So let's talk about reputations and what's really the truth. Now that I'm going to have a kid, my fear is—irrational though it may be—my fear is that when my kid accuses me one day of being the most boring person on earth, I'm afraid that will be the honest truth. I am boring. I don't have a secret sordid past. I don't have any exciting adventures.
Soon after Vince and I started dating, he asked me what kind of girl I was in college: what orgs was I a member of, which bars did I hang out in, how many guys have I slept with, and all that shit. I very proudly told him how saintly I was. He kinda guffawed in disbelief. So I asked him, "If you had met me in college, would you have asked me out?"
He laughed, "Church youth leader, curfew at 6 pm and you don't drink? No way!"
"So why are you so interested now?!"
"You're the smartest girl I've ever met. That's why I love you."
I'm the smartest girl he's ever met. Not the most beautiful, not the sexiest but the smartest. Hardly what a girl would like to hear but I'd take it.
The truth is I'm a girl who studied in a convent, then in a special science high school, then took up writing in college, then got a coveted fellowship in a national writers workshop (where I met a long-haired hungover Vince), taught preschool, wrote a senator's speeches, did PR work, then made a magazine. I fell in love with Vince at 22, married him at 30, got pregnant with his baby at 33. I'm the girl who usually made the right choice and played it safe. I've never gotten drunk, never did drugs, never slept around, never kissed a girl, never ever did anything fun! The dirtiest thing about me is my language. I try really hard not to swear (especially when I'm around my family, little kids and my Born-Again friends) but if you ever meet me and I say, "Fuck you!", that's just my way of saying hi when I'm very happy.
If you ask people from my high school, however, they'd tell you I was a slut. I have no idea how that rumor came to be. Let me remind you that I was a Bible-thumping, church-going nerd with a 6 pm curfew (okay, and a potty mouth). I remember in college, I met this old high school classmate. She was studying in UPLB and she was visiting friends in the Diliman campus, where I was. She looked at me with worry and said, "Hey, how's your kid?"
"I heard you have a three-year-old daughter and you don't know who the father is."
I just stared at her. "Weren't we seatmates in sophomore year?"
"You saw me every single day when we were 15. Did you ever see my tummy grow?"
"Did you ever see me look pregnant? Hear I gave birth? Did my flat chest ever blossom to breastfeeding proportions?"
"Then why would you believe I have a three-year-old kid, you idiot?! And it's a girl, too! And there's no father! Unbelievable! Those details! Who makes up this shit?"
So I was a good girl with a bad reputation. I always hated that. But now, with a kid growing in me, I somehow wish that I did have a few tales that would make my kid's eyes widen and that he/she would see me in a different light, that mom isn't just boring old mom but a woman of mystery and unbridled passion, a woman who took frightening risks and hid explosive secrets. Well, I'm not that woman.
My kid will just have to look at Vince and think, "At least I have a cool dad!"
Thanks for all the sweet comments but I think I was misunderstood, I don't mean that I wish I had done some bad things. I mean I wish I had traveled the world, written a few books, climbed a mountain, seen more things, met more people... really LIVED, like my husband. He's truly had an amazing life. Me? I've lived through books and movies but basically spent the last 30 years at home. Tragic! And lest the people who really know me start laughing their heads off, maybe I shouldn't have used the word "saint" to describe myself since I, well, I've done stuff that would make saints blush. In the words of my hubby, "You aren't bad enough, but when you're bad, you're really good."