Growing an ingrown
By Virginia J. Pasalo
“WHAT will you be when you grow up?” is a question that I have answered with so many answers as I grew up. There are no definite answers. There are only tentative answers.
As a young child, I wanted to be a pilot, having been influenced by Uncle Opie who was a pilot. I was certain of this answer for some time. However, as I was exposed to dancing and singing, there was a point, I wanted to do all these, together. I started to draw myself beside airplanes, dancing and singing, and I realized, I like drawing, too.
When I was I first year high school, after listening to the Pink Sisters almost daily before dawn, I was convinced my singing career had shifted to singing in the convent. I wanted to be a nun. In the course of attending high school, and having moved to another school, so many possibilities clouded my vision, including men, whose advances convinced me, I could be wife material, and I was going to be a wife. At the same time, it was at this point that I also entertained, while taking care of babies, the thought of writing stories.
In college, the dream was different. I was going to be a lawyer, and I intimated this desire to a lawyer, twenty-five years my senior, who was convinced that I was going to be a good one. I wonder if he truly believed it, because, the next thing I knew, he sent me boxes of books: Leo Tolstoy, James Michener, Victor Hugo, Margaret Mitchell, Pearl S. Buck (I still remember the middle initial!), Shakespeare, Omar Khayyam, puka shells and perfumes. These were not law books. I knew about the perfumes, but the puka shells, what were they for?
In Manila, partly because I was hanging out with ambitions friends, we thought we would pull our money together for a financing venture and build our own building to house our expanding business. A building, for Christ’s sake, an intention growing like an ingrown toenail. For a time, we nurtured these dreams, and some did have their dreams fulfilled, not with the original friends who planned it, but by either marrying to it, by sheer doggedness, and some, with friends in government. I abandoned this “building” dream, it was sticking out like a sore thumb that swelled around my toenail curves.
Over the course of growing, I discovered that what I wanted to become reflected my desires, based on my instincts and accumulated experiences, at a given space and time. I say growing, because I also realized, there is no growing up, or down or sideways, there is just growing, whether you like it or not, and these “growing” perspectives are subject to the theory of relativity. Even the refusal to grow, grows.
I do not care if you grow tall
Or not at all
I want to be, like you and me
As sure and fleeting as can be
To be or not to be
Is to be.