I was always made to believe that kindness is something that is inherent in people and that they are capable of showing this to others. This is a life teaching that I always brought with me throughout the years which is why I always like to believe that there is somehow a measure of kindness and empathy within the hearts of all kinds of people. This teaching enabled me to extend my patience and tolerate acts which are directed against me and my community. I guess you could say that I was quite an optimist back then.
But this thought, which has been my life mantra practically throughout my life, is slowly being replaced by negativity as I continue to mature. As I grow up, I am continually exposed to the other side of life. The side of life which all my teachers have failed to show me when I was younger. The side which depicts a society that is bent on carrying out their personal interests regardless of whether it is at the expense of other people or not. The side of life that exists behind a overly romanticized portrait of the world where we live. As time goes by, I slowly undergo a process of intellectual reawakening. I am becoming aware that I exist in a world where widely held ideologies don’t match with widely occurring instances. As an example, most countries, if not all, strive to achieve world peace and this can be done if everyone is united with one another. Growing up, however, we are conditioned to believe that all human beings are unique. How then are we supposed to come together as one society if this is contradicted by a belief such as this?
The process of reawakening is quite excruciating. As the days pass by, I continue to be rejected, to be betrayed and to experience negative emotions such as rage, sadness and emptiness. The sources of these come from different people like my parents, my house helpers and even my friends. It feels as if I am trapped in a realm where pain and suffering know no bounds as these continue to occur over and over again at the hands of people whom I treasure deeply. The heaviness in my heart is so immense that I sometimes have to take a few moments to regroup and compose myself. It is a pain that I have never felt anything like before given my inclination to push suppressed feelings into further suppression. Yes, it is that strong.
There are moments when I want to cry but I find that I am unable to do so. It seems as if my tears have run dry and all that’s left is nothing but grief that has evaporated into nothingness. Perhaps it could be due to the fact that I was already aware of society’s true colors but this knowledge had been scraped off my brain as teachers and parents, who in themselves are also immoral in their own ways, attempted to mold me into an overly optimistic person.
This is all water under the bridge now though as I am starting to awaken. I have seen the alter ego of this society as well as its intentions. The phenomenon is comparable to a person being stripped off his/her clothes. Society puts on a variety of clothes in order to mask what is not readily seen by the naked eye. Society attempts to justify their immoral acts in order to avoid labels such as “greedy”, “lustful”, “selfish” or “proud”.
My drive/motivation to be a person for others is slowly diminishing as the scenes of a society characterized by inhumanity continue to play out in front of me. I am inclined to become cold and calculating as I realize that I am going to continue to experience everything: the rejection, the sadness and the emptiness. The need to adopt a cynical and critical view towards humanity arises. After all, why should these people deserve my kindness if they themselves cannot be kind towards me?
Yet there seems to be something holding me back from doing these completely. I realize that doing so would make me no different from the people I have come to abhor. I would only be mimicking the actions of those who have hurt me and I would only be inflicting pain on an unsuspecting person who has no ties with me. I do not want to become that person but I do not want to be the person on the receiving end of all the painful experiences.
As I end this entry, the question of what really is the awakening becomes a central issue to talk about. One can claim that my realization on society being wicked is the awakening after living in a world of good ideals but maladaptive practices. However, I think that the true awakening happened when I realized the implications of my being cold and distant towards society in general. Yes I got hurt but retaliating would make me no better than the rest. It is for this reason that I choose not to return the favor of what everyone involved has done to me.
This does not mean, however, that I will be stoical amidst all this. I will nurse and lick the wounds which have been inflicted by different kinds of people. I will live in solitude and attempt to look at the meaning of these experiences which will hopefully pave the way for the development of resilience towards negative events in life. Finally, I hope to have better resolve in my character which I believe should be equipped with rich knowledge and experience from the past.
Good luck, self. You have a tight task ahead.
A few years ago, one of my professors in my major was talking about the concept of autobiographical memories. Autobiographical memories, to make it short and simple, are like your own personal album. It has all the most significant and powerful information about you and your previous experiences. These memories are so powerful that they affect you in the present moment even if these happened a long time ago. Aside from this, they also help you create your internal sense of self which you use to identify yourself with other people.
Going back to my prof, she gave us an example of an autobiographical memory by sharing a personal story to us. Her son, who was performing in front of a large audience, had a case of stage fright which caused him to commit a mistake. After the performance, her son felt bad and could not get over it. My professor, being a psychologist, knew she had to do something because the performance could be a potential autobiographical memory which could consequently lower his self-esteem.
So what did my professor do? Sugarcoat reality for her son? Nope. She did agree with her son but she was quick to point out that there were other kids who had worse performances. The trick worked. Her son didn’t dwell too much on the issue and got over it. Whenever the topic is brought up, her son is able to remember that experience but he is able to point out that his performance wasn’t so bad. In short, the memory doesn’t affect him negatively.
When I think about that one lecture now, I realize that the words we speak are so powerful that it has the ability to change the meaning/context surrounding an issue and the mood of everyone affected. The words thrown at us can either crush us and put one’s soul to shame or it can heal us and free us from internal suffering. The impact of what is said can be felt across time. It stays with us for the rest of our lives as it is deeply embedded and etched inside our minds.
These words. They either act like a silent doctor or a silent assassin. Their work is not seen by the naked eye. The power of words can go undetected because there are times when they fail to show hints of liberation or oppression. This is the case for those who are stoical. They refuse to show or express what they are feeling. Instead, they choose to keep everything to themselves.
So what do we do now? Be all praises towards one another? The answer is no. The words we speak matter and it’s important to remember that it’s not only approval that can help us maintain a good sense of well-being. There should be room for constructive criticism (not simply criticism!) in order for us to look at areas where we could be better at which ultimately leads us to become better people. As freedom of expression is important, we should voice out our views, our stance and our opinions but only after much consideration. We should consider the T.H.I.N.K. questions before saying something.
- T – Is it true?: What we say should be backed up with evidence which leads other people to agree with you. Not everyone will agree with us but at the very least the argument we want to raise should be based on sound reasoning.
- H – Is it helpful?: What we say should positively affect others.
- I – Is it inspiring?: What we say should push others to become something greater than what they are right now.
- N – Is it necessary?: What we say should arise from something we perceive as a need. This need we see may not be considered a need for other people. However, our ideas may lead these people to look at things at another perspective.
- K – Is it kind?: What we say should come from good intentions.
With this framework in hand, I think a lot of people will be spared from having to deal with emotional pain but do remember that I am a psychologist in the making. Not everything I said may not be absolutely true for you since I am merely speaking from personal experiences. I recounted what I learned from my major classes and reflected on those. I’m just putting this here to share my thoughts. What I can only say with confidence is that there’s work to do for the sake of humanity.
Earlier today I was asked to answer a series of questions which tackled on my mental health. The questions had to be answered on a piece of paper which would be looked at by a physician. When I handed over my answers, my physician was quite surprised with my answer on the first question.
The question read, Are you happy with how your life has been going in general?
Beside it were three choices: Yes, Sometimes and No. I happened to encircle No.
Honestly I was surprised as well. I really don’t recall reading such a question. In my mind back then, that “No” was an answer to a different question. However, that wasn’t the case. On paper, it appeared that I was not at all happy with my life but that is not the thing that surprised me because it is true that I’m really not happy with my life right now. What surprised me is that the answer seemed to have magically come out of nowhere. Again I really don’t remember going through this particular question so it only came as a surprise to me when I saw my physician’s reaction.
So what did I do? Well I didn’t want to lie to myself but I didn’t want to be completely honest either so I ended up saying some factors that contributed to my current state. I mentioned the factors that I was quite willing to share with to my close friends. The other factors (the more internal ones) I chose not to disclose because I didn’t want to reveal myself completely. What for anyway if this whole process is just a screening process that would determine whether I can attend a particular program designed for one of my classes.
This incident really got me thinking a lot and this is what I came up with:
Something deeply embedded into my unconscious self could be trying to make its way into my conscious self. For years I have suppressed all kinds of emotions including happiness, sadness, love, despair, fear and grief which is why I tend to appear blank on the outside. I fear that my unconscious has had enough of all these suppressed emotions so it’s trying to give a signal to the outside world about what really is going inside my head. It’s like my unconscious is taking over and it has begun to cry and plead for help because my conscious self has seemingly become numb from enduring pain after pain after pain.
I do not like to appear as weak and vulnerable but I cannot entirely ignore this theory because I came up with that theory with the help of the knowledge I have with my major subjects. You cannot deny facts because the presence of facts makes the reality we live in easier to accept. This theory is the result of several psychological facts that were all combined to come up with a bigger picture that could explain what is happening to me right now.
Studying Psychology has not only led me to a deeper understanding of people, but it has also led me to a deeper understanding of the self. I’m not saying that this is really true since it only came from a theory and as such can be proven otherwise. However, there is still the possibility that what I am saying is indeed what is happening to my unconscious right now.
I guess the issue for me now is how I will be able to handle and cope with all these. Truth be told I have no plans of opening up about this. It is not because I am doing this out of pride but because I want my problems to be my own problems. Other people don’t need to treat my problems as if it were theirs. If I am able to come up with an explanation to my problem, then I can come up with solutions to these problems. I am my own psychologist. This is my own battle where I will fight, stumble and fall BY MYSELF.
Most of the phrases below are thoughts that have been lingering in my mind for the past couple of weeks. A lot of these thoughts have almost made it to Twitter but I have ultimately decided not to tweet them. I am sharing these unspoken thoughts here because I personally hate expressing most of my deepest thoughts in Twitter.
Besides, most of my followers do not know that this side of me exists. My interactions with my followers have been very casual and shallow. Never or rarely do we engage in deep conversations about life so it would seem kinda off if they read these thoughts/tweets.
But you guys do since this is where most of my unexpressed feelings end up. Here goes!
- False hope is easy to define. It’s simply the failure to take into consideration all the facts that are relative to what you are actually hoping for.
- It sucks when you find yourself torn between speaking up and remaining silent.
- The kind of people that we should be most worried about are not the suicidal ones, but the ones who are ambivalent about death. Those who are suicidal ones want to end their lives and they usually succeed but ending their own lives. After that, the suffering ends. Ambivalent people, on the the other hand, also want their suffering to end but they are unable to end their lives because they want to live or because they still value their lives. Because they don’t want to die, their suffering will continue for as long as they live.
- It’s hard when what your mind says and what your heart says contradict each other. Do you follow what you know is right or do you follow what you really want despite the possible consequences?
- One thing I hope to master soon is to determine whether a person is actually listening to you or is just waiting for his/her turn to talk.
- You can’t really take a side when you are in the middle of two warring people. Both of them will be able to share their stories in a way that will make you want to agree with both of them.
- Sometimes we don’t have to remind other people that what they are doing is wrong. This is especially the case when people are already old enough to know the difference between what’s right and wrong.
- It’s easier to disprove than to prove. You can easily disprove that you’re a friend by doing a bad deed but you would have to resort to all sorts of things just to prove to someone that you are a friend.
- I worry about people who gossip to me about their other friends. If they can do that to their other friends, then they can easily gossip about me especially since we are not very close to one another.
- It’s very sad when dry sobs replace the moist tears that used to trickle down your cheeks.
- Life will always go on even if you don’t want it to.
- You only feel that you’re aging unless you think about your age.
- We refuse to let go of both the good and bad memories because these memories helped become the person we are right now.
- It’s tough being around something that you want but can’t have.
- It takes time to build friendship but only seconds to destroy it.
- I don’t know if I’m a great actor at masking my feelings or if people are just really insensitive.
- So many people know a person’s name, but not his/her story so don’t be too quick to judge.
- Tired can be an understatement.
That’s the one word that can accurately describe how I’ve been feeling for the past few weeks. I’m not quite sure where this came from but I have a feeling it was a result of several negative experiences (like having your things stolen by a loved one. I’ll talk about this in a future post). Today, I was supposed to watch Mission Impossible with my mom, my aunt and my cousins but I decided to stay at home since I woke up today with a heavy feeling.
Well, we were out yesterday from three in the afternoon until eleven in the evening so I guess you can say I’m probably just tired from yesterday’s activities. But I am pretty sure that’s not it because this has been going on for the past few weeks.
Today, however, was different from the other days. Today I felt extremely tired and listless. My sleep last night was restless and disturbed. I kept waking up feeling as if my body was hot when I didn’t really have a fever. My lower back was unusually painful. My throat was sore from the cold drinks I had so swallowing was laborious. My eyes were also a bit painful whenever I would try to go back to sleep. In the end, I felt as if I had no sleep at all.
It was much worse in the day. The first struggle was to get out of bed. My legs felt as if they were made of cement whenever I would try to rise from bed. I could not do anything but huddle under the sheets for one hour while moaning from the pain in my lower back and throat.
Later my mom would remind me about today’s plans. I guess it worked because I found myself getting up from bed…..and regretting it after. As soon as I got up, I felt nauseated. I had to pause for a few seconds because of a splitting headache.
The second struggle of the day came as I was about to eat breakfast. I was already going down the stairs when I saw one of my cousins and her boyfriend sitting at the sofa. Their eyes were fixed on their phones as I went down. I can only assume that they were there because they wanted to use our wifi (we have a weak wifi).
O-kaaaay, I guess I won’t eat breakfast, I thought as I entered the library.
So yeah. I didn’t eat breakfast anymore because I wanted to eat alone and I didn’t want them to see me eating. I was hoping that I would have some alone time while I ate and occupied myself with different thoughts. Guess not.
For the rest of the day, I did nothing. Absolutely nothing. I was not in the mood to do anything but to lie around. Even eating was a bit of hard work for me. Every bite felt forced and rushed. I was only eating because I didn’t want to be hungry later. On a normal day, I would savor every bite of my meal. Today was not one of those days.
Everyone soon left after lunch and it was just me and my sister. We were staying in my parents’ room as my sister slept. I, on the other hand, was busy looking for the two H.P. Lovecraft books I bought from the bookstore. I could not find them after searching in every possible place. I even called my mom to ask where she placed them. Apparently she just placed them below a table where most books were placed. It wasn’t there and now I could not find the books.
I gave up searching after half an hour. My mood had turned sour then. I was pissed because of my mom again. Lately she has been the source of my annoyance. From dragging me to a different country WITHOUT my knowledge (I would only find out after she bought my ticket) about this. Honestly it feels as my life is no longer mine anymore.
To cope with what’s happened, I decided to take an afternoon nap because my eyelids were getting heavy, my lower back and joints were aching and my headache was coming back.
And now I’m here. I’m currently listening to songs by Lighthouse Family while typing. I’m still tired and bored. The pain in my eyes is gone but I’m still experiencing pain from my lower back, my joints and my head which has made me more tired than ever. Actually our helper just called me to inform that dinner is ready. I can immediately tell that we’re having chicken curry just by the smell. However, I don’t feel like eating yet. All I really want to do now is to get rid of all the pain, especially in my lower back.
But I don’t know how as I’m currently in a free fall.
As if on cue, his eyes pop open and he realizes that he has finally woken up from his sleep. A sleep that felt as if he simply closed his eyes for five or six hours. There is no feeling of grogginess at all. Just a feeling of alertness.
Despite being awake, he continues to lie on his bed. He knows he has places to go for the day but he doesn’t want to leave his bed just yet. He still wants to remain in the comfort of his bed. He still wants to feel the fabric of the comforter wrapping him in a cocoon. He wants to imagine it as if it were talking to him.
“Don’t worry. I’m here now and I will make sure you are safe and that everything will be okay.”
But he knows he must eventually get out of his paradise. An invisible force beckons to him to rise from his bed and start his day. With a sigh, he forces himself to get up from his bed. The bed protests. It does not want him to go just yet but he does not have a choice.
As he gets up from bed, he instantly begins to feel heavy. The strange thing is that he can’t seem to pinpoint the exact location of that heavy sensation. Nonetheless, he continues to head for the door. The door that would reconnect him to everyone and everything. The world basically. He goes out and steps into the living room.
The world’s greeting is a cruel one. A vision suddenly pops right in front of him. He see a young boy and who is presumably his father seated across each other. The father seems to be teaching something to the young boy but the young boy looks like he could not understand a single thing. This leaves the father greatly frustrated and the young boy can do nothing but bow his head down.
End of vision.
He goes down and discovers that the food has already been served and all that’s left is for him to eat it. He takes a seat and begins consuming his food. In a matter of minutes, he finishes breakfast…but not before getting another vision.
This time, the vision involved four people: the young boy, the father, a woman presumably the mother and a young girl. The young boy and the young girl are eating and are not minding everyone else. The mother and the father, however, appeared to be fighting. The father is in a fit. He seems to have a bad temper because he soon grabs a glass of water and spills it all over the table, drenching the tablecloth. Before leaving the area, he makes a loud bang on the table. The mother, on the other hand, could do nothing but just roll her eyes and sigh.
And again, he shakes off the vision as he prepares to go up.
Upstairs, he sees that his family is still asleep. Because of this, he is careful not to make any sound.
Soon, he is stopped in his tracks because the scenario is changing. The mattresses that were placed on the floor vanished. The master bed began to have more occupants. As his eyes focused, he realizes that the young boy is lying down facedown with the butt slightly exposed. The mother is also there. In fact, she is gazing at the boy and she appears to be saying something in disgust. Out of the blue, the father appears and he was holds a belt. In a matter of seconds, the belt rudely kisses the young boy’s butt and the next thing he hears is the sound of someone crying.
And then the vision just ended. Poof.
Guess it was just another hallucination, he thinks as he makes his way to the bathroom.
In the bathroom, he begins to think of what is to come. What will happen to him and the people around him? Will there be anything new today? How will today’s interactions go? Will his ever awkward personality side take over again? Will he be socially inhibited again for the day? These questions continue to linger in his mind even as he is already on the road.
As he reaches his destination, he begins to feel lighter now and his day officially begins. As he slowly settles into the background, he begins to see everyone. The friends, the acquaintances and the strangers. He settles into his place and begins to blend in with the crowd. It isn’t until the afternoon that he begins to see his true friend. For an hour or two, they talk about all sorts of things ranging from the most general issues like the weather to the most delicate issues such as a breakup.
Later, he encounters another friend but he is not very comfortable being around this person but they are able to talk about different things. This friend of his is quite an open person and he would love to reciprocate the deed. However, something is holding him back from doing so and he realizes that he is afraid that this person may not accept him if he completely shows his whole self. As a result, the rest of the day is quite uneventful and a cloud of awkwardness exists.
In order to temporarily dispel this cloud, he desperately searches for something that can be talked about. Anything just to reduce the tension that was building up in me. It works but as mentioned before, it is short-lived.
Soon, they go their own ways and it is time for him to go home. He is in a bit of a sour mood as his awkward side has resurfaced again.
“What have you done? I thought you wanted to be closer to people? Why are you doing the exact opposite?”
Those are the questions he repeatedly asks himself and he honestly can’t come up with a logical answer. The chance is already there but he seems to be letting it just slip away from him.
Meanwhile, he has reached his house. He opens the door to his house and greet all the occupants in it. Strangely, the heavy feeling has come back and it is preventing him from taking any steps further. Nonetheless, he still manages to make it to his room. As soon as that happens, he feels himself disconnect from the world.
In my mind, he can hear the snap that it makes as his connection to the outside world is temporarily severed. Subsequently, the energy that he had outside begins to seep through his pores. And now he feel myself slowly collapsing until the bed, dying to establish its connection with him, meets my heavy body.
This, however, does not for long because he knows that he has not yet accomplished his to-do list. For the rest of the evening, he gets to work. As motivation, he constantly reminds myself that the time for sleep will come in a few hours. He is only interrupted when dinner is already served.
During dinner, he is asked about a lot of questions. The topics are mostly about what he did today, how his day was and if there was anything significant that happened today. He is not in the mood to answer but he tries his best by answering well and by constantly tying a smile to his face. There really is no choice but to do that since all eyes are on him.
Half an hour later, everyone scatters and begins to mind their own business. His mother goes back to playing games in her phone. It’s that or she watches movies to kill time. His father, meanwhile, goes to their room, lies down on the bed, watches another show , munches on several snacks and starts acting like he is the royal king. From time to time, he calls on anyone who passes by the room for several favors. His sister, on the other hand, is in her room and at the hands of her nanny.
As for him, he remains in his room until 12 midnight. He begins to finish his interrupted work and he does not finish until the said time.
Finally, 12 midnight comes. The time for sleep has arrived and he can’t wait. He will be reunited with his bed and comforter, both of which he missed dearly during the course of the day. In a few minutes, everything is going to be alright again…..for the time being. He wastes no time in entering the room of his parents because it is where their beds are placed.
The room is cold because of the air-conditioning unit. He pauses for a moment to appreciate the cold. Ahhhh. So soothing.
And now the moment he has been waiting for.
He slowly gets into bed and begins to wrap himself around the comforter. Soon, he finds myself lying and staring in the dark. All the negative thoughts, with one major theme, slowly come to his mind.
“I hate this house. I wonder when I’ll be able to leave this place. I’m tired of going to every place and and being able to associate that place with bad memories. I hate the prevailing hypocrisy of everyone in this house. I think I’m gonna snap soon if I don’t get out of here.”
And that’s when he begins to crumble discreetly as he does not want to wake up his sleeping parents and sister from their slumber. The tears finally trickle down his face but he does not feel them at all. For these tears are evaporated tears. Dry sobs continue to rack his body. He continues this for as long as he wants because he realizes that he has already fallen in love with his pain.
He knows he can’t keep grieving forever so he begins to calm himself by thinking of the most special person in his heart and he begins to materialize this person into his comforter. The comforter because it is the closest thing that can grant him comfort, assurance and security. He imagines this person talking to him in soothing tone. This person hugs him and reminds him that all things will come to an end. That his suffering will have its end. Someday.
All these he does in the comfort of his bed and his imagination is the only thing that is capable of temporarily restoring him to his functional self.
Some time later, his imagination works. He is now temporarily relieved and now he is starting to fall asleep. His last thought before finally drifting off is this.
Get ready for the next battle.
They say that you should always take opportunities to meet and get to know other people who come in to your life. Personally, I would have to agree with them even if I really want to say the opposite. People, even if they say they are isolated or disconnected, are social creatures. They can sever their ties from other people but the time will eventually come when they’re gonna have to come out of their shells. No man is an island, after all.
I’m not exactly an outgoing and very social person. If you would judge me just by looking, I think you’d be able to come up with several adjectives which pertain to negative characteristics. I’ve heard a lot actually. Looks unapproachable, snobbish, aloof, cold, distant, bitchy, grumpy. I can’t blame other people for saying that because my default facial expression does seem to portray those characteristics. But these aren’t my traits. If you talk to me, I think you’ll soon see that I’m a very caring person (though I may not show it in the most obvious ways) and quite talkative for a shy person. Once you know me, I tend to open up about the most random topics (from the weather to the philosophical topics).
*The next paragraph will describe my relationship with new people in the past few weeks since I don’t always have urges to withdraw from other people*
For a short time, it’s gonna seem as if I’m developing my friendship with a person. We spend some time and share different kinds of stories with each other. Then abience comes along bearing gifts aka painful memories. They usually arrive when I’m alone in my bedroom lying around and doing nothing. As I’m evaluating my relationships with new people, painful memories such as losing my high school best friend, being an outsider for a whole year, being bullied and those involving people who leave and never return come back to haunt me. When these come back, I sit back and come up with seemingly pessimistic conclusions in life. That’s when I begin to feel as if I have to make a very important decision. What do I do with our friendship? Do I risk it or do I quit while it’s still early?
I’m very tempted to give in to abience. I have been hurt repeatedly by the people whom I treasure dearly. Some people left me and never came back, some people treated me as a friend and then as an outsider later on, some people got into arguments with me and our friendship was never the same after. All these experiences hurt so much and I never want to experience those again from the ones I cherish. If you think of it, these can happen to me and new friends and future friends as well. Well, if that’s gonna happen, might as well get out while I still can before I get hurt all over again. So there. You now know why I have the urge to withdraw from people.
Besides, nothing in life is permanent anyway. These people will eventually evaporate when I get to the outside world. We’ll all eventually have different paths to take and we’ll soon forget each other in a few years. Why not do it now so I can have a lower count of friendships that just died/failed? It will also save me the pain of just losing these people.
However, there’s also a part of me who wants to try and risk it since all friendships begin from scratch. I want my social network to grow and I know backing out easily isn’t the way to do it. My friendship with those I’ve known for years was the result of continuous interactions. If I want friendships to mature real quick, then maybe something is wrong with my perception of how friendships evolve.
But I’m scared. What if it doesn’t work out? What if I say the wrong things? What if they discover my flaws like my insecurities and anger issues? What if they won’t accept me?
And now we go back to the million dollar question: Should I go for it or not?
I’m not so sure myself. 😦 Think you guys can offer me some advice?