December is the start of a year-long realization and celebration towards the ending of very exciting adventure. Volume II reached an early climax as it started with me departing my motherland journeying towards an unknown land. Then in some twisted plot, my entry to the “World’s Greatest Navy” and the trips that came with it. Adventures that brought me to many places where I have met some of my dearest new friends and tons of acquaintances. It also brought me to the most perilous places which got me sidetrack to a profession I grew to enjoy.
The person who I once was in Volume I, is very different from the person who I am today. Living amongst a new tribe, and alienated by our huge differences. I felt outnumbered and forsaken but I never lost hope. Yet worst than my feelings is the realization that the identity I once had is forever gone. Have I changed for the better or is this who I really was supposed to be? Time will tell…
The most important page of this Volume is me finally becoming an independent man! And the only thing thats holding me back is myself! This is the scary part of me as I’m going forward to the next Volume of my life.
In 11 days I will celebrate my birthday. Made me reminisce a turning point of my life when I celebrated my 21st birthday inside a room of 50+ Navy recruits. Isolated from the world outside. The irony is, even if I’m free and out of the military for good, I still feel the same way, isolated and still lost. But one characteristic that persisted in me is my value for optimism. Someday, I shall find myself again and when I do. I will cherish every bit of it and will never let it pass me.
In two weeks, I will be turning 29. Yet I was hoping I was 21 again. But does age really matter? It does if we base it on what society dictates. But I’ve outgrown that idea. I just want the years back but I don’t want to lose any experience I have had already. I guess if I were to change things in the past, there might be some tweaking I would do, but not much.
Now that I’m close to 30, and with an inspiration from a TV ad about writing a letter to their 16 year old self. In this version, I am writing a letter to myself when I turn 40. So here it goes…
Dear 40 years old me,
Hi, I was your younger version 11 years ago. It was a gloomy night in Pullman when everyone has left the town for Thanksgiving break and you were stuck in your apartment alone. Of course, you thought you had no option as your family was far away in Florida and you don’t know anyone in Washington. You don’t even have friends (close friends) as most of the ones you’ve met were in the military and are scattered all over the continent and even others are outside the US. It was hard for you with the age gap and it was hard relating to other students who really didn’t care about school. Maybe it was a mixture of your cultural background, wide age gap and your experience in the military, that it was really hard to find connection to anyone. And the fact that you were gay who still had a hard time accepting who you were.
You thought that night was miserable because you missed watching Hunger Games: Catching Fire because the tickets were sold out. Well, you blamed it on the football game that was happening the next day since everyone was hyped up because of the fact that WSU only needed one more winning game to be bowl eligible. Of course, the pack of loyal cougar fans gathered in Pullman that made the city crowded.
You ran that night to release the stress of the week and to get the loneliness of your mind. You’ve always shown to people around you that you were strong but deep down, you were just any person. The military has taught you to be conscious of what others might perceived in you. It’s a tactical cloak that empowered you more if you were to act in front of everyone that you are unaffected and unscathed by whatever was thrown at you. But the truth was, you envied the social gatherings of others. That you wanted to be more outgoing. But you were torn between pursuing success.
Although you felt alone most of the time as you went through college, you never doubted yourself that you will succeed. It was sad to have gone through those years alone but you shouldn’t consider it as your tragic years as it did made you what are know. A successful computer scientist, who is known throughout the world. You have found a partner and you live happily in a house you’ve always wanted, by the water, close to the outdoors.
Dear 40 years old me, as your reminisce that night you wrote this letter. One deafening silent night in your room typing that stupid letter. You promised yourself that night, that although life is lonely and it kinda sucks, that you would continue to push yourself and strive to do best. There might be no one to share the great things you were doing, and not knowing what the reason was for working too hard and who you were doing it for. You reminded yourself that you had to love yourself first. “Love thyself!”
Your younger self (not really young)
"Change the things that can be changed, accept those that cannot, and have the wisdom to know the difference."
This is the original message I posted on Facebook to tell my friends that I AM GAY!
Ok. Let me make this crystal clear to everyone. I’M FUCKING GAY! It sucks to lose a friend because I wasn’t up front and told him about me. But if a person can’t accept it then fuck you.
Since I got out of the military, I thought that there should be no reason to come out to everyone because I don’t want the fucking attention. I’m not hiding nor denying it anymore but it just seem trivial that if a person doesn’t need to know who I am then there is no need to tell. But clearly it wasn’t the mature way of dealing with the situation.
Now to my military comrades whom I consider friends. To whom I had some of my best experiences in life so far. I have great respect to you all and rest assured i have maintained the utmost professionalism. But if you feel offended as to why I did not disclose. First of all, I was hoping at first that maybe I was just in a phase in my life that somehow being around you guys or going in strip clubs and the bunch of stuff we went through would somehow change me. I was punishing myself for 7 years but nothing has changed. Somehow I realize that it was not something I or anyone else can change.
To my really close and true friends. There isn’t too many of you. You deserve my sincerest apologies. I feel embarrassed. You considered me your good friend but I wasn’t totally honest. I’m really sorry. And I hope you would continue to be a good friend to me.
Patrick Morgan Barrantes, you are right! I shouldn’t be hanging out or consider people friends if they can’t accept me. So for all of you reading this. If you don’t think you can accept me for what I am, then fuck off. I’ve been very good not cursing since I got out of the military but I think this is a good exception. And to the rest of you who is fine for what I am. Thanks and my sincerest apologies.
The journey towards this very moment was not easy. And what’s ahead is still unknown. Please I don’t need no pity for I knowingly chose my actions. I have always been who you thought I was. I never acted differently. Again, sorry to you all.
To my surprise, my friends where very understanding and supportive. It was also a huge surprise that my military comrades didn’t care who I am.
To all my friends, thank you for your support!
When I got back from drill weekend this Sunday, I finally received my Government Travel Credit Card (GTCC). I will need it if I do decide to stay in the Navy Reserve and do my Annual Training in August at Oak Harbor, Washington. I left it in the dining table as I truly have trust with my two roommates.
I came back pretty late night on Monday. When I arrived at the apartment, the first thing I was looking for was my card since it still needs to get activated. Long behold, it was gone from where I have left it. I knew that they would do a prank with it. So I scoured at every possible and usual place they would hide things from me but I couldn’t find it. So at midnight, with both of them in there beds already, I texted both of my roommates hoping they would have a change of heart the next day and just return it.
I normally don’t have class on Tuesday so I stayed and did my usual procrastination. I stayed in my bed until 11am. I went to check the table and still my card was no where to be found. I was starting to get annoyed and fearful that someone else did take it since no one had texted me back. Actually, John did text me, but John normally is the one who does pranks in the house but was denying not taking my card. On the other hand, I did not hear anything from Aaron, my other roommate.
So in this dire circumstance, I still didn’t believe John, so I went to check every single place in the apartment they could hide it and without success, I grew frustrated. I decided to text them both and waited for a reply.
Finally Aaron texted with some clue that my card started flying towards the ceiling with a funny quotation, “hint hint!” It was taped on the ceiling, why did I not think of that. Yet I would have had never notice it because I am pretty small.
Later in the afternoon, Aaron’s package came. I knew it was his sisters birthday gift, a computer laptop. So I decided to return him a favor. I took my pile of newspapers and wrapped his packaged multiple times and taped it all over. I wasted two packaging tapes. Not satisfied, I went ahead and taped it to the dining chair. Still not satisfied, I gathered all the knives in the kitchen, went to his room and took all the knives he had and hide them next to the couch at the living room.
I left to go to the library to study and left John a message to let me know when Aaron comes back and to text me the details of his reaction.
While I was studying at the Library, John texted me the details of his reaction from the moment he arrived. He thought at first that his sister sent it that way, not noticing that it was tied to the chair. He turned red as his girlfriend, Jess was with him. Then when he came closer to grab it, he then realized that it was me. The only regret I had that I didn’t search deeper in his room since he did had a spare knife hidden. It could have taken him a long time to open that box without any sharp object to tear it up. Well, I’ll make it harder next time. Had fun thinking about how he reacted.
“Never mess with the Brown Yoda!”