There are many times in a day that I say the word ‘I’. Who am I?
I’m a boy who is now living in city where eighty five percent of the surroundings is a 360-degree flip of where I came from – a little town southeast of the Philippines facing the pacific. Life was simple, boxed, and conservative. I never realized that, before I sat foot in the urban jungle, I hadn’t been in my full potential yet. I always believed that I have everything in the depths of my skin. I have never been so wrong.
Back home, I excelled in my academics as well as my extra-curricular activities. I was one of the top students of my class, I’m a performer, and I even represented the my high school in a provincial level of a Math contest although I didn’t like Math. I graced everything that I did and it made me think that I am capable of doing everything I desire.
And then, college happened.
My first day at college was a blur. I have never felt so excluded and conscious of my own self. Ever know that feeling of fear that you might say or do something wrong? Yes. That’s it. I never felt like a stranger to anybody. But then I thought, “Hmmm, let’s see what all these nerds got.”
And from then forth, the “nerds”, who I now call my beloved friends, surpassed my expectations. Confidence level dropped and dropped as every opportunity to show off passed and all I could do was sit and laud whoever impresses the class. I felt like I hit rock bottom and I was some other no-good student.
I felt so left out and my only refuge at that time was to try to fit in. One particular scene was when I tried to join the gamers but internet cafés didn’t suffice my hygienic standards, I was too culture shocked by all the cursing here and there, and most of all, I didn’t know any game to play. So I got myself to get along with all the different personalities. I hung out with the cool ones but I felt like my intellect wasn’t used enough so I joined the smart-ass clique but I was too easily distracted. I tried to fit in so much that I forgot what I was and what I want to be.
Was being yourself still important in this step towards the real world? Did you really have to fit to a specific standard so that you would be a member of a distinguished society? Does keeping in touch with your soul and your humanity still make sense in an environment where most people you meet could be just temporary?
Yes. No. Yes.
At least for me. Knowing what I am and what I want kept me sane. I wanted to be happy.
Once I realized this, I went to the nearest barber shop, had a pompadour-style cut and went to school the next morning in my Blaine Anderson getup. It was enough to differentiate myself from others. The chameleon has revealed itself. I was more than what met their eyes and I was capable of so much more.
Soon as each semester progressed, I continued to do things that made me happy and filled my old soul with bliss. The box that sheltered me drifted away like it was splashed by a huge wave. Badminton Club, Course Council, blogging, and participation on various school activities lifted my spirits back. I met new people, some acquaintances and some for keeps. I made a name, though still small and humble, for myself in the social media stratosphere; I did things I didn’t know were up to my potential. I was that keen high school boy again. All of my little aspirations that thrived in my little beloved province are starting to get into reality once at a time, slowly and unwaveringly.
I am still that province boy with big dreams for myself and with a strong feeling of importance in the society. I want to prove something, not for other people but for myself; regardless of all the rapid change and shock, I will be a chameleon who can adapt and who can survive. But just like any other chameleon, I will not only conceal. I want the world to see that amidst the uniformity of all the young aspirants out there, I will be identified as me.
You can get the boy out of the province but you can’t get the province out of the boy. Add the city to that, too!
I’ve had enough, this is my prayer that I’ll die living just as free as my hair. – LG