From childhood through adolescence, I’ve always dabbled in a variety of activities to find my cup of tea. I used to dance during school celebrations, from Filipino folk dances to ballroom dancing. I remember being good at it in terms of precision and technicality. I forgot all about it though after a classmate who was sort of a bully made a comment about “dancing is for gays.”
I also used to draw. I remember drawing Bugs Bunny and other subjects and how these were displayed proudly at home. The idea that I created something quietly gave me a sense of pride but I was also aware that not only was art not going to make money, but that it was not valued highly in our schools.
So much focus was placed on being academically proficient and competitive that it was all about being in the “Section 1” which is supposedly the best and the brightest class in the school. My mother used to get upset when I couldn’t pass the test to get in “the class.” I probably took the test every year at her prodding only to be told that my test scores were just not good enough. It never bothered me though. Deep inside I sort of knew that there’s more to life than being the best reader or writer, the best orator or best in multiplication, specially if these “bests” were based on parentage and family connections and not actual authentic merit.
At home, I was also torn between being academic and practical. Growing up as the middle child during my early childhood, I didn’t know if I were to follow my oldest brother’s academic excellence or go the route of practical and physical strength of my two other brothers. I just felt like it came naturally for them, being drawn to school and books and writing, as well as basketball and sports.
All through college and even now in my adult life, I’ve also dabbled in learning about the different disciplines in a quest for what truly my passion is. I know it continues to evolve and grow and that I’m hopeful that somehow somewhere, all these experiences, all these dabbling will interconnect to bring out the true core and purpose of my existence.