Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pen, pigments, ribbons and hoops

When I used to live with my lola in the early 90s, I remember how we drank Milo every morning. We bought them in green single-serving sachets with pictures of athletes. Each sachet featured an athlete in action and included fast facts about the sport. Every morning, I chose the ones that featured gymnasts in hopes that I would become one in the future. Somehow, I believed that the chocolate drink can help you become a top athlete. You just had to choose the ones packaged with the sport you love.

Come high school freshman year, our first PE class was gymnastics. We did log rolls, pyramids, and whatnot. Truthfully, dance and gymnastics jargon confused me. They were all bizarre French and english words to me and instructions were hard to follow when you couldn't speak the language.

From the best performers from the three freshmen sections, five or so girls were chosen from my class. We trained after classes, starting from stretching to basic jumps and such. We were all noobs but we had an ate in a junior who did the same trainings. It was also fun that I had her as a roomate. Before people did their homeworks, she would sometimes teach us how to stretch properly. We did this in the hallway and the other dormers didn't mind.

Everything was going well. Our coach however was also teaching full units of PE and CAT. She didn't have enough time to train everybody. We were in a science high school famous for many of its achievements in research and science quiz bees but never had the time to train its many student athletes.

The next year, I was chosen with another freshman to train in rythmic gymnastics. I was given a ribbon and she was given a hoop. We were asked to come on Saturdays to do some training. But again, this was a science high school and everything came in a fast pace. Our teacher didn't have the time and we were left with routines, a ribbon and a hoop. We tried our best to understand the routine until we lost our direction and the stuff were stored in shelves and forgotten.

And just like that that dream died. One of my aunts told me that if she knew earlier that I was chosen to play varsity gymnastics, she would have told my parents to get me a coach. But I was too old by then and swamped with all the demands of a science high school.

It's interesting though that in college I would meet an actual gymnast in the persona of a charming, upbeat artist. She was easy to get along with and knew everyone with her friendliness. She was fierce person, principled and dedicated to serving her fellow students. She can sometimes be too spontaneous, crushing over a new friend she knew.

Early this year, she passed away in an ambush.

Many dreams have gone to dust like how gymnastics was for me. There was journalism.

I competed in editorial writing in fifth grade and smoothly qualified to the national press conference. I think it was the lack of budget that prompted my school to tell me to forgo the competition. The worst part was when they tried to reassure me that it was okay. And that I won only by accident so it wouldn't mean so much. Heck. Winning first place in the division meet and second place in the regionals without training or aid from my school was not a mere accident.

My class were all excited for me to go Gen San. I thought it was okay to skip the contest until I saw their sad faces when I told them that I was not going.

In highschool, I attempted to continue writing through the school paper. But the fire was gone and I was contented on a reading books in my spare time. I was relegated to the science articles and was never able to publish a single article. And telling the advier that I was quitting actually felt good.

There was painting too. When I was 6, I was sure that I wanted to study in the University of the Philippines and major in painting like my tito. I was sure of this dream until journalism presented itself. When I was preparing myself for the regionals, the brushes were abandoned, the tubes forgotten.

And as the promise of journalism was lost so was the dream to become a painter.

My childhood was a long period of dreaming for the most part. I guess that's how it is for most of us. We were always asked, what do you want to be when you grow up? We answered autograph notebooks that asked for your ambition or dream. Our teachers asked us to draw about the profession we wanted. The guidance counselor gave an exam on how compatible your skills are to the path you wanted to take. My answers were always, astronaut, NASA mission cotrol specialist, marine biologist, drummer, microbiologist, fashion and interior designer... culminating to the dream of becoming a scientist and then becoming a librarian.

Right now, i don't know... I'm not sure anymore.

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