THIS WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED VIA TINYLETTER ON DATE STAMPED
The other day, before we closed in for the night, I received a Facebook invitation to an online rambulan group from my highschool alma mater. It took me almost two days to accept the invite and join.
If you’re not familiar, FB bardagulan (rambulan, trashtalk) groups are one of the groups that was formed to cope with probable mass boredom brought by the community quarantine in the country. People try to one up each other for fun, ideally from different, opposing entities. The trashtalk groups I joined prior, for example, is the BIG FOUR Trashtalkan (Among UP, UST, DLSU, and ADMU) and UP Trashtalkan (Between all UP units).
I had no trouble joining the two because most of my friends in the present are from college and most of the people in the groups were strangers. But when I was invited to my highschool’s group, I couldn’t decide how I feel.
For starters, I have done several major rehauls of my social media accounts in the past 10 years. My Facebook is probably my 3rd-5th account and both my IG and Twitter accounts are my second. I made it a point not to add, accept, or follow anyone I don’t really talk to in person or don’t really care for in an attempt to reduce the noise social feeds make. I consider updates on the lives of thousands of people in my network mental pollution. There are too many things being fed to me that I don’t need and, by careful assessment, I don’t really care about at all. It’s not like I’m antisocial or devoid of the ability to connect. I just do not identify myself to the groups I’m associated with as strongly as others do.
Here’s the typical type of connections that do not make the cut:
- People who come from the same school, company or church but I have never talked to
- People who come from the same school, company or church I have never talked in the past three years and don’t see myself reconnecting with until maybe the 30th year grand reunion
- People who come from the same school, company or church whose life or entity (eg. church, org, etc.) I do not really care for
- People I don’t really like or have learned to dislike
- People I have encountered only once (ADHOC committee) and don’t really care for/never really connected with/don’t see myself hanging out with, ever
- People I don’t want to get updates on my life
I know my criteria’s pretty harsh for other people but I swear by it. It is a blessing to not know what’s going on with their lives. There are also less people whose expectations of me demands being lived up to but will never likely meet. I felt more comfortable of changing with less people watching thru the years. And I am myself the most than I have ever been.
So when I opened the group, I was stunned. These are names and faces I have not seen in literal years, close to a decade, if not more. Not even virtually. Some names ring a bell but I can’t make out their faces. I have changed so much since highschool and have not bothered how much most people I knew from there changed. I cannot help but feel a certain level of estrangement—I do not feel belonged, even though I did. And I feel as if I’m the only one. “How is this not inducing any anxiety from other people?,” I asked myself.
It’s the same feeling I get when I went to Munzinelupa earlier this year and bumped into people from my highschool, the church I grew up in, Victory Alabang, my undergrad degree, and UPLB in general. I am no longer all the people they knew. And yet I felt the need to make the adjustments by being all of the people they knew, except I couldn’t. There’s nothing wrong with them necessarily. It’s all on me.
After the panic comes the hostility. This is not an isolated case. I encounter this every time I would reminisce about previous churches and companies as well. Although there are good memories, the bad experiences are pretty major that they cloud how I feel towards said entity overall. Plus I’m a Taurus, I tend to my grudges. Maybe it’s partly because most of my traumas either stem from them, or were established in them. My brain would enumerate the number of ways it sucked and the people who made it so. The sexism, elitism, and ignorance. And to hear or see how these things are still ongoing, man am I disgusted.
Of course, I would’ve still felt this even without the garbage outing themselves in the group. The disgust is more in hindsight, but affirmed and amplified by what has transpired in the present. I finally accepted the invite but only for a few hours, until I talked to several people who helped me figure out how I feel towards the group.
I am glad to be out of that group and that school, and will keep it that way. It does not make me a better person than them but I am much happier without the association. I have changed and my world is growing. It’s not right to try to fit places I have clearly outgrown. Maybe they’re even nice individually, but I’ll just have to cross the bridge when I get there, if I ever do.