When Unhappiness Becomes a Default


A green-eyed monster stirred up inside as I scrolled down an endless barrage of greetings and declarations of everyone’s excitement for the new year. Sitting in front of the screen, I tried to find a gleam of something to ignite a long lost sense of optimism. I believed that the earth’s coming full circle would eventually bring everything back to normal, but no such luck. Sure I’m not exactly that kind of person who goes giddy thinking about the next 365 days, but the beginning of this year feels like one station away from rock bottom.

I’d be lying if I say that I’m looking forward to what 2014 has in store for me. The past several weeks had been too rough. It feels like a gaggle of Dementors just consumed my soul because an empty shell perfectly depicts what I’m feeling right now. Although I dismissed the idea of a quarter-life crisis as a real thing a while back, life has showed me that I was dumb for doing such. It’s like the world has unanimously agreed to make me feel like shit, and it pains me to admit that the it has been successful doing so.

If there’s one thing I miss, it’s waking up in the morning brimmed with enthusiasm. And no it’s not just plain laziness and wanting to sleep in for the rest of the day — it’s the utter lack of motivation to keep going through the rest of the day even though you just woke up five seconds ago. When crawling under a rock and not speaking to anyone sound like a dream. That kind of struggle.

Sometimes I feel like randomly bawling my eyes out because I’ve become a totally different person: someone who’s forgotten how to dream. (I’m starting to tear up typing this, blargh.) I keep on searching for the old me that always imagines the big picture, not just someone who lives for the moment without even savoring it. I’ve lost interest with life, and no matter how hard I look or what I do, nothing helps. I reached that point where majority of my time is spent either staring into blank space or pondering over the shoulda woulda coulda.

Is there even something better for me out there? Something that’s worth doing? Something that would make me think that I’ve finally attained my purpose? A part of me hopes so. But when you’re a nihilist, and your miserably cynical beliefs come into play, you get sucked right back into the black hole. It’s the same thing all the time, and it gets tiring. I hope the universe gives me a hint if this hurdle is supposed to be crossed or if it’s best for me to take another path. I absolutely have no fucking idea, and I’ve been at the same spot for months now, still clueless on what to do.

Just like when you accidentally fuck up a video game and then everything else that follows starts tumbling down, there’s a strong urge to press the power button out of frustration so you don’t have to witness how the rest of the game will go just because you already know how it’s gonna end. Right now my feels just like that.


Coming Out: Let There Be Love


It’s been three years since I came out of the closet. And to be honest, that moment was not as celebratory as I expected it to be–there wasn’t any sappy phone call or a melodramatic “we need to talk” type of conversation–but it sure was one of the best things I’ve ever done to myself.

Ever since I was a child, I already knew I was not like the other boys my age. While my peers were busy going batshit crazy on video games and sports and race cars, I was too preoccupied jamming to my bootleg copy of Britney Spears’ classic Oops!… I Did It Again and sneaking into the corner of the library, learning what shade of blue goes well with my bedroom floor.

But the funny thing is that, during this time, I was legitimately attracted to girls. Sure I might not be one of those rowdy kids perpetually running around the school covered in sweat and dirt, but I am pretty sure that I really liked the opposite sex. Like I would go around the campus picking random flowers and giving them out to my crushes, and I remember having a sticker album devoted to a girl four years older than me. She was my Arnold, and I was her Helga.

It was during high school when I realized that I was noticing the same sex unusually a lot more. Although it was nothing major to actually give me teenage identity crisis–because for some strange reason, I had casual flings with girls until my senior year–there was definitely something about men that appealed to me. I remember flipping through a magazine and seeing a whole page of a Dolce & Gabbana ad featuring a damp David Gandy in this pair of skimpy white swimming trunks that almost gave me a nervous breakdown.

What I always found nerve-wrecking was when people asked me about my identity. I didn’t really try acting straight simply because I’ve never cared about labels, and I paid no mind as to what sexual orientation I should identify myself with, but hearing these words was enough to make me lose my shit. One time I had some sort of intervention with my family, and as soon as I walked into the room, they asked me if I was gay. Any guy who’s going through puberty wouldn’t wanna hear that, and because I was obviously not alpha man enough to keep my cool, I burst into tears and stormed out of the room.

I mean, let’s be honest, that scene had “gay” written all over it.

Coming out and accepting yourself do not necessarily go hand in hand. At such an early age, I didn’t feel bad that I like men, but I had no intentions of coming out because I believed that it was nobody’s business. It wasn’t a matter of being scared that I may get bullied or made fun of nor is it about any guilt of of having homosexual tendencies. Perhaps it was the thought of deviating from the norm and being different from everybody else that feared me the most.

I came out November 2010. I’ve forgotten how things came up to that point, but what I do remember is what pushed me into doing it was the film Shelter. That movie was crucial to my whole experience, which, although I’m well aware that it came as no surprise, the feeling of finally coming into terms with yourself was incredibly liberating.

The whole process wasn’t even remotely dramatic. Contrary to popular beliefs, it (sadly) did not involve me jumping on a lavender unicorn carrying a rainbow flag. It happened in probably the most uninteresting way possible: me sitting in front of the laptop, typing away my feels over Facebook chat.

It’s been three years since that day, and there’s not even a drop of regret doing it. It was such a positive experience for me, and things would’ve been so much different now if I decided to keep to myself. I’ve gained so much friends, my confidence has gone through the roof, and the love I receive has been truly heartwarming.

Gone are the days of me telling people I’m straight, it’s just that “I naturally act feminine.”  Now, telling people I’m gay isn’t even a big deal anymore, and I answer them without a hint of hesitation. Because, think about it, what difference does it make? Liking the same sex doesn’t make me less of a person.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not forcing you to come out now. What I’m telling you is that we’ve come a long way from a society where fairies and dykes had no choice but to be outcasts. You have people like me who went through that same phase of constant denial. Just find the right time and make sure that you are in a safe space to do so, and trust me, it does get better.

Remember that it’s not about declaring your admiration for penis (or for vagina, if you’re a woman). It’s about a celebration of ourselves, and it all boils down to one thing–love. I hope that one day coming out wouldn’t be a thing anymore because by then, we’ll be living in a society where the genitals of your partner wouldn’t matter. That there’s no need to confess to someone that you’re gay because it’s become totally normal, just like being straight.

But as we work towards that kind of culture where all kinds of love are universally accepted, just keep in mind that you have literally millions of us here–gay, lesbian, straight, whatever others labels there are–who got your back.



On the Verge of Bulimia


I’m awfully terrified of reverting back to bad habits, but as I combat my inner demons, I think I just made a new one.

My weight has always been a problem ever since I was a kid. I had been struggling for most of my life, and people around me had been telling me that, given the state of my body, I am not far from doing permanent damage to my health.

These words that were originally words of concern were understood as mere mockery because I was in denial of what really was going on. It went on for years and years, and I eventually managed to develop a shell to retreat into whenever such noises start to plague me.   There obviously was no stopping me from eating like a wild animal. I was obsessed with food.

Not too long ago, I was told that, since I was little, I’ve always been a spoiled child when it comes to what I eat, and I used to go ballistic whenever I don’t get the food I want. What I find really strange is that I do not recall any single memory of this entire me-going-on-a-rampage dramarama. Literally none. That or perhaps I was repressing the embarrassing fact that food had me by the throat as a defense mechanism to trick myself that I wasn’t fucking up my body at all.

Just last year, I made a decision to adapt to a healthier lifestyle and actually stick with it  (unlike the countless times I attempted–and miserably failed–to do so as part of my New Year’s resolution). Here I am now, a year and a half later, the lightest I’ve been in years.

The things is, I haven’t been particularly honest about, despite looking more fit than ever, how truly unhealthy I’ve become. Sure I work my ass out everyday and I eat healthier meals, but there’s so much more to it. Something I’m ashamed to admit.

If you grew up accustomed to having your typical lunch consisting of a meal for two downed in under ten minutes, it’s going to take a while to break that habit. Losing weight is not easy, and it gets extremely frustrating. There have been countless times when I found myself wanting to hoist the white flag and go back to being a fat slob. At times, I fall off the wagon and temporarily succumb to the urge of bingeing, basking in the ecstasy of freedom from the restrictive chains of dieting, only to feel devastated after realizing what I just did.

That’s when I discovered the forbidden and destructive beauty of voluntary purging.

In our grade school science class, we learned that human beings are completely dependent on food for survival. In the case of several of these human beings, me included, this transcends mere sustenance of life; it becomes an addiction as it reaches an unnecessary level of dependency. We eat when we’re stressed. We eat when we’re bored. We eat when we’re emotional. We eat when we’re pissed. Everything results to overeating. Food becomes our drug, and if we don’t get to savor in our mouths what we want, we become these ravage monsters whose way of taming is by letting them eat.

What I discovered is that purging is tragically exhilarating.  It manages to reconcile what seemed to be mutually exclusive–enjoying the satisfaction brought about by food while keeping the calories at bay. Just the thought of getting to revel in whatever you want to mindlessly gorge and not having to worry about the possibilities of not fitting into your jeans is sometimes exciting. It’s like you can now play god and forget all the things you learned about nutrition just because you found the solution to staying skinny.

The thing about losing weight is that it gets really addicting. Sooner or later, you want to lose more in a shorter amount of time which is contrary to what happens in reality as you continue to get smaller and smaller. The ecstasy from seeing the results in front of the mirror has led me to carrying on what was intentionally a short-lived thing despite knowing how self-destructive it could be.

When you go on a diet, every bit of morsel counts. But having a food journal is as evil as much as it is helpful because nobody told me that keeping one has a caveat. On one side of the coin, it helps you monitor what you consume so you can avoid an unrestrained feast, but on the other, it slowly dominates your life as you get addicted to severely limiting what you intake to the point that a single bite off a cookie will immediately make you feel bad and you’re left with no choice but to punish yourself.

Lately, my self-control has gone bipolar: it’s either I’m being overly restrictive which then leads me to annihilating everything in sight. It’s no surprise that I always find myself resting on the cold white porcelain surface of the toilet, fingers down my throat, witnessing the avalanche of guilt ejecting through my mouth. I look in the mirror, a pair of bloody eyes staring back at me, face covered in shame and relief while deliberately ignoring my throat and stomach aching in protest.

Don’t get the impression that I’m glorifying bulimia. It may sound like it’s because of it that I manage to drop weight–it’s not. Although it seems like it’s not gonna take Einstein to realize that throwing up what you just ate two minutes ago won’t budge the weighing scale, purging does not prevent weight gain, and it actually does so much more harm to your system. Think about it, the price of destroying your stomach, throat and teeth just to avoid packing on those pounds is really not worth it.

What I thought was a win-win situation actually had a plethora of horrifying truths under what appeared to be the magic pill. Although things haven’t come to a point where I do it religiously, I still regret even trying it for the first time, because now it feels as if I’m hanging by a thread. Just the thought that I’ve done it and that I can still do it terrifies me because when the urge to self-indulge comes back, I know purging is just there to give me exactly what I need.


Not a Girl, Not Quite Yet a Man


Let’s set the record straight: I’m biologically male.

If I had a penny every time someone addresses me as “ma’am” or “miss”, I’d probably have enough coins in my piggy bank to get myself beard implants. Sure I’ve got the right tools that would make me easily identifiable as a man, but a little boost of testosterone in my system would be helpful since I’m not that risqué to talk about my nether regions to people just to prove a point that I am indeed an actual male human being.

There have been plenty of times when I look in the mirror (or a selfie, let’s be honest) and I try my best to contain myself from mentally belting out “Whoooooo is that girl I see~”. So I’d be lying when I say that I haven’t seriously contemplated about taking testosterone injections after seeing female-to-male transgenders looking more masculine than I do.

I’m not entirely sure at which point in my puberty I started resembling the opposite sex–or perhaps started looking less like a man–but what I do remember is the first time someone seriously got confused as to which sex category they’d identify me with. It was during my sophomore year in high school and our substitute teacher explicitly asked me in front of the class: “Are you a boy or a girl?” I was like, girl please, the only person given the right to ask such an offensive question is Professor Oak.

It pains me to admit that the prepubescent me probably did look like a young Ellen DeGeneres but with a stash of food stubs for every all-you-can-eat buffets in the entire country. It probably wasn’t until the latter part of my adolescence when I finally started having my growth spurt, and because I was a tad too invested in biology that time, god knows how terrified I was of the thought that I had an extra X chromosome and I’m about to develop some killer hips and breasts.

However, it seems like my hormones came up too short because here I am, seven years later, now accustomed to the life of constantly being mistaken as a woman.  Unlike my peers of the same age, it looks like I’m still in high school which, honestly, isn’t always bad, except for times when I inadvertently pull an underage lesbian chic look. Both in college and at the workplace, there’s an alarming amount of people who confessed that they initially thought I’m a dyke. (Rumor has it that my identity once came up during a meeting.)

In these times, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with looking like the opposite sex. More than anything, I owe so much to whoever it was who audaciously ventured into the fabulous world of gender-bending. The quintessential macho, rough, and rugged image of men has been withering, slowly being replaced by androgyny as unequivocally sported by tons of celebrities. The beefcakes that once ruled TV–like the chiseled Spanish/Portuguese protagonists in telenovelas, oh my lord–have been traded for these actors who insist on looking a lot prettier than actual girls.

Interestingly, I find this entire experience insightful as it is extremely entertaining.  Aside from the occasional delight from the sight of people being legitimately confused, it shows how almost everyone attributed certain characteristics to a specific sex. Aesthetically-speaking, the lighter and the fairer your skin, the more effeminate you look; same with having a thing for fashion and just generally being well-groomed. And also because I tend to be organized and am particularly inclined to homemaking (except doing the godforsaken laundry), my manliness points seem to have gone down because I’m not careless and rowdy like how men are supposed to be.

Eventually I learned how to embrace my sexual ambiguity without having to adhere to somebody else’s standards. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to just be yourself, no matter how extremely cliched that sounds. Don’t care too much about labels, although there’s nothing wrong with gently correcting someone for addressing you incorrectly. But you know what? I honestly secretly enjoy these little moments; they give me the giggles.


Paris Hates Me


Any story that involves Paris is a fantastic one. And by “fantastic” I mean fantastic to talk about because mine happens to be fifty shades of fucked up.

When we hear the word “Paris”, we think of architectural wonders, French people looking dapper as if they just hopped out of Vogue, Instagram-worthy gastronomy, and a lovely language you’d never get tired of hearing. Since all images we’ve been getting have been nothing but picturesque, it’s not at all surprising that almost everyone is slightly obsessed with the city.

I’m not discounting the fact that Paris is truly beautiful. More than anything, it really does deserve the spot as one of the world’s most popular destination cities. However, after my two separate sojourn in the glorious French city, I have come to a miserable conclusion that I am suffering from a dysfunctional relationship with possibly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to.

Not a lot of people know that a few weeks prior to my first trip, I was already going through a massive nervous breakdown that would put Britney Spears to shame. That was the time I got burned out trying to juggle a plethora of things in possibly the most stressful term in college. I legitimately considered jumping off a building because I felt that I was on the verge of exploding, and then explicitly announced to everyone on Facebook that, compared to what I was going through back then, eating my own turd sounded like a treat.

During the entire week in Paris (we were there for official business), we spent half the time wandering around the city, and the other half in a gorgeous countryside where I had to sleep in a dormitory in what looked like an deserted courtyard a mile away from the chateau where everyone else was having a good night sleep in their fancy rustic French rooms. For me to get to the meeting halls, I literally had to walk in the cold before sunrise, and the foliage didn’t help calming me down from imagining that wild canines are just gonna pounce on me and start eating my limbs. I actually tried asking owner if I can borrow a bicycle, but she was just like “um no”.

Sure I did have fun basking in the Eiffel Tower or eating an authentic macaron or trying to subtly catch the attention of  cute French guys at the gelato stand. It’s just that the bliss from doing things that I usually enjoy fell too short because the wave of negativity always came over, leaving my friends with nothing but a grumpy tourist.

During my second visit, I stayed there by myself for a couple of days which turned out to be a really dumb idea. Imagine being left alone in a foreign country where your skills on their language is worse than a one-year-old’s, and multiply that with being a broke-ass ho because you just spent all your “emergency money” on overpriced alcohol and cigarettes.

Before I actually reached my hotel, shit already started going down because I found out a little too late that the cabs are unbelievably expensive. And the metro wasn’t an option because, right outside from where I was initially staying, there was a black market run by sketchy gypsies where they were selling stolen clothes and luggage. Then, on the same day, my cab got hit in the middle of the road, and I had to witness the drama that ensued. It’s like watching a really intense confrontation scene in French sans the subtitles.

Suffice it to say, I was having a rough time and that sorta caught on because the only time I went out of my room was literally when I went on a free walking tour (go figure) in the outskirts of the city where, on the way, I was harassed by two boys probably half my age. The other one was when I grabbed food in a supermarket. And by food I mean chips and microwave meals which I gloomily ate in my room while watching the news I pretended to understand.

Just when I thought I hit rock bottom, the only means of communication from the outside world collectively died on me. And because life unreasonably hated me, I didn’t find any plug adapters because French sockets are weird (it looks like it has a goddamn boner). Long story short, extending my brief visit was a waste since I was too depressed to even go out and explore because I was just so done with the city, and there’s virtually no story to tell except for these misadventures that happened in a span of three days.

So there I was, confined in the four corners of my hotel room–broke, alone, hopeless, and hungry all at the same time–pondering on how much my Parisian trip was a clusterfuck. It’s been almost a year since then, and in hindsight, I still find everything cringe-worthy. If more than anything, this trainwreck’s probably gonna haunt me for the rest of my life. Oh, Paris, pourquoi vous me déteste?


The Downside of Downsizing


A year and a half ago, I was at my heaviest, weighing as much as an adult South American fur seal. Now that I’ve lost 30% of my initial weight, and I’m three-quarters done with my weight loss, I think I have the right to say that shedding a significant amount of body fat has been incredible in nearly every way. But just like everything else, losing weight also has some caveats that sometimes make me regret switching from an artery-clogging lifestyle to a healthier one.

    1. You’re gonna have to entirely change your wardrobe. Although there’s nothing better than a legitimate excuse to spend a fortune on clothes (let’s be real, we all hope that they consider shopping as an official Olympic sport), buying a complete new set of clothes for literally your head to toe sounds exhilarating, that is, until you check them out at the cashier. From suits and jackets down to underwear, you’re left with no option but to buy them all unless you really want to pull that hobo chic look, leaving you practically penniless for the entire month. (I had to ask my parents for money for two weeks because I basically spent my salary in clothes that I actually badly needed.) But on the bright side, at least you’s gonna look beautimous rocking them skinny jeans! Werk it, mama!
    2. You’ll obsess over a slight increase in weight like it’s the end of the world. Because we never want to go back to those ~dark times~ ever again, I don’t think it’s abnormal if we develop an obsession over our weight (but I’m not saying it’s a good thing). I once had a rebound when I completely stopped working out, so every bit of those 40 pounds I lost eventually came back. But wait. There’s more. I gained another 30 pounds on top of the 40; everything happening in a span of four years. And since that was a point in life I don’t even want to relive, I now freak out whenever I gain half a pound or not lose anything at all.
    3. No more McDonalds, eat-all-you-can buffets, junk food, mindless eating, etc. Translation: Your diet’s probably going to be boring as hell. Let’s be honest, all of us pleasantly plump fellas got accustomed to eating some of the world’s unhealthiest food. And by unhealthiest I mean shitty yet super good. Have you ever tried eating a box of McNuggets with a fresh batch of fries while famished and inebriated at 3 in the morning? Undebatably foodgasmic. Like it’s going to make you moan because they’re insanely delicioso. And who says nothing good happens after 2am?! But now that it’s been forever since we last pigged out, the guilt from eating a piece of those fries in its pure oily goodness, let alone a plethora of noms in a buffet,will be too much to bear.
    4. Getting complemented all the time can get uncomfortable. This is a major case of humblebrag, and this may not apply to everyone, but getting complemented can get a little tiresome and awkward. Aside from delivering your usual spiel on how you managed to lose all that weight, it’s always overwhelming to enter a room where people are just like “omg what happened to you??!! you look fabulous now!!!” Repeat nine million times. Um, I’m sorry, did you really think I was a fat slob back then?
    5. Eating healthy is way too expensive. When you want to cut back on your calories, there’s nothing better than preparing your own food. And I’m sorry to burst your happy bubble, but bacon-covered turducken does not count. Of course we want to make our meals with the freshest ingredients and eventually reduce our consumption of junk. Take this for example: a small pack of 40-piece roasted almonds is as expensive as four freaking bags of potato chips. Although eating healthy can cost much more than than those two-dollar Doritos Locos Tacos from Taco Bell, at least your future self’s not gonna worry about jacking up a heart or a liver — or the entire body for that matter.
    6. You’re always gonna go on a judgment frenzy. I used to think that those who always give major guilt trips to people who make disappointing food choices are a bunch of asshats. But here I am, a year and a half later, being the person I once detested. I don’t know how I eventually developed such high levels of douchebaggery, but now I just start blabbering about calories especially during lunch time. I’m pretty sure that the moment I start thinking “Are you seriously gonna eat that?”, the other person is probably dying to tell me to just go eat my salad in solitude and be sad.
    7. At some point you’ll realize you have enough excess skin to cover another human being. If you were once medically considered morbidly obese at some point like me, welcome to the club. Because your skin stretched so much from all those extra weight, losing them alone might not necessarily bring it back to normal. Although a healthier lifestyle results to a generally happier mood, there have been cases of clinical depression resulting from the amount of excess skin. Right now my arms and stomach don’t look as bad as it sounds (though I can probably pull a Dumbo and fly when I flap my arms around), but since I have a couple more pounds to lose, I’m still partly scared of the possibility that I’m going to end up looking like a crossbreed between a naked mole rat and a Shar Pei. Jesus take the wheel.

Stop Being a Doormat

We all have been there. At some point in our lives, we met someone special. Someone whose mere existence lured us into complete enchantment. Someone whom we felt was the one. Someone who effortlessly and single-handedly made us  feel either like shit or the luckiest person on earth. Someone who led us to compel ourselves never to pour so much time and emotion over someone. Someone whose charm  made us turn a blind eye to reality.

Maybe it’s part of their elaborate plan to make us miserable. Come to think of it: we would always come full circle to where we were in the first place, and everything happens all over again. We wouldn’t talk for months. Then here comes alcohol to break the ice. We [intentionally] get inebriated to say and do things we’d rather not in sobriety. Then everything momentarily becomes okay as we lie in bed. And as soon we liberate the pent-up cravings we have for each other, we go back to step one, putting the blame on alcohol to vindicate whatever it was we did.

It’s funny how we held on despite the lack of any words of reassurance, let alone promises, that it will be all worth it in the end. We were delusional. We blindly hang onto nothing, tricking ourselves that the misery we went through will eventually be rewarded. Or even purposely forgotten. We let our guards down as we were told empty words; words that we desperately put meanings to. And as soon as these lies surfaced, our minds seemed to instantly wipe out their every liability. Every reason to leave them gone like smoke. So there we are again, going back to something we badly need to get away from.

Of course we have every right to feel infuriated. To get pissed because we didn’t listen to our closest friends. To feel stupid because we paid no attention to the red flags. To wish them all godforsaken things in the world for leaving us in shambles yet again.  To feel as equally responsible because if there’s someone else to blame, it’s us. Everything was happening right under our nose, but we chose to ignore it, perpetually hoping that sooner or later, we’d get to bask in on those magic words we’ve been longing to hear. But it never came. All there was to it were mixed signals, like a malfunctioning traffic light, both of which ensued cuts and bruises.

We’ve got to stop being self-destructive. We’re not stupid to not know that things will not turn out as what we had hoped, given that we’ve gone through this over and over. We’ve given the other person the upper hand in such dysfunctional relationship, and that’s one thing we ought to avoid because they love having power over us. They take advantage of our vulnerability only because they know we’ve got no choice but to do it.  But we do. We have an option to be assertive and to consider our own needs, but irrationality took over. Only we have the right to reign over what we do, and that we must never give away especially to someone who only sees us as nothing but a toy.

We should know how to delineate that thin line separating when to give up and when to continue fighting. We’d be setting ourselves up for a loss when we decide to push through despite the countless times when we  were powerless and felt like a worthless piece of trash.  But we deserve so much more and we need to be respected. Accept and admit our mistakes, stop feeling sorry for ourselves, and get out of the trap we fell into. Fight that impulse to go back because it will do no good. It’s not going to be easy getting rid of a person you’ve inadvertently became dependent to, but if you don’t want to feel awfully unhappy anymore, walk away.