It's a bit too late to be jumping on the bandwagon, but I'm going to do it anyway because I love lists like this.
1. Panda isn’t really my name, of course. It’s a nickname given to me by a friend who decided that I needed a superhero alterego, and because I was always wore a shirt that depicted two dozen pandas performing Aikido, she decided to name me Panda Girl. We went on to create two other superhero alteregos: Beerman and HalaMan (which is Tagalog for “plant”) for her and for another friend. We sometimes make up stories about our adventures and we titled the whole thing, “The Marvelous Misadventures of Panda Girl, Beerman and HalaMan”. And yes, we each have our own archnemesis…
2. I’m a college student who’s busily working her way to law school. If nothing goes wrong, I’ll graduate my pre-law course next year. But even though I’m 19, a lot of people still think I’m an elementary school student when they first meet me.
3. I’m a PC gamer and the first thing I look for in a video game is a good plot, which is why I’m not interested in playing most MMORPGs. My to-be-played list of video games is nearly as long as my to-be-read list!
4. I have resolved to try something new at least once a week, small things like trying out a new genre, getting a new game, taking a different route home or tasting new food. I try “big” new things once every five months. These are the ones that require money and/or preparation. The last three big, new things I tried were: Kendo, lifesaving classes and then joining a student organization.Which brings us to number five…
5. I am now hopelessly in love with Kendo and have added getting a dan rank to my bucket list. Kendo was the first thing that I tried that wasn’t “expected of me” by my friends and family. Unlike the competitions I entered or the honors I received, this was something I had the option to quit, without anyone thinking the worse of me if I did. It was hard. Kendo was something that didn’t come easily to me, not after the first lesson or the third or the fiftieth. There were times that I really wanted to quit, when I wanted to cry because it seemed like I was never going to get better. Somehow, I managed to throw away that sort of mentality. I didn’t quit and instead, I learned. I’m still learning. That’s something I feel proud of.
6. Joining the student organization, on the other hand, was a big mistake. On the night of the initiation (which my friend tells me is not even a “real” initiation, as if that made it any better), the emotional and psychological vulnerability I felt was enough to trigger several memories of the day my older cousin raped me (I was eight). This was something that I’ve struggled to suppress, forget and convince myself never happened for as long as I can remember. The morning after, my brother only knowing half the story (that I went to an initiation), dragged me to Kendo classes.
Oddly enough, the presence of our sensei, the kiais from the sparring class and the physical exertion the sport required of me was a comfort. I have since then regarded Kendo classes as my “safe place”, while at the same time regarding the student organization with no small degree of apprehension.
7. No, I am not “over” the fact that I got raped. I still have to see the cousin that raped me, I still have to smile and twitter and be nice to him. Because of the nature of religious superstition and sexism in the Philippines, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to tell anyone without the mask of anonymity. I may not be brave enough to tell my friends and family, but I am smart enough to know that none of it was my fault and that it wasn’t something I had coming because I was being too flirty or I was being too compliant or some other crap people will try to feed me. I refuse to apologize because I have nothing to apologize for and I refuse to feel ashamed because I have nothing to be ashamed about. For now, that has to be enough.
8. Because I feel as if my last few entries were too dark, might I add that I am a terrific dancer—but only in the bathroom. A great singer too. Too bad the only witnesses are my sponge and some hair care products.
9. Since I grew up on a small island where a beach is never more than a walk away, I’m a fair swimmer but I've never taken any formal swimming lessons. I took up lifesaving as one my classes this semester and I’m feeling a bit jealous of those that have obviously had lessons. I’m planning on getting swimming lessons as my next “big” new thing.
10. I am a legendary procrastinator and I spent an hour writing this when I really should have been revising an assignment.