When we were still kids, she was always the white-skinned, and thus, was always the prettier one. I, being the dark-skinned, was always the less pretty one. But no, my family and my relatives never told us something about who’s prettier and so on. We were like four or five years old then, so I didn’t care. We were cousins, and childhood friends. My uncle used to call us gatas at kape, for obvious reasons. Then again, I didn’t care. My cousin didn’t care either. Or so I think.
We went to the same kindergarten school. She was always the first honor, thus, was always the smarter one. I, being the second honor, was just always next to her. But no, my family and my relatives never told us something about who’s smarter and so on. Then again, I didn’t care. My cousin didn’t care either. Or so I think.
She was always the more talkative, while I was the silent type. She was always early for school. I, on the other hand, knew nothing but to get my school uniform messed-up with Milo powder. Yet I was still brave enough to go to school no matter how late I was. Then again, I didn’t care.
She went to a private grade school, while I went school hopping. She graduated with honors. I graduated a Valedictorian. Then again, I didn’t care.
She went to a private high school, I went to a private high school too. Mine was a lot more expensive than hers. She graduated with honors. I graduated, period. (But hey! I was a consistent honor student too, only that in one of our grading periods, I didn’t reach the cut-off grade for those who would receive a medal on stage during graduation.)
She must have decided to bag the super-loyalty award so she enrolled in the same school for college. I decided to explore the world so I studied away from home. When my mama got hospitalized (she has a pneumonia and a heart failure), her mama told someone about why my mama decided to send me to a university away from home, ayan tuloy wala nang magbabantay sa kanya. My mama told me about it while she’s on the hospital and told me it’s fine, that I just need to finish college with good grades.
And then last night, I was in my grandma’s house. My uncle, who came home from Thailand after four years, asked me – ngano dili man ka cum laude rai? Si *** cum laude bya. He is my favorite uncle. That same uncle who used to call us gatas at kape. And I knew that the question was meant to be sarcastic, but NOT towards me. I believe that he was always my kampi. When he said those lines, I knew he was still on my side. I know all my titos and titas, my other cousins and my grandma are.
I have never bragged – about anything. When my cousin was telling me about how tedious and how hard their school works were, I was just listening. If I would be talking, I would sound like I was bragging. So every time I get caught up with that kind of conversation, I just remain silent.
I have always been an achiever, someone who wants to get things done in an extraordinary way. I despise mediocrity. When my uncle asked me about not being a cum laude, I just smiled. I knew that he knew what that meant. They all knew. They believe that I was always the smarter one. They say that I am the only person in our clan who had passed one of the most rigorous entrance examinations a college student can take, the only person who managed to get in one of the best universities in the country.
Within the duration of the conversation, I had managed to say maayo pa gani sya makatulog pa. I am not entitled to explain anything to anyone. There’s no point of bragging. If a person is really smart, he or she doesn’t have to say it because it will show.
With all these things, I was and I am not the least bit insecure of whatever things whoever has. I honestly think that insecurity is a product of immaturity. I know what I can do. I can drink all night, yet still manage to pass a graded-A academic paper due the next day. Lol! BUT THAT IS NOT THE POINT. Setting aside drinking and having fun, I believe I have what it takes to be a person with principle and with pride. I don’t compare myself to anybody. All those comparisons never ruined a part of me, not even a bit. If you’re sane enough, you’d know why.
I hope some people would just quit acting like they’ve gotten hold of everything. It won’t help. And I swear, my life won’t be a mess. Mark that.