Dear 12-year-old Mikka,
You are probably in your room, crying. Nanay and Tatay just talked to you and you are so ashamed at having been found out in school for kissing your girlfriend. You feel a little bit angry because you don’t understand what’s wrong with loving your girlfriend. You don’t understand how you had to subject to writing how you kissed your girlfriend so that the school can give that piece of paper to your parents. You don’t understand your teachers when they told you that you are too smart to be in a relationship with a girl, how they had to prove their point by taking away three of your awards when you graduated. When you ask what’s so wrong about being with a girl, you don’t understand when they say, “It’s just the way it is.” So you choose to ignore this anger because what does a measly 12-year-old know? Because how can you win this fight? So you let them win – you let them make you feel so shameful it almost makes your little heart run away. But it doesn’t, not really.
It is March 16, 2017 – 3 days before we turn 20 – and if it is any consolation, I’m crying too.
I finally came out.
I have an amazing girlfriend. When you first meet her, you would think otherwise but come a few years later, you will understand why I love her so much. Before coming out, I tried to think everything through and I asked myself if I was coming out because I had this amazing girlfriend or if I was coming out because I wanted to. I guess a part of it was because I had a girlfriend. I wanted to stop keeping secrets from my parents. I wanted them to know that their daughter was happy and that majority of the reason for that was her.
But I realized that there was more to coming out than my girlfriend. I came out because it’s not just my girlfriend that I was hiding from my parents. I was also hiding myself. From nobody else but my parents. Of all people.
You probably don’t understand what’s wrong with keeping secrets from parents. I remember exactly how our friends would talk about never letting our parents know. That we would be okay because everybody else is fine with who we are. I still remember how we were all younger with all that pent up teenage angst, pretending not to care about our parents but like me and everyone else, you will grow and mature and with that comes the realization of the things that really matter. Like being as real and as genuine as you can be. Like having an actual relationship with Nanay and Tatay. Like honesty, identity, family and parents.
So this is what I need you to remember: A time will come when your body will shake from wanting to tell your parents. When you literally feel like you’re in a closet, barely able to breathe. When your heart is tugging at everything inside of you to just come out.
And all of these will tell you that it is finally the right time.
So once you do know, also know that your heart will be brave enough to say, “Nay, Tay, bisexual po ako. Eto po ako.”
I’m not going to tell you what will happen once you walk into Tatay’s black car, sit down and say it out loud. I’m going to spare you the details because you’ll know exactly how to tell them, I promise. But I will tell you this: It is going to hurt. Badly. I need you to be braver than ever – to understand why he says what he says but still know that it is okay to stand your ground. That this is not something you choose. That this is not something you can just change. That this is who you are. And once you walk out of the car, you will break down and cry long and hard. First to your sister, and then to your girlfriend. It is okay. It will be okay.
And here I am, in the beginning of the aftermath. This is the beginning of life outside a closet, a box, your bedroom. A life outside of hiding who you are. The beginning of realness and bravery.
We’ve been hiding in this closet for far too long, afraid that stepping out of it will bring disappointment, anger, sadness or whatever emotion our minds can think of, to our parents. I didn’t step out of the closet because there wouldn’t be any more of that. I stepped out knowing exactly that, knowing that endless things could happen once I come out. This is the beginning of that – of knowing how much pain and sadness you can get but the difference is, you are braver. Braver in the belief that whatever disappointment this brings, this is not because of you. Braver in the belief that there is nothing wrong with loving a girl, a boy, or both. Braver in knowing that you are not doing anything wrong or hurting anyone. You are plain and simple, loving a person. Most importantly, you are braver to take all that pain because nothing can compare to the joy of being able to hold the person you love and not being even one bit scared.
So when this day comes, cry. Not at the fear of disappointing your parents but for how you ever had to be scared of being who you are. Cry at finally being able to tell your parents that this very person makes you happy. Cry at finally being able to throw away the closet. Cry knowing that you are outside and everything is beautiful. Painful but still so, so much more beautiful.
I can’t wait for you to see and feel all this freedom.
Stay real and brave,