I’ve always been insecure ever since and have been using my wit, sarcasm, and humor to compensate for whatever material things I don’t have. Yes, as shallow as it is, dun ako na-iinsecure. Hindi kami mayaman though hindi din naman kami mahirap – payak at simple lang, nakakakain ng tatlong beses sa isang araw, everything is in moderation.
Growing up as an awkward teenager is no easy feat. Those years in high school was too much for me to a point na ayaw ko nang pumasok kasi parang wala akong friends and yes bullying was and is real. There’s this one incident na binato ako ng barya ng kaklase ko because that’s all my worth daw. Meron ding pinunit at tinapon ang DIY slumbook ko kasi daw cheap when I was trying to have them sign it up. All of these I took with a grain of salt because I always believed na wala naman akong ginagawang masama and that maybe joke lang yun nila hanggang sa mas lumala sya. Some of my classmates would intentionally hit me with a volleyball (reason why I have a little phobia of volleyballs and basketballs), of course hindi mawawala yung everyday na nagpaparinig or hindi ako isasama sa mga plano nila for the class and what not. I was a nobody talaga.
I remember, I joined our junior cheer dance group; it was really humiliating because even the choreographer didn’t know I exist. Hahah. Nakakatawa na lang kapag naaalala ko na hindi ko alam kung anong gagawin ko or saan ako pupunta kapag nagchi-change ng formation na kasi nga hindi naman ako importante, kaya dun na lang ako sa likod during the stunts and exhibitions. Oh well.
I never attended prom as well hindi dahil sa wala akong maisuot kundi dahil wala akong kasama papuntang school and I would look stupid naman kung pupunta akong mag-isa and wala din namang makakasama pagdating dun kaya I chose to stay home na lang nun and watched VHS.
After I graduated, I swore to myself not to experience what happened to me in high school. From being the bullied I became the bully, like I mentioned earlier sarcasm and humor became my defense mechanism for my insecurity and it’s a lethal combination. I know I’m smart and I would often lash out my classmates and I didn’t care if my remarks or comments were insensitive or below the belt offensive. Naalala ko minsan na ayaw ipakita sakin ng classmate ko yung class report na pinrepare nya kasi baka daw laitin ko lang. Meron ding isa na nagpadala sakin ng sulat kasi bakit daw hindi ko sya matanggap. She was the classmate na siguro parang weakest link sa buong klase. During our retreat, I received these bunch of notes na halos lahat may nakasulat na “please be sensitive”. I realized what I had become and I didn’t like it, in fairness effective yung retreat namin.
Still during college, I decided to join the school’s performing arts group – particularly the choir group to avail of the scholarship. I love singing, I like singing and I thought I don’t sound bad naman pero when I became a member of the school’s choir, umatake na naman insecurities ko. I was intimidated by the other members na magagaling naman talaga, dahil dun ako yung naging weakest link sa grupo kasi nahihiya akong kumanta. Walang lumalabas na boses, ayaw lumabas and I was made the property custodian instead para naman daw may silbi ako bilang hindi na nila mabawi yung scholarship ko for that school year.
I became the utusan, runner, taga-bili ng snacks, taga-ligpit ng costumes and song pieces, taga-ayos ng upuan every practice. Ako daw yung “salin-pusa”. I decided to do better at it na lang para maging indispensable ako sa grupo and hopefully ma-retain ako as part of the choir kahit bilang property custodian lang and keep my full scholarship. And nagging successful naman ako sa plano ko pero syempre passion ko ang singing and kung bibigyan ng chance I know I could do better pero wala talaga eh. One time, kinuha ang group namin ng Rotary Club to sing the invocation and the national anthem on one of their annual events, I was excited kasi off school activity sya and may talent fee daw ang grupo and kasama daw ako. Syempre natuwa ako, pero nung sinabi ng choir directress namin na kasama lang ako para pamparami and that wag daw akong kumanta, lipsynch lang, everybody laughed including me kasi pa-joke nyang sinabi though I know as well as everybody in that room na half-meant yun. Pagdating namin sa event, may isang nakaiwan ng choir goqn nya, ending yung akin ang pinasuot sa kanya and sa backstage na lang daw ako. Bibigyan naman daw ako ng snacks kaya wag akong mag-alala.
Another instance, it was during the annual performing arts competition participated by all colleges and universities sa province namin, syempre bilang property custodian/assistant ay andun din ako sa venue to assist the directress, inutusan ba naman ako ng isang choir member na ibili sya ng water since yun naman daw ang purpose kung bakit ako kasama. Again, tumawa lang kami though deep inside gusto kong mag walk out at umiyak.
I also remember nung nagsi-celebrate ang business department ng kanilang Ruby Year so they asked the school choir to sing show tunes. The directress agreed but she only allowed those choir members na galing sa business department to sing. Syempre isa ako dun bilang Management Accounting student ako, I was excited kasi sabi nya it’s our time to showcase our talent daw sa aming department, she then told us the schedule of our practice. I showed up early because I was really excited, when we were complete na she asked me to hand out the song sheets and she said that she already indicated who will sing what song and which part. I don’t have a part, I’m not on it. I thought na baka nakalimutan nya lang na galing din ako sa business department but when one of my friends pointed it out, it’s as if she didn’t hear anything and started the practice. I felt sorry for myself and I don’t want to see pity from my friends’ eyes and be humiliated by it. After handing them the song sheets, I asked the directress if I can go home na, she just nodded without even looking at me. During the show, my classmates asked me bakit di daw ako kasali sa mga kumanta, I just told them na for senior members lang.
On my last year in college, I decided to quit the choir group. Dramatic yung pag quit ko kasi walang pasabi akong hindi umattend sa isa sa mga big events ng school and after their performance ay pumunta akong choir room at binigay na lang ang choir gown ko then without looking back, I walked out from there. I know nakakabastos yung ginawa ko pero I felt good because for the first time I stood up for myself not even caring na mawawala yung scholarship ko. That time I was really indispensable na sa grupo, aside from being the property custodian, ako din yung in charge sa budget proposals and liquidation which is very important since napaka anal ng Finance Department ng school. Without me, mangangamote talaga sila especially the directress kung pano gawin yung mga yun.
I decided to run for Vice-Governor of our department’s student council instead and fortunately I won the seat. Luckily, I was able to maintain my being part of the dean’s list kaya kahit papano may discount sa tuition fee. That year din ay nakapagtrabaho ang father ko abroad kaya medyo nakaluwag-luwag. Hahah.
The last year in college was for me the happiest. My grades were great, I was Vice Governor, I made it as the department’s editor for our yearbook and I was the only one, among those who were selected from our school, to pass the Development Bank’s management trainee program and qualified for the panel interview in Cebu City. It was a great year indeed. A month before graduation, my classmates and I tried to apply sa isa sa mga unang BPO companies sa Bacolod and nakapasa naman which means that I was already employed even before receiving my diploma. I still pushed through with the panel interview and the job in the said BPO is going to be my safety net if ever na hindi ako makapasa sa management trainee program. Tama lang din naging decision ko kasi hindi nga ko nakapasa, hahah! It was a great experience though kahit na alam kong wala akong laban sa mga nakasabayan kong applicants kahit pa itotodo ko yung wit and charm ko during the interview. Unfortunately, hindi kilala ang school ko compared sa ibang applicants na galing sa UP Visayas, Ateneo de Davao and Siliman University among others. Factor pa rin talaga kung saang school ka nanggaling and no one will question naman talaga the quality of education you will get from these universities. Oh well, buti may naghihintay nang trabaho sakin.
New chapter. New life. Call center. To be continued…