(On Recalling Some Childhood Memories)
May mga taong tuwang-tuwang ikuwento ang kanilang nakaraan, lalo na ang kanilang pagkabata.
However, there are also many people who choose to keep portions of their past private perhaps because recalling these events could still be painful for them or at the least embarrassing. Or, on a more serious note, exposing certain deeds of theirs from the past might incriminate them or cause them new troubles—especially if the deed was illegal or unlawful or has resulted or can result in something that is better left in secrecy. On the other hand, used-to-be-embarrassing and painful moments need not be taken seriously in the present context. Hiding such embarrassing or painful moments in the past simply means that the person hasn’t come to terms yet with the experience. Only after they have come to terms with all these experiences can they really become at peace with themselves. I too have my share of embarrassing and painful childhood experiences. But as an adult I have finally been able to come to terms with them. I now regard the memories as funny stories. Although I have to admit that there remain some personal experiences that are better left undisclosed.
The Real Story behind My BMX Bike
BMX bikes were a craze in the Philippines in the early 1980s. In the summer of 1981, I had my first and only BMX bike which, unfortunately, got stolen about one month after the day my mother and I bought it at a bicycle shop in Cartimar, Pasay City. I used to tell friends that the reason I was unable to finish fourth grade at St. Mary’s Academy in Pasay City and, in the ensuing school year, had to repeat the same grade at the public school near our house in Makati, was because I used my tuition fee to buy the BMX bike without my mom’s consent. This was a lie. I concocted this story because of embarrassment with my parents’ marital problems which had been causing the family severe financial difficulty during the time. In fourth grade I could barely take a periodical examination on time because I was always delayed in paying my quarterly tuition fee.
There were many school days when we did not have money for my allowance, causing me to feign sickness on those days, reporting back to class armed with only excuse letters. Subsequently I stopped going to school. I failed to finish the school year because we could no longer afford the remaining tuition fee. In short, I dropped out of school because of poverty. Summertime, when virtually every young kid in the neighborhood had a BMX bike, I was able to persuade my mother in buying me one. I was tired of borrowing bikes from my friends or renting from the rent-a-bike shops that sprouted during the time. Mother and I figured that we could spare some four-hundred pesos for my own bike; anyway, Mom had decided that in the coming school year I’d be transferring to the public school near our house. We wouldn’t be worrying anymore about tuition fees and daily school allowance. One Saturday morning, Mother and I finally went to Cartimar to buy a red BMX bike. We went back home with the precious bike aboard a taxicab. I barely finished my lunch that day just to be able to tour the neighborhood with my own BMX bike for the first time. Unfortunately, after only more than a month, I woke up one morning to find my bike, which I kept in our garage, missing. My friends and I spent the whole day looking for it in the neighborhood in case someone just decided to play a prank on me. It was nighttime when I acknowledged the fact that my bicycle was indeed stolen. When summer was over, I was a fourth grader for the second time, at Heneral Pio del Pilar Elementary School. And every time I saw my friends on their bikes, I could only frown in sadness and reminisce about my lovely summer days with my bicycle.
Luckily, after spending a year at the public school, I was back at my old private school. No more bikes for me; but at least, I was a privileged student once again, studying at a private school. Aunt Mely of Winnipeg (my mom’s sister) offered to support my education, saying that I was too smart to be studying at a public school.
Because of embarrassment for having to repeat fourth grade, I began telling my old school friends and new classmates that my having studied at a public school for one year was my punishment for spending my tuition fee on a BMX bike. I stood by with this tall tale for a long time because I felt that it was a cool story to tell to people. It made me feel cool. And it did! Friends were often impressed with me for having done such a rebellious move.
Only when I came to Canada did I have the courage to reveal the real story behind my BMX bike. I attribute the honesty to my having had the chance to spend some time being away from my loved ones and my comfort zone. I had the time to contemplate on my past and to psychoanalyze myself. During my early years in Canada, I was able to come to terms with many painful chapters in my life. And this whole experience had made me a more strong-willed, honest, secure, mindful, and compassionate person.
Sa Madaling Salita
Bawat tao ay may kanya-kanyang nakahihiya o malulungkot na nakaraan. Karapatan niyang itago na lang nang tuluyan o ibaon na sa limot ang mga karanasang ito. Subalit, sa tingin ko, matatahimik lamang ang kanyang kalooban kung kaya na niyang harapin nang walang bahid ng pagkahiya ang mga mapapait na alaalang tulad ng aking ikinuwento.
Or, in Simple Words
Every individual has his share of embarrassing or sad memories. Every person has the prerogative to keep these experiences as secrets. However, I believe now that a person can experience true peace of mind only when he is all ready to come to terms with the sad and painful parts of his past.