Breaking the rules
Earlier on I was teased for being a chicken and a crybaby. I used to duck for cover whenever I heard spooky tales, and I shivered whenever I was left alone in the dark. I never budged an inch from my comfort zone and I stayed away from other people as much as possible. I was “Miss Goody Two-Shoes” to my friends, because I never dared try what they were doing. I preferred staying home and ensconcing myself in my beloved world of books.
But as I grew up, I began to envy other children whenever I saw them playing noisily outside. Soon I dreaded being out of place during my pals’ conversations, especially when they were talking about hanging out, having a great time, and simply enjoying teenage life. So I started emerging from the shell into which I had put myself. Slowly, I began to muster every ounce of my strength. And fearlessly, I jumped headlong into what I believed was the “real world,” and swore to take risks from then on.
Then voila! All of a sudden, I became this brave girl who loves challenges. I fight every single fear left in me. I’m fearless. Lately, however, I think I’ve been taking that word quite literally.
At first I shook off my fear of ghosts and the dark. Then I lost my fear of social life. But I also lost my fear of doing unwanted things. I started breaking rules. Last year I broke a lot of rules, especially those involving forbidden stuff.
I transformed from a rude girl to a rebellious teen. Well, just slightly. Of course I didn’t go as far as vandalizing or smoking or gulping alcohol or wearing daring clothes or having girl-on-girl feuds, or whatever rebellious teen behavior that comes to your mind right now. Rather, I became rebellious in the eyes of my parents, for I violated their rules.
Like when I went to my classmate’s house in a far-off place without their permission. Like when I stayed up until 3 in the morning chatting with my friends. Like when I went home late on many occasions (but gosh, I swear it was because of school group work!).
Or like when I had a relationship with my classmate, which was the biggest violation of all. My parents’ No. 1 rule for me is to never get involved in a romantic relationship until I graduate from college. I had long sworn to myself I’d never do it, but hormones got the better of me and I fell in love. Worse, the guy fell for me, too. Apparently, it wasn’t a “real” boyfriend-girlfriend relationship because he didn’t court me anyway, but in my parents’ eyes it was still forbidden. So when they found out, the disappointment and rage were extreme.
I felt terribly guilty and remorseful when I saw how hurt they were. They had trusted me so much and they never expected me to fail that trust. That’s the time it dawned on me that I had been wrong all along.
I thought doing things like breaking rules could actually gain you strength and self-confidence. But while it’s true that breaking the rules can be thrilling and exciting, the consequences are devastating. I thought doing it was okay because everybody else was doing it, too. And I thought doing it in secrecy could actually save me from the troubles it might bring. After all, no secret remains unrevealed. And what is wrong is never right.
Well, you can expect equally terrible punishment for me. While they have somehow moved on from it, I’m still suffering the comeuppance of betraying my ever-loving parents. My behavior backfired on me like a cannonball because last year I was plunged into a sea of problems involving school and health.
I don’t actually conclude that God is punishing me. Yeah, probably. But the worst part was the pang of guilt haunting me every single night, the regrets I have every day for choosing to take a terrible risk. And all of the bad things I have done didn’t make me feel like a grownup—well, somehow. Somehow I felt a new sense of “grownup knowledge” sprout in my brain, because I’ve learned my lessons.
Rosalina A. Areola, 16, is in Grade 10 at Pasay City South High School.
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