Having been trained to express my thoughts within Twitter’s 140-character limit, coupled with the awareness that people’s attention spans are declining because a myriad of web posts are simultaneously demanding for their attention, I thought making a longer write-up would be refreshing. I have decided to piece a conglomeration of snippets I’ve recently posted on Twitter, ask.fm, and Facebook.
I. I realized there’s a difference between genuinely missing a person and only longing for the feeling brought by someone fulfilling a certain role in your life. (Too many gerunds, I know.) This idea is pretty similar to the age-old question: Do I like you or do I just like the idea of you? To measure a person’s importance in my life, I imagine how this very moment would have been different without him or her.
Ergo, when it comes to people my friends have romantically linked me to–and I may have been attracted to at some point–I learned none of them were of much value. To be fair, they strengthened my belief that I shouldn’t rely only on feelings because these falter; just because a person feels this way last week, doesn’t mean they feel the same way today. As my father pointed out, people heavily basing their decisions on feelings, instead of commitment and reason, is the reason many relationships fail today.
(Back story: I figured I could use some productivity tips from my father during my fourth year in college when my to-do list seemed impossible to tackle. I must have sounded so clueless when I said, “What are you supposed to do when you need to do something you don’t feel like doing?” I should have mentioned my question was related to school work because before I knew it, he was giving a lecture on feelings and commitment. Needless to say, that car ride to school was one of the most unforgettable moments with my father which further convinces me our family’s everyday life is fit for a sitcom. You can just imagine the look on my face when I was expecting advice on work and productivity.)
II. To this day, I am baffled at how people are tricked by iPhone giveaway posts on Facebook i.e. having the chance to win the latest iPhone simply by sharing a post. The same goes with people who think they can cure a child’s cancer by ‘liking’ a photo, who believe their personalities are molded by the alignment of heavenly bodies, and who think ignoring a Jesus post makes them less of a Christian.
III. I once received a question on ask.fm: “What do you hate?” ‘Hate’ is a strong word, I think. As much as possible, I easily forgive because grudges result to a lose-lose situation, and I cannot stand joining a Who Can Win this Silent Treatment contest and being angry at a person, especially when s/he is close to me, for too long. (Ugh. I suppose this is the reason I feel I’m being taken for granted sometimes–because people know I easily recover from anger, they exert little to no effort in making me feel a tad important or gaining back my affection. As Gretchen Rubin wrote in The Happiness Project:
The belief that unhappiness is selfless and happiness is selfish is misguided. It’s more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted, yet everyone takes the happy person for granted. No one is careful of his feelings or tries to keep his spirits high. He seems self-sufficient; he becomes a cushion for others. And because happiness seems unforced, that person usually gets no credit.
Anyway, that’s just me on days I feel a gray cloud is hanging above my head.) Among the things that get into my nerves, however, are people who perpetuate rape culture, racism, and discrimination of any kind especially when it is directed toward women and members of the LGBT community.
III-A. In Vice President Binay’s letter to Sen. Koko Pimentel, the former challenged the latter, “Magpakalalaki ka” or “Act like a man.” Am I the only person who finds this statement disturbing as its implications on not acting like a lalaki can be misleading? Why not directly say “Be accountable and face the consequences of your actions” instead of associating responsibility with a specific gender? For some people, I could be overreacting because it’s just an expression. Remember, though, that our thoughts shape our attitude which ultimately translate to behavior. Which reminds me of how annoyed I am at people who use “like a girl” to describe an act that’s finicky, clumsy, or slow. Enough of the notion that women are damsels waiting in distress. Choose your words wisely.
III-B. If I were still in The Crusader Publication, I’d probably express my favor toward passing the divorce bill in the Philippines through a column. As Pope Francis said, divorce is sometimes “morally necessary” especially when the couple’s situation puts their children’s well-being in jeopardy. (This Pope is in touch with reality as he always makes sense with his views which sometimes raise controversy.)
Divorce is not to be equated with annulment, the only legal, not to mention expensive, remedy available for couples who tried to make their marriage work but are eventually better off living separately. What happens to physically and emotionally abused wives who don’t have the means to hire a lawyer and go through arduous paperwork and trials?
Just because I want people to have more choices such as divorce, doesn’t mean I encourage couples or parents to immediately resort to separation over a petty fight and let their emotions overtake their reason. It means I acknowledge the reality many people are suffering in unhealthy relationships–which can also negatively affect their children in the long run–because the country’s lawmakers uphold traditional beliefs over the cold, biting reality their constituents are experiencing. Considering the country’s lawmakers are mostly conservatives and the opinion of the public, majority of which are devout Christians, is heavily influenced by religious figures, passing the bill could be a tall order in the Philippines.
IV. I know this is a line you’ve probably read in a group message during your high school days but its truthfulness somehow overshadows its cheesiness: You never realize how interested you are in a person until you see him or her developing fondness over someone else. I observed people like the thrill and the fulfillment brought by chasing a goal which hangs in the middle of realistic and challenging. Speaking of thrills…
V. My parents left for Manila from Tuesday until Saturday morning. Those days my brother and I were free of parental authority–and the impending doom of being subject to torture in the form of a lecture and of our privileges being taken when caught going past the agreed time–my friends would have thought we saw those times as an opportunity to epitomize the common understanding of #YOLO. (By the way, “You Only Live Once” is grammatically incorrect because ‘only’ modifies the frequency ‘once’, not the verb ‘live’.)
We were surprised to find ourselves looking forward to staying in on Friday night and binge-watching Modern Family in an air-conditioned room. Plus, it doesn’t cost a peso. Perhaps part of the fun was getting away with our deeds and proving to ourselves we were clever.
I realized a major reason I went out almost every weekend, or every other weekday, during my third and fourth year college days was the fear of missing out. This same fear, I noticed, causes people to constantly check their social media feeds. I’d be a hypocrite if I say I have graduated from partying and the like but I have come to terms with the reality that whether I’m in every event or I’m online 24/7, I will always miss out on something. I still enjoy going out as long as it’s healthily balanced with being productive and staying indoors. As the law of diminishing returns states, the more often something happens, the less it is worth.
VI. As I finish this post on a Saturday evening, I remember a teacher who said we should write at the moment a feeling is at its peak or an event is unfolding because the momentum would be lost if we wait for the “perfect” time. It makes perfect sense because yesterday’s feeling of unworthiness and self-doubt have already dissipated.