The year 2022 is almost coming to an end. This year, I am grateful for a lot of things, and I want to look back and recall the good things (and bad) that happened. Join me as I list down the most remarkable moments of my life this year.
This year we left our home of almost 7 years. Time passed by so fast, I could still remember the day we started living there. But we had to leave that house and move to a new one. We are currently renting a humble apartment within the same vicinity.
This move is important to me because it felt like a chapter closing. This move meant that I no longer had to live with my financially abusive stepfather. That bastard has made my life all but easy since he entered the picture. Since my mother died, I thought of every way I could kick him out of the house (that we were paying for by my mother’s government pension that he wasn’t entitled to). The different scenes of how it could go down had played countless of times in my head as I walk to and from school and work. But I had never thought that such a confrontation would go down as it did: just us both moving to our separate places with nothing to say to one another. I could write an entire book about the things he had done, but that’s a story for another blog post.
This move also meant that I have truly become the head of the household. I always have been since I entered college. But now, it’s been solidified, which meant my responsibilities inside the family have been more real. It meant that most of my life decisions will affect my brothers and my aunt, so I had to be as mature as I can with every choice that I take.
The election results have been a devastating blow to me. I have involved myself in the online campaign for then-VP Leni Robredo’s run for presidency. I have pinned all of my hopes for this country on her, and I truly believed that she was a good person who deserved the office. It was also my first time to vote, seeing that Jehovah’s Witnesses also don’t vote in accordance with their promise of neutrality in all forms. This election was both monumental and significant to me, as it was my first time utilizing my power as a Filipino citizen.
Imagine the dismay and grief I felt the morning after the elections when I found out that now-President, son of the dictator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has won, and by a large margin. That day I lost all hope for the Filipino people. After a revolutionary and never-before-seen campaign of the Kakampinks, Leni Robredo has still lost.
Perhaps it wasn’t the time yet. For now, I can only hope for a reckoning.
When I was in the closet, I have tried every single technique in my arsenal to conceal my SOGIE in order to protect myself from harassment. And when I came out as bisexual, I knew I could no longer live my life living in the shadows; I have to live from then on unapologetically, regardless of what people think or say. And that’s easier to say than it is to do.
Drag Race Philippines helped me a lot in that department. It was released this year. Right now, I am in a period of introspection and self-discovery. I have pretended to be someone else for so long that I didn’t know who I really am. And seeing drag queens transform and become someone they’re proud of is a very fresh and validating experience. I enjoyed every minute of that show, and not only did it validate my existence as a queer man, but it also inspired me to actively pursue a life well-lived and free.
In fact, I have recently started exploring my feminine side. It has been a very neglected part of me that I tried to suppress. But now that I am free to do whatever I want with my life, I have started learning how to do makeup (I’m not that good at it yet, though), and dressing up. I have also embraced feminine mannerisms and vocabulary that I once tried not to do, and I noticed that I have been taking care of myself even better recently.
My career is at an all-time high this year as I joined DICE205 Digital Corporation’s family of software developers. It was a very rewarding five months so far, and it keeps on giving. Before DICE205, I viewed my jobs as just steppingstones to some other better positions. But my stay in this company is one of, if not the first position that I really valued to be in. Not to sound critical of my past experiences, but this is the first position I am truly proud of. Here, I get to put my skills into great use, train myself towards more skills, and I receive great pay here.
This is also a company I would very gladly campaign for. I have an anti-capitalist view for the most part which gives me the tendency to not be fond of corporations and businessmen, but I give credit where credit is due. Based on my experience so far, DICE205 cares for its employees with great programs, benefits, and balanced work-life ratio. This company does not at all try to push its associates to their limits in exchange for little pay. When you work overtime, you are entitled to compensatory days off. You get more leave credits than what the labor laws dictate. You get dental services along with your HMO. You have a day off on your birthday; they even send you a cake.
I’ve seen my share of employers just trying to be the bare minimum and treat its employees as shitty as they can get away with, and DICE205 doesn’t do that. One known and effective technique us in the IT industry do is to switch jobs every 2-3 years, because that’s the most effective way to increase pay. If DICE205 was any other company, I would be considering changing jobs as early as now. However, this is, in all honesty, a company I can see myself staying in for a long time.
Last year, I met my current romantic partner. I am grateful to have such a loving and caring partner who is also healthy for me mentally. They helped me learn to be more social and healthier in the way I think and converse with people. They also encouraged me to form new connections and revisit old ones that have been stale.
I reconnected with my friends Carl and Kate after many years of no contact. We had quite a lovely catch up and I did enjoy their company. My friends Dior (not the designer) and Joshua Rey have also been in my life more often this year, and I think we’ve developed our friendships into something more intimate and supportive. My friendship with my childhood friend Jamillah has also flourished this year, we have had a catch up on her birthday (well, a couple of days after it) and we had a lovely time together.
Before we talk about the top 1 on this list, let’s first talk about other notable events that happened this year.
- I went to my first Pride March! This year, I went alone to my very first Pride March in Pasig’s “Atin ang Kulayaan” Pride March. It was a different experience, being surrounded by people who were just like me. It also felt like a revolt, and appropriately, a protest to assert our right to exist and to defend our spaces as we call on our government to legislate laws to protect us the same way the laws protect cisgender heterosexual people. It was a great experience, and I look forward to going to my next Pride March.
- I was invited to give a webinar. I missed doing webinars and talks, and I finally got an invitation to do one this year. The date is not yet finalized, and I am still preparing.
- My first drag dress-up. I also dressed up in drag for the first time this year for our company’s Halloween costume party. It’s been so fun dressing up, and I look forward to the next year doing it again.
- I jumped 3 companies this year. That’s a whole record. This year, I worked for 3 different companies. I worked for the first company for almost 3 years, for the second one almost a year (my time in the first company coincided with my time working part-time for the second one, and eventually worked there full-time), and now I am with DICE205.
- I learned a whole lot this year. For my job, I had to learn how to do server-side Java programming, which I never had to do before. I also had to learn PL/SQL, and while I am by no means an expert at it, I can proudly say that I can write up a simple script in less than a day. And at the time of writing, I am currently learning Docker, which is a completely complicated behemoth, so I am taking my precious time with it.
The top 1 for this year I think is me winning King of the Night for our company’s gala night. I wrote about it in a previous blog post. The reason I put this at the top is because it’s such a validating experience for me and make me feel appreciated in a lot of ways. I’ll be trauma dumping in the next paragraphs, so I’ll be putting it in spoiler so you can choose not to read.
TW Trigger warning: Trauma Dumping, bullying
I have been bullied for the way I look as early as my first memory. I’ve been berated by my peers for all kinds of things: that my lips were too thick, or that I had front teeth that looked like a rabbit, or that I was too thin, or that I didn’t look neat—the whole she-bang. And I handled it pretty well, I think. I just laughed those comments off, or I fought back and berated them for looking the way they look. But now that I am in a state of mind where I process everything, I found out that it’s affected me more than I realized. It gave me insecurities about my appearance that made me either not care at all about my appearance or be too worried about my look.
Like I also mentioned earlier, I had to be masculine enough to be accepted. And the problem is I lean more towards my feminine side. Most of the time, I failed to be masculine enough and people would hurl comments at me about how I was a closeted gay or that I am a or things like that.
To summarize, I cannot be who I am if I want people to be accepting of me. That is why winning this award is so validating to my existence. I came to the venue’s ballroom as I am, the way I wanted to dress, behave, and act. I came there unapologetically, and since most of my colleagues there were meeting me for the first time, I thought I had the advantage that they didn’t have any preconceived notions of who or what I am. All I needed to do was to show up and show out. I wasn’t even thinking about winning, I just went there to experience what it’s like to be me in public. And then I won, and what’s even more validating was that it was done via voting. And the fact that I garnered the most votes meant people liked me for who I showed up as that night.
This was undoubtedly the most memorable experience this year for me.
Of course, we are always a work in progress. The next year will give me another 365 days to work on myself. That includes working out (hopefully I finally do it this year), eating healthier, drinking more water, being more financially responsible, and being a more social person. I look forward to the next year, that is in spite of all the bad things happening in the Philippines, what with its government being run by a family of corrupt politicians with no care at all about their constituents. I am optimistic that all these things will fall to their right places at the proper time.
That’s it! Thank you for joining me in this journey. I hope you had a great time this year, and if you hadn’t, I wish you a very prosperous new year. I hope you all stay hydrated, moisturized, nourished, and loved.