Positively Somewhere

November 7, 2004 at 6:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I miss being miserable, if only for the words it inspires in me. But as Ziggy Marley says, ‘gotta be true to myself’. I can’t deny that I don’t have everything in my life right now, but I’m content with what I have.

However, the other night Princess and I were lamenting about our respective stations in life, and got around to talking about how it felt so much better to be in the middle of a messy relationship than be serenely outside of one.

As we were walking along the Megastrip on our way to Starbucks, I began to feel as if I were contradicting myself. I’ve always said, after the rocketman episode that I needed no more drama in my life, and that I would focus on myself instead of trying so hard to put myself out in the “meet market”. But there I was, actually telling Princess that “At least when you’re with someone and it’s not going alright, you have those feelings, the anger, the resentment, the bitterness, the joy, the excitement, the elation to look forward to. A relationship allows you to feel those things, and more.”

I felt uncomfortable about myself for the first time in weeks. I thought that from hereon it was all about me, that it would all be about coffee, oggling cute guys, signing up for pilates lessons, taking up a language (French-German-Spanish!, I even lined them up), movies on Saturday nights, and volunteer work for AI.

I guess a part of me still longs for the mess that comes with relationships. But to look at it when one is sober, what you want may not be what you need. In any case, Cess seems to have lost interest in furtehr dicussing the topic. She is on the phone with Z, a character worth another article, another time.

So I put out my cig, down my cup of hot white chocolate, smile and bid farewell to Cess as I made my way home at around 3 am.

I got to thinking. Maybe I was not really looking for the feelings as much as I was looking for an outlet for my energies. And by that I don’t always mean sex.

It is Sunday afternoon, and everyone seems busy doing something else. Eileen is not responding to my text messages. Nina’s stuck at home, watching TV and dreaming of Keanu Reeves (I guess) and Cess is off shopping with her mom.

So on a weekend when nobody seemed available to meet up with, I met up with the faceless crowd of my fellow netizens instead. So off I went to my ever-reliable community of fellow UP students and alumni, to peyups.com, where I spend some time (not as much as before) as a moderator for its forum boards.

Being a moderator basically means you have access to people’s IP addresses and can, with a little patience find out which nick is someone else’s alternick, and by some stretch of research prowess, where that person might even be logged on at any particular time. But that’s a power I have rarely exercised, since I myself have a few alternicks in my pockets not a lot of people know of.

But today I log on as myself, and intentionally avoiding the explosive threads of the Current Events folder, shifted my attention to the Relationships folder instead.

A particular discussion caught my eye, and clicked on it. There was this guy who calls himself grinpepper. The guy’s apparently confused because he’s been living in the closet for a while, and had had two girlfriends before venturing out into same-sex relationships. He’s had three boyfriends and is currently (in his word) sleeping with a guy (lucky dawg).

The problem is, he thinks he’s falling in love with his female friend who just broke up with her boyfriend. He says he can’t do anything about it because he’s afraid his past will “haunt” him.

My initial reaction was – ‘what hogwash!’

I have to admit, I have this unspoken bigotry against guys who call themselves ‘discreet’, or guys who take comfort in the “B” category in the “LGBT” acronym. To my mind, it is people like them that make it doubly harder to mainstream gay life in Filipino society. ‘Discreets’ seem to take a step forward and then two steps back while the rest of us out and proud people are doing all the work. It’s unfair. It’s like society doesn’t tolerate us already, and to make it worse, here comes along a subsection of this sector saying “Don’t use the G word, it’s so….whatever” and I hate it. Just because a guy uses the G word to describe himself doesn’t mean he wants to grow a vagina. I’m gay. I like guys. But I don’t want to be a girl. I have a penis. I’m happy with it. Now THAT is what I call gay.

And by it’s very nature, I used to tell myself that you can’t have it both ways, and that ultimately you’ll crave for just one, not either of the two sexes. In fact, I had a particular liking for this guy I would like to call Flint, who works for an NGO I might have eventually worked for, had I left Etta’s office. But the thing with this guy is that nobody knows for sure whether he’s “in” or “out” (insert stupid Sandara song here). I’ve been told how he lit up when I dropped by their karaoke session at Tat’s, but in the same breath I was told that it would probably take a while before he comes out of the closet. Somehow that, and the fact that he insists on putting “dating, relationship women” on his friendster profile really turned me off.

I was just about ready to pounce on grinpepper when I realized I might be shooting myself in the foot if I did. Just a few weeks ago, I found myself attracted to a girl during one of those moments when I was totally detached from my usual surroundings and in the company of people I really didn’t know that much (no, not a raunchy grope-as-you-please bar in Malate, but a serious, regional conference with an entire ensemble of foreign guests). I actually brought it up to Eileen and Enteng who were only both too happy to shoot down the idea of me asking this girl out for a date. And it made me sad. Am I now totally defined as a person, and the idea of going out with a girl is totally off-limits since by definition, I only sleep with men? How limiting can we get!

Maybe we get to thinking about taking on a new direction because we crave those feelings Princess and I listed down earlier. Maybe, just maybe, grinpepper is getting all those things from this girl. I know for a fact that with my girlfriends I can be myself with no fear of judgment, and I’ve often told them stuff I wouldn’t tell my boyfriend. So does thinking he loves her allows grinpepper to feel confused, angry, resentful, sad, rejected etc., and hehas just mistaken that for love? Or maybe he really is falling for her. In any case, who am I to judge?

So I took a few deep breaths, and tried to put myself in grinpepper’s shoes, taking into account his own particular context. With rational sobriety, I tell him, “Just be yourself, do what makes you happy, live a life, don’t tie yourself down to anatomy. Life is so much more fun when you live it to the fullest, free of all misconceptions, stereotypes and conventions.”

Enteng had a sure-fire way of knowing if I was intent on getting to know the girl I wanted to date. A test which I decided to pass on to grinpepper. I asked him, if he can see himself sleeping with her, then fine. Otherwise, I said, maybe they were just giving each other an intense amount of emotional support one does not get from intimate relationships. I applied it to my own case, and like a hot potato dropped the idea of going out with that girl. Maybe not now.

But just the same, I told grinpepper, “Don’t worry about people saying you can’t do this or that just because this is where you came from or something, something. Our sense of identity is constantly evolving, being redefined, exactly by people like you.” And it is true. It’s okay to be confused. Hell, I’m even dropping my prejudice and say it’s okay to straddle between sexes. Just make sure you’re someplace you want to be in, and not stuck in limbo.



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  1. have you read arundhati roy’s “god of small things?”

    she phrased it ever so nicely: it is society or our environment that dictates, “who we can love, and how, and how much…”

    don’t allow yourself to be dictated upon. nor be weighed down by your own useless self-impositions.

    love who you will. freely. with abandon.

    sex or gender is inconsequential.

    -che =)

  2. heya. thanks again for the kind words last night re a newer article. πŸ™‚ don’t worry, i’ll put up a new one ASAP. and btw, yes, i am reading the god of small things now, even though i got sidetracked by salman rushdie’s non-fic during the holidays. but i’m back with arundhati roy, and i love it. πŸ˜€

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