Aya Lamadrid

“Aren’t you scared?” my friend asked.

“Scared of what?” I uttered as I took a sip of my favorite salted caramel milk tea that we ordered.

“Of — of the possibility, of living alone? Of not being able to experience love? You know, the usual narratives portraying the life of our community, especially that of ours.”

I was stunned for a moment. I looked away and tried to find the answers in the view of accelerating cars and pedestrians walking. My friends know me for having lots of fears, and seeing me coming out of my own shell and taking risks is like them seeing an eclipse – it still happens, once in a blue moon.

“I used to. I used to be scared.”

I remember when I first came out to my mom — oh yes, because I came out twice. First, as a member of the LGBTQI community and second as a transgender woman. When I first came out, my mom warned me to protect my heart at all costs from men who are advantageous and have nothing but dark intentions. I was riding a bus heading to Tagaytay when I read her text and that instantly brought me to tears (of joy). Some passengers were even looking at me with curiosity and pity. In all fairness, my mom did not fail to make me cry the second time I came out; the only difference was that the tears that came out from my eyes were not of joy but of pain and anguish.  I could never forget when she said, “Prepare yourself to grow old alone. You chose that path so be ready for the repercussions.”

Well, that was harsh. Should coming out be at the cost of losing the chance of experiencing romantic love? Should embracing my truth be at the expense of living alone until my last breath? Why does life have to be this unfair for us who are just accepting ourselves?

In hindsight, I began to realize that my mom did not intend to hurt me; she just wanted me to not set idealistic thoughts but rather to expect for the worst. The world is far from perfection, and I am not an exception.

“I was scared because I was a fan of romance – from novels to movies. I feared not being able to experience the love that brought me in this world, the very reason for my existence. I said, was. Because now, I am learning that not having a man by your side until your hairs turn white is not a dealbreaker. For happiness does not revolve around romantic love. I found love in coming home being welcomed by my fur baby wagging his tails. I found love in waking up early in the morning and having my cup of coffee while waiting for the sun to rise. I found love in night walks. I found love in cooking. I found love, and that brought me genuine happiness.”

Image by Zach Tutor via Flickr