Week 52: Skydive

24 Dec – 21 Dec 17

Everything I had accomplished from the earlier parts of #theROYCEproject was put to the test last August. I just got out of my first semester in law school, and while not all of it was pretty, I got through it. A month into it, I was so close to giving up. I knew what giving up felt like, and as much as I hated that feeling, I equally hated how difficult school was, and I had no other choice but to go through it. For a while, I hated myself, too, because I should not have been feeling that way. From my five days in the last law school I went to, I had a taste of how hard it was going to be, and I spent a whole year preparing myself mentally, and convincing myself that it only gets worse from there.

I also thought of how grateful I should have felt. So many others would kill to be in my position. Not a lot of us get to go to law school in the first opportunity, let alone a second one. I owe it to the people who support me to do well. While this was not the best line of thinking, I went with whatever would make me stay because I also wanted to do it for myself. This is what would make me happy. This is why I’ve been stepping on weighing scales, jumping off mountains, stripping down to my underwear for a photo shoot—I needed to do this, and I did. Well, the first semester, at least. I’ve started to enjoy it, too, because after midterms, I found that I was pretty good at it. I don’t regret leaving the first law school I went to. It took whatever I went through—leaving, spending a year depressed, and doing something about it—to believe that I am capable of doing things I thought I couldn’t do.

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Week X: An Update

24 Jun 17

I’m not going to apologize for my three-month long absence from #theROYCEproject because I ran out of things to do, so I took a break. In reality, I was supposed to get a tattoo to address my fear of long-term commitment, but I had a beach trip planned for the week I was supposed to get one. If I had gotten one anyway, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the sea because I wouldn’t have been allowed to get my new tattoo wet. Even when I returned, I found that I couldn’t afford to get one, and I can’t allow myself to borrow money from my savings just to do it. Plus, I wasn’t even sure if I could get one because of the restrictions for getting into the Bar.

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Week 12: The Interview

19 Mar 17 – 25 Mar 17

Less than two hours after hurdling over my last weekly challenge, I received my next one. The law school I applied to emailed me to inform me of my admissions interview, which was scheduled in three days. As if that alone hadn’t already made me anxious, I got another email telling me that I, along with all law school applicants in the Philippines, was required to take another exam. The results of that exam were going to be sent to my law school as an additional requirement for my admission.

I’m not going to lie; I allowed myself to get into a panic attack. At that point, after nearly a year since dropping out of law school and three months of doing #theROYCEproject, I still didn’t have a clear reason for going back, or for pursuing that career. My hair was also a crazy shade of purple, and thinking about changing that back to black for the interview when I still wanted it to be purple slowly killed me.

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Week 11: Scuba Diving

12 Mar 17 – 18 Mar 17

This week’s challenge was more of something I wanted to check off of my bucket-list than something I was scared of doing, but it still scared me, nonetheless. Except for me and my younger sister, my family are licensed scuba divers. I hadn’t thought of getting certified myself because I’ve been told that because of my weight, I would only have a hard time trying to scuba dive. With the progress I’ve made in becoming a healthier person, however, I found the courage to go for it anyway, regardless if it’s going to be challenging or not. As I’ve said previously, anything that’s going to stop me from being me is not worth a single mili-second of my time.

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Week 10: The World is My Runway

5 Mar 17 → ∞

I don’t really pay much attention to the clothes I wear. My closet consists mostly of plain black t-shirts, two pairs of jeans, and about a thousand pairs of the same shorts in different colors. This is the case for two reasons: first, given my size, I don’t have a lot of clothing options to begin with. If your jeans size is 40 inches across the waist, and you wear them with size XXL clothes, and live in the Philippines, the only place you get decent clothes, that sort of fit you, at a student-friendly budget is Old Navy, and they’re not exactly the most fashion-forward. We don’t even Old Navy in my city; I have to drive two hours and pay around two thousand Pesos on gas, toll fees, and parking to visit the nearest one. Second, my mom is my biggest critic.1 There’s a caveat to living with your parents, especially with mine. They’re the kind of people who, no matter how polished you may be, will scrutinize the smallest thing to make sure you’re perfect. It’s a bit difficult to be more experimental about clothing when you’re around that energy.

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Week 09: Hey Girl, Can You Hear Me?

26 Feb – 4 Mar 17

I come from a family where you are told who you are and whom you’re supposed to be, what you’re good at and what you’ll fail in. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but sometimes it gets complicated when the person whom you’re supposed to be isn’t the same person whom you want to be. Take me, for example. My grandparents and my mom insist that I’d make a good lawyer because my only talents are speaking in English well and arguing with customer service representatives when the Internet is down. While those are talents that I do possess, they don’t necessarily lead to me wanting to become a lawyer. Don’t get me wrong; I want to be a lawyer, but given the freedom to choose my own career path, I would have rather spent the last five years on a pre-med course because I like helping people. If only they saw that I’m actually a kind-hearted person, instead of the evil, soulless bitch that they condemn me for being, things would be different. Unfortunately, they didn’t allow me to go to the pre-med school because that false persona of me didn’t fit in that environment.

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Perfect

Written 19 May 16

I don’t know where to begin because our beginning was perfect, absolutely perfect.

Maybe I could start with myself. Before we met, I was in the crushing process of repairing myself. My hands still had fresh wounds from picking up the pieces of a shattered heart. Sometimes, those wounds would bleed, causing me to drop the heart, and I would have to start all over again and get myself wounded even more. There were days when I wanted to leave it broken because it hurt to piece it back together. It felt useless, too… But on the route to giving up, I was standing in front of Van Gogh’s Starry Night on a cloudy day in New York City when you said hello. That meant something.

I was very careful in structuring our conversations. I didn’t think you’d give me a chance because based purely on looks, I’m not on your level. Also, I’ve been rejected by so many for the smallest things.

But you saw past those small things and let me feel comfortable around you.

Flash forward, clutching my favourite coffee in hand, I’m waiting in the middle of Manhattan to meet you for the first time. I arrived early, and being the over-thinker that I am, I gave myself a panic attack. What if you don’t like my date ideas? Do I even have date ideas? Yes… Fuck! I forgot to put perfume on… I have to finish this coffee faster, so I can take a mint and not have coffee breath… What if that’s a serious turn-off and you ditch me in the middle of lunch? Are you even showing u—

And there you were. You look better in person. You’re taller than I imagined you would be, and your sweet smile made my heart melt. You let me hug you. I could smell you for the first time, and my senses went nuts. I got so excited for the rest of our time together because never in 20 years did I think that someone like you would give me a chance.

The rest of our day seemed surreal. I’ve convinced myself before that life isn’t like what it is in the movies because in real life, my crushes do not show up for lunch dates; they don’t laugh at my jokes when they’re corny; they don’t let me grab their hand before crossing the street; they don’t let me steal kisses on their cheeks when we’re walking around a furniture store while discussing our alter egos; most of all, they don’t make time stop when they’re making out with me for the first time in a crowded bus terminal when we’re about to say goodbye. But you did all that for me and with me, and I am so grateful.

You’d think it was funny that a single day and a single person could change the way I believe in something, but it’s not. It feels right, so right.

by Royce