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The Case of the Broken Person


I am a product of a broken family.

At a young age, I was made aware that my parents were heading to splitsville. I can barely recall any time that I was with both my mom and dad, aside from a photo of us at the airport before my dad left for the US. I remember nights when my mom and I would talk at night before going to sleep. I would ask her why my dad wasn't with us, and she would say that I would understand things better when I grew up. I probably asked that question so many times that indeed, I asked less questions eventually.

I didn't know exactly what happened. I would hear stories from different people, with no one painting either of my parents as bad. That was a weird thing, but I guess it was because everyone expected it. Another guess is that because my relatives were just graceful with each party, with no one seemingly mad at anyone. Honestly, as I grew up, I didn't seem to care, too.

A few years into grade school, my mom decided to work abroad and I was left in our house in Sampaloc. I didn’t really feel lonely because we had a big family. I lived with my grandparents, my aunts/ uncles, and lots of cousins. It was like anybody's normal childhood, living with many relatives. My cousins became my siblings. We would quarrel, we would bicker, but I knew we cared for each other. I was never alone. The only thing was that both my parents were not there.

I started to feel longing for my parents when I started doing well in school. I was just a regular kid at school by the time my mom left. Always in Section 1 but rarely in the top ten (well, I was Top 1 in Kinder, but that was it). When I transferred to a public school (a school where most of our family studied in) for the 4th Grade, I suddenly became smart. I was sent to Science/ History competitions in school and won them. From Section 6 in the 4th Grade, to Section 2 in the 5th Grade, I climbed up to Section 1 in the 6th Grade. Looking back, I was proud of my achievements. What stung was that every time I went on stage, it was either my lola or my aunt who would attend recognition days. It didn’t hurt as bad because for my graduation in grade school, my mom went home. That was the only time a parent was with me. And that was the last time any one of them did.

From there, I had accepted that my parents' presence wouldn’t be that frequent. My mom would go home every 3 years or so, my dad came once in high school; but by that time my half siblings were growing up. Spending a lot on plane tickets wasn't particularly economical. I built relationships with my parents through phone calls. Name a phone and I probably used it to talk to them: that big ass red phone, black rotary phones, touch tone phones, wireless phones, etc. I was already aware of US time zones because The MMK title of that part of my life could've been Telepono. Lol.

Because of my parents' absence, there were things that I had to learn on my own. Nobody taught me how to shave. Nobody taught me how to handle money. Nobody taught me how to court girls (ewth haha). Some things, I knew from my grandparents or my cousins. I had no constant teacher. I had to learn from observing people around me. I watched them cook, dress up, wash dishes, have boyfriends and girlfriends, go out, etc. It was this time that I developed a yearning for a little independence wherever I could exercise it.

In the next years to come, independence was all I had. I made decisions without consulting anyone. I left home to live on my own how many times. Even in my relationships, I ended up distancing myself from guys who showed any sign of weakness. I had to set standards for myself because all my life, I learned how to accept myself, I stood for myself, I celebrated myself, I comforted myself, I taught myself.

My family is broken, with me as the only part that stays afloat alone. I am broken, but pieces of me persist and grow further. Maybe someday these pieces would grow so big they'd drift so close to each other and make me whole again. One piece. Unbroken.

Posted by jc_pagdanganan 01:41 Archived in Philippines

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