Saturday, October 06, 2007

Mirrors of happiness

(originally drafted on 3/6/07 ... completed only today)

After two years of not going home to the Philippines, I was ecstatic to be back home. It was a cherished 13 days in dear old Manila with the hustle and bustle of city life and where meeting friends randomly becomes second nature.

I came home on February 14 to catch the best night of the UP Fair. True enough, ...


This has been embargoed for over eight months due to extreme busyness.


... it was the best night to be at UP.

It was like looking into the mirrors of the past to see the happiness that I so cherished when I was in UP. All those years of hard work but it's not just that. It's also the endless hours I spent in the tambayan (hangout) to wait for my classes and to exchange random thoughts with other UPians.

It was a place that left an impression in your heart and whenever you look in the mirror you see the product of that experience.

Coming so many years after my first year in UP (I've come back before), this was the only time I felt a bit detached. For one, I didn't know so many people. My batchmates were all on scholarships in Japan or elsewhere and I would be coming to UP to see UP and not to see my friends.

Gazing at the looking-glass of time, the outlines of the people are a bit blurry not as sharp as before but there is still the same feeling of home and excitement looking at it.

In life, we often look at our mirrors of happiness but instead of seeing the happy times, we look at the blurs. We lose sight of what the glory days held for us. We look at the advancing time and seek to recreate that time when we were at our prime.

To be stuck in that place would be tantamount to being stagnant. For people to move forward, we need to look at our mirrors of happiness as benchmarks and not as chain balls. It's what pushes us. It is what drives us to go to the future.

As I get older, it's easier to be caught in nostalgic moments. Looking at myself in the mirror, I want to see my former self. But would I be the way I am now if not for my former "glory days". No one can steal them from me. Not even the mirror of time.

So, I look at my mirrors of happiness and see the good old days. I try to look without bitterness or regret but only of nostalgia and of the hope that maybe, that same mirror will reflect today's reality.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Social consumable

There are some days that you just feel like you can't be around people or perhaps you're not in your element so you don't want to see people or let people see you in that state. But because you've been in the light too much to withdraw from it might mean unpleasantries from other people.

I've been thinking about how my mom has become a social consumable. She's one of those people that everybody wants to get a hold of. She's in a position to help but not only that, she's just plainly a nice person to talk to or be with.

But to what extent should we become social consumables that we lose ourselves?

I was exchanging emails with a fellow correspondent. She said she was tired of doing so many reports although she likes it because the Filipino community around her has expected it from her and she has won their trust and she feels obligated to report on their events.

I told her that I used to be like that too. But I remember what my old priest said: "Trying to please everyone is the beginning of madness." It holds true for many of us who are people pleasers that we compromise our integrity for the sake of keeping the status quo or to avoid argument or confrontation and in the end we lose ourselves and our minds by plaguing ourselves with thoughts of "he said/she said". God forbid somebody should say something negative about us! It will literally drive you crazy to care what other people would or could say.

What about Jesus? He is the epitome of a non-pleaser but at the same time a social consumable. If it weren't for his mother he would have never performed that miracle simply because His time hadn't come. But he succumbed to maternal pressure. But He wasn't a crowd favorite among the Pharisees or Sadducees. They killed him for teaching love outside the Jewish template. He ate during fasting season and he challenged the status quo.

Where do we stop trying to please other people so that they will learn to love us for who we are and not for what they want us to be?

How do we become a social consumable who somebody will pay a high price to consume knowing that this one is unique and not the run-of-the-mill Joe or Jane? It's by being who we are and being proud of what we're capable of and acknowledging that we can't please everyone. It's not an excuse to be a social b**** but to know that each one if they dig hard enough can carve their own little niches in this world.

Do you have a "consume by" date?