It was one of those ordinary lunch break, I was sitting on a bench under the Talisay tree near my class room. I just ate my baon then, a sandwich and juice which I prepared earlier before going to my 7am class. I was a newcomer then from an Elementary Public School, wearing a pair of tattered shoes and a hand-hand-me-down uniform from one of my siblings who earlier attended the same Private Catholic School. I made a few friends then but none of them stayed for lunch. Then there was this group of sophomore boys who walks closer to my spot. One of them asked me why don’t I have any company. That’s all I could remember but there were series of laughter and snickering after that. I can’t recall much but that time I wished I was out of that situation. I prayed that it would stop. I wished, I have a company that time. I wished I didn’t attend that day’s class and just stayed at home. I have to control my tears then cause I know it will show the sign that I am weak. The bell rang and I knew it will not stop there.
I was sweating much at that time. Still in first year, I was panicking that I can’t find my school ID. I traced every steps I made and rooms that I visited. The Library, The Cafeteria, our classroom, Computer Lab, everything. The last place I haven’t checked yet was the boy’s restroom near the Principal’s office. I have a strong feeling it could be there. I was correct. I saw my ID floating in one of the toilet bowl. I have an idea who did that but my instinct of not telling it to anyone not even the principal prevailed since it was my responsibility why I lost it. As an instinct of a public school kid, I grabbed the nearest stick, and tried to pick up the ID, I don’t know if I’ll be happy and thank that the last person who used the cubicle, since he flushed the toilet. I washed my id and my hands while I cried.
The torture ended up when I got in 2nd year High School. There were still few things I can’t forget, and the humiliation didn’t stop there. One of my classmates laughed at me and I’m still wondering now if I ever said something stupid when she asked me where I live.
It was a wash day that day, the time where the cool kids were able to brag their new clothes. I on the other hand was wearing something borrowed from my older sibs. I don’t mind to be honest. But one classmate looked at me from head to toe and asked me what was I wearing. I couldn’t answer her and she said, “for sure sa palengke mo yan nabili”. I just smiled.
I was trying to console two friends who went through a fight then. You know high school is full of click drama. It was actually a big fight from the two of them. But since they were two of my closest friends, I tried so hard not to pick a side. One of them blurted, “Why are you taking her side? Did you know how mean she is? She made a list of all boys in the class room. From the ugliest to the cutest, you ranked 2nd.” To be honest, it’ll be funny if it came from someone else. But that coming from someone you considered a friend for four years. I just hope it was said to me by my face. I know how I look like and it wouldn’t be that of a big deal.
I wrote this not because I want you to pity me. And not because i dwell so much in the past. High School ended 10 years ago, seriously, I can now laugh with some of the things that happened before. But it’s true what they say, “Who are we then, greatly affects who are we now.” Self-esteemed shattered, maybe that's why, sometimes i'm greatly affected of what others will say about me. Also I’m tired of being ganged up, laughed at and hearing things. Some people will claim they know you, but the truth is they don’t. You may know few things but you don’t know what I’ve been through.
What happened to me gave me a soft spot to those who are constantly being bullied and ganged up. Now, I'm not washing my hands here cause i know there were instances i bullied someone but at least i know my limits and we'll laughed about it in the end.
I’m tired of fitting in, asking myself where I belong. I’m tired of pleasing everyone. And I’m tired of people making claims about this and that. That's why we don't make assumptions of someone based on just what you heard or read. Maybe that’s why I have few close friends and I prefer having few than a bunch of negative people. I believe some of us never really got out of high school. It's either we honed that good attitude or make those ugly things as our inspiration to move forward. The difference now is, even when I'm alone, I’m much more confident, much smarter and more stronger.