Written Works

Where to Focus Exactly?

“Jack-of-all-trades, master of none”

That phrase has always haunted me ever since my teenage years ended. It was not until I was 18 that I learned the second part of the infamous adage. This is my story.

During my formative years as a kid, I only knew the first part of the saying and how it was admirable & taxing & glorious to pull off a lot of things at the same time. I actually looked at it on a positive note to the point that I aspired to be one. This conception fueled me to be the very best that I can be. And so I did. During my high school magnum opus period, I joined every extra-curricular activity I could get my hands on. It was like seeing a frenzied toddler crave for some milk in the mouth. Come recognition day, I garnered 10 medals in one year– ranging from CAT cadet honors to photojournalism to computer programming & even as far as performance dancing. I was on top of my pathetic ‘lil world. I felt like I could do anything. I wanted to pursue being a blogger, a writer, a photographer & an engineer all at once. My pride was full.

I, as a human, am insecure by nature. By college, I dreamed hard and, again, took on whatever I could. I thought I could do it again since I was able to pull it off before. But college is light years away from high school. Work work work work work, that’s all I did. I soon noticed something that bothered me. Every day dragged on like forever; I felt I wasn’t growing. I saw my colleagues achieving feats, driving their zeal to the sky as they made their goals a reality. They were successful, while I wallowed in self-pity. As Antoinette Jadaone’s That Thing Called Tadhana said: “Akala ko magaling na ako. Marunong lang pala.” I questioned being a jack-of-all-trades. Indeed, I was a master of none. To make matters worse, someone asked me: “So what are you then?” And I couldn’t spit a freakin’ answer.

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I’ve thought about things, observed people in my walks & how much of a jungle the world is. Some will kill for their ambitions. Some think their time is up after their return from Saturn. Some will act fake to reach the top. Some will choose career over love. Some believe all of that is worth it. It boggles me to be honest. We fetish over winning too much that it prevents us from feeling satisfied of what we truly have. We throw ourselves to the wolves time & time again even though it’s not needed. We’re thirsty for something that we think is the very core of our humanity. But I guess the biggest influence in this matter is how success-obsessed we are as a society. There’s this notion that if it’s not productive, then you might as well regard it as a waste of time & effort. We base our lives based on how successful we will be & not for felicity’s sake. We are made to think that the happiness of doing our hobbies is not the main priority. Hence, this explains why many regret their college choices soon afterwards.

I may not deem myself successful of my endeavors so far. Even so, when I look at throwback photos, it amazes me how I’ve matured from the kid I see who doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing. And this somehow puts a smile on my face. I may not know when I’ll arrive at my peak or if I did reach it already. Who knows? Life is a learning process & I am glad I’m climbing up the stairs. Slowly but damn surely.

Do whatever that makes you happy. Indulge in it even if you still have a long way to go. If it makes you better as a person, why stop? What if a lot of things interest you? What if your passions prove to be more diverse than what you initially thought? What if you want to explore a lot of fields because that is what makes you happy?

The ultimate goal in life is to love & be loved, so they say. I’m gonna continue doing what I love. And though my passions don’t necessarily love me back yet, I am gonna struggle on. Better to have loved & tried than to never have loved at all. Being a jack-of-all-trades right now scares me. I am still young though & I have yet to see if my passions will become something I master. But if circumstances prove otherwise, I wouldn’t let some phrase get in the way of my happiness. Never.

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Written Works

The Realism of Solitude

Here I am again sitting at the last row of the classroom letting my thoughts get the best of me as the professor blabs away with a lesson I’ve long understood two meetings ago. The sound of the rain & thunder harmonizing in the background is destructive & beautiful. My imagination is running. I like it here at the back where I have a wide view of the entire scenario. Even as I stay quiet, I can observe my classmates’ movements which is what I normally do. Yet as the tropical raindrops continue to cloud my hearing, I find myself not looking at the usual crowd. I focus on a single person. I look at myself.

Cut the fact that I’m an irregular student, it amazes me how detached I am from the rest of the class. I see them exploding in hushed laughter, engaging in quiet conversations & interactions as our poor teacher continues his lecture. And here I am huddled on the corner in a separate universe writing my reflection. I’m far from the social butterfly that I was during high school 5 years ago. Gone are the days where I spent my breaks chattering around with every clique– from the wallflowers to the queen bees. I’ve transformed. Denying that I have already grown accustomed to riding solo would make me a big fat liar. A tinge of worry hits me. Have I become anti-social? Is this, for lack of better term, bad?

When I was young, I dreamt of going to parallel dimensions thanks to my fascination for toons like Digimon & Fairly Odd Parents. Little did I know that graduating high school would inch me closer to my childhood phantasm. College is here & it’s a whole new world with a new (not-so) fantastic point of view. It’s a galaxy akin where cray is the new normal. And it didn’t help that I initially enrolled in MapΓΊa (aka one of the most cut-throat universities in the country). Suddenly it’s not all about training adorable monsters until they evolve or having fairy bodyguards who can grant my wish in a sec anymore. This is the real world: stubborn, gritty & unfriendly. Shit just got real bro! Reality is suddenly inconsiderate & you tell yourself: “Baby, it’s time to grow up!” College forced me to come out of my shell numerous times: with pitfalls outweighing the rewards. I learned things in a punchdrunk state. It came to a point where I actually detested school because of how toxic it was. At one time, I saw myself filled with regrets. I thought the culture shock rendered me to lose my sparkle. But no, it just taught me valuable life lessons that made me to be the 20-year old millenial that I am today. Generally over time, I realized that associating myself with less people equates to less stress & more peace.

Outside, thousands of the sky’s teardrops fall & it looks majestic. It reminds me how like its quantity, I could go on for days telling the reasons why I prefer to be alone at school. But doing it would nonchalantly render me guilty or defensive. Would it? No, I’d like to call it being realistic. At the end of the day, no one’s gonna be there for you. No one but yourself. And that my dear, is the tragic case of life.

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Just my two cents. At times, it’s very healthy to spend some time by yourself. It’s uplifting. You need to know how to be alone and not to be defined by another person. Personally, I find it easier to think & move around. I feel free to do whatever I want without anyone’s influence bothering me. With all the drama surrounding school & whatnot, the last thing you need is more drama. Make yourself a priority once in a while. It’s not selfish. It’s necessary. Focus on yourself. Don’t let your world revolve around somebody else because people are temporary. Do your own things; have your own likes. Don’t do things for them; do things for you. Don’t give up your all for them because I guarantee you they can leave you hanging in just one snap. Please. Live for yourself. Until you get comfortable with being alone, you’ll never know if you’re choosing someone out of love or loneliness. Think about it.

I’ve had my fair share of criticisms. They say aloneness has more cons than pros. However, I beg to disagree. Hackneyed myths are to blame. For one, being alone does not equate to behaving rudely & pushing people away. Take note of that. I still make sure that I have wholesome relationships with my schoolmates & that they are free to approach me whenever they feel the need to. I always double-check that I don’t look intimidating so I socialize with them casually as I stay within the four walls of the classroom. Being quiet doesn’t essentially scream anti-social. So hun, don’t act like it does. I repeat, it’s okay to be alone.

It’s ridiculous how being on one’s own is viewed negatively by default though. Pop culture has messed up the realness of going solo. No, you are not a dork, a loser, a traitor, an unwanted or whatever society tells you you are. It just so happens that you’re smart, careful & strong. Being a loner does not literally mean you are alone. At the end of the day, I find solace in the fact that I am loved. That I have a home to return to after a long tiring day. That I have real friends who I fully trust despite them being fewer than my fingers. That I have a family who always has my back no matter what. That I have a God who loves me perfectly regardless of me being imperfect. I am not confident in this, I am secured. It’s all a matter of optimism. Take a second to look around. There’s so much beauty in even the littlest things, you could cry. In this instant, the bell rings & I snap from my pensive trance. It’s time to go home. Time flies by so fast when you’re lost in your own self. I smile.

The sidewalk is busy as I trod towards the terminal. My footsteps splash wee ponds of water from the calmed downpour. It is dusk & I am still by myself. The noise of the twilight crowd swallows my earshot. As I blend in on the populace, I am recalled of a timeless proverb which I thought was silly years back. No man is an island. How true! No matter how comfy an individual is in being alone, he cannot survive without a little help from someone. Without acts of kindness. Without affection. Shoutout to all the loners in technically whatever aspect (alone at the workplace, living away from your family, being single in love, independent at the moment, et al)! No matter where you are right now, I wanna remind you that you are loved & cared for. Someone out there does. I am absolutely sure of that. Life would cease to exist without love. Sounds corny, but trust me. This is the reality I am living for.

I look up to the skies & my mouth drops in awe as the painting-like scene feeds my soul. The cotton candy clouds stands in contrast with the fiery afternoon colors of the welkin. From the corner of my eye, I see a rainbow. What a constant reminder of how His gift of life is dewy in spite of its harsh exterior. Life isn’t really that complicated. It’s our decisions & ideals that make it seem like it is. During times that I am alone, I observe that our individual differences does not make us less of a human. Our relativeness is something to embrace. One cannot be truly happy if he acts like someone that he is not. Accept your personality. It’s your world. I cannot reiterate it more–being alone is okay. I may have learned it the hard way but at least I did.

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Written Works

Vile Innuendo

I literally woke up to 3AM thoughts the other night & my mind was just wandering all around. It suddenly hit me how life is not really short unlike the famous saying; that is, to some who spend theirs living in circles. Pointless, always the same boring pattern, seemingly endless. Inspired by this, I had the urge to write a poem filled with suggestions of a life filled with sin & misery. How easy it is for someone to relive it over & over but still retain the awful aftertaste of his conscience.

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“The jack feverishly clicks, driven with ardor
Bytes flow down the stream while one bides for silence
Polar shadows are cast by moonlight unto the narra door
As souls spun the horizon teeming with indulgence

The jack lies down in wait for crooked discourse
Within minutes diverting its conscience from victory
With diamond hands clutched on the Trojan horse
Up & down shifts shoot to the climax of the story

The jack surrenders to the calm of the body electric
Sleep sedates, history change debate as wights lay
Not until one awakens by the rose thorn prick
Thy shadow bites on the apple down harder than yesterday”

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Written Works

Keep Your Trap Shut

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“Never judge. Behind every bad person is someone who made them that way”

I was scrolling through my Twitter timeline when this certain tweet of a friend seemingly caught my attention. I sat there dumbfounded, wanting to react but not knowing a single word to start off my opinion. I was confused. Initially, my thoughts would begin with something like “Pessimism is a choice” or “No, free will did”. But then I read the whole tweet all over again & my eyes focus on the first statement. Never judge.

I have always been a firm believer of individualism. And that we are created to be beings of varying opinions. Ever since time began, the innate situation of coexisting with people whose ideas are polar from yours continues to roll; yet the ability to muster enough strength to shut up, let others talk & comprehend their reason in believing so stays hard for us to swallow. Being a 90’s baby raised up in the age of internet & social media made me a spectator of this. Right now, Twitter is very much a part of my daily life & the amount of hate speech I see flowing through my feed leaves me utterly amazed (& downcast at the same time). I bet my socks off 95% of those users barely even know the person they’ve directed their tweet to. I don’t get it. Why is it that folks you’re not even close to are the ones who are quick to open their mouths? How ironic. DSC_1585 Over lunch the other day, a close friend told me a story of how terribly hurt she was of schoolmates stereotyping her. Some were talking crap about her just because she attends parties, smokes & whatnot. Immediately, she was being called a number of hurtful names that is absolutely not a reflection of who she is. I’ve known her deeply for 6 years & I am absolutely sure she is not a bitch, a whore, a primadonna or whatever. Heck, I didn’t know a cigarette or being social in that sense turns you into a Regina George! Where did that come from? What’s funny is I’m actually not a smoker, raver nor drinker yet we still get along very well. What ever happened to “Birds of the same feather flock together”? Piece of advice, bruh. Not all cultural norms are supposed to be right.

I remember during my first times as a writer of the school paper, staff members got wind of the fact that I owned a personal style blog. Within a matter of minutes entering the office, I was bombarded with questions asking if I was gay & I was like “NO, WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?” They told me about how they discovered my blog & I just laughed it off sheepishly because of how ridiculous the whole conversation sounded. An almost similar thing happened with some relatives of mine & it even came to a point where I stopped posting some blog stuff on my Facebook profile just to avoid getting awkward queries during gatherings! I’ve had enough of it. Stereotyping is a freakin’ bastard. True enough, society has such a twisted way of attributing every one based off solely one aspect of their entirety.

  • Girls are only concerned about physical appearance.
  • Only-childs are spoiled & dependent on elders.
  • Young people are immature & unable because of their lack of experience.
  • Blondes are dumb.
  • If I wear Goth clothing, I’m a part of a rock band, depressed, or do drugs.
  • Blacks are lazy gangsters.
  • Muslims are terrorists.
  • Only skinny women can become models.
  • Men who are not into sports are termed as gay.
  • Varsity players are dumb & bodybuilders are narcissistic.
  • Hispanics don’t speak English very well or not at all.
  • Girls are not good at sports.
  • Fat people are unhealthy & ugly.
  • Women who smoke and drink do not have morals.
  • Asians have high IQ & do nothing but geek out on tech stuff.
  • Indians are untidy & stink a lot.
  • Men always have an “I don’t care” attitude & are messy and unclean.
  • All teenagers are rebels. They are disrespectful.
  • Germans are Nazis & racists.
  • Single mothers are sluts.
  • Australians are bullies, drinkers and constantly uses swear words.
  • All politicians think only of personal gain and benefit.
  • Musicians & artists are weak-minded.
  • Chinese are cheap and live a frugal life. They do not take a bath.
  • Women take forever to do anything.
  • Dropouts are good for nothing. They will never achieve anything without education.
  • Christians are elitists & close-minded on most issues.
  • Only women can be nurses & only men can be doctors.

The examples are plain disgusting, right? Reader, I beg you. Stray away from this kind of stupidity & reject prejudice in all forms. No matter how smelly, wrongly-fit, irregularly-shaped the shoe is, we can never be deserving to judge someone if we haven’t experienced wearing his shoes. I am not saying you should accept someone’s beliefs & lose your self in the process. Respect/ tolerance is entirely different from support. You still do you. Be an individual BUT please do put regards to other’s opinions.

In a world where the feminist & anti-racist movement seems to be spreading like wildfire, you would expect passing off judgment in a superficial way to be whisked off shut like a candle flame. No, it still remains a Herculean task thanks to individuals choosing to take the low road. Even as I sit here typing on my laptop, I witness how this devil runs.

  1. I open a music site & find Iggy Azalea quitting Twitter & Instagram saying “Anyone’s happier when they’re not being verbally abused all day long “
  2. I open an international sports url & spot hideous racist netizen remarks on a Pacquiao-Mayweather article from both parties.
  3. I open a Korean forum & peruse a detailed story of a teenage suicide due to a continuous plague of iljins
  4. I open YouTube & pore though slutshaming comments on a Fifth Harmony video + complaints of a black Human Torch on the new Fantastic Four trailer
  5. I open Tumblr & see a disgusting photo of ripped high school boys harassing a lanky kid tied up on a chair
  6. I open gag sites like Buzzfeed/ 9GAG & view a slew of cursory articles that’s full of skin-deep stereotypical references

We’re all a bit of a sinner & a saint. That’s a fact. I’m not really expecting everyone to be all goody-two shoes acting in a holier than thou attitude with each other. Even I am guilty of being hypercritical. But somehow I just can’t help but hope that the sad truth that people tend to complain first before understanding would turn tables one day. I bet the Earth would be a hella better place if that happened. You never know how much one decision to “shut up & not judge” can change a life of a stranger. Because as much as all of us is imperfect, every one of us also deserves to be treated sans the prejudice.

“Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark” –James 3:4-5

And in this moment, I read the beginning statement of this article I’m writing again, take a deep breath & nod. Yes, now I understand.

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