High school freshman year was a blur. My days were routine and living in my emotional bubble, I didn't take initiative to be social. In addition to hiding my heart, I had a bigger secret to hide: I liked boys. With this revelation, I placed my need to be special on the back burner; I had to survive high school. Read more [+/-]
I used to believe that the eyes were the doors to your soul. If someone looked into my eyes long enough, they would discover all my secrets. When I spoke to someone, I would avoid looking them straight in the eye; perhaps that's why my freshman year was a blur. And perhaps that's why I remember the interior of the school so well. It wasn't very interesting, by the way.
After the friendship between G. and I ended, I didn't make any friends for a while. I avoided the Asian crowd like the plague. The smart ones were too smart and easy pickin's for ridicule. The cool ones intimidated me, not to mention "cliquey". They would only hang out with other Asians, even though the other two-thirds of the school was Black and Latino (white and 'other' made up 10%); boring carbon copies of each other. Fine, I might have been a little jealous.
To be different, I sought the company of the other two-thirds, befriending an amazing group of Latinos. This is when I learned a lot about Hispanic culture - such as you don't want to mistake a Dominican for a Puerto Rican or vice versa - including how to salsa and merenge. Having Michael, Janet, and Madonna as idols back in the day turned out to be beneficial. I was known in my 'clique' as Chino-Latino, and later 'Jase'. Plus, I got mAd ProPz (Those unfamiliar with that term, it means 'a lot of proper respect' - Thanks Greg!)
During the course of the next three years, I became a lot more social and outgoing; it was hard not to be when you're around the loudest people in the lunchroom, classroom, mall, movie theater, on the street, etc (in a good way of course). I also learned that I could still hide my sexuality while developing my social side. My friends didn't care to find out. I was practically an expert at faking straight, it was easy to let the other facets of my personality shine through. To them I was the Asian Sensation who can dance and pronounce the spanish rolling 'R', and that was good enough. All the hot mamitas adored me, guys didn't question that.
After graduation, I lost touch with most of them. Not surprisingly, none of them chose to attend the same college as I did (I was the only one out of the group that took AP Calculus and Physics). Thinking back, I wonder if I chose them as my friends because I thought it would be easy to leave them. I know I still had trouble letting people get close to me, so it was in the back of my mind that I shouldn't let our friendship get too deep; it makes it easier to move on.
I didn't let it get to me, I was moving away for college! Dorming, I would be in a new place, with new friends, and a new life. By myself. Again. But this time it would be different; I would take the self-confidence I've learned from my amazing Latino friends with me. This time, it will be easy to make new friends.
This time, I will be able to develop deep, lasting friendships... right?