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wilfrido david
wilfrido david "AND THEY lived happily ever after." That is not how a story normally begins, but rather how it usually should end. But this is not the typical story your grandmother tells you before you go to bed, not the likes of Lola Basyang anyway. It starts with "Twice upon a time" because it is not an easy one to tell. It is something that is put off for tomorrow even if you can do it today! How long have you been multi-tasking, pretending to be what you are not, like an impostor? Please read on.

I have a nephew who literally spent his adoloscent years not knowing "who" he was, and I don't mean amnesia either. He was torn between admitting how he felt about himself and how people saw him. He found it appealing to be attracted to good-looking boys but at the same time thought it weird. In an attempt to shake off this unsettling feeling he went out with girls who found him likeable if not attractive. One time he even introduced a girl to his mom as his girlfriend, his steady, as it was called during those days. In fact, his mom thought he was a playboy, what with the different girls he brought home for lunch with the family. She feared that he might be so distracted he might not finish college. He was a ladies' man.

Those were unhappy years, years that needed not have been unhappy if only he had the integrity and courage to come clean about his own being, his real self. He was more upfront with his siblings, they did know about his preferences since childhood. But parents tend to look the other way even as they have this gut feeling about their offspring. They totally missed out on him, perhaps because of the false front he put on for so many years. Yes, he was a macho guy—his moustache added to that image—but inside of him, he was a woman just past her debutante years, ready to conquer the world. For how long could he continue with this masquerade?

Going back to his younger years, just before graduating from high school, he had set out to enter the seminary. It was not his vocation but the idea that boarding with male companions appealed to him. This was when he started having doubts about himself. But he let it pass, thinking that he was going through a stage in his life where indecision wreaks havoc on what he thought were very well laid out plans for his future. But his mother wouldn't dream of it and his dad just let things take their due course.

Finally he finished a physical therapy course and got hired on a working visa in a nursing home in Florida, USA. He made good and soon put up his own physical therapy clinic. He has never been happier, now he could flap his wings and fly anywhere he wanted to with his newfound freedom. At last he was out of the closet... but not quite! His parents still think they have a son making a name in his chosen profession. He could only be himself when he is away from family. For the moment he had to content himself with a dual personality. Unless he tells his parents, he can never be truly happy.

One time, when his parents dropped by to surprise him in his place in San Francisco, a guy in his pajamas opened the door, let them in without even asking who they were as he was right in assuming they were relatives coming to visit. Their son half-hesitantly came out of "their" room, looking like the cat that just swallowed the proverbial goldfish, nonplussed nonetheless. He put up a brave front explaining the situation, that he had to take in boarders in order to meet the mortgage payments. Well, as understanding parents, they saw no point in asking why the boarder preferred to share the same bedroom. They let it go, but vowed to call him beforehand whenever they intended to visit in the future.

To make a long story even longer, the experience drained all the sanity left in him. He couldn't accept this as a normal part of everyday existence. But he just couldn't bring himself to confess, to expose his secret without feeling like an extraterrestrial trying to assimilate with earth people. As a last resort he called his sisters to consult with them his predicament. He was at his wit's end, he brushed his better judgement aside and did what he had to do. It was happiness, his peace of mind, his persona that were at stake. He took his sisters' advice to settle the score—for the truth shall set him free!

Convinced of his sisters backing him up, he mustered enough confidence to be able to breeze through it with an absolute absolution. He got a plane ticket for home and mentally prepared himself. This was it!

First thing in the morning, he knocked on his parents' bedroom, and asked if he could talk to them about an important matter that has been bothering him all his life. The dialogue could have come straight from a telenovela.

"Mom, Dad, I think it is about time that I tell you who I really am, who I feel I cannot be, without your blessings. Er, er, perhaps you knew all along but never confronted me with your doubts. I understand perfectly. Forgive me if I deceived you, but it's only because I didn't want to displease you."

The parents, becoming teary-eyed, said, "The incident in San Francisco were just a confirmation of our inner-most fears, that you were not who we thought you were. You are what or who you are and nothing can change that. We should be thankful that we have both a son and a daughter in you!"

The room was filled with laughter and one by one the sisters came in to congratulate him. After all, this was no mean accomplishment, it was a life-changing moment.

Our subject got married recently with his beloved, which is another significant milestone in his life. Although same-sex marriages aren't officially recognized just yet, his "coming-out" is worth celebrating. The family just celebrated their fourth anniversary and everybody is happy. All's well that ends well.

Moral of the story: Be all that you can be, and that is only achievable if you are forthright with your peers and secure under your own skin. The closet door is there for you to open and not by anyone else.

[About the author. Wilfrido David first retired as Computer-Analyst from the Ayala Group of Companies. He immigrated to the US in 1985, worked there for another 25 years in the Medical Field (Medical Lab Tech), until he retired for the second time. Sometime ago, he was involved with FAANM (Filipino-American Association of New Mexico) as correspondent-contributor-writer-editor, publisher—all rolled into one. He says about that stint, "I ran out of energy, patience, and money but kept on with my duties until the next set of association officers were voted in." The earliest writing he did was for his high school paper in Holy Angel University. His present writing derives from the perspective of a Filipino expat in the US who faithfully keeps up with what's happening in the home country, as gleaned from his Filipino channels on DirecTV, aside from CNN and HLN.]

-Posted: 10:00 AM 4/26/11 | More of this author on eK!