How do people in our country define a man? Is a man should have about ten girlfriends or so for just a month? Or is a real man should know how to play basketball or other sports that requires him to show his “manliness”? Is he allowed to cry? Could man show any trace of weakness and limitation?

Bakit may babaeng bakla pero walang lalaking tomboy?

Welcome to the teenage world, where everyone shares their so-called insecurities in gender definitions. I learned from my psychology class before that adolescence, or what ‘our age’ calls much as teenage life is a period of our existence in which we often suffer from role confusion. We subject ourselves much into questions which should define us as a person and as a human being. These questions can be disturbing, and in the end of the day, we still cannot find the answers we need. You start to feel uneasy, shy, and you start to become too observant of other people of our same age and same sex. You start to scrutinize the way teenagers your age moves, act, even in the minutest details like how they hold their pens when they write, what foot they first step on the ground when they walk, or the like. Being in this stage of life is difficult. I can attest to that for I myself am still suffering from these insecurities.

You see, every time I put myself in judgment with typical boys my age, I feel like I’m not being like them enough. I feel like I’m one of them though they think the other way around. Like, in the way I seldom hanged out with my male classmates in high school, and in the approach I sometimes refused my high school classmates whenever they invited me for gimmicks, or encourage me to go womanizing. Or in the manner I never really learned to value wrestling and basketball like how my little sister appreciates them more than I do, or for me to prefer to watch teledramas and fantaseryes when my other colleagues is on their way of enjoyment of playing DOTA on their PCs. Occasionally I feel like I’m such a deviation to the standard, ideal macho teenage boy. When I was in elementary, I was always touted as a crybaby and a coward. Even today, I never look to have developed out of that impression. Some people in high school still look at me as this gay guy.

I was thinking of blaming my father for not playing with me out in the sun, like how he didn’t train me to learn the art of playing balls and stuff, but as far as I remember, I was (and still is) a frail child long ago, with a respiratory ailment that could trigger danger anytime. Blame health. I want to play basketball and learn how to run fast. I want to be in the intramurals and compete. I want to get a little more physical. I wanted to say bato the stronger way, say BATO without my sisters laughing as they hear me say it.

Because of these insecurities, it is very hard for me to talk with the majority of boys at school. Maybe because, I don’t have any idea of what a typical boy should talk about. I can’t ask them for the recent update on the Network War issue, or the synopsis of the up-to-date Marimar episode, it will surely raise other people’s eyebrows and start to ask me “Hey, are you gay?”

To add to this insecurity, I’m feeling like people think I’m in such a girl and gay-dominated barkada and was obviously influenced by how they speak and move or how they react on things. Well, maybe they’d influenced me in a way, but I can assure that it is plain minimal.

Masyado na yata akong defensive. I was initially not eager on giving out such a sensitive problem. But then I do crave to let out of this nuisance. And I do want to be open and sincere even if everyone sees and reads this thing. Maybe others might think I’m just fishing for awa (I think it’s a more emotional term) or I’m just being guilty. I want to standardize what a man should be defined as. Impossible, but true. If there are things I want to be done in this world, it is to define terms which are vaguely labeled. Is being “manly” an intangible concept? I believe so. I still ask myself why, in this particular society that there is a diminutive measurement of standards in terms of masculinity while femininity, on the other hand, has its wide array of acceptance. It is that, when you came into a situation where you slightly didn’t qualify the standards of masculinity, you will be immediately labeled as “weird” or “different”. I believe that gender, for what the hell people is too conscious of, is a choice rather than an imposed function. No one could enforce a particular role to us but us. Effeminate men can choose if they would want themselves labeled as gay or as straight men. The same goes to masculine women. I think it shouldn’t matter.

Though I should admit that sometimes I’m disappointed when I feel like I fail various people’s prospect, when I fail to be as the typical macho they expect me to be, when I fail to fulfill a particular role they expect me to take part in, when I fail to present them a big and courageous me… This is making me think like I’m not being masculine enough to their standards. Many people out there experience similar if not the same insecurities I suffer at this moment. And this experience is obviously not new: maybe people of my age from centuries ago also underwent this insecurity. Maybe when the time comes and I’ve overcame this part of life, these insecurities could be just a minor issue.

Cineastes, I love you very much.

*There are a lot of typos and grammatical errors. Sorry, I’m not an English Major.