Growing up, I was a lot of things. Probably the one that stands out the most was how much trouble I was in my early school days, before evolving into something entirely different after that phase.
My first trip to the Principal’s office was in Kindergarten, after I repeatedly pulled my seatmate’s red suspenders, a striking contrast to our green and white uniform. I don’t remember that incident much, but my parents say I was accused of calling that said classmate “ugly” and “payatot.” My mom reported to the school and I got an “NI” (Needs Improvement) on my conduct. His name was Alex.
During “Bring A Pet To School” day in Preparatory class, the adviser asked me and my classmate Vanessa to be the official representatives of our section. On the day of the program Vanessa brought those artificially-colored chicks, which attracted most of the kids’ curiosity, making me feel like an ultimate loser with my gold fish encased in a sad, huge plastic bag. I told Vanessa to release her pet chicks because their constant chirping meant they wanted to be set free. She did, and I killed two of them.
In first grade, I got into a fight with the Class Vice-President, half-Filipino, half-Japanese Fumi. He wanted to impose a different scheme on how we were supposed to list the noisy boys and girls, and being the Class President, I wasn’t about to let him make the final decision. At dismissal, he pinched my arm and called me “fat”; I kicked his knee, punched him in the stomach and told him, “Yan sa’yo.” He transferred to another school the following year.
Eventually I became a student leader, assuming several positions before being elected as Student Council President in my high school senior year. I went from notorious troublemaker to role model, two distant and opposing stereotypes.
Going through another transition in my life right now, I’m trying to recall what happened in between. How did I ever manage to shift from someone so out of control to someone so composed and decided? What drove the little pest to grow into someone more likable? When was the turning point?
Well, I’m really not pressing for answers right now. Maybe just a clear vision of who I want to be.