I wake up very morning to the sound of my mother shouting at me to wake the fuck up.
As I pull off whatever I slept in to reveal my cold skin I can hear my mother’s morning speech from across the house. Through the bathroom door she tells me to hurry to school, to get good grades, to not fuck up, to not get pregnant, that I am worthless without her, usual stuff.
So I leave for school and I listen to my teachers, laugh with my friends, drown out the anger inside with smiles and hellos and fleeting moments of serenity. But that can never last and I make my way back home to where the only people I ever really talk to are my dad and my aunt.
The times when my mother and I do actually speak to each other is when she’s reminding me that I’m too fat, that I’m not pretty enough, that the clothes I choose are shit, my hair is shit, my skin is shit, basically whatever small detail that can possibly be shit is shit about me.
I was happiest in Diliman probably because I was far enough from her. So I go to school again, to learn from other people what it is to be a normal person. I go to school so I can get a job, so I can leave here, so I can be free. And that freedom is not an overly-exaggerated concept to me. For me, freedom is where I can let myself be myself. I am least myself here.
In grade school, my teachers always said to bring the etiquette we had at home into public life. They said that we put up no walls around ourselves when we were home—this was a time when kids were taught to be au naturel. If I did that I would have been the quiet kid in the corner no one would talk to.
Because when I am home, I turn into a little ball of space. I don’t want my mother looking my way because whatever it is I’m doing is probably wrong for her again. And I succeed most days, especially when she doesn’t come home for a week or so.
So I sit in this space which I supposedly call home and yet I feel like I never belong. When I close my eyes at three in the morning to get three hours of sleep I realize it’s days like this, when I have too much shit to do and don’t know yet how to deal with it, that I think of all the reasons why I should finish studying get out of this mediocrity.And this is a day in my life.