When I was a kid, I’ve always wondered how it was if I was a boy.
As a girl and the eldest among three girls, I felt very restricted. I can’t wear shorts. I can’t go biking for a long time. I’m not allowed to hang out at night with my friends.
Whilst if I was a boy, I could wear whatever I want — even shirtless, go biking, hang out with my friends up to wee hours, and many other privileges that were only being given to boys, just because they were boys.
I secretly resented some boys because who think they have “super powers” or authority over us girls, especially those boys who bully girls, who make girls fall for them but like other girls, and etc.
When I was in elementary, my father worked as an Overseas Filipino Worker. So every year, he would only be given a 30-day vacation. So my mom learned how to do everything in the house (except learning how to drive) from simple house repairs to deciding which paint or materials to use, who can fix the electric cables, and so on.
As the eldest, I’m expected to help her and take responsibility. There I secretly wished I had an elder brother. Someone who will do stuffs for me, my sisters, and mom when my father was not around, to protect us, to accompany us, pick us up or drop us off at school or parties.
An elder brother whom I can confide my boy crushes. Someone who can advise me on how to act and deal with boys like him.
But since I’m already the eldest, my sisters and I eventually settled to wishing we had a baby brother or adopting a younger brother so we can have someone to cuddle, hug, or ask to run errands for us (I know, sorry! That’s what’s younger brothers/sisters are for sometimes, right? Just kidding! (which didn’t happen).
And as time goes by, I’ve slowly (but not totally) accepted the fact that I’m not going to be a boy, I’m not going to have an elder brother or younger brother, and that I’m going to do stuffs on my own so I learned to drive, go to the market or groceries, carry my own luggage and bags, and that I have to be prim and proper.
When I entered a military school in 2001, a part of me wanted to prove that I can do whatever a boy can do and that we are EQUALS.
Unfortunately, I’m not as sporty and Math proficient like most of my male classmates, so I was always left behind during company, battalion or squad runs, physical fitness tests, and I would struggle to study my Mathematics classes.
I envied some of my female classmates who can equal or surpass my male classmates when it comes Mathematics and physical fitness tests, but that’s not me! Now I’m thinking, am I not just competitive or hardworking as they were back then?
Despite my weaknesses, I was fortunate to have male classmates (squadmates) who would carry my backpack so I can hike the mountains of Baguio City and La Union, run the finish line, pace me during my 3.2-km run so I can pass my PFT, or offer to tutor me.
Physical training and studying at the same time can be very hard and challenging in a military school. It’s not really easy! Your mind says you have to study, but my heart says, I’m tired. I want to sleep, which I really did most of the times so I failed my subjects. (I know some of my mistahs can relate to this!)
There was even one male classmate (squadmate) who volunteered to be my buddy during the “buddy run” because no one wanted to because I run slow and they think I’m weak. Thank you, squadmate. You know who you are.
My two-year stint in PMA made me realize despite my resentment towards some of my male counterparts, that I still can’t help falling in love with some of them.
Who wouldn’t? A military school is still the best place to find amazing, wonderful, smart, athletic guys who came from different backgrounds and families for a girl like me during that time.
Instead of competing, I learned to cooperate and work as a team; to appreciate all their efforts, and to accept that fact that no two people are alike, especially boys and girls. We were created by God not to compete or determine who’s the better sex, but to collaborate and make this world a better place to live in.
And since today is International Men’s Day, let me take this opportunity to thank the following men in my life:
To my father (and all fathers) who provided for our family, who loved us unconditionally, taught us to be strong, independent, and skillful.
To my grandfathers (and all grand fathers) who raised our parents into becoming the best, responsible, loving, and caring people on Earth.
To my uncles (and all uncles out there) who took care of us when we were kids when my dad was busy working abroad, who provided moral, emotional support to my mom.
To all my male friends, best friends, classmates who supported me, appreciated me, chose me, and befriended me.
To all my exes who taught me to make myself a priority and to love myself first… and more.
To all mothers, sisters, aunts who played the role of being fathers, brothers, and uncles as well to their families.
And to you, who loved me as I am and made me realize why it didn’t work out with anyone else.
THANK YOU, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Again, Happy #InternationalMensDay! Enjoy the day! Seize it!
Finally, after months of hiatus, we have come up with a new blog collaboration and our theme for this month is all about International Men’s Day. For more stories, check out these amazing and truly inspiring writers/bloggers who participated in this collaboration. Happy reading and hope we inspired you: