how I stutter when speaking in front of many people. But things have changed. When I entered college, I learned to live the way I thought I should. I was not sure what the 2006 summer did to me but I knew I had changed. The way I see things. The way I speak. Even the way I walk. My every word carried a command, my actions more certain. I was not the coolest guy in school but I was more popular than I could ever imagine. And it goes without saying that girls came easy, until the time came it became clear that they were not for me.
The truth consumed me like a torrential flood. It tormented me worse than my worst heartbreak. When the waters calmed down, and the truth had set in, I knew that there’s no use fighting it. I accepted the truth but promised to live like how I used to. It wasn’t easy. I didn’t know where to fit in. I was slowly reverting to my old self. My college days came to a close. And not one of the friends I’ve had before was left. Since then, I found it hard to connect. The curse has been following me from Bataan to Nueva Ecija to Manila. I don’t know exactly how my previous experiences have changed me, but I came to realize that something is not right. I know people are trying to get closer, but the walls I have built just won’t come down.