Let me start catching up with the most clichéd number on my blog, “18”. Here in the Philippines, celebrating your 18th birthday is a turning point for a girl’s life. Kind of like the equivalent of sweet-sixteen for the westerners. Traditionally, it has to be one of the most important events on your post-puberty days since you will finally cross-over to the early stage of womanhood. Most Filipinas plan this “big” event their whole lives — 18 roses, candles, treasures and all of those fancy girly stuffs. In my case, I chose the event less partied by. But life has more experience in being a party-planner than I am.
Twist of fate (360 deg)
Since childhood, my parents and I have been talking about my “debut” but not in a festive way. We have come up to a decision that the celebration will only be of my closest friends (birthday meal). We’ll just save up the money to be spent on my college tuition, and hopefully, as my parents promised, another trip to somewhere around Southeast Asia (*cross-fingers). I didn’t have any issues with this, in fact I agreed wholeheartedly since it’s more economical. And personally, I’d rather spend my birthdays with a few (worthy) people.
Everything was going as planned, but not until my department chose me as their representative for my college’s annual pageant. And the unforgiving magic of it all, it happened on my birth date.
It was a tough time since I have to train, attend school, practice, and study for finals all at once (talk about smooth-sailing to womanhood). Most of the things I felt and thought about were pressure, sweat and tears. Add to it are the harsh (bullying) comments from my opponents. Yep, everything was perfect… perfectly painful.
None of it resembled what I envisioned it to be, “in peace and solitude”. Nobody understood what I was going through and how I value my 18th birthday as something simple and numerically symbolic. Unfortunately, the anxiety of the pageant and my not-so-private-birthday made me so “will-broken”.
Soppiness overload (Let them know the ugly truth)
I couldn’t function anymore so I wrote something for everyone to read on my Facebook.
Minutes before 12 AM of February 15th…
“It pains me that I have to spend my 18th birthday on a stage competing with everyone else. I feel sorry for myself because I have to wear shoes that barely fit me and describe who I really am inside. If I had it my way I would’ve been celebrating it in peace and solitude. I would’ve worn my usual sneakers, order myself a cup of coffee, and walk alone. Just me and my thoughts — my own personal time as I enter young adulthood. Instead, I have to do and be the otherwise.
But I guess seeing my family and closest friends from the stage makes all the sacrifices seem little, makes all the pain in my feet indifferent. All the tears and sweat I shed will be worth it. They will help me fly… from a young lady to a young adult.”
During hair and make-up, one of my handlers asked me “Are you on menstruation?”. It was an awkward but true-to-emotions question. Not that I was irritated, it was more of the fact that I didn’t have the energy and excitement. Everybody expected me to have the “I’m in it to win it” disposition, but I was as sloppy and flabby as my legs are that day. (But no, the tides were rather blue than red)
How could I be happy when I’m at the backstage with other girls and boys getting dressed up with fancy (sexy) clothing, disco-ball sized bling-bling and accessories, and make up as thick as the flour being used at the bakery?
I’m in a room full of people who seem to be light-years away from who they were. All I could do was plead to my handlers to keep things simple — P-L-E-A-S-E- NO
bling-blings, godzilla like earrings, cleavage, feathery stuffs, and bakery-finished make up. (I just couldn’t see the beauty in this? Am I normal?)
Everything and everyone was just all too much for me to handle. So there where my backstage team prepared and sat, I started to breakdown (Bye make-up, Hello Halloween!).
But our organizer approached and started singing a Happy Birthday Song until it sounded like a choir (probably some of them wishing me well… not to win). I appreciate the thought but I think I cried even harder after they were finished (lol). I know that some of them were saying that I did it all to get attention, but hell no.
I was unhappy that I have to celebrate my most awaited day in front of a crowd who’s going to critic every move I make. I was miserable enough that I wasn’t alone with my close friends and family who appreciates me minus the make-up and dangling earrings.
I just wanted a way out of everything like a runaway bride pageant version (of course with my best friend as an accomplice). But I can’t, in the name of my proud parents and loving underrated department.
Like a human sacrifice ready to jump off the cliff in the name of the gods, I wiped my tears on my make-up smudged mushy face. I took an awfully deep breath and told myself, let’s just do this shit and it will be over soon…
(Did I win? I love you guys so yep, to be continued…might as well add photos too)
P.S. I’m not against beauty pageants, I still have high respects on beauty queens. I just don’t think I’m psychologically and physically fit for it. In short, we’re not compatible. It’s not for me.