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Einjellyn Puno Apr 25, 2020

King, Queens, and In-Betweens

Words by Einjellyn Puno

One. Two. Three deep breaths. They cannot find the missing piece of their souls. People start to look up. Open windows start to close, stories are kept and an old dusty umbrella opens against the crying of the clouds.

Much like the windows, the stories and the old umbrella, most members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender or LGBT Community tend to shut their lives from the society in fear of being called names and judged. Their only safe haven are the comforts of their own rooms. It is important to acknowledge strength and the factors that protest sexuality such as peers and acceptance They deserve love deeper than the ocean itself. It was not their choice to be who they are. They are proud and it is something to applaud. Our school is home to many members of the LGBT Community. One of them who chooses to disclose his identity questioned out society. "Why do people like them exist?," he said, filled with sadness and confusion. "What I only want is to be accepted. Because I do not want to change just because our society set a standard for who you should be in exchange for its acceptance," he added, broken heatedly.

He is right. no one should dictate us to who we should be for we have our own lives to live and our own desires to be fulfilled. "To be honest, the society has been more accepting toward us compared to the old days, but, it is not enough for me," he said, departing to continue his life. The experience can be particularly difficult for our Kings, Queens and In-Between who in their true colors. Every pain that runs down your nerves, remember that everything will be alright. For as long as the world is spinning, there is no reason to give everything up. A certain night will come and you will shine the brightest among any other. And when that comes, the world will embrace and keep you under its arms - constantly loving you for who you are.

King, Queens and In-Between, whatever their preference may be, they will only find the missing piece of their soul once the world, the universe rather, has shown them the acceptance that they have longed for. Because after all, there's always a rainbow after the rain. One. Two. Three. Deep breaths.

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If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.

And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.

Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.

Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”

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