Thursday, November 21, 2013

Let's be metamorphic

Definition from: Dictionary.com


Recently, my country has just crossed paths with the meanest and strongest typhoon ever formed this year inciting an unfathomable wreckage upon thousands of people. The aftermath brought about by typhoon Haiyan sent the media into frenzy, filling the news and the internet with so many horrific details reporting about thousands of dead people and houses and infrastructures wrestled down by the storm. Not to mention their irking issues about the government being indirectly labelled as slowpokes by the public and Korina Sanchez lambasting Anderson Cooper with the words, "doesn't know where he speaks of".

It's been a couple of weeks since the storm hit the Philippines and I could use some good news right about now because I swear, if I see another dead body lying on a pile of debris or hear another word from a fellow berating the government again then I would need to break something, either a vase or my irritating neighbor's face. 

On the serious note, thank heavens because slowly, people from the affected areas are starting to receive a great amount of help not only from their fellow Filipinos but from people all over the world. I would personally like to send my deepest gratitude to those who helped and prayed for the fast rebuilding and recovery of the victims of the typhoon. You guys are indeed appreciated. 

Let's jump to the main point of this article. This afternoon I was looking for ideas on what to write on my next blog post then I came across a commentary written by Ninotchka Roska. She's known as a journalist and a literary writer. She's an activist and fights for the rights of women. 

I was amazed by her commentary, not only because it was different, but because it was awakening, well at least that's how I found it. I was stuck in the cycle of belief telling myself that we, Filipinos are very resilient which is true, there's no doubt about that. We can take anything that life hits us, whether a big punch from an economic downfall, loss, or even a typhoon. Sometimes I think we're so resilient, we don't just endure any hardship, we welcome them.

We really are resilient, aren't we? 

According to Ninotchka's commentary(Click here for her full commentary), we are not. 

There are times when we bend but there are other times in our lives when we simply ought to break. When I lost my grandmother who took care of me when I was a kid, I broke and it broke me more when I failed to attend her funeral. When I lost an essay writing competition, I couldn't bend myself after losing, I simply broke. Then I realized, I am not resilient as I thought I was. The most important thing I realized is, breaking is not so bad after all because I realized that I can always put myself back together. The best part of breaking is the next time you see yourself, you're a stronger and wiser person.

As defined by Dictionary.com, being resilient means the ability of something to return to its original form; being able to spring back. Is that all we do? We only spring back? We desperately hanker for the light at the end of the tunnel, only to retain who we once were? If you're answer is no then Ninotchka is right when she said in her commentary that we are metamorphic and not resilient.

What does she mean by metamorphic? 

After going through a tough time, we break our former selves and transform into someone stronger and wiser and I think that's what the victims of typhoon Haiyan has become. I am sure that all of them has broken down after the typhoon hit the country but now that rainbows are beginning to appear ( I also mean this literally because there are reported appearances of rainbows in certain affected areas), gradually, they are restructuring their lives while getting ready to face the world once again with a stronger personality and a wiser mind. 

I think it's about time for us to look at ourselves differently. Whether we're a victim of a typhoon or the usual road blocks we come across in our personal lives, it's going to help to keep reminding ourselves that we're more than resilient. We're not superheroes for crying out loud. We get hurt and we break down but we rise from the challenge, we fight, and we succeed in the end and I believe that's more than resiliency. I completely agree with Ninotchka. We learn from the hardships that we go through, we grow and become stronger individuals.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lessons learned from movies

Yesterday was the last day of my school break and I ought to spend that last day with a blast. When I say blast, I meant watching movies the entire day while munching a toasted tuna sandwich with an ice-cold bottle of coke. Nothing fancy, just a modest way of bidding goodbye to what appeared to me as an endless round of do-nothing days. 

After a few minutes of scouring the internet, I found three movies that I decided to give a try and they were Step-Up Revolution, Internship, and Exam. All of these movies gave me everything that I look for in a movie. Step-Up gave me the chills and the excitement. Internship gave me a good laugh, and Exam sent me a good amount of thrill. My Dad thinks that movies are simply persuasive tools to fool people in spending big bucks for a two-hour long entertainment. 

That's a pessimistic way of looking at the works of the entertainment industry but for some reason, I agree. However, I am an optimistic guy and I always put the bright side of things first before anything else and as much as possible, never include any sort of negativity. Some movies might make you want to request for a refund and some movies just make you want to spend more just to watch it again. In other words, there are good movies and there are bad movies and the ones I mentioned just awhile ago are definitely good ones. You see, these movies not only give you the entertainment you want, it stirs up your emotions and inspires to do something. Some movies also have a way of reminding you of life lessons that you may have forgotten.

Step-Up Revolution

Photo from: gnmforum.blogspot.com
As we all know, it's a movie about dance. One good thing about this movie that I just realized yesterday is that it made me want to be a dancer. That's how talented those Step-Up people are! I don't want to make dancing as my career and never did that cross my mind but the way they bust those moves just made me want to be like them. I was amazed by how they twist, turn, and make their bodies move to the beat. It's just nothing but a complete display of sheer magnificence. I know, me wanting to be a dancer was ridiculous. I know that I was stuck at awe after watching the movie and that my emotions were probably rusting my decision making skills. Nevertheless, no worries people, I am fine and I am thinking straight now. 

At the end of the day, the movie taught me that if you have a talent, not just use it for the sake of using it. Use it for good. If you're trying to fight for what's right and you can't go out there and talk to people about it and you know that you have a talent you can use to make people understand your point then use your talent. Don't let it go to waste. There's a reason for having that talent so put it to good use. 

Internship

Photo from: rockstarenergy.com
I had the perfect timing in deciding to watch this movie. I heard this movie before but I never really got interested but a couple of days ago, I did give it a try and I have no regrets. It's a perfect movie to watch because I recently applied for an internship. I have no idea how things are going to work out in the company I applied for but this movie, as cheesy as it may sound but it's true, boosted my confidence. 

The problem about me sometimes is that I get scared about what I can't do. Sometimes, I focus my attention on the things that I can't do and make myself feel worse by comparing my skills with other people. I realized that it's not a healthy thing to do. I didn't know that I was already bruising my soul and my confidence. I'm still trying to work on that problem but after being through a lot of stuff, I can say that I am more confident now and that I spend more time praising myself instead of making myself feel bad by pointing out the things I can't do.

This movie taught me that hard work can make you go somewhere. With hard work, not only can you do something new, you can even be better at it. Things come and go, we meet friends and eventually we bid goodbye to some of them some day, we lose the one job that serves as our only source of income, a lot of  unwanted situations that we wish we can avoid but we know to ourselves that there's nothing we can do to avoid these downers. We have to suck it up and push forward.

Exam

Photo from: moviesonline.ca
This movie's a thriller and it has something to do with standing out from the competition while maintaining your compassion with others. The movie revolves around eight job applicants and they were sent to a seemingly isolated room for their final exam which will determine who will get the job offer. The mystery began when they flipped their examination paper and found no questions in it. I'll stop there. You might want to check the movie out and see how it goes.

The movie doesn't showcase a bag filled with violence, blood, and gore and that's why I liked it. I'm sick of those movies with crappy plots and are filled with stabbing, cutting, and decapitating scenes. After seeing this movie, I realized that it's important to acknowledge competition because that's when you develop your strategy to succeed but your strategy should have a borderline. If you get the opportunity to help a fellow competitor, do it, do it not for the sake of doing it, do it because you know it's the right thing to do.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Stop webcam child sex tourism!

Photo from: www.npr.org
Children should know how to celebrate their life, their youth. They should be outside enjoying what the world has to offer for them. They should be in school molding their minds to become better citizens of the world. However, little do we know, a lot of children all over the world are deprived from those rights. The worst part of it all is that they're being used for self-gratification of selfless and dirty individuals. 

It's good to know that there are people out there who try to put this issue under the international spotlight and pressure the authorities and all those concerned to put a stop to this horrible nightmare that a lot of children are going through. 

While I was checking my Facebook news feeds, I saw my friends posting this YouTube video about a Filipino girl named Sweetie who was able to catch 1,000 pedophiles. My first reaction was, "Woah! That's freakin' awesome! For a young girl to do something like that is unbelievable!". I was at awe while reading the video description. 

I thought the girl was real and for a second I wanted to meet her personally but when I watched the entire video, I found out that Sweetie is simply a product of technology. She's created for one purpose and for one purpose only and that's to catch pedophiles online. I have to say that the idea of putting Sweetie into life is a clever idea. Not only is it clever, it's also an effective trap for people who virtually rape minors online. 

If I could just eliminate this problem by rubbing a magic lamp and asking my genie to do his magic thingy, I'll do it right here, right now without any second thoughts. Unfortunately, I can't. However, I can do something to be part of the solution. 

Right after watching the video, I signed a petition to stop webcam child sex tourism and I beg you guys to do the same. Together, we can stop this on-going problem that's slowly eating the bright future of these children.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

I'm back: Still me but wiser


If I could tell you how I'm doing right now just by showing one picture, I'd pick this one. I know I have shoved my web space into the corner for too long but my blog being on hiatus for a couple of months have good reasons. First of all, finishing the second to the last semester of my college life wasn't a walk in the park. I couldn't steal free time to relax for a minute, I couldn't catch up with the new episodes of Modern Family, or even get a moment to write something on my blog. 

My thesis class was a pain in the head, there was a stage play that needed to be performed, a variety show (where I humiliated myself by dancing), and major exams that I needed to pass. 

They all caused pain but along with the hardships, I must say that I filled my bag with so many lessons worth-keeping.

Be mindful of the present

A busy day means a busy mind and body and sometimes when our hands get too occupied, we lose our sense of the present and by losing our sense of the present, I also meant we tend to detach our minds with the valuable things we have.

Let me give my cell phone as a good example. The phone that I have landed into my hands because of the hard work I did last summer. I busted my brain out writing articles about hotels, apartments, lawn mowers, kitchen appliances, make-up, and some other stuff I wasn't even familiar with in order to earn money for a new phone. And the satisfaction I got from being able to by the phone was priceless. I didn't buy it for someone else to take advantage of. Unfortunately, someone did take advantage of it. 

It was during a presentation in one of my classes that my phone was stolen. I had this habit of losing my peace of mind whenever my nerves become unruly. When it was stolen by another student, my friends and I tried to get the phone back on the same day the phone was stolen but we never did. The presentation was a success and yes I was happy about that but it wasn't the cure for what I was feeling at the moment when I finally convinced myself that I'd never get my phone back.

After a few days with the help of a friend and a professor of mine, we were able to track the culprit. I was able to retrieve my phone. I complained about the phone settings being changed but hey, at the end of the day, I've never been so thankful in my life. What's the lesson here ladies and gentlemen? Don't buy a nice phone. Stick with the classic phones if you can. Thieves don't like them, they like the more sophisticated ones. Just kidding. The real lesson here is do the best you can to be mindful of the present (got it from Yoda). Don't get swallowed by pressure and your nerves, enjoy every second that passes you by, and guard your possessions wherever you are.

There's great power in optimism

People have different sources of optimism. As for me, my optimism comes from my faith in God and my belief in the law of attraction. I have proven that with a big faith in God and in myself, there's no mountain too tall to be conquered. There were moments in the last semester that I thought the curtains were finally going to fall down on me but they didn't. I don't know how all things turned out well in the end because everything seemed to crash down on me all at once. All I know is that I kept the faith and I kept moving forward. I tried to enjoy the journey as well. I didn't want to let each day pass by while all the pain and stress eat my happiness away. I still wanted to enjoy my life like what every human being should.

Time management does help

I know time management has been advised by a lot of successful people and I've tried it the first time I heard about it. I didn't really get into the flow the first time. I still remained scattered and disorganized after a few weeks of carrying a planner with me. It took a little bit of getting used-to but when I got a hang of it, it really paid off. I was able to do more productive things, I was able to remind myself of important things to do, and I was able to make use of my time wisely. Although I'm still not a perfect time manager. There are times when my planner would have several unwritten pages because I didn't write down any tasks I have to do. Yeah, I think it's alright to be lazy sometimes.

I swear, I felt like I've learned a lot after finishing a grueling semester. Looking back at what I've written so far, apparently, I've only learned three. Well, it's better to learn something than nothing, right?

Alright, I'll try remember some and I'll get back to you soon once I get them all together. For now, enjoy life.  Peace!!!!!




Monday, September 23, 2013

A Journey Home: A travel to your inner most emotions


It was history turning the same pages once again while I hustled my way out of the house. I could see the traffic getting heavier every step I got closer to the tricycle terminal. A deep sigh of relief was let out of my body while passengers quickly occupied the seats. It only meant my travel time would be decreased by a number of minutes. While the tricycle traversed the same old paths, I assumed the same old motions of an ordinary day. However, I always pray for an extra-ordinary day. You know what they say about the difference between extra-ordinary and ordinary? It’s that little extra and that little extra was given by Mr. Makoy that day. He let us watched this film entitled A Journey Home, a movie about forgiveness, faith, love, and God.

It’s one of the few movies that I could pretty much relate. There are movies that make you laugh, pee your pants and there are movies that simply make you cry. The movie revolves around a father who abandoned his family and came back after 20 years. He saw his wife passed away on a newspaper because of a stage 4 cancer and decided to visit her wake. His son Raffy and Raffy’s wife Gayle including his daughter were there. To cut the entire story short, Raffy was keeping a tremendous amount of anger to his father and couldn’t find a space in his heart to forgive him.

I could relate to Raffy because my father also abandoned me when I was young. At that time, I didn’t quite understand why such things had to take place. Growing up, my cluelessness gradually faded while I found my way to a deeper understanding of how life works. However, while I tried to find the reasons for my existence, I never found the reason to forgive my dad. I couldn’t recall any gesture or action from him that made me feel like he had truly loved me even for once as his son. The bitterness grew even more whenever I was reminded of his decision to abandon us like pieces of garbage; worthless and lifeless. I have so many questions to ask him, questions that I still haven’t asked until now.

I feel like, the longer these questions are left unanswered, the deeper the anger I feel. When I decided to cut my communication with him, I vowed that I would never be like my father. I would do the best I can to be a man that he never was. I swore that I would never commit the same mistakes he did. These declarations I held were blanketed with such anger and bitterness.

Just like Raffy from the movie, I tried forgiving my father but it was never a walk in the park. Just like Raffy, it’s very difficult to find the strength to say, “Hey Dad, I forgive you. I forgive you for all the mistakes you’ve done to me and to my Mom”. I knew I could say it but I could not mean it. I could say the words but they could only come from my mouth, not from my heart. I finished my elementary years, my high school years, and now that I’m about to finish college, there’s still something that’s holding me back from moving on. Well, not until I saw this movie.

The movie reminded me that it’s hard to realize that you have someone until you have already lost that someone. The movie taught me that God is not just good; he’s not just great; but his overly and extremely awesome in so many ways. I realized that God has never been absent during those hard times my family and I had to go through when my father left us. I figured that God had always been there all along, watching every reaction I made, feeling every emotion I felt, and understanding every words I prayed. While he watched me carry those burdens, he was already planning great things for me. God has always been invisible to me but his words clearly paint a picture of who he is and how much love he has for me.

Another important lesson I’ve learned from the movie is, “Most of the time, forgiveness is hard to give but it has never been and will never be impossible when you ask a little help from God.” Once forgiveness is done, healing follows.

Another realization that hit me after watching the movie is that God is very forgiving and understanding. He never looks at your bad side and only looks at your good side. He always gives chances for those who are willing to change and for those who are willing to accept him in his life.

I bet there are a lot of you out there who are still having a hard time to forgive; you don’t have to force yourself to immediately forget the short-comings of that person. You don’t have to fake it. You don’t have to say the words and not mean it in your heart. Just like love, forgiveness also takes time but we should also remember that we need to have an open mind and an open heart to give way for forgiveness. We should learn how to get rid of the anger and the seed of bitterness in our hearts to successfully move on. I know it’s easier said than done that’s why if you find it hard to do, you can always count on God for help and I promise you, you’ll never go wrong.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Missing My Hometown

I couldn't recall its last portrait
People, friends, and even that place where I prayed
Several years have gone down the drain
I begin to wonder, what has already changed

Will it still be cold when dusk bites?
In the pitch-black sky, are there still hanging lights?
Oh how I badly miss my home town!
I would do anything not to let my home down

Kids' laughters, irritating screams
A morning wake-up call during a blissful dream
The scent of the cold and breezy day
In the arms of my grandma, I wish I could stay

Sad memories, roller-coaster rides
I will never forget all of my uphill climbs
Bitter and sweet that's how things were
No matter what, they will never be in a blur




Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A saddening revelation



"I love you."

"I said I love you!", Nick sputtered. He screamed liked the last drop of his patience has finally evaporated into thin air.

His eyes were starting to glitter with tears. He turned his back away from Hannah and looked up to the desolating sky.

He covered his face with his two hands and gave a deep and angry sigh. 

He never likes shouting. He's a calm and soft-spoken man and always resorts to a placid and peaceful discourse to resolve an issue either in his work or in his personal life.

But this time is different. He just couldn't take it anymore. His breathing heavily its as if he was running out of breath. He slowly turned around and made a couple of steps forward.

"Why aren't you answering me?", he softly uttered. "Is it because of another guy?"

"No, Nick. It's not that.", she reluctantly said.

He moved closer and gripped her hands tightly. "Then, what is it?".

She looked away while wearing a mask of guilt all over her face. She bit her lip while struggling to hold her tears from trickling down her cheeks.

"It's...just that....I... feel like....", she stammered.

Nick lifted his left hand and motioned to her cheek. He lightly wiped her tears away and made her look into his eyes.

"Hannah, just tell me, what is it?", Nick said, almost like a whisper. She took a very deep breath and said, "I don't think this is going to work out.".

Hannah began to weep uncontrollably. "I'm sorry Nick but I have to leave." She took her hands off of Nick's and wiped her own tears.

The sun was nowhere to be found and the firmament was gradually painted with grayish ink.

Silence slowly gnawed every bit of noise Nick could hear. The whispers of the leaves of trees, her girlfriend's crying, and the noise of the cars speeding by seemed to have been starred in a silent movie.

The scent of an incoming rain spread like wild fire but how significant was it to hide from the rain when he's now drenched with his own tears?

All he could hear was his heart's thumping and his heavy breathing.

He moved a couple of steps back. He clenched his fist and put it against his lips. His eyes were darted on the ground while trying to put the puzzle pieces together.

He felt his knees slowly getting weak every second. He wanted to let himself fall flat on the ground, hoping that it would wake him up from a nightmare that appeared to be so real.

It was so real he could feel a knife cutting his chest open. "You didn't do anything Nick, it's me. This is all about me." 

"Please don't blame yourself", Hannah declared.

But it didn't do any good to Nick. He was frozen. As frozen as a golden statue that can't be moved by rain or strong winds. He couldn't make up what to say, or how to even react. He watched the love of his life walked away and bid goodbye.

All of a sudden, without thinking twice, he ran as fast as he could towards her before she made it across the other road.

He got her by the arm, pulled her body towards his, and hugged her like he never hugged her before.

"Don't leave me, please." he begged so desperately, sounding like it would kill him if she made another step further.

"Let go of me Nick!", she tried to free herself from Nick's tight grip but she was struggling.

"Don't make this hard for the both of us Nick, please!", she shrieked.

She barely got both her arms out of Nick's grip and managed to push him so hard, Nick plummeted to the ground.

"I don't love you anymore Nick! Is that what you need to hear?", she raved.

Nick tried to get up but his energy looked like its been entirely zapped out of him. The loud thud of the thunder didn't move both of them. The rain began to pour intensely while she gave a hard and cold look at Nick as he wept.

Hannah turned her back away from him and started walking briskly. She made it to the other side of the road and stopped when she stepped on the watery ground.

She turned around to give Nick one last look. Her long curly hair was already soaked and heavy. Her make-up had already been washed up. Her faded blue jeans started to lose its light color as it absorbed water from the rain. 

Her brown velvety skin was peeking through her drenched, almost see-through white printed shirt.

She could hardly see Nick from where she was standing because of the relentless down pour of the sky's tears.  Seemed like the sky is in Nick's favor, she thought.

Hannah could see Nick standing up, sluggishly dragging himself forward. The rain fall and the resonant boom of thunder were making an unpleasant duet. She was about to move away and run as fast as her feet could do when she saw that Nick was about to make it to the middle of the road.

When she was about to move away, she saw a car running in lightning speed going towards Nick. 

Her eyes widened, spelling an impending shock that was about to unfold before her.

She shouted as loud as she could, "Nick! Watch out!". 

Nick swiveled his look to the right and a flashing light blinded his sight.

Before Hannah knew it, Nick was sprawled on the ground, motionless. 

Lifeless.

Raindrops continued to pour.

Hannah dashed towards the guy she was about to live behind. She quickly knelt down on the wet pavement that had been turned into a canvass by Nick's blood. 

She carried his cold upper body and frantically wrapped Nick around her arms. She wiped the blood that stained half of Nick's face.

"Nick, wake up.", she uttered with urgency while slapping Nick's face repeatedly but gently.

She kept doing the same gesture over and over again. She caressed Nick's face and wailed at the top of her lungs with the sound of guilt and regret combining.

She screamed his name desperately hoping that it would call his soul back but nothing happened. His lips remained gray and his skin, white and cold.

Nick's dead but she couldn't say it. She couldn't welcome it. She couldn't even bare thinking about it.

She put her hand against Nick's chest. No heartbeat. She wanted to let go of Nick but not this way. 

She could hear a couple of people in the background but she couldn't get what they were saying. Her glum thoughts seemed to have deafened her.

From a distance, a low and blaring voice of a man broke into the sullen scene.

"Cut!!!".

"That's a wrap for today people, good job!".

Photo from: 4hdwallpapers.com

Thursday, May 16, 2013

"A man who can take anything will find most things unsatisfying."
-Mitch Albom, The Time Keeper



Have you ever hankered for something so bad, you had a number of sleepless nights just musing about it? I could still vividly remember, when I was in sixth grade, it was one of those times in my life when I was struggling to control myself from craving too much, not just for food but for material possessions. From over-the-top gadgets to brand new shoes and costly outfits, I would drool over them until reality pitches in and reminds me of the cruel truth of life's inequality. In other words, there was no way on earth, no road to take, no transportation to ride on, no genie from a bottle, no glistening fairy, to make those selfish and mundane wishes to come true.

Initially, I viewed those moments of the past as nothing but a bucket full of hard kicks and punches. The more I thought about my incapacity to get whatever I wanted, the more bruises I had to endure. A lot of people believe that the lessons they learned from their experiences in life are just a tool to prepare them for the future struggles that await. However, I believe that the wisdom we pick up from a hard won battle against a havoc-causing predicament could also be life's explanation towards an experience in the past that we misinterpreted or just negatively painted by the emotions we felt during that time.

For instance, all I thought when I was a child, that the reason behind my feeling of emptiness caused by not being able to get everything that I wanted was simply God's punishment because he either saw me many times not eating my vegetables or he caught me red handed throwing the veggies in the trash can. I had no idea how to look at my situation in a different and a more positive way. I had always believed that life could be cruel sometimes and it just liked to be cruel whenever it wanted to. 

I thought life was plainly and stupidly unreasonable. 

However, just recently, I finished Mitch Albom's book entitled The Time Keeper. It's a great book by the way, I suggest you give it a go when you get the chance. It definitely is a must-read. Anyway, there was a statement there that says "A man who can take anything will find most things unsatisfying.

After passing by that line, I read it again and decided to write it down. I looked away from what I was reading and thought really hard about what I just read. Then after a few minutes of contemplation, I had come to a realization that this quote that I stumbled upon is the best explanation towards not being able to get everything that I always wanted. 

I realized that the reason why I wasn't able to get everything that I always longed to get my hands on was because they wouldn't really give me the happiness that I thought they would provide. Temporary happiness perhaps but what can temporary happiness really do to one's life? After a few seconds of using your newly bought IPad, after wearing your Armani clothing in a party, after getting envious stares from other people, what comes after???

Nothing. 

You put your Armani clothes back to your closet, you put your IPad down, and you go through the motions of your life. Sooner or later, the new stuff that you have now would be buried to the grave of unforgotten things because new ones are starting to replace them under the lime light. You will now go back to your bad habit of craving for new things and sometimes feel bad about other people getting them and you can't.

I'm not against people dreaming to get these kinds of stuff, in fact, I myself is guilty of wanting to own even just one of the those things I mentioned but there's a difference between wanting and obsessing. It's not alright to surround your definition of happiness around stuff that could only supply temporary pleasure. It's not fine to feel jealous and bad about our life when we see other people gain stuff that we just can't. Just like what the quote says, there's no satisfaction in having everything. You don't have to get everything to be happy. Sometimes, to have a little of everything is already enough to live a blissful life.

Go on. Still strive to get that gadget that you've always wanted, that shirt you always pass by the mall and that cellphone you always see on tv. There's no crime about desiring to have them. However, when you find out that you can't have that shirt, that gadget or even that cellphone because your money is not cut out for it, just please don't act as if you lost your job or your house just got burned down. 

They're just objects for crying out loud. 

Don't aim to get everything but aim to get happiness instead. 

Image from: daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com

Saturday, May 4, 2013

When people change for the worst

Do you know someone so much you know him from his preference in music to the food he likes to eat? From his taste in clothes to his favorite television shows? For years, you were able to survive petty fights and arguments caused by either your stubbornness or his selfishness. From cold and physical wars to comical role plays  and toy voice-overs, looking back you see all of them as comedy gold. Who knew the hunger games already existed at the time of your child hood? You try to race for the television remote and whoever gets a hand on it first has the authority to watch whatever he wants to. You realized, it doesn't matter who victors at the end, because he likes what you like. So you would force yourself to deviate from the usual, you would try to watch something different, if not irritate him at least to keep him away then cold war officially begins.

Remember those late nights when you would talk about your dreams and what you wanted to become when you grow up. Those rainy nights when the thud of the thunder would send you hugging each other. You could taste each other's fears but you could also feel strength because you both know you're there for each other.  When you look back at those vivid moments, you suddenly ask yourself, where did he go by? Where is that person you used to listen to the same radio tunes with? Where is that person you used to share your rants with? Where is that person who used to watch the Tom and Jerry Show with you? 

When you look at him today, you see a completely different person. You try to bring him back but he has grown stubborn as a rock. It's not the kind of stubbornness that he used to display when he was a child;it's the adult kind and it's the most irritating one. It's alright when people change because that's what life do to us. However, when people change for the worst, that's when things become unacceptable. The worst part of it all is the fact that there's nothing you can do anymore to change him. You see him come and go, party all night, and be the person he probably always wanted to be. I remember when he used to share what he had always wanted to be. He wanted to be a teacher then a doctor but I don't know what he wants to be now. 

Those childhood conversations could never exist between us today. We're both grown ups and life has treated us differently. There is now a gigantic wall of brick separating the two of us. We no longer see each other eye to eye. I don't even know if he even looks back at those times, when life was nothing but a huge playground. Now, he says his in love and I knew he was a fool when he said that. He doesn't know love and that's because he doesn't know how to love himself. He doesn't know to love the people who stayed with him all throughout his ups and downs.

Now, he believes his independent. Going home late was a normal routine for him. He no longer cares what we think but only what his lover thinks or what his so called "friends" think. I just don't understand how he grew up differently when we faced life under the same strict rules. We faced the same humiliation when people stared us down. We faced the same hardship when injustice gripped us by the neck. It's just puzzling whenever I think about it. When people said, he was a black-sheep. I tried the best I could not to believe them. I didn't see him that way. I guess I was being stupid back then. Now I know why people said those things. 

I don't feel no bitterness, a pure and numbing desolation perhaps. While carrying that weary feeling with me I realized something. I realized that change comes when we invite it to come, but it doesn't mean it has its own mind to decide for us. What change would do to us is only the product of our own free will. With that thought in mind, I knew that he wanted to be who he is today. Probably because of thirst for freedom and independence. I have no idea why he chose to be the person that he is know and I just don't want to care anymore. There's only one thing I'm sure of and I'm holding on to these words. I'm not close to being angry, probably a little annoyed but when life isn't being nice to you and if nobody around you does, you know that there's still someone like me, who still know how to be one.  

Photo from: www.tumblr.com

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I was a clown

"So I'll be your clown, behind the glass  Go ahead and laugh cause it's funny  I would too if I saw me
  I'll be your clown   on your favorite channel  My life's a circus-circus  rounding circles  I'm selling out tonight" 
                                            - Emeli Sande

Photo from: igabo.deviantart.com
     A few hours had already passed and I got exhausted scouring the corners of my mind trying to get rid of anything that's preventing me from thinking straight. For some reason, I just couldn't find an inspiration to write. You see, I wanted to write a comeback-post. If you would notice, it's been a while since I wrote about something and to tell you the truth, blogging is one of the few things that keep me away from rotting in boredom. Besides, it's the perfect time to get back to blogging. Second semester's finally over and summer has already made it's presence felt. Then, just when I was about to give up thinking, I remembered the song "Clown" by Emeli Sande that was playing on TV a couple of days ago. 
     It is a black and white music video that has such a bleak and depressing look to it. After hearing the song, I immediately watched the video again on YouTube and found out what the song really means. Straight from Emeli Sande, the song means that we should not allow people to judge us and we should not allow anyone to treat us like we're idiots.
     I was a clown before. I was a clown without even trying hard to be one. I was a clown even if I didn't want to be one. Growing up, I must say that I wasn't raised in an environment where people liked me for who I am. I didn't grow up with rich parents. I didn't go to an expensive school. I didn't have all the fancy toys I desperately longed to have as a kid. Once, my family moved from one place to another which I thought would make things better but it was otherwise. People became worse than ever. From the way they darted their eyes on us, I knew we were being judged. Sometimes, I felt like they were disgusted just by going near us. I was humiliated deep within. I wished I could fly away and find no reasons to come back. However, it was reality that always knocked me down to the ground. 
     As much as I wanted to protect myself and my family, I couldn't. I shouldn't because I knew I wasn't in my place to do so. One wrong move and we would find ourselves living in the gutter. So I let the name-callings roll by like they were complements. I let the puppet strings control me and didn't bother to put the clown mask off. I allowed them to treat us like we're idiots, like we're clowns. There were nights that I would stare up in the starry sky and wish I was rich just so the people we were living with would stop all the fighting and name-calling. The next day, I would wake up with things getting worse. In the middle of this war, I would ask myself when would all this end? When would people be nice to each other? but I never got the answer I wanted. However, I continued to live my life the way I should.
     However, if I didn't go through such a hellish ordeal then I wouldn't know how to remove the clown mask off my face. Now I know that there is always time for redemption. There are ways to save yourself from drowning in the river where people threw you into. I guess what I am just trying to say is that people can hurt you. People can call you whatever names they want to call you but what people say about you doesn't matter.  What you think of yourself is what can get you far. What you decide to be for yourself is what will save you from drowning. I am just glad that I had high-tolerance to insults and mindless intimidation or I would still be crying until now. 
     What I did to survive in an environment filled with mean and difficult people? It took a lot of getting-used-to but all I did was simply ignore. I ignored all the negative things, I focused on my studies, I focused on having fun without disturbing anyone's peace. Somehow, I managed to adapt myself in the environment but of course there were moments when I was already getting sick of all the crazy antics going on. Despite of it, I endured.
     In a nutshell, what I am trying to send across is that don't allow people to make you a clown and force you to do stuff that makes you feel bad about yourself. Always know your place before you make a stand. If you know you're not in your place then you better shut your mouth because you don't want to be like them. Just give your very best to ignore them and focus on the most important things in your life. Life is too short for you to waste your energy on people who do nothing but judge other people. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Veronika Decides to Die - Book Version


In a world where everyone struggles to survive whatever the cost, how could one judge those people who decide to die?” – Veronika


     First of all, I would like to say how much I enjoy my World Literature class. I could write a million articles about poets, writers, and their masterpieces with a smile on my face. Anyway, this time, our class is tasked to write a critique about the book version of Veronika Decides to Die. For those, who have already read the book and have also seen the movie then the differences between the two should be obvious. In the book, Veronika works in the library but in the movie she works as an Account Executive and the doctor in the mental hospital is named Dr. Igor but in the movie, the doctor is named Dr. Blake. The setting in the book is in Slovenia but the movie is set in New York. However, these minor differences aren't really that important because both versions did convey the same message and that message is "Awareness of Life".

     Alright, so let me begin by stating a fact mentioned in the book. Veronika is a character that was taken from a real life person who is also named Veronika. Paulo Coelho heard about Veronika's story and pursued to know more about it. For those who already know the story, you know that Veronika decided to commit suicide but she failed to end her life and found herself in a mental hospital. In relation to that, Paulo's reason of wanting to know more about Veronika's story is because he had gone to a mental hospital himself three times, in 1965, 1966, and in 1967. He still found it unusual though as to why he was brought there by his parents. So the first part of the book is simply an introduction as to how the author came up with the whole concept of the book. Furthermore, Paulo also explained the two reasons why Veronika decided to die. The first reason is that everything in Veronika's life was the same and just like in the movie, she was very negative about how her life would turn out once her youth was gone. Second reason is that everything that was happening around her was wrong and she felt useless because she found no way of making things right.

     In the book, Veronika was living like any other normal human being. She lived in a rented room located in a convent and works as a librarian. She got sick of her mechanical ways of living and after taking a handful of pills, she found herself tightly strapped on a hospital bed. By then, she knew her plan of killing herself didn't work. She promised to herself that she would not leave Vilette alive. However, the doctors of the hospital broke the news brought about by the pills she took. Her heart was irreversibly damaged and soon it would just stop beating. It would only take a week at most before her heart would stop to function. In her stay in Vilette she met Zedka, Mari and Eduard, the guy whom she fell in love with. Eduard is schizophrenic in the book and expresses his own view of paradise through his painting. After meeting Eduard and showing interest in him, she realized then how much she could in her life, things she never thought she could do. After experiencing a shift in her view of life, she asked two favors from Dr. Igor. First was that she wanted to get an injection to prevent her from falling asleep and the second was she wanted to leave from Vilette and die outside. She mentioned all the things that she wanted to do once she steps outside and she wanted to do them one after the other despite the exhaustion covering her body. And just like in the movie, Dr. Igor didn't tell Veronika that she wasn't really going to die.

     Since the differences between the two aren't really that significant because it didn't affect the whole point of the story, I found both masterpieces an effective way of reminding people about how important it is to value life and to appreciate everything that's happening around them. The message of the book is "awareness of life" and was delivered by Dr. Igor through his decision not to tell Veronika the truth about her illness. Veronika also sent me a message through her former way of living. It reminds me of myself sometimes. I tend to assume what the future might bring and dwell on them for too long without realizing that I am already degrading the value of my life.

     Paulo Coelho's writing is impeccable and his way of narrating Veronika's story is purely creative. His choice of words and construction of sentences aren't too complicated making the book easy to understand. The message that was sent across by the book inspired me to live my life to the fullest. I believe that every single individual on earth should take a chance in reading Paulo Coelho's work because it will surely change their view of life, especially if they are living the kind of life that Veronika used to live into. I don't think that people would have a different take on this book since the reason why Paulo wrote this book is apparently to inspire his readers and remind them about the importance of life. I guess there's one thing mentioned in the book that I could relate with and that is the the assumption of negative things that could happen. Sometimes when we think logically, we can come up with possibilities of what could happen next in a particular situation. Like for example, imagine a pregnant 18 year old high school student who just dropped out from school. If we think about it, we can already build a future for that girl based on her present condition and that's what I do sometimes. I have a tendency to build my future through assumptions and believe that they would come true. Sometimes, I forget that my future is built through the actions I take in the present and how I respond to the challenges my life are throwing at me.

     To sum it up, this book is one of the best books ever written in the history of the human race and I recommend this to those who haven't read the book yet.


Photo from: inthenextroom.blogspot.com

Saturday, February 16, 2013

What makes you happy?



What makes a person happy? Will a box of chocolates do? Or a nice and a minute-long bear hug perhaps? We might have noticed that the longer we live here on earth, the more we seek for reasons to be happy, the more we yearn to get a hand on things that we believe will unlock the door to an infinite bliss. When we were kids, an action figure of our favorite superhero would send us jumping for joy, or a battery-operated toy car that runs on its own in just a press of a button would make us smiling from ear to ear. However, now that we’re all grown-ups, the way we used to look at the world changed. The ways we define happiness is no longer through an acquisition of a piece of toy with plastic wheels or a quick game of hide and seek with kids we don’t know. I used to define happiness as something tangible, something that I ask for and something that I wait to take place before my eyes. However, there’s something that happened during one seemingly ordinary day that made me realized that gaining happiness may not be as difficult as climbing a mountain. Sometimes, all it takes is to see what seems to be the unseen and feel what everybody doesn't seem to feel.

I was minutes away from ending the same old exhausting day from work. I was a Customer Service Representative back then and dealing with customer queries through email was my main job. I was sitting on my favorite chair that could do almost anything for my entertainment. It could spin me around endlessly and its ability to adjust its height would make it an instant elevator-like contraption. It was me and that chair that keeps my sanity in tack in my work place every day. While I was looking for the right words to put on the email I got from a guy somewhere in New York, I looked around and saw the same old tableau of thrilled employees, itching to go home. Ken, who usually positions himself so low that his butt was almost off the edge of his chair, was sitting up straight with his feet nailed on the ground. Rochelle, who was sitting next to Ken, had her bottled water hugged by her left arm and Glai who prefers to spend her eight hour shift with both her feet raised off the ground, was already on her feet. Then there I was, racing against time and trying to answer the last email I received before the clock strikes four. Before I knew it, it was passed 4 but it was a good thing that what I only had to do at that time was click send and I was ready to go. I made my way to my locker and I was walking like I had shackles around my feet. I was so tired that I could ever think of was my bed. I put on my blue jacket, got my bag on and went out straight to the jeep terminal.

I got off to Guadalupe where I would ride a bus to Paranaque. I like how the Guadalupe market looks like at around 4 in the morning. There are not too many sidewalk vendors, not too many people and despite the fishy stench of the wind that caresses my face, for some reason, it makes me happy. No, it wasn’t the foul stench of the wind in Guadalupe that shifted my definition of happiness. It was that guy I saw near a footbridge that made me stop my briskly walking. He was an old man, somewhere around his 60’s I guess, based on the apparent wrinkles highlighted by the streetlights of Guadalupe. He was wearing sun glasses. Now, who would wear sun glasses at around 4:30 in the morning when the sun rays hasn't even reached the horizon yet? Then I examined him and noticed that his right hand was holding a long gray stick. He was moving the stick in front of him, looking like he was checking anything that would cause him to trip. He was moving as slow as a mollusk that everybody walking from behind would overtake him while avoiding the stick that was swaying from right to left and vice versa in a rhythmic sort of way. I knew right then and there that he was a blind man, walking along the sidewalk of Guadalupe at 4:30 in the morning without anybody guiding his way. 

             For a couple of minutes, I stood still from where I was and observed the next events that unfolded before me. It was sad that nobody even cared to offer a hand to this poor old man. I felt nothing but pure pity. Does he have any relatives or friends maybe who would bother to accompany him at that time of the day? Why is he travelling alone? And why would anyone let him do such trouble-causing risk? With questions left unanswered, I approached the old man and with the nicest tone I could ever make, I asked him, “Hi sir, where are you heading?”. He stopped from walking and uttered an unfamiliar place. I didn't know how to get there but still I offered my hand and told him that I would take him there. I held his left hand and put it on my left shoulder and we started walking. I was clueless of where to go next but I thought of asking directions from a barker near us. The barker gave us clear directions and we went ahead and immediately followed it. While we were traversing the paths mentioned by the barker, the old blind man would occasionally trip and I had to look at him every time he would, to check if he was okay. I had this concern for him and that if anything happened to him, I felt like I would be the only one to blame. We started talking about me and what I do and then I asked him the questions I had in my head but I could no longer remember his answers. 

        However, what I could vividly remember is that I advised him to never get out of the house without any company. I told him that it’s dangerous for a blind man to walk around dark streets and I suggested that if in case he needed to, he should make sure he has someone to be with. I knew for sure that I sounded like I was his father and he would just say yes like he was my son. We finally got to the jeep terminal where he needed to take a ride. I wished I could be with him until he got to where he needed to go just to make sure he’s safe. I talked to the driver instead and told him that the old man was blind and he should make sure that his travel would be safe. I bid one more goodbye to the nice old man and told him to take care always. He said thanks and gave me a tap on my shoulder. The jeep sped away and I remained still until I could no longer see the jeep that he rode onto. 


         I walked back to where I was supposed to go but at that time, I wasn’t rushing anymore. I was walking slowly while trying to reminisce what I did. I felt this distinct happiness that I’ve never felt before in my life. It wasn’t the happiness I get when someone gives me a box of chocolates and it wasn’t the happiness I feel when someone gives me a hug. It was a unique happiness that I got when I acted on a situation where everybody pretended to be numb and blind. I chose to see when everybody chose to look away and chose to feel when everybody decided to ignore. I think that’s who I am as a person. I choose to be kind to people because I believe that it’s one of the easiest way to be the happiest man on earth. Adele’s album can’t be appreciated by a deaf or a collection of the Twilight Saga DVD can’t be appreciated by the blind but giving up your time and effort can be appreciated by anyone. Mark Twain, a prominent American author and humorist said it perfectly, “Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”