COO

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COO. Child Of the Owner.

A term I learned from frisbee teammates making fun of what I was to become then. Now that I have started working for my mom, I am beginning to understand what it means and all the changes it has brought and will be bringing.

I spent high school in Manila, did university in Quezon City, and got invited to teach in the same institution until recently when I resigned. In those sixteen years, I was barely home. Even in high school, I only went home to sleep. Most of my time was spent in the daily commute and studying. When I started working and renting my own space, I was only home for the weekends and holidays.

But now, all I have to do is wake up, wash up, dress up, eat breakfast, cross the threshold, and voila! I’m in my office. I’ll explain how our house and my mom’s school has mutated together in another post, but for now, working in my hometown right beside our house is one of the biggest changes. No daily commute, no fares, no people watching. It seems more peaceful now. It’s like I’m working from home, but no really working from home.

By the time I wake up, my sister, brother, and dad would have all gone to their offices, which leaves me and my mom quietly (and groggily) preparing. I have plans to fix this, maybe eat breakfast with my mom in the future, however right now, there is that peace that I do not have to beat traffic and I don’t even have to see people and cars rushing. It’s just I preparing to go to work. The work itself isn’t easy as I am now handling multigrade, then again teaching was never easy to begin with. But for the first time in six years, since I started working, I seem to have more control of small, but important things, in my life–including time. The picture above is me doing cooking and photography–two things I love but didn’t have time to pursue.

Ironically, the second change I am adjusting to, are the rules. Despite being a COO, I have to follow rules now more than ever. Of course I can’t be a bad example to the other employees. This, sadly, includes wearing a uniform. I was never a fan of uniforms, but apparently, having a uniform saves a lot of time. Now, I only have to think of what pants and shoes to match the polo shirts with. It’s Blue, Yellow, Red, and Green for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday respectively (for now, I get a Fridays-off perk to focus on MA!).

The biggest change however, is the gravity of having to work for you mom, the immense responsibility of learning about the business, and the seriousness of the possibility that I might be running the business in the future. I was really agitated at first. I even locked my keys inside the car once because of worrying. The worrywart in me sees so many ways this business could go wrong, and how I can be the reason it goes wrong. Reading Arundhati Roy’s God of Small Things didn’t help. When one of the characters, Chako, an Oxford graduate, with brilliantly grand ideas, took over his mom’s business, it was the start of the business’ downfall (and the story’s denouement).

  • What if I fail to anticipate?
  • What if fail to bring change and progress?
  • What if the school gets left behind in technology and trends under my watch?
  • What if people would stop sending their kids to our school because the COO is gay?

The latter being the greatest fear I have, which, again, will be for another post.

I can think of many things that can go wrong; but to be fair, I have also thought of things that could go my way. Top of the list is me, learning a lot about not just my craft, but also of running a business, dealing with people, procurement, marketing, archiving and records, streamlining, and finance among others. Not to mention, the maturity I can gain which I know I lack tremendously.

So there. COO. It’s scary. It has only been three weeks. Three weeks are nothing to what may be in store for me.

COO reminds me of babies cooing, all swaddled in blankets, fed and loved and kissed and hugged, reminding me of feelings that would make you want to just lie in soft blankets and sheets, and pillows, and sleep all day.

But that isn’t this COO. This COO is something you begin to be and you hopefully end up deserving to be.

I wonder if I’ll be a good COO.

COO.

Wanting to be Desired

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In a couple of weeks I’ll be turning 27. I don’t have any qualms about aging except for one thing: the fear of not maturing enough-a symptom of which for me is the feeling that my struggles as a younger guy seem to still linger.

I have trimmed these struggles down to two–belongingness and the desire to be desired.

Belongingness

I have always been a misfit. I loved studying in lower school, I hung out with the girls, I like jackstone and ten-twenty. I did volleyball instead of basketball. I was categorized as soprano 1 in our children’s choir (which uses the SSA Soprano 1 and 2 and alto sections anyway). Boys teased me for being different. They kept telling me I was gay -I rhetorted that the things I did didn’t make me gay. Well , years later I found out they were right. Surprise!

I badly wanted to be normal. I wished then ten that my dad taught me basketball more. I prayed hard for an older brother that I know will never exist. I wanted someone to help me be one of the boys. It didn’t help that I was on the stout amd short side of things.

More than a decade later, I still want to belong. I can feel this when I’m with my ultimate frisbee team, it feels crappy that no matter how much I train, I still am a secondary player to all the big guys who can run faster and jump higher than I can.

I can feel this in the academe, where everyone seems smarter than I am.

I can feel this in gay communities, where everyone seems to be taller, hotter, sexier than I am.

I can even feel this in my family, being the only child who studied in three different cities during the three phases of school,  a know-it-all, sensitive douche  who talks a lot accordimg to his siblings.

And when I finally thought I belonged to someone I loved for three years, he decided I wasn’t good enough for him. I was crushed into microscopic bits.

Want to be desired.

I want to be wanted. I want to be needed. In sports, in work, in life.

Being gay quadruples this desire to be desired. A short, balding, stout guy doesn’t sit well in gay circles with abs, pecs, trapz, and what have you. It does not help that most are also more confident (bitchier, even) and smarter (or at least seem smarter).

In public spaces where I always seem to be the 4th wall in a scene where a tall, lean, gay dude is checking out another tall, lean, gay dude, there are times that I badly wish I was the one being checked out. I wish to the point of hurting.

Today

I used to fear not outgrowing these things. I was scared that I will forever have these feelings of inadequacy and that not overcoming my insecurities seems to only verify and strengthen my feelings of being different and inadequate themselves– like an eternal trap.

This was until I knew better, until I found out that I am maturing.

I used to fake cry and tell my bestfriend (now, my boyfriend) that it’s sad that I’ll never be a model. Well, there is some truth to that since again I want to be desired, but I think that as I was saying those words, acceptance was starting to fill the void that I have been feeling all these time. I began and still beginning to understand that I’ll have to be enough for my self.

I began to see the beauty that comes with all the frustrations I have with my self. In turn, these frustrations are turning to mere imperfections which are now resolving to become definitive of who I am, my own specifications if I were  gadget, my own differentiating set of qualities.

Now being different ceased to sound bad and limiting. It has started to become liberating, it feels reaffirming.

As I am writing this inside a van traveling home, my fears have lessened because it seems that I am maturing.

🙂