The Hunchback of Rural High #MondayMemoirs #KwentongUPRural

I was never popular in high school. If I ever was, that could be because I was considered weird, which never offended me. I welcomed being voted as Weirdest Girl in Class two years in a row. For me, that meant I was not one to conform just to be called cool. Besides, when you’re a writer, people just tag you as weird. Hollywood fed us that idea.

Most probably, though, if I ever was popular, it was because I was the Hunchback of Rural High. I was the short girl looking like Quasimodo.

I didn’t use to be like that. I did not have a humped back prior to high school. I was a shy kid in grade school who only started coming out of her shell in fourth grade. By sixth grade, I was jumping from tables, singing the oldie La Bamba shamelessly…Then a teacher sent me back into my shell, accusing me in front of the other kids because she supposedly didn’t like something I said about her favorite student.

I was dumbfounded and confused. I did not even understand what she meant until days later! Worse was, she thought wrong as I was not referring to him. Unfortunately, my self-esteem already suffered because of it. Why a teacher should even get offended by a student practicing the right to choose who to like or not is beyond me. By the time I reached high school, I was starting to develop the humped back.

Well, that was my backstory, no pun intended. High school started and soon, boys from my batch would sing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) theme song whenever I passed by. But I never hid or ran away; I just passed by poker-faced. I knew they’d get tired of it one day. Thankfully, the bullying didn’t go further than that. But of course, I resented what they did; I had feelings, too. Some years ago, an old teacher reminded me of the time I had the guts to tell him to tell those boys, whom he was friends with, to get off my back (again, no pun intended).

The funny thing was, to be honest, I resented them because I thought they were referring to the “mutant” part, which, for me, translated to “uber-ugly girl”.  It was months after that I realized they didn’t exactly mean it that way. They meant something else. Surprisingly, that lifted my self-esteem a bit. I was glad they were referring to something else that I could do something about.

So, I did do something about it. I started trying to fix my Quasimodo posture. If you think it was easy, it wasn’t.

It took a lot of effort and self-awareness to prevent the slumping whenever I walked. I could actually feel the physical pressure every time I tried to keep my back straight. If you were near me enough, you’d probably hear me groaning a bit. It worked, though. I may not walk straight as a model, but I got my intended result. I didn’t know the reason for the humped back until Home Economics in the fourth year: a book explained that slumping was a sign of insecurity. I thought, Well, that figures.

The teasing stopped. A boy in senior year attempted to revive it by singing the TMNT song as I walked nearer. It was the classic case of someone bullying somebody else to compensate for his own low self-esteem. Instead of feeling hurt or getting mad, I was amused and tempted to say, “What, you’re still not over that?“ He never tried again.

 

My whole high school life was like everyone else’s. I had to struggle with different issues (body changes, grades, crushes, friendships, lack of confidence). However, if there’s one thing that made me different, it was this early experience.  It hurt emotionally and physically, but that was part of what made me, me.

I don’t resent those boys anymore. I forgave them a long time ago. I’m thankful they somehow taught me to stand up straight. Take it figuratively, take it literally, it’s up to you. Besides, I kind of liked the ninja turtles 😊

 

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Usually, I don’t follow the Philippine time when I post stuff. But I wanted this posted already before I forget or lose interest again. While it’s still Sunday in most readers’ part of the world, it’s already Monday here, so this counts as a #MondayMemoirs post.

I’ve already mentioned about my turtle “background” before, but this is a bit more revealing and personal. I wrote about it because our high school reunion is coming and I’ve been asked to write my HS experience for our unique souvenir programme. I was able to submit three write-ups (Rattling Cages and two trivia pieces). Unfortunately, this one did not meet the deadline. I was supposed to share this after the reunion, but since it’s not going to be part of the programme anyway, I went ahead and shared it. (By the way, my school was the U.P. Rural High School, ergo, the use of the “Rural” word.)

I do have a DISCLAIMER: I don’t, in anyway, hate my old school. This is not to speak ill of it. I shared this because (1) my growth was important to me, and (2) to show that things like this happen anywhere. Ultimately, it is up to us to choose which life lessons we’re going to keep and how we will use them to our advantage.

Any comments or thoughts? I won’t mind. Let me know below! Or maybe share your own experiences? 😉

Story of My Life…Not!

Okay, this is long-overdue, and I feel like answering questions again, anyway. Thank you so much, Christine, for this award! Woohooo!!! Sorry it’s taken this long. Still got one from you that I’ll “accept” some other time 😉

As blog awards usually go, there are questions to be answered. Christine asked me some and I’ve answered them all below. See for yourselves 🙂

1. Who are you? Where do you live?

I feel like there are several ways to answer that first one. Could be with something as simple as “I am Jennifer Federizo-Enriquez, but call me Gi. I’m from the Philippines.” Or could be with something like “I am a New Ren still on the journey towards self-discovery and finding The Way…” So, well, I’m giving you both answers.

2. Do you live in the same country you were born in?

Yes, I do. I’ve been here, like, forever…

3. What is the story behind your blog name?

I have answered this before, but I don’t mind repeating 🙂

“When I decided to create my first public Multiply account (all of my blogs before were on private mode, so to speak), I decided that it would chronicle my journey as a person, something that would be a reminder of who and what I was. It would be something that when my time comes to leave this earth, I would look back and smile and say it was all worth it. Maybe it won’t matter to anyone else especially when I am gone, but it will matter to me to see where my journey has taken me and how. So while I was thinking of my ‘end’ and contemplating on a blog name, a saying that I’ve always liked came to mind: ‘The end justifies the means.’ I decided to tweak it a bit to The End Justifies the Journey. What I will be in the end will be the result of my life’s journey, just like how it is going to be for everyone else.”

4. If you could live in any time period, what would it be?

That still would be NOW. We may think that this era or that era is best, but in every one of them, there will always be something terrible somewhere. I’d rather be here where I know what’s happening, at least. I don’t want to pretend to be knowlegeable, that I’m a history expert. One thing I can say, though, is I wouldn’t want to be living during any war and/or plague period or in any era where there is great discontent.

5. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

The power to cause world peace in a snap and maintain it. I think most of the world’s problems can be remedied if we only allow peace in our hearts — no hate, no selfishness, no apathy, no greed.

6. What is your passion?

My passion differs from time to time. Sometimes, I can be a little obsessive with something. I just let things flow until I outgrow it. But I never make it reach a point where it’s already controlling my life. Currently, I think I’m passionate about (well, obsessing over) my kids’ education. It’s what keeps me up at night sometimes.

7. Name one positive thing that you do to “lift your spirits.”

I pray and just try to think positive because I know that if I let all the negativity in, it’s going to be hard to kick it out and see the sunshine again. I know how depression ruins people. Others can try to help you, but ultimately, it’s up to you to choose between darkness in your own shell or the sunshine outside.

8. What is the biggest challenge you have overcome this past year?

Financial challenges and family (relatives) matters. Have not really overcome them, but still coping, at least. The financial challenges would be easier to overcome. The family matters? Nah…Next question, please!

9. If you could write your own life story, what would the title be?

For many years, I originally wanted to call it In a Nutshell, because it would be “summarizing” me in a way, plus, I’ve always thought of myself as kind of nuts, he he…But now, I think I’d rather use my blog’s title 🙂

aiza-seguerra

Me–I mean, singer-actress Aiza Seguerra

10. If someone were to make a movie of your life, what actress would you want to play you?

That would be Aiza Seguerra. She’s also short, chubby, and she kind of looks like me (she’s actually cuter…not that I am cute…I mean,…nevermind). I’d rather keep it realistic than have a pretty and sexy bombshell play Me. Besides, Aiza is a very good actress. She might hate the kind-of girly parts (I said “kind of” ’cause I’m not so girly myself), because she’s now a he, but she–er–he’s a stage thespian as well, so he can handle it, he’s trained well. He’s gotta cover up all those tattoos, though, and grow more hair or wear wigs.

 

Now that that’s done, I am not nominating/giving the award to anyone for reasons I’ve mentioned when I wrote Don’t Go Hatin’ on Blog Awards and based on the comments thread there. I have yet to find a good name for the award I am thinking about, though.

Anyhoo, for anyone willing to pass on this award, feel free to post the rules shared below:

The Rules

  1. Link to the person who nominated you.
  2. Add the reward logo.
  3. Answer the questions your nominator has asked.
  4. Nominate 7 other bloggers and let them know via comments. [EDIT: Gotta be girls by birth or gender preference, don’t forget!]
  5. Ask your nominees 10 questions.

 

Remember, bloggers rock!!!!!

 

What’s in a Name?

Awards time!!! This has been a long-time coming, but here it is. With apologies to those who abhor awards, but as I said in the past, I appreciate awards. Thank you again so much to Jafar for giving me the One Lovely Blog Award. I got another award, but his came first so I will address it first.

lovely-blog-award

For the One Lovely Blog Award, these are the rules:

1.Thank and link back to the person who nominated you for the award. – I just did above.

2. List the Rules and Display the One Lovely Blog Award logo to your post and/or blog. – Here they are.

3. Share 7 facts/things about yourself. – Find them below.

4. Nominate around 10 other bloggers and let them know about the award. This is a way to introduce others to bloggers that you love. – I will skip this one and explain later.

5. Follow the blogger who nominated you. – I already started, pre-award.

Okay, for the 7 Facts About Me, I decided to focus on my name(s), which explains the title of this post. I just thought, “What else can I share that I haven’t yet?” Then I realized that I have always wanted to write about the evolution of my name(s)…Well, sort of evolution. I know you’ll probably go, “Whut?” but here it is and I hope you’ll like what I’m sharing just the same. 😉

1. Jay-Gee is how you pronounce J.Gi. I’m sure a lot of people have been wondering how to say it. That said, just call me Gi, short for Gigi, my real nickname. No, it’s never Jen or Jenny, though people automatically assume it just because my name’s Jennifer. I answer best to Gi.

2. “Gi” went through changes. Looking at old pictures, my mother wrote at the back and spelled my name as J-I-J-I (I think that’s cute), but later on, she changed her mind and began spelling it as G-I-G-I, which is the accepted norm, anyway. In high school, my sister did a cut-out of my nickname and stuck it on my door — it said Ghie-Ghie. I followed and spelled it as G-H-I-E even till I began working. That is why a lot of peeps still refer to me as Ghie. I really dropped that one long ago.

For some reason, Filipinos grew really fond of adding an unnecessary “H” to their nicks or their babies’ names, like Lhyn, Bhen, Johnathan, etc. My sister’s name looks cool, though, but I would have hated it if I were named Jhennifer, or Jenhiefer, or Jennifher. With apologies to anyone named as such, but...

galunggong

This is the galunggong

3. My entire gradeschool life, I was called Jennifer F. mainly because I always had a namesake in class. Except in fourth grade, but someone was nicknamed Gigi, too. I didn’t tell my classmates about my actual nick for fear of being teased as galunggong, a kind or sardine that was then–and sometimes is still–normally referred to as G.G. So I stuck to Jennifer all the way through high school. There was a Jenny in my batch, and a Je and a Ge, which were short for Jean and Geraldine respectively, so I decided to stick to Jennifer.

My blocmates in college called me Jennifer but Gi became my “in” name when my sister introduced me to her co-members in a school organization as Gi. I ended up living with the family of a member, renting bedspace, and the people I met there called me Gi. A batchmate used to call me Jen but when she also rented bedspace in the same house, she began calling me Gi. She was already part of the school paper, which I also joined and she introduced me as Gi. Then we and several co-writers became members of a film organization so, well, you can guess what they call me by now 😉

big-c-magazine

Copyright © The Core Group Publishing, Inc. Unfortunately, I heard they folded up so the dotcom of the magazine is no more. The Tripod account was the first and reeeaally old one that was there even before I joined the publication

4. Why J.Gi? When I decided for a writer’s name, I think that was probably around the time I started working for a magazine, I wanted it to be Gi Federizo, kind of like Og Mandino or something. But at the same time, I still did not want to disrespect my parents so, as a “compromise,” I retained the initial. I did want it to be somewhat unique so J.Gi was born.

At the time I thought of this, I met a couple and the guy’s nick was J.vee. I thought hard to give up J.Gi so as not to look like a copycat, then I realized, who cared? Besides, it’s not like I was sure to become famous anyway, so why be bothered? It was not like he had copyright over it.

5. My new last name is Enriquez. As a writer, I retain my maiden name. No laws against that.

6. I have been these people:

Li’l Dove Feather — derived from two names. My favorite Cats The Musical character is Jemima, which means “little dove”; the actress who played her on video was Veerle Casteleyn and “veerle” in Flemish means “feather.” Incidentally, that sounds like my last name anyway.

Maya Sands — a combo of my favorite name, Maya, which I decided to use for my story’s main character, and Sands, short for Sandra or Sandra Dee, my airname back when I was a student radio DJ. I also answer to Sands like it’s second skin.

Charlize Gracie Dylan — also a combo of sorts. Not a fan of Charlize Theron but I liked the name at the time. I like the name Gracie, sounds really sweet. Then I like the name Dylan for a girl, also my fave character from the Charlie’s Angels movie (so sue me). Writers whom I met from Yahoo! groups and with whom I am connected still through Facebook still call me Gracie.

7. I do have a fourth alias, one that I cannot divulge. Let us just say that she was both a part of a social experiment I did on my own, and a kind of means to release depression at the time. She was more like a fictitious character rather than just an alias because I gave her stories, I gave her history, I gave her life. She had a life of her own. Of all the characters I have ever created, she was the best, and the world will never know.

 

So that’s it about my seven facts! He he!

As to why I am not nominating any blog, it’s not because I don’t want to or there are none that deserve it.  It’s mainly because I have decided to create something a little bit different, something that won’t require anyone to pass the award on to be able to accept his/hers. I mean no disrespect to the original creators of existing awards, BTW. I personally like your awards. But I will leave it to others to decide what to do with theirs.