A good friend Ryan, whom I have gone to the same high school and university, often tells me through our regular MSN chats that I appear to be the only one amongst our mutual friends that truly moved on to better things. He said that living in Australia suited me, and that I truly belonged in a foreign country.
"It's not that I don't want you to come back, it's just that you are not suited to stay here in the Philippines. You'll rot here."
It may have to do with my personality. Ryan has known me longer than any of our friends that I still have regular contact with. He knows that despite my "personality change" during our uni days when I was going out with a certain someone, he still has the image of the outgoing, outspoken, and often blunt Jennie that he knew back in high school.
That relationship nearly destroyed me. It nearly ruined me. It broke my spirit, my confidence, everything that made me the individual that I was. That is the reason why I still hate him, why I could never forgive, and it constantly reminded me of what a fool I was. It made me hate myself.
Ryan tells me to forget, forgive, and move on.
As much as I want to, it's hard. How can you forgive? For three years, I was unsure of myself. Three years of listening to a man saying things like:
"No one can love you the way that I do."
"Why do you need friends when you already have me?"
"Ang arte mo."
"Huwag kang lumandi."
"If you loved me, you'll have sex with me."
Sigh... I was a fool to have let this go on as long as it did. He cared so much about appearances that he wanted to mold me into the woman he thought is suitable, to be accepted by people around him.
Why do men do this? Whatever happened to liking a person for what they are, not for what you want them to be? Being the stubborn bitch that I can be, we had heaps of fights. I believe he didn't expect me to contest him too much. He probably thought that I was different from other Filipina women out there who just agree with everything the man says.
As soon as I migrated to Australia, I broke up with the guy I was seeing. It was easy enough, I thought we could remain friends, but he called a few times using his mobile phone, mind you, to verbally abuse me. It was then I realized that I have to completely severe ties and never communicate ever again.
Don't get me wrong. I still wouldn't mind giving him a punch on the nose and a matching black eye for what he did. I really want to move on and forget the whole thing. Forget, maybe, but never will I forgive him. He is a reminder of the weakness I showed back then. I want to beat him senseless, carve out his eyes, and shove it down his throat. He is every bit the man that I despise.
Yes, I do not belong in the Philippines. I do not care for appearances. I do not care for being one with the crowd. I do not care for having the latest of everything. I do not care for being sexually repressed. I do not care for being considered different because I wear glasses or I don't have a tiny body. I do not care for everything that is superficial.
I care about being me. I care about having a voice and feeling free to speak out. I care about being able to express myself as I so choose without being judged. I care about having the freedom to kiss and cuddle my partner without being looked at like I'm some leper. I care about being able to wear different style glasses and not be called names. I care about being a healthy size and not be ostracised for it.
I love being in a country that allows me to explore all these things. I love being in a country that allows me to be me. As much I love my friends and family, I'm afraid I will never go back. I will never stay longer than a month for holidays. I'm afraid I cannot stay in country that cannot guarantee me a good future.
Australia has been kind to me. It has given me so much... a career, a life, a fantastic partner.
I miss my friends... I miss my family... I miss the gimmicks and the laughter. I wish I could take them all here with me. I can't go back. I don't belong there...