The First Photo Shoot Is Always The Hardest

I befriended an amateur photographer in school and she wanted to use my style for one of her portfolios. I normally dress like my idol, Avril Lavigne. For 8 years I’ve admired her style and most of my clothes have a punk/rock theme to them. Not a lot of people dress like this in school (or at least, I rarely see them) and since I wanted a nice profile picture for Facebook, I decided to give it a shot (pun intended).

On the day of the shoot, I encountered my first problem: self-consciousness. I have very low confidence in myself and became aware of the people staring at us. It wasn’t to gawk but just stares of curiosity but it still made me feel insecure. My friend who is used to these things told me not to fret and ignore them but I couldn’t so I dragged her to the most secluded spot around where there would be fewer people to notice us which just happened to be the open air parking lot.

Then I bumped into a second obstacle: posing. I would occasionally watch America’s Next Top Model however, when it came to executing the models poses, I was at a loss. It was very stiff and awkward at first because I was basing it from what I saw in magazines and ANTM but eventually it became easier and more natural. I even started being less conscious of the staring people when we moved to the garden and that’s definitely a plus!

Another dilemma was facial expressions. I just got so used to saying ‘cheese’ for most photos that I couldn’t make anything else. I tried to make it look sullen and brooding but my face ended up looking more like a grimace instead.

I’ve posted below some of my shots, both good and bad. The first two are the decent shots and the last two are the not so decent shots. My smile and posing is rather awkward, especially the last two but with time and experience, it definitely gets better. The smiles are all the same but I hope to improve that soon. I really don’t know what to say over the black and white photo so I’ll leave that to you to judge.

So to all future amateur models out there, don’t agonize over the cameras and staring people! It definitely gets better because the first time’s always the hardest! Eventually I did improve and I’ll post more photos soon.

The Dehumanization of People Through Technology

While watching The Internship, a scene came up of the main characters enjoying the view of the bridge early in the morning after a drunk night of partying. Why did I pay attention to this? Because 4 of the 6 people were 21-23 years old and they were actually enjoying the view and not just taking pictures to immediately post on social media indicating than enjoy the view. I am growing up with a generation of people who are more concerned with what is happening in the digital world than in real life. I am 19 years old and I hate cell phones. Seriously. It’s not unusual for me to be eating with my fellow teens and all of them are more focused on their phones than enjoying a decent conversation. Sometimes we’ll have a group photo after they’re done Instagraming their food and posting it on Facebook still, I don’t enjoy it. When I was taking CWTS, EVERYONE on the jeepney was just on their phone listening to music. These people were friends. They knew each other but it was so quiet. Had it been the same trip 1-2 years ago back when I was still in high school (phones weren’t allowed), I’m sure the ride would have been noisier and filled with life. What is wrong with these people? I feel like technology is taking the humanity out of us! All we do is look at screens these days. Please tell me I am not the only young person who feels like this. I don’t really have an attachment to my phone. After all, the only person who constantly calls is my mother.

Should I Come Out Of The Closet To My Family? The Reason Why I’m Too Afraid.

Every time that I talk to my dad, not a day goes by that he doesn’t bash and insult homosexuals. He is under the impression that all homos are supposed to look like Vice Ganda or Charice Pempengco and every time I listen, a part of my heart breaks. I want to tell him to shut up, that he’s wrong and that he is practically insulting his own daughter on a daily basis. It fucking hurts. On December 31, 2013, I attended a party at a restaurant with my family and most of my relatives from my Dad’s side of the family. He starts giving relationship advice to my cousins and here comes the big finish. Out of all mistakes, never engage in a homosexual relationship he says. It’s wrong and they will go to hell. He says too many things that I can’t even mention and everyone listens to him as if he’s the Messiah. Everyone that is, except for my immediate family members. I and my sister hold hands under the table, signalling how much we want to shut him up. She doesn’t know of my orientation and I am grateful that she has nothing against the homosexual community. I am thankful that they don’t share the same opinion as him. It makes my eventual coming out easier to picture. I want to shoot a bullet through his skull.

As he talks, all I can do is stare and fiddle with my empty glass. I have long ago finished its contents in an attempt to distract myself. As I keep playing, my cousin (who used to be my best friend) speaks up. She is beside me and talks about how she has 2 friends engaged in a lesbian relationship. One girl does not intend for it to last because as soon as she graduates college, she will end it and get a boyfriend. I feel like she is only playing with the other girl’s heart. The sad thing is that this other girl used to be my classmate from high school and though I wish to warn her, I do not want to get involved in any drama. If her heart gets broken, I want no part of it. She finishes her story and notices my empty stare. She asks if I’m ok and I say yes with a smile. During the car ride going home, my brother, though usually dense, notices how I refuse to meet anyone’s eyes and asks the same question. I say yes in another monotone voice.

I would like to say that I’m sorry. I’m so very sorry. I can’t help it that I’m like this. I spent most of my childhood in a heterosexual school and ever since I was seven, I started looking at girls differently. It progressed even more as I got older and I prayed to God day and night to make the gay go away. This article, journal, thing…whatever I’m writing sounds more like something that belongs in DLSU Secret Files but I just wanna come out. I’m so fucking sorry that I ended up like this but there is nothing I can do about this. I’m a femme lesbian. I look and act like a girl and go against so many stereotypes of what a lesbian should be. I don’t have short hair, wear guy clothes, play sports or have a deep voice. This makes it hard for so many people to believe me when I say I’m gay.

Today, as he drives me to school, he goes on another one of his lectures. The entire trip was just filled with his voice, deeming his judgement on those he sees as evildoers and not knowing that one of those sinners sit beside him. I bite my lip and face the window to keep from crying. I refuse to show tears for if I do, he will know and I can say goodbye to the roof on my head. When I went home, I told my mother about all of his lectures. My parents do not get along but I love my mom more than my dad. He’s an asshole anyway. My mother says that he’s crazy and that times have changed so you cannot believe everything that the bible says. I hide a smile at what she just said. I ask her “Mom?” and she replies with “yes?” but I hesitate and say “never mind, I forgot it” though she insists I go on and with a leap of faith I ask her “If I were gay, would you still love me?” It took every ounce of courage I had to ask her that and you know what her reply was? She said yes. I am her child and she will love me no matter what. It’s not like I would be doing anything wrong with my life though she says that she’ll find it sad and somewhat wasteful of my looks.

Upon hearing her answer, no emotion could encompass everything that I felt: joy, relief, happiness, confusion and so much more. Though I haven’t officially come out, at least I know that she’ll accept me and that’s all that matters. However, my dad and his entire side of the family will probably disown me given the homophobia there and I would retaliate that I’d rather be gay than be married and with kids to my own first cousin which is the case with more than half of my aunts and uncles. My half-sisters (older and younger but different mothers) are cousins with my dad. Thankfully, my parents are in no way related to each other. It even extends to my cousins where most of them are fuck buddies with each other. So which of these two is a bigger sin: homosexuality or incest? After a few more minutes of talking with my mom, I went to my room and cried tears of joy. I don’t know when I’ll come out of the closet to my family and I’m about to graduate this October at the tender age of 20. I’m just too scared to see the hurt, shame, anger and disappointment in everyone’s eyes. There’s just so much to lose but there is also a lot to gain, like this burden off my chest. I know this article is really long and I would like to thank you, dear reader for putting up with my ranting and emotional distress.

Did She Ask For It? The Rape Paradox and My Experiences of Sexism in the Family

When a woman wears skimpy clothes, does it mean she wants to be raped? I don’t think so. You see, my logic is this. Society bombards a woman with hundreds of ads each day telling her that she needs to be prettier, sexier, and if she does not achieve perfection, she’s not good enough. You want us to dress sexy? Fine. Now we wear sexy clothes and then suddenly people say we do not respect ourselves but isn’t it the media that pressures us to do this? That our appearance matters so much that we must use up lots of time, money and effort in order to achieve what an “ideal” woman must look like? I see a paradox here. Woman must look sexy to please your eyes. Woman does what society dictates is pretty and suddenly she gets told that she’s asking to be raped, not respecting herself, etc.

Media depicts women showing more and more skin as time passes. I am not a conservative person but I do think that the way women are portrayed in media is dehumanizing. I’m sorry for the term but I feel as if we are being turned into objects and I don’t like it. We live in a patriarchal society and the fight for women’s rights is not over. Far from it. I wouldn’t even mind living in a patriarchal society if the disparity wasn’t so large but it is. Less pay, more biases, pressures and risks of being in danger. I can’t even go out at night without fearing I could get robbed or worse. I hate it.

 Sometimes I wish I were born a boy just so my mom won’t worry about my safety. She never gets this worked up over my brother. I wanted a motorcycle. I asked my mom for one and she says no. Of course, living in the Philippines, reckless drivers is a limitless supply we have. It doesn’t help that every time I ask for one, we always pass by a motorcycle accident. A man’s head is bleeding, a dead body, or two drivers arguing. There is also a lack of female drivers. What is the fruit of all my weeks of begging? My mom considers giving my brother a motorcycle. I was furious! I went on about how this is sexist, unfair, I’m the one who’s been begging so why should he get one but not me? Yes, it was childish but in my head, my actions were justified. My brother is given a lot of leeway if he wants to leave the house but since he’s a recluse gamer, he doesn’t take advantage of it. I, on the other hand, feel like a prisoner. I must inform my mother of every single detail whenever I leave. Who are my friends, where did I meet them, what are their numbers, how are you going there, how you are going home, etc. Most of the time, I lie. It is an art that I have perfected and a necessary skill to go anywhere.

One of the things she’s worried most is whenever I take the taxi. She is bombarded with news of what happens to girls who take the taxi from her friends and the media. So, during the few times I make the mistake of telling her I am in one, she calls every five minutes. I am not exaggerating. She really does it and my friends were there to witness it. She would rather I wait for 2-3 hours for the family driver than take the jeep, train or god forbid, a cab. She cannot protect me forever. If anything, she suffocates me. I understand that she loves me and stuff but still, the disparity between the freedom she gives me and my brother is really far.

I want to end this but I know that she’s too closed minded to let me go. So, I would rather leave her as soon as I graduate. I know it will be expensive and hard, but at least I no longer have a leash. Though whenever I mention of me moving out, she tries to deter me or say she’ll move her residence only a few minutes away from mine or I must call her every day. Though she does not express the same hesitation with my brother leaving.

 

 

Falling for the Unattainable Athlete

So there’s this girl in my Philosophy class and though I barely know her, I have a huge crush on her. And when I say huge, I mean HUGE. I don’t know why. Let’s call her Alex. She’s 5’9, broad shouldered, shoulder length hair, a really handsome girl and a varsity player in Basketball. Like for me, she is Shane McCutcheon in the flesh (though they look nothing alike). But I have no shot with her. Zill, none, zero, nadda and hell would probably freeze over before I could ask for her number. She’s like way up there and I’m way down here. She was my classmate last term in Research Methods (a class that teaches us how to make our thesis) and I just noticed her. I mean, I’d see her and say “Woah! She’s cute.” But since she didn’t come to class regularly, I didn’t really pay attention to her but this term, I see her way more often and damn, I am really attracted to her. With my previous crushes, it would take me time to realize I like them but with Alex, it took a few moments of talking to her to find out that I like her. A lot.

I don’t know what’s happening to me. I feel like a lovesick high school girl. Granted, I’m only 19 but still, I don’t like this. I’m doing things that I’d never catch myself doing. If I see her in the hall, I would hide behind my friend and if she’d smile at me, I’d have a stupid grin on my face. There was a time I was with my friends and she just came out of her classroom. My friends said hi and she smiled at them but I looked away, smiled a bit and hugged my books closer to my chest. I looked like such a shy nerd. I think I saw her classmates tease her for it. I mean, it was so damn obvious I like her and I couldn’t hide it. Damn. Why? Is God mad at me or something? Why is he doing this? I hate feeling like this. It’s so distracting. Can it go away? Nevermind. Stupid question. You can’t make love go away, no matter how miniscule it is.  

A smile from her would make my day and hug would brighten up my week. I’m really just her go-to-girl for Philosophy. As an athlete, there are times she would be absent and if she needs details for class works, she would just Facebook me. Heck, I just typed the forms for our next assignment. It could be found in our syllabus but she left it at her dorm so I typed it for her. I am so pathetic. I really hate this. Why do I always end up liking people I have no shot with? The best song I could relate to is Heart Attack by Demi Lovato. Before, I wouldn’t give a damn about how I look but I make an effort during Mondays and Wednesdays (the days I have Philosophy). She makes me act like such a…girl. I get giggly, nervous, irrational, self-conscious, fashion conscious and in Tagalog, kinikilig ako ng sobra pagkasama siya.

And the worst part is she knows. She fucking knows I have a crush on her! Apparently she saw me staring at her a lot. I thought I was being discreet. I stopped though cause I’m sure she thinks I’m creepy now. *Sigh* When will this go away? I really want it to go away. Why can’t I have a crush on a girl I know I’ll at least have a sliver of a chance? Because deep in my heart, I know Alex is unattainable.

 

Never break a sweat for the other guys
When you come around I get paralyzed
And every time I try to be myself
It comes out wrong like a cry for help

It’s just not fair
Brings more trouble than it all is worth
I gasp for air
It feels so good, but you know it hurts
But you, make me wanna act like a girl
Paint my nails and wear perfume
Boy you make me so nervous that I just can’ t hold your hand

 

 

 

Being Single Is Beautiful

To my friends who like to whine about being single, shut the hell up. Please. Being in a relationship isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Maybe it’s just me but I felt like I was in shackles during my relationship. I barely had time for myself, my cell phone was always ringing and god forbid I don’t answer her (unless I want hell to break lose), constantly broke, and frequently having to deal with emotional, frantic and irrational talks in the middle of the night. I’d like to think it was because the girl I was with was a classic romantic but it’s not always the case. I had a transman court me once but he too was constantly suffocating me.

I like having time to myself which is a luxury I’ve had to forfeit. Between making my thesis, international law and dealing with other pressures as a graduating student, having a clingy girlfriend did not help. Honestly, if I didn’t text her for six hours she’d assume I was cheating or kidnapped or something. I’d like to note that my ex did not go to school. 2 years after her high school graduation and she was too lazy to go to college. Unlike her, I did not spend my time watching series’ such as Skins, Big Bang, Once Upon A Time, etc. I had academics to focus on and my time was very valuable. I’m not a phone friendly person either so I’m sorry if I don’t look at my cell phone every 30 minutes.

After breaking up I felt free. So free that entering a relationship is probably not something I’ll do anytime soon. I have money again. Before I had to bring baon (food from my house) because buying lunch around Taft was not a luxury I had. My allowance usually went to our dates. So to the people out there who feel sad about not having a special someone to spend time with, don‘t be so sad. Relish it. Enjoy your freedom. 

 

Questions to Not Ask a Lesbian

So in case the title didn’t explain it enough, I am a lesbian. Call it what you may: dyke, queer, carpetmuncher, lesbo, etc but it all means the same thing. I. AM. GAY. I’m not exactly ashamed of it either. Also, the funny thing is that I don’t even look gay. I have long hair, I dress in punk clothes every day, I don’t play sports, and I don’t act anything like a guy. The only thing boyish about me is that I’d occasionally dress in guys clothes but that’s cause they’re more comfortable. I like the part where their clothes aren’t fitted and the pants are unbelievably loose and comfy. But that’s like a once a month thing and I’ve outgrown wearing them daily for a few months.

Now, being gay isn’t anything to be ashamed off but it’s more of society’s perception that makes it a negative thing. When people think lesbian what is immediately pictured is a girl with short hair, guys clothing, athletic and boyish. Yeah…that’s not me. When people, specifically those belonging to my age group learn that I’m gay, I get bombarded with the most inane questions and statements that it has lost its flair after the fifth interrogation. Why did I use the word interrogation? Because it feels like it.

How long have you been gay? It’s like asking them how long they have been straight. It’s stupid. Still, I do answer it since I can tell they’re generally curious and they don’t mean to offend. I’ve been gay since I was six years old. I’ve looked at my girl classmates quite differently from boys but at the time I haven’t though anything bad of it. I’ve been harbouring a crush for my former best friend since I was 7 and it stayed till I was 12. Of course she just had to be straight so I never told her besides, she was unbelievably beautiful and had boys clamouring for her attention since third grade. I had no chance and again, I’m pretty sure she was straight as a ruler. Being gay got worse when I hit puberty.

But you don’t look gay/You’re too pretty to be gay. What exactly does it mean to look gay? I’m sorry that I know jack shit about cars (though my family owns a second hand car shop), I’m about as athletically coordinated as a rock, my hair reaches my back, I have a very feminine hobby of knitting and crocheting , love make up and basically, I look just like a regular girl. Thank you for saying that I’m pretty (and I’m not being vain. I’m aware that I’m at least not ugly) but that’s like saying that to be a lesbian one of the requirements is to be well…ugly. It’s offensive. Very.

Who’s the boy in the relationship? Unless I’m dating a transgender, there is no guy in a lesbian relationship. Even if I were dating a butch, she doesn’t need to do the things that a guy would. Biologically, we are both women so how in the hell can there be a guy in this relationship? Sure it’s a bit difficult especially when we’re both femmes and neither of us is very aggressive/dominant but it’s cool. Women are generally passive creatures. Heck, when I was in a relationship with a rather feminine bisexual girl, I paid for dates, held doors, brought her home but she’d usually be the one to instigate the first move like when we kiss. There is no traditional rule to follow. Had she been butch, I’d still do the same things though it may be a bit awkward.

How far did you two go?  This question is so perverse that I can’t even explain how offended I get when I break up with a girl and my straight classmates ask me this. I don’t go asking them how far they went because I don’t need details of what they do in the bedroom and they shouldn’t ask for mine unless we’re really close. And I mean REALY CLOSE.

How do two girls has sex? A follow up question to the previous one and also quite offensive. Google is there. It’s not so difficult to type how women have sex. But, I would not suggest looking at lesbian porn. Those things disgust me because they were so obviously made for men to watch. The girls fake their sounds, a lot of penetration of foreign objects is involved (objects that should NOT be inserted in a vagina), and how they have sex is just…WRONG. Lesbian porn should be renamed as a manual on “How NOT to have sex with a lesbian.” But to answer this question for those who are curious, it’s a give and take thing. Unless one of the girls is a stone butch (a girl who likes to do all the work) and the other is a pillow queen (a girl who just lies there and enjoys), both parties need to exert effort. Sometimes special toys like dildos and vibrators are used but that doesn’t mean we want a penis so for the boys who are about to ask if they can join, you can’t.

Do you think she’s hot?/Does she turn you on?  I have friends who like to point random girls at me quite a lot and ask if I’d do them. Uhhh….just cause I’m gay doesn’t mean I want to bang every pretty girl I see. I’m not an animal. A straight girl (unless she’s a nymphomaniac) doesn’t want to have sex with every guy they pass by so how should a lesbian any different? We’re people too. Normal people just like you who were raised under cultural norms and possess morals.

Maybe I’ll have a Part II because there are so many questions that I find it hard to put it all in one article. These are some of the more common ones though so I thought I’d post them first. Do you have any questions to ask? If you do, I’d be more than happy to answer them if I can. Unless it’s something stupid like if I’m going to hell, do I watch L-Word (I did and like most girls, I find Shane HOT!), do I believe in God, is this just a phase, etc. But yeah, I’m open to questions so ask away. J