Thursday, September 11, 2008


I saw a recent photograph of my high school buddies. A lot has changed but seeing them brought back certain insecurities. I decided to drop a few lines to one of them through Friendster - I always see her as the "leader" of the group. To my utter dismay, I suddenly seemed to be groping for words! Memories came flooding in…

You see, a long time ago, I was a "promdi" (from the province) freshman who studied in the city. It was a culture shock of sorts for me and I was really too shy and super insecure to make new friends. From where I came from, I was used to classmates as well as school mates being dropped off by motorcycles/pedicabs/tricycles/bicycles and those who walked to and from their houses (ours was kind of a small backward town). In the new school (it was actually a university), students were dropped off by their drivers/cars - in other words, most of them are rich. This new school is known for by its academic excellence (not to mention its middle class-rich population…me? I was just one of those students who came from a family with an average income) and my neurons were working properly and tuned in then ergo I was able to make the entrance exams.

Anyhow, come sophomore year, four wonderful girls welcomed me into their group - I really dunno how it all started, but there I was, suddenly "IN" a group. Mind you, these are not just ordinary girls, they were quite popular too because of their looks - yes, they were one of the pretty ones. Of course, I never imagined that they will accept me in their cool circle at all. I was ecstatic that they befriended me, but I would say that I was pretty quiet at first, but as time went by, I got comfortable around them, sharing jokes and laughter especially during our ride home (we'd take jeepneys together - their families have cars but I guess they preferred to ride the jeep then). We called each other "Ne" - meaning "little girl" in our dialect.

In spite of all these, I still had high doses of insecurity embedded in my system (and it's recurrent as I still suffer from this at times) perhaps because they were really fine-looking - their hairstyles were in sync with the fad (imagine the 90's hairstyle) and they have the "in" things…whereas I don’t even know how to put the hairspray on the exact angle thus making my teased-cum-sprayed bangs still look flat. They've got the perfect teeth and perfect smiles while I'm "sungki." They've got flawless skin while I've got lots of scratch marks and insect bites (I don’t dare wear shorts those times). I wore big eyeglasses too. You can just imagine my dilemma every time we have to have our pictures taken at a studio - I have a copy of one of those monstrosities. Now, yes, the boys…Wow, lots of boys like them, even those from other schools do. Me? Oh yeah, I've got one, yes folks, one admirer/suitor at school, - a fellow dance trouper. At least meron hahaha! He eventually became my boyfriend (my first!) all because of their prodding and badgering.

So you really couldn’t blame a poor teenager like me then to feel like the ugly duckling in the group. But these friends of mine, never did they let me feel out of place, never did they tell me I'm ugly or that I don’t belong.

Another thing I remember was during our senior year. There was a beauty pageant of sorts, it was the search for Ms. United Nations. Now these girls, along with our classmates, again badgered and convinced me to join the said contest. I'd say that it was hitting two birds with one stone that time - the first bird would be that it would make me at least "known" (hopefully not a laughingstock) for a day and the second bird was that I got a 98% grade for our Social Studies class on that grading period… And so I gave in and joined. They were responsible for everything - one taught me the right catwalk (Joane) - she made me walk with a book above my head - but all of them helped with the costume /clothes to wear and with the makeup - yes, they were with me all through my "embarrassment." Of course, I did not win hehehe. But it was quite an experience. Lucky me to have these girl friends huh?

We cried buckets of tears on our graduation - saying goodbye was never that easy. I haven’t kept in touch with them until now - I'm still trying to anyway. I still haven’t seen them since graduation. I sure do hope I would in this lifetime.

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