The New M.E. Generation











The next memories of my childhood are when I began school. My parents started coaching me early for the transition. I was fascinated by this new chapter, but my brother wasn’t that thrilled about school per se.

The most difficult part for me was actually waking up. I always wanted ‘5 more minutes’ of sleep, which I still long for in the present, even as my alarm clock is ringing. I admit it, being a morning person has never been my forte.

My mom used to walk my brother and I in the earlier years. But, surprisingly, around the third grade on, we walked to and from school with other kids from the neighborhood by ourselves.

Those were fun moments away from my parents. One time we were chatting so much, we lost track of time. Someone said, “what time is it?”. “It’s 8am”, another replied. “We have to hurry”, another said. “What for? We’re already late”, said another. We all looked at each other not knowing what to do, and then kept walking. (If my memory serves me well, I think we made it to school at a descent time.)

Getting to do my homework was a bigger challenge. My brother would get to it right away after lunch, and without needing help. He was the one who got straight A’s and excused from all final exams. He also had an artistic side which he expressed through cartoons and humor. He was a natural at all these.

Me, I just wanted to play a little before studying. You see, having discipline is a skill that needs to be developed. It wasn’t that I had a learning disability or anything; I was one that needed more time and patience, as well as organizing the assignments and else.

This didn’t go well with my mom. She having to sit and do homework with me took away time from her to do other things. And that bothered her, a lot. How much? Enough for her not to treat me well.

Seeing her anger and frustration towards me affected my self-esteem extremely (I had none) and created a self-fulfilling prophecy; the more I tried to be what she wanted me to be, the more I failed. So why try?

Instead of looking for a way that worked for me, or treated in a favorable way, I concentrated on avoiding mistakes or anything that would turn my mom against me.

Yep, my brother was her favorite and all I could was watch from the sidelines. I couldn’t understand why a guy was smarter than a girl. Without knowing it then, this was the beginning of my love-hate relationships with men.

With him I was hoping that some of his intelligence would miraculously come to me like osmosis and make me be like him. That way, all my problems will be solved.

It would take years later for me to understand my mom. For starters, she had a difficult relationship with her own mother, then add to the mix that her marriage was falling apart. Even more, she admitted to me when I reached adulthood that motherhood wasn’t something she enjoyed. Overall she wasn’t happy, and if I saw it, everyone else did.

As for my dad, he was more patient with my studies, but still wasn’t that happy when my grades were average. I don’t know if he understood my situation or thought I wasn’t giving it my all.

Whatever it was, homework became something I did because I had to, that’s it, much like making your bed or picking your toys. You didn’t thought about it, you just did it.

Although life at home was an unhappy one, my dad found relief in hunting and fishing since an early age. Incredibly, I found interest in doing the second (considering both are things guys do), and accompanied him in many trips around the island.

More than liking it, it gave me the chance to be away from it all and be myself for a few days. It also allowed me to see my dad in a much better light. We had in common enjoying being disconnected from the demands of our lives, which helped us bond greatly.

I also saw the beauty of nature through his eyes, and how planning ‘an expedition’ (as he used to call it) would teach me skills that always come in handy.

I didn’t know what my mission in life was back then, but if doing what guys do is the way to survive, then that’s the way to go.

But, wait, I’m a girl. How am I going to be ‘one of the guys’?

 

 

 

 

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After graduating from high school and going to college, our communication decreased even more. I was like him; my mind was focused on the future of leaving home and starting a new life outside all that surrounded me.

I still learned about him through his family and always sent my regards, and whenever we saw each other or spoke, it was as if neither time nor space had affected our relationship.

Such an example of this was when I was on my sophomore year; my boyfriend came to visit and out of nowhere he called me. I don’t know how he got my number, but I completely dedicated my attention to him. I believe it has been over a year from last we spoke, and I was more than happy to talk to him.

It was one of those conversations that could last for hours. I was ignoring my then BF, but he didn’t complaint or got upset with me. Our relationship was on the brink of ending, so I think he remembered what this guy had told him about me, and probably didn’t want the situation to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The next year we broke up, well, I broke it off, for many reasons beyond him pressuring me. My friend and I were resumed our conversations from that day on and he invited me to go visit him for Spring Break. I quickly jumped at the opportunity.

Because I didn’t have that much money, the year before I went home. Although there were plenty of beaches, I was curious to experience what a real event like this was about.

I was attending college in the Northeast and he in the South, at a city famous for hosting these breaks. This was the ultimate college moment that anyone needed to do at least once. Getting out of the cold was even better.

My friend’s schedule was different than mine, but he was living at a 2-bedroom apartment off campus with another guy, plus he had a car.

This was the perfect scenario for me; we could spend some time together and I would have some independence to venture out on my own.

He living at an apartment felt better than visiting him at a dorm full of men. It also avoided the question of where I would sleep.

Knowing how my friend was, I was certain he would have a sofa I could crash on. I never asked him before my arrival about this, but I believed he offered his bed for myself.

I wasn’t worried; I was confident I would arrive to a safe, clean place that anyone would enjoy staying at. I was sure that I would have a memorable vacation, one that I now look back upon fondly, but filled with certain moments I never thought would repeat in other circumstances many years later.

And now that details are slowly coming back to mind, I ask myself (or perhaps the universe) if these were coincidental or meant to occur (even when they had nothing to do with me directly) to test (or perhaps prepare) me for the present life?

Let’s just say, you’ve been warned.



et cetera