Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Must Be The Season (And All That Traffic)

I was born a year after my brother, so our parents tried to play fair to their two boys. They gave us the same of everything (especially with clothes), or in the case of toys, similar ones.

I was always compared to my brother, and so I tried my best to be the same. Unfortunately he got better grades, was more popular and better looking than me. He’d always be number 1 academically in class, and he’d often be voted class president; I, on the other hand, barely scratched top 10 and hung out with the nerds and the athletically inept. But I kept at it—with the grades, at least—because I didn’t want to disappoint my parents. Yet every time the quarterly grades came out, I knew I could never match my brother.

So when the teenage years rolled in and rebellion was the norm, I strove to be different from my brother. I joined the grade school theater company. I became more interested in the arts. Movies and music became my sources of comfort—and escape.

And yet, the fear remained—that I was a disappointment, especially to my parents (I never heard them say it, though). That’s why for the longest time I hoped I was not gay; I thought that being gay would be the ultimate disappointment for them.

Disappointment meant failure. Years of training in the honors class taught us to always succeed. Failure was an embarrassment. Our teachers never bothered to give us a healthy perspective of failure, that failing could actually lead you to greater heights (especially if you learned from it).

Another area where I felt like a failure was in my love life (what love life?!). Because I never had a boyfriend ever, for the longest time I feared I was not worthy for anyone. I often wondered what was it about me that kept guys away. Lack of looks? Lower middle-class status? Lack of social skills? Lack of sophistication? Or too much sophistication? Too simple? Or too smart for my own good? Too intimidating? Too pedestrian? Until now I have no idea, only hunches that are ultimately unhelpful. But the longer I went boyfriend-less, the higher the stakes climbed. Perhaps that is what’s keeping me single ‘til now: the disappointment and fear of failure in a relationship.

But funny, isn’t it? For how can a relationship fail when there’s always a failure to launch one?

Nowadays I know better. I treat myself better and even though I still end up comparing myself to others, I try to put things in perspective. Approval from others is something that is like an unexpected gift, wonderful to receive but ultimately beyond my control. And having a boyfriend, which is also an approval of a significant other, is something I’ve learned to live without.

But there are days when the curiosity is particularly killing.


jamie da vinci! said...

funny how our lives seem so parallel! sabi na nga ba e.... something told me ur feathers felt familiar! ahahaha.

marco said...

I felt the same mcvie..
also, if i thought myself as a failure, I could've committed suicide by then.

its fun to be single, if you got your friends beside you.


marco said...

thanks for the mclink for my blog!


John Halcyon von Rothschild said...

I've had boyfriends. But when I was in a relationship, I felt constrained, trapped. Now that I don't have a special someone, it makes me feel kinda sad especially during the Holidays and all. So I bury myself in my work and take solace with friends and have hot hook-ups with hot guys without all the drama.

Still, it would be nice to come home to someone...

joelmcvie said...

@JAMIE: Birds of the same feather... look alike.

@MARCO: No prob! =)

@JOHN: It's the season eh. But what I do is family and friends. They are not a substitute, mind you! But they're the folks who love unconditionally (especially family).

Phoenix said...

deep = )