They say that when you love someone, it gives you an ethereal feeling that you never ever thought of. In moments of bliss and sorrow, that same love will be there, walking hand in hand with you through it all. But what is love when pain is also persevering? When the pain comes from the never-ending ridicule from your supposed safe haven in the four corners where you live? When what you root your joy from is seen as deviance?
As a child, I knew to myself that I may be different. I wear the typical girl stuff–makeup, dresses, bows, braids, and all else that makes up a jolly kid painting the town yellow. However, living in an environment where I did not encounter many boys, it led me to be more reliant on the female dominance that our household has. Hence, developed the innate attraction to them in the long run. A little further into high school, I have come to realize that I may have sinned for deviating from the societal norms of accepting Adam is just for Eve and vice versa. It led me to think that something may have altered my brain chemistry, that I may not be truly deserving of love and attention from my family, anymore, just because I realized that I like-to-love the same sex.
Living in a religious family, it somehow honed me to be in a phase of internalized homophobia–it is where I learned to shame myself for feeling that way, for feeling what a normal feeling of being in love, making it seem like I may have a contagious disorder that they could also die from. However, cliche as it seems, I did really try to shrug off this preference of mine. A couple of years after, guess what? I am still the same.
Years went on, I aligned myself to be more studious and intact with the goals that I have set for myself just because I have come to be a people-pleaser–someone who would rather tire herself off from 24/7 just so they could see that the daughter in me never changed even with a different sexual preference.
The only thing that I have been holding onto is that someday, they could also accept me as much as they could accept their friends who have come out, or even how they adore movie stars who went out and about their preference in terms of relationships. Looking into a different perspective, I could still here the stereotypical remarks of, “Malungkot sa ganyang buhay [those in the LGBTQIA+ community],”, “Hindi kayo magkaka-anak kaya hindi masaya yan,”, “Mali yan sa mata ng lahat pati na rin sa mata ng Diyos,”, but if loving like this is truly wrong, then why does it feel so good? Why do people in the said community are sometimes more happier and prosperous than those in a heterosexual setting? If it makes me a better person, if it helps me to become who I ought to be, then why do people have to exile me for feeling that way?
But to think of it, the biggest question that I could ever have would be this, “How can [straight] people understand the feeling I feel if they never ever had been in this exact place as I am?”, for you can only say a thing or two if you had already been in the same position. None of those, saying a thing would only be detrimental to the other end.
There were countless times when I thought to myself, “Would they rather see my dead body than to accept that I differ from what they expect me to be?”, but even if I never received a definite answer to that, I could already feel the disappointment that is entailed to my whole being–that even if I prove myself that I am in my best, it will never make a difference to a family tied up to the beliefs and what-is-righteously-taught in catholicism. Even for once, I never felt the rage to push what I am. For once, a fervent hope lit up my insides to believe that one day, everything will come through. Everything will fall to their perfect places.
In finishing this writeup, more thoughts have come to jumble in my mind–will the acceptance ever be in sight? Is it really wrong to be happy? Is it really wrong and never will ever be right to, for once, feel good in the relationship that you are in? How long will this take? Is there anything else that I could ever do? Will I really have to continue to live in the shadows for the rest of my life? Would you [family] be really not there when I walk down the aisle leading to the love of my life? Will you never see me as a daughter who is not making a mistake but really making a name? Are all the love you have for me, eradicated, for expressing who I really am?
I know for sure that acceptance may not even be on the table, but will we really put the decision to the hands of the clock and miss out on everything that we all have to know, seemingly open to the inevitable reality of regret when the time comes?
I am still me. I am still the daughter you hoped and dreamed of. I am still juggling my career and studies–still the same kid who once dreamed [and until now] to become one of the greatest doctors. I am still that sweet child of yours who chooses to snuggle by your side all day long–my sexual orientation is just not aligned to societal norms.