I was pretty young when I first realized I was different from the other kids, specifically other boys. I never really liked playing rough because I didn’t want to get hurt or hurt another person. Back then I knew I was a pacifist even before I knew what the word meant. Resorting to violence was never the answer and that’s one lesson I learned as a kid and lived by as an adult.
While most of my friends ran around the streets chasing each other or playing video games in the arcade, I preferred staying at home and reading books or watching movies on VHS. I wanted to be alone with my thoughts or be transported to another world, a different world where stories begin and end in one sitting, where the protagonist always wins and gets the happy ending.
As a kid I’d always wanted to escape reality because reality was boring. I’d wake up everyday doing the same things, following the same routines. Nothing happened in real life, nothing “cool” I guess. So I secretly wished I had powers or was adopted and that my real parents were from another universe, gods or witches of some sort. That by the time I turn 12 or 18 or 21 my adoptive parents would finally reveal to me the truth about my identity. “You’re special,” they’d say. But I’m 24, no revelation about the real me has happened yet and I don’t think there’d be any time soon.
As much as I would love to see the world and discover new places, I couldn’t afford to and in a way, reading books allowed me to see those places myself – at least in my head. I could smell the ocean and listen to the waves, watch the sun set from a distance and feel the wind blow on my face as I sink my feet on the sand. I could almost hear people talking as they walk past me in the streets and wander in awe at the skyscrapers covering the sky above. One day I’m in Paris, the next day I’m in New York and at times I’d get lost on my way to Mordor or even caught in a battle in Westeros.
I was a loner then and even now I prefer to be alone. I knew something was wrong with me but I couldn’t seem to figure out what it was. I was distant. I never let my guard down. I never let people in. I always knew the right words to say but never really said what I truly meant. I was very good at hiding my emotions and masking my feelings. I was afraid that people would see my vulnerability and take advantage of that.
It was hard for me to accept who I am and I’ve struggled ever since. I was confused. I didn’t understand. There aren’t any guidelines on how to deal with this kind of thing. No step-by-step program to help you on your way. There’s no manual, you’re on your own and figuring out who you are and what you want to be is very hard.