Ever since I moved to the Philippines, I’ve felt… off. Like someone replaced key parts of my personality with a dull, drab version of how I used to be. For various reasons, I felt it best to tone down my real personality and only let it peek out to a handful of people.
See, I can be loud and passionate and boisterous. I can curse like a sailor and drink like a fish and smoke like a chimney. I am a devoted mother and a philosophical poet and a rebellious wildchild. I am all of these things, but living here, for whatever reason, I decided to be one-sided, one-dimensional.
Maybe I thought that I stood a better chance of people understanding me if I stuck with a simple script. Maybe I was too afraid to rock the boat (especially since my main role since having moved here has been that of “mother”). Whatever the reason, I’ve never been completely, 100% myself – especially at school. In the school setting, I’ve never worn bold makeup, or said the word “fuck”, or called people out on their BS. Sure, I speak up and say my piece once in a while. But when the moment is over, I’m back to being bland.
Well, now things have changed. A morality program at school stirred up a lot of passion that I’d kept dormant within me, and now I feel more alive and more myself than I have since I moved here. Whereas before I would have been careful to adhere to peoples’ wishes of me, now I feel strong enough to accept that authoritative figures may not like what I’m about.
Truth? I’m a bit apprehensive that teachers may take their feelings out on my grades. I don’t know how to deal if this were the case.
But also: I can’t look my kids in the eye – hell, I can’t even look at my own damn reflection – knowing that I didn’t step up when I could have. I can’t feel good about myself knowing that I let an opportunity to educate people slip on by. I can’t stand the idea that I’ve become one of those docile puppets who lays low to avoid confrontation. I just can’t do that. I just can’t be that way.
I’m not trying to be offensive, rude, or disrespectful. I’m just tired of making myself small because other people can’t handle the big, beautiful, real me.