Francis Rubio

I am no survivor

I am done being at other people's mercy

I was born in 1999. If you don’t know, my grandfather, who later on became my bestfriend, wanted my mom to abort me because I was a child out of wedlock. My mom didn’t, so here I am.

Growing up, I never felt that I was a mistake. I never felt like no one wanted me around. i was surrounded by the most loving people I could have, or at least at the time.

It was actually the world who told me it didn’t want me around. I got along well with my classmates from grade school. But I was bullied through high school, for all sorts of things: that my hair was frizzy, or that my teeth were yellow and crooked, or that I smell bad, or that I act too feminine, or that I was gay (to the point I actually wondered if I was).[1] Hardest of them was people thought I was smart, so when I didn’t excel, it’s just that I didn’t work hard enough.

My mom died when I was 11 years old. She had Leukemia. I was left with the responsibility immediately of helping feed and supporting my family financially. I had to do that at 11 years old. I had to grow up really fast. So I entered a scholarship program at school, the ones that pay you to study. And this is as much agains my will as it is for my need for my family to survive. At the time, I hated that scholarship because they expected so much more than what I could give. Everyone’s expectations made me feel useless unless I match them. I wanted to believe that even without these achievements, I deserve to be here, that I must have a worth.

As a student, I would tell my story to everyone, with the intent of getting them to take pity on me and help. As Winston Churchill said, never let a good crisis go to waste. To some, having their mom die is the end of the world. But to someone like me whose world keeps on turning after a tragedy, it’s just the perfect opportunity I need. People who know my story would oftentimes be compelled to help me financially, gift me things I could wear, or lend me some cash that they somehow “forget” about just a day later. It never sat right with me, but this was my opportunity to survive, my ticket out of this hellhole that I was in. Pride was a luxury to the one starving to death. When you’re starving to death, dignity uneaten and pride unswallowed are both luxuries you cannot afford.

But that was the past, and it has been long behind me. Some people call me a survivor, others a fighter. Many others tell me I didn’t deserve whatever it is that happened to me. But do these names truly matter? Do they not just serve as comfort to the onlookers who feel like they need to do something about the beaten down? Such tragedies, and worse, happens all the time to everyone, especially to the best of us. So no, I am no survivor. I am just a person who has gone through shit and dealt with it.

  1. Edit: I did come out as bisexual more or less than a year after I wrote this post. ↩︎

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