Learning To Love You More




Assignment #14
Write your life story in less than a day.

Virgino Mercredi
Lakeland, Florida USA



I was born August 5, 1990 in a hospital 2 or 3 blocks away from the town's Martin Luther King Blvd. I've seen pictures of my birth (taken with no regard to the guts and such) and I can tell you that I was one ugly baby. Of course, my parents thought I was the most beautiful kid on the goddamned earth. And I guess I wasn't giving myself enough credit; it's hard to look good when you're covered in random fluids and your umbilical cord is hanging down to your toes.
I had a sister only a year or so older than me and we were raised pretty much the same until recently (the old girl's gone off to college). My first memory ever involves her. We were about 3 or 4 and we were arguing as to who was the older one. Since I could only babble incoherently or make a few indignant gestures, she obviously won that argument by a long shot. Sometimes, I wonder if she's older, if only because of that.
My parents worked too hard. My mom was (and still is) a really strong woman. My dad is the same. Somehow, I liked my mom a lot more than my dad.
I remember almost nothing of the 4 months I stayed in the Philippines (sometime after that fateful argument); I had my 3rd or 4th birthday there (can't quite remember). The only thing I remotely do remember about that bout was the fact that within the 2 or 3 years after I got home, I was terrified of airports. This one memory involved going to the airport to drop a friend off. I cried and screamed and yelled because I was desperately afraid of entering the airplane. My sister had a similar fear of escalators. They could be connected somehow; I fell down an escalator with my grandma carrying me while were were in the Tampa International Airport. I could just have been afraid of airports because of their escalators. In either case, the airport was my first real phobia.
My first real spearmint... I remember being in this really old looking, fancy oriental furniture house. There was a little mint dish with mints of all kinds. At this time, I think I was around 4 or 5 too. Well, I distinctly remember it was in this slightly forbidding environment (furniture too pretty and antiquated to sit on, strong smelling flowers hovering over one's head, twelve incense altars) that I tried my first spearmint.
Anyways, back home in Winter Haven, I experienced alot of things. I remember being a little pervert and attempting to walk in on people as they used the bathroom. Something would pulse through me to just attack them while they least expected it. Those were fun times; when being a little voyeur wasn't illegal. Every night, my parents would read us a story from a set of books called 'Learning to be Good' by a woman named Joy Berry. We would say our prayers (Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be) and go to bed. My Pre-K was divided between two schools; both of them were private. I went to one or the other very often. I remember that's where I had my first kiss; this girl in my class kissed my finger because I got it caught in the car window earlier that morning. I also remember hating nap time like all the other kids. In school, my phobia was sharp objects. This was because after I got my shots taken at the hospital, I associated all institutions with sharp objects to be bad. I had an intense fear of all pencils and fountain pens. I was also afraid of vampires, not because they suck your blood, but because they have to bite you to do it. I was also afraid of umbrellas. It was because I pinched and cut my finger on the little latch thing that you use to open it (my sister was always getting me to do it for her because she couldn't).
I was able to tie my shoes at the age of 5. I learned it in the same day that I learned how to do buttons.
I remember a few friends I met and actually grew attached to in Winter Haven. There was JC. He was an older brother to my sister and myself. He was in karate and from that point on I knew that martial arts was the coolest thing ever. He liked showing off by getting pictures taken of him doing high kicks. What reinforced my desire to also partake in those high kicks was my watching Power Rangers every Saturday morning and between every episode of Muppet Babies (great quality show, by the way). I lived the lives of the characters I saw on television, almost vicariously. Each adventure those cartoon muppet tots went on was an adventure I participated in. I was, indirectly, the cause for the Power Rangers winning all their battles. When I wasn't having battles or adventures with my sister, I was having them with my television friends. Among other friends I remember meeting real early in life were these two Filipinos (I'm Filipino myself, by the way) named Ian and Ian's-Older-Brother. Their dad knew my dad because their dad would always fix my dad's computer. They were such crazy kids, inventing ridiculously fun games for the four of us to play. We were the best of friends and we only saw them 3 times ever. I still remember them though; they moved to Texas a long time ago and I have no idea what happened to them or what's become of them. Oddly enough, I remember them very well. OH! Best family friends that I met around this time (Winter Haven times... I was in pre-K?) included the Franciscos and Cya. We also knew two kids named Vania and Julian, but I didn't like Julian at all and Vania was a girl (so I never did relate to her), so they don't play out too much in my life. The only white people I remember early on were the neighbor, Max, and the O'Brien's (Justin, in particular). I was a very sensitive and angry little kid though so the only 'friends' I had were the ones that my sister made.
My sister and I were getting sick of each other so my parents decided to give us a common enemy: a younger brother. This younger brother taught me what hatred was. I had no idea that my sister felt the same way about me (in all her 1 year old fury when I was born anyways). Sibling rivalry is a funny thing. Before he was born, I remember promising with my sister to build a tower of pillows on top of our parent's bed (much like we were doing as we were promising this) and put him on top. My sister doesn't remember this but I still do. That promise never really happened. Our parents wouldn't let us alone with him. He was born three days after my birthday, so my mom was in the hospital with him when I was turning 5. My other little brother was born when I was 7. The only thing I'll say about those two is that they were named after Disney characters (or they just happened that way) and that they bicker now like the little people that they are.
Times in Lakeland were much, much different. We ironically saw our Winter Haven friends more often. This was when the Franciscos, Cya's family, Vania and Julian, JC, and just anyone else I could think of really started to play into my early social life. My parents liked to throw a lot of parties. We had parties on New Year's Eve, on Christmas, on Thanksgiving even. We went to parties of people we didn't even really know.
I loved parties. I loved the atmosphere that only large amounts of people could exude. But what I loved most was the fact that people other than those in my family existed. I thought of them all as an extended family to me. I remember telling one lady (she was white) who was smoking in JC's patio that smoking kills the aliens on Pluto. She ignored me. It was then that I developed my habit of arbitrarily telling people what to do. I'd tell my sister to leave me alone (she'd stick next to me in response), I'd tell my parents to give me a present (they'd give me nothing in return), I'd tell my grandpa to let me eat ice cream with rice (he did let me eat ice cream with rice, but that didn't turn out too well). That last one ended that trend. I may have pretended to enjoy it at the time, to try and prove my point that I could eat anything I wanted, but I do remember feeling sick afterwards.
There was a moment where I was potty trained but I didn't know how to wipe my arse.
My parents got into the whole Jesus revival thing when I was around 10 or 11. Pretty soon, we'd have Sunday school crowding into our house and instead of parties, we went to church functions and such in dusty Ybor City. I hated Ybor City, and deep down, I hated the other kids. They were too good at everything and, since they were also Filipino, they made me feel less special.
I never liked going to church, but whenever I went, I tried hardest to be my best there. It was because I was always feeling guilty about things. I tried to do my best and be as good a person as I could possibly be, even if that meant being perfect. I would try to remember all my major transgressions (the minor ones I'd usually just forget in the casual course of living) and I'd pray for forgiveness from wherever I could find it.
I've always known that I was gay. I was always more interested in penises than vaginas, because vaginas just sort of looked like butts, whereas a penis was actually something (ya know?). This knowledge played a major role in my life and it was only until recently that I'd stop debating with myself over this issue and just live life as though I was gay but closeted (Polk County doesn't look kindly on anything, and my family is devout enough to think gay things are wrong). I sort of already knew this since 4 or 5, when I found out what it was. The subsequent years, my elementary and middle school days, I'd try to escape it. I'd be terribly mean to those boys that I perceived as feminine and I'd look for jock-ish people to hang out with, even if they didn't like me themselves. I was in the middle of a big hypocrisy that just seemed to define those years with a sour connotation. It's not that those years were terrible and that I'm ashamed when I attempt to relive them, but it's just a lot of crap to bring back up all at once. I may write about this thing later; it's become a problem recently, and I find it too fresh a topic to touch on.
My days in the new elementary school that I went to in Lakeland were pretty much the extension of my days in the old one. I really only met one life long friend there. His name is Ryan and he's been with me since 1st grade (we weren't friends until 5th). I know that there were other good friends too: Yosuke, who moved to Japan; Emily; Margaret; Chrissie; Michael; Luis etc.
In middle school, I made friends with a girl named Julie. She sort of was there to talk to about everything I could possibly imagine and she was the first that I ever told of my homosexual feelings and all that jazz. I didn't tell her until after we got into different high schools though. She's still someone I talk to every now and then but things have just never been the same between us. We're very much still 'husband and wife' but in a way that suggests absenteeism on either one of us.
I remember the first time I masturbated. I was 11 and I did it in my bathroom on the toilet while someone was watching Powerpuff Girls in the other room. I would touch myself and everything and I knew that 'masturbation is wrong and it is a sin' for no reason whatsoever. But when I felt the release and everything just seemed like a better place, I decided that maybe doing this instead of just sitting around would really make life something. I felt guilty about it for several years afterwards, trying to hide it or trying to deny that I would ever do it. Sometimes, I'd blame my 'other person' and say he was making me do these things. It was in these early days that I started engaging in pornography and even using medical texts and stuff for gratification. I could even make parts and pieces of books that I read erotic enough for me to masturbate to. It was really something that I wish I would never have experienced.
It was at this time that I began to pray incessantly, in hopes that perhaps that big Guy in the sky would understand anything and at least take this poor idiot (me) on a lighter note.
A lot of things went without saying in my house, but I would say them anyways. I remember getting into brutal fights with my father, three of them almost resulting in me packing up and leaving. I remember being a 'smart talking damned ass' and that without him, I was 'nothing'. I also remember that outside of being provided for, I deserved no other 'respect' outside of that. I think the problem was that he worked too hard and I worked too little, and we lived in the same house.
We joined a different church, one that promoted 'faith alone' getting you into heaven. It made more sense to me; if a good God existed, wouldn't he want to get the most people He could into heaven? So I decided outright that I wanted to be Protestant, because Catholic rituals were too exclusivist and because if the way to heaven was only through the Catholic Church, then there were too many people who weren't getting in.
I'm currently now an atheist.
This past year however seems to have hit me harder than all the other years of my life combined.
I've made two suicide attempts on myself within 12 months of each other. The second time warranted a sheriff and me being taken to the hospital in an ambulance. The first time occurred when I was going out with this one girl named Betsy (I was in denial about being gay at the time). I thought the relationship was going alright, but then I started feeling depressed and ridiculously stressed about everything. It was after church on Sunday that I felt that I should just go to sleep forever. Before I took a nap, I took 6 Lunesta pills. They were small doses, but still too much and so my blood pressure and everything was out of whack for several hours. I worried my parents half to death with that episode. A little while after that (after Betsy broke up with me) my dad started getting exasperated at my seemingly helpless downward spiral. More yelling ensued and I grew to distrust and hate him even more than ever. A few months pass in silence in relation to that.
I made really good friends with Cya (from childhood friends we became the kind of friends that talk to each other about everything on heaven and earth). The same sort of happened with Ryan too. In these 'silent months' that passed, I developed a condensed (but all the more powerful) relationship with my sister's boyfriend, Steven. He's a different character all together.
Steven was an extremely mild mannered person, when I first met him. It was hard to believe that he was willing to go along with me and do any sort of sparring or anything that would involve full physical contact. I loved having him around; he was like a hard punching bag who you could talk to about anything. He was sort of like my pastor too, and he sort of made me experience a mini-Revival of sorts. It didn't last lifelong, but at least I know there's hope in this world for Christianity. I guess I fell in love with him, but in a way that I won't cross lines. Perhaps it's platonic love. We haven't spoken in forever though.
Since the second suicide attempt happened just a few weeks ago, I don't think I'm comfortable writing/typing about it. So I'll wait. Maybe I'll write a real memoir and get it published. Maybe I'll become a novelist or do something related to literature. I'm getting ready to apply for colleges and although I'm focusing on things like medicine and science, I still have an eye for good literature analysis. But whatever I decide to do, I know that I'll get somewhere.