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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Tough Love

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I was at National Book Store (NBS) when three obnoxious and annoyingly loud children were running around and yelling while their mother was queuing at the cashier. I was this close to feeling annoyed that the mother didn’t do anything about it. Come their turn, the mother asked for their envelopes. In their hands, they each had an attaché-case-type-plastic-envelope that were asked to be surrendered at the cashier. It was such a cute moment, and it occurred to me that maybe I have forgotten what it’s like to be a child.

Obviously, they were shopping for school supplies, the three siblings each had the plastic envelope, a notebook, a pencil, a ruler, and an eraser.

An image instantly flashed in my head. NBS Mango Avenue, 1992. A little girl in her school uniform took a Doraemon eraser and slowly slipped it inside the pocket of her skirt. I watched her do this and she later reunited with her mom and sisters and then went out of the store with the stolen merchandise.

That girl was me. At 9 years old.

As a child, I was a thief. But as a thief at home stealing coins, I always got reprimanded by my father in what modern society may call child abuse today. I always got punished, except for that time at NBS. But surely, guilt does a better job at that. To this day, I still live with that guilt. Perhaps, because I was never caught. I still frequent NBS. To me, it is not just a book store where I get my school supplies then, office supplies now, it is a big part of my childhood and my life in general, having lived here all my life. I’m sure I speak for many.

Looking back, the only reasons why I stole that eraser was because it was cute, and expensive. Perhaps I should have tried asking my mom if she would buy it for me. But even if we could have afforded it, it was simply unnecessary because the plain white eraser does the exact same thing at half the price, and that’s how I knew even as a child that I wasn’t getting it. I’ve used it with great care, and with great guilt. I hid it from my sisters because if they saw, they would have known how I got it.

That wasn’t the only stealing experience I had. I tried to steal coins from my parents because I got hungry in school. I remember having enough money just for pizza or a pack of juice, and never both at the same time. In 3rd grade, during recess I remember I saw what seemed like a bundle of folded 20 peso bills at the stairway and I remember picking it up with such adrenaline rush, deciding if I would turn it in, or spend it on pizza and juice at the same time, finally! Later, I had a full stomach, and a guilty conscience.

The two times I stole from my parents I remember having had to offer my open palms and having them slapped hard by a ruler, it was painful. I also remember as a consequence, I was once made to kneel on rock salt for hours. My dad had probably forgotten that his daughter was still upstairs kneeling on salt facing the window because he was busy. And while he was busy working, I was also receiving a lesson on honesty and integrity. I was terrified to get up even for one second despite the pain I was in.

Eventually I got tired of the consequences, and much later on things got better at home and that part of my childhood is now forgotten by everyone but me. I do feel ashamed that I have, at some point, resorted to stealing. This is why I understand when people are driven to do that due to poverty. It doesn’t mean I tolerate it now, but I can understand and I now have a better judgment on whether or not someone deserves a second chance. I have my dad to thank for me not turning into a full blown bank robber or wallet snatcher, if not out of need, out of habit. For the severe measures he did, he taught me and my sisters that stealing is bad no matter what angle you look at it from. It didn’t teach us that it’s okay to hit people, it is called discipline and I am grateful for it.

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So this is how it feels like to love yourself.

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Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they’re not loving you the best way they know how.” Said the person who loves the least.

Career Over Love. Always.

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I am one to speak from experience, and I am the one who’s going to be left behind and not the other way around.

If you ever find yourself torn between career and love and it’s a situation where you can’t have both, choose career. Always. Why? While I get how intoxicating a new love can be, making you feel like you can give up anything and or put your own dreams on hold, regret can easily seep in once the magic is gone. I mean c’mon, you didn’t think the butterflies would never tire fluttering in your tummies? One day, months, years later, all that will be gone. And all you will be left with is that feeling of regret, and because the relationship is not as exciting as it used to be, you now refuse to put your dreams on hold for anyone. Trust me. I have been with someone for 9 years and now that person is determined to leave to pursue “the dream” because apparently there is nothing exciting here anymore. And what do I have here? I’m left with regret that I wish we hadn’t wasted time pursuing love the last 9 years, because it just makes it difficult now to let go. And this is one of those situations where it’s an either or thing, and it would have been easier 2 or 3 years into the
relationship.

Yes, we are less selfish when we are in love.

But being selfish is not a bad thing, it’s how our species survived. All I’m saying is don’t let anyone hinder you from going after your dreams, not even love. Be selfish, it is your duty to yourself. True love is hard to find, but there are a million other reasons to be with someone and true love definitely doesn’t rank number one.

There are many chances for love, and even if true love is rare (this one is true), all we really need is a companion and good friend at the end of the day. We don’t need to be in love with a person to be with them. We can also learn to be content with a love that is less crazier than true love.

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Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.

Why it’s important to enjoy your own company

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11/10/2012 Starbucks Oakridge 8:44pm

The sooner we know the only person we can really count on is ourselves, the better. Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. Like today is a Saturday, where I had planned to eat good stuff with someone and plans got cancelled the last minute. Instead, I ordered fast food and am now trying to write this at a coffee shop, not caring how pretentious it looks. I felt sad for awhile that plans got cancelled and eventually fell asleep in the car. That power nap was powerful indeed because I woke up feeling recharged. I am, as I always have, going to do things that I enjoy even though I’m doing it all by myself on this supposedly fun-filled weekend. Oh well. I am not the type to eat alone at restaurants on weekends, especially. I am avoiding any judgmental eyes from making rightful conclusions. They might not even care but I am self conscious like that. So I order take out from a fast food place and realized how hungry I was the moment I took the first bite. One burger wasn’t enough but it had to do because I planned to have coffee afterwards and I didn’t want to be too full for that.

Sometimes, we place our happiness in other people’s hands. That is wrong and the sooner we learn to make it an effort to be happy even without someone else’s help, the better. Of course, I am not saying everyone should stop making friends or making plans with people altogether. It is more fun, in some instances, when there is more. But in life, it is inevitable that there will be times when no one is absolutely there, it’s as if the world you know has become a Silent Hill scene where you cannot find anyone to turn to, that you would be glad to see a zombie you would even willingly give him your arm or foot to chug on just to have someone to have coffee with or someone to listen to you whine about your boss and life. So tonight, I am in my emo mode and realized that we come to this world alone, no matter how used we are to having someone around in our whole lifetime, it is best if you can create happy moments by yourself when the need arises, how ever silly they are. You can even talk to an imaginary friend if you need to, who says those are for children? I have a few of those and I’m not crazy, in fact, it keeps me sane. Because really, what are you going to do when there is no one available for you during your crisis? Maybe some people are lucky to have that one friend who will drop everything in an instant and come to their rescue, but seriously now, in the real world? It is not at all times possible for someone to drop everything they’re doing just for you, unless of course, it is a life and death situation. But would you want someone dropping everything like an important meeting, or event just to go listen to you talk about your heartaches or clean up your vomit? Seriously, if you are that kind of selfish asshole you are not deserving of that kind of friend!

Anyway, my point is that it might be surprising for you to see just how enjoyable it can be hanging out with you! Because often times, we assume it would be lonely without our friends or family to constantly keep the room or car noisy. We are always trying to fill that void of loneliness, avoiding it at all costs. But silence actually helps us to know ourselves better. Just like a sentence would not be complete without spaces.