Wide Awake and Torn

My family and I went to a wake tonight. It was my aunt’s helper’s mother who died. But I’m not going to talk about death here. I’m going to talk about something else…rather someone…me. See, my aunt’s helper has a nephew who happens to be a UP freshman like me. We chatted about school a little bit, and then I ended up telling him and his mother about my plans of transferring to another school. Of course they felt like I’m wasting my opportunity. Who wouldn’t feel that way anyway? And so I told them this: I have a problem.

As I lay awake in bed tonight, I am kept wondering about how my life would have been if I didn’t have that problem.I am kept wondering about how my life would have been if I didn’t file for a Leave of Absence. I am kept wondering what my life would be if my mind is still focused on being an alumna of the nation’s National and State University. I am kept wondering about how my life would have been if I never knew that I was depressed and bipolar. I am kept wondering about my whole life at the moment, and what could have happened instead if things went my way.

Could I have survived the org application of one of UP’s famous organizations? Could I have been a College or even a University Scholar last semester? Could I have many friends in school? Could I have handled the academic and emotional stress that my freshman year brought to me?

Transferring back to the school that raised me is my plan as of now. I just couldn’t take the emotional stress UP has given me. And I’m just in my freshman year! Of course the plan of transferring brings me pain, but the comments of people have on my decision pain me the most. The people giving comments without knowing my problems are piercing me in the heart without them knowing. It gives me so much pain when people judge without knowing the story of someone, especially if the “victim” has done nothing wrong to anyone. (I may be a hypocrite here, but it’s true.)

And so I lay awake, thinking, teary-eyed. Am I being too protective about myself? Am I not taking risks? Am I wasting an opportunity given to only a small percentage of the Philippine population? Am I being selfish? Am I being selfless? Am I making the right choices?

Sometimes I feel ashamed of transferring back to my old school. It’s not because of the school that I’m transferring to, but because of my “weakness”. People may see me as a weakling, and I accept that. I, too, think and know that I am still weak. That’s why I’m undergoing psychotherapy and taking medications. I just wish everyone knows this.

And so I lay awake, mind torn, heart broken. I’m off to my psychiatrist tomorrow. Maybe she can help me about this.

…or maybe this post is a fruit of my new medication?

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Think Twice

I am currently sitting in front of my cousins, who are in the middle of a dance rehearsal. They’re getting ready for a dance number for our upcoming family reunions. Some are getting the dance steps, and some are confused. Some are at the verge of giving up, and I’m sitting here, watching them. I want to join them. I know I can dance. But then I see my reflection in the mirror, and I see a six-inch scar on my knee. Oh right, I had a knee surgery six months ago. I can’t dance.

People often take things for granted. Well, it’s really more than often. We always take things for granted, not realizing how other people cannot do everything that we do. We take our sight sight for granted. We take our able legs for granted. We take our health for granted. We take our skills and talents for granted. We take the people around us for granted. We take our surroundings for granted. We take our lives for granted.

We seldom realize how lucky and blessed we are. It would take a major event in the lives of others or a natural phenomenon before we realize that we have so many things to be thankful for. We would always complain about our little misfortunes without thinking about the greater misfortunes of the majority of the Earth’s population. We always focus on the bad, never on the good.

With this, I propose a challenge to you, my dear reader. Get a notebook, and make it your “Grateful Notebook”. Everyday, list down one thing that you were grateful for on that day. On your low days, read everything that you wrote down. After that, I hope you realize how blessed you are.

It’s better if you are also able to help someone who needs a hand after reading your Grateful Notebook. For me, it’s a way of appreciating what you have. You are not only able to give thanks, but you are also able to make someone smile. You might be the person to make her day. You’ll never know.

So the next time you complain, think twice.

Moving On

By accident, I clicked on a link that would lead me to his Facebook timeline. I was scared to feel hurt; I was scared to cry. But as I browsed through his photos, I felt, well, quite normal. It was as if nothing happened.

This is not the first time that this happened, yet I still feel scared every time I do this. Believe it or not, I intentionally click on the link every time I did it in the past. Why? I wanted to know if I have really moved on. And all I can say is this: yes, I have moved on.

Erasing something from your past is impossible, even if you have amnesia or any other memory-related condition. Something can never be undone, even if you keep on covering it up. Your dark and painful past is hard to forget, but I didn’t realize that you can choose to remember the past but forget the pain until today.

He took my innocence, my confidence, my pride, my being. And yet, I look at him, feeling no pain. Maybe I feel indifferent, but that’s alright. At least now I don’t want him to rot in hell. I even wish him well.

See how time heals? I sought no help, only listening ears. Recovering from molestation and attempted rape is burdensome, but I got through it. Though its effects are here to stay, I can see that I have moved on.

Now, if you think that it’s the end of the world, look around you. You’ll see people who have problems that are a million times bigger than yours. But look at them, still fighting. You can always surpass it and move on. Just believe in yourself.

(If Only) I Knew You Were Trouble: Facebook

I’ve been a victim of feeling disappointed and discouraged over negative Facebook comments. But, I’m not the only one who goes through this. Feeling disappointed over social networking is actually a reason why other people don’t have social networking accounts. This is also why people unfriend their Facebook friends. This is why some people get the feeling that they are bullied. This is why others get depressed. Social networking is actually good, but bad contents can ruin it.

So before scrolling down on your news feed, take a while to read how other teenagers think about the negatives of social media.

 

So, what is social networking for? Aira says “it’s one way of communicating with my schoolmates since most (if not all) of them have accounts. Also, I have relatives who live abroad and it really does help in keeping in touch with them.” In deed, social networking is a form of communication, whether you’re communicating to the person beside you or to someone who is miles away. It’s also a venue to express oneself, since social networking could also be microblogging. Social networking is one of the countless ways to show the world that you exist.

Many of us post about our interests, experiences, and whatever is going on in our lives in social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to name a few. Why do we post? Well, we want to share to the world what we’re going through. That is, if we want to share. I myself love sharing whatever is going on in my life to my friends and family here and abroad. So, I post stuff, but I filter them. I asked Aira if she does the same. She says that she doesn’t post as often as others (maybe like me) do. “I just don’t see the need to post every little detail of my day. I mean, if I went to an important event, vacation, or see something that’s related to my personal interest, I would post about them because it’s something special but that doesn’t happen often”, she says.

But hey, let’s face it: we all see comments and posts on the internet that hurt and offend us. Lucky for Aira, she hasn’t experienced getting negative comment, but she does know when she sees one. “If the post itself is something negative and offending, I don’t really mind the negativity it inevitably attracts. That person needs to be told off that he/she is wrong. But if the comment’s on a completely respectable post come from unreasonable hate, mindless jealousy and bitterness… It disturbs me. It frustrates me. But I don’t reply to them because I know that I’m just putting fuel to the fire if I give even the slightest reaction. Negative comments shouldn’t be given attention because that’s what they’re seeking.”

Roie has received negative comments on social networks. So, how does she react? “It depends. There are times that I feel annoyed pero hindi naman tumatagal. Tipong after a few minutes, okay na ako. There are times naman na sobrang naaapektuhan ako to the point na I have this urge to block that person.” (It depends. There are times that I feel annoyed, but that feeling doesn’t last. After a few minutes, I’m already okay. But there are times that I get so affected to the point that I have this urge to block that person). On her view of those who say those negative comments, Roie says “at first, hinahayaan ko lang. May kanya kanya naman tayong opinyon diba? Kaso nung lumala na, yung consistent na niyang ginagawa yun, napapa-iling nalang ako. Although dumating din yung time na medyo naawa ako kasi ganun yung pag-iisip/pag-uugali niya.” (At first, I let them be. We are entitled to our own opinion, right? But when it gets worse, when the comments are consistently offending, I get turned off by her. Although there comes a time when I feel bad for him/her because that is her way of thinking/attitude.)

Axl says “How do I deal with negative comments? Hmm… Paano nga ba? Ako kasi, tinatawanan ko lang eh. At least kung may negative comments man. Tinetake ko ‘to as good pa rin so that alam ko kung anong mala kaya sila may negative comment.” (How do I deal with negative comments? Hmm…how do I? Well, I just simply laugh at them. At least when there are negative comments. I still take them as good so that I know what’s wrong that’s why they have negative comments). Well, she is right. Sometimes what we write can offend others, too. So it’s best to review what we write.

I have received bad comments on Facebook, too. Those were not pleasant experiences. One was clearly offensive, and the other sounded rude. How did I deal with them? Well, I felt bad. Being the sensitive girl I am who isn’t 100% healed from depression, I took them hardly.I cried to my friends about it. There was even a point when I had to deactivate my social networking accounts just to make myself feel better. I also unfriended those who said those bad comments. I felt better after doing so. A few months after, the rude comment came. What did I do? I just told my friends about it. Releasing the feelings made me feel lighter without unfriending that person who wrote that bad comment. Even when I saw that person in school, there was only a little teeny tiny pang of hurt. I decided to let it pass by. Feeling good about negative comments is not easy, but I’ll get there.

As for those who are experiencing the same problem as mine, here are some tips from fellow users of social networking sites. Aira believes that ignoring those nasty comments will do you good, unless they cross the line. “Just ignore them. You shouldn’t waste your energy and your time on something as petty as negative comments. But if it is extremely offending and obscene, report it. A lot of social networking sites provide services for this kind of problems and you should take advantage of them.”

As for Roie, premature reactions based of pure feelings are not to be entertained at the beginning. “As much as possible, huwag muna masyadong magrereact. Yung iba kasi sinasagot agad. Kumbaga bugso ng damdamin ang nangingibabaw sakanila. May mga times din kasing indirect yung post/comment. May iba feeling nila para sa kanila yun kaya kadalasan sinasagot nila yung taong yun o hindi kaya binoblock agad. Hindi muna nila iniisip yung possible reasons kung bakit nasabi/napost yon. Kung direct post naman lalo na kung kilala mo yung taong yon, pwede mo siyang i-confront nalang privately. Either, in person  kayo mag-usap o kaya tawagan mo.” (As much as possible, don’t react too much right away. Some people just reply right away. It’s like their feelings are the ones who control them. There are also times when a post or comment is indirect. There are others who think that the post was meant for them, so they reply right away or they block the person. They don’t think of the possible reasons why the said post/comment was posted. If it is a direst post, you can confront the person privately, especially if you know the person. One can do it either in person or through phone).

Axl advises to not take those comments seriously because people naturally say negative things about others. “Advice ko lang, ‘wag nilang masyadong dibdibin kung ano man ang sasabihin ng tao. Alam naman natin na kahit anong gawin natin, hindi natin maiiwasan na may masabing negative ang mga tao. Instead na masamain natin, intindihin na lang natin sila and take it as positive comments pa din so that next time di na natin gawin ung ayaw nila.” (My advise is that you shouldn’t take whatever people say to heart. We all know that no matter what we do, we are unsure if people would say bad things about it. Instead of taking them negatively, let’s just understand those people and take those comments constructively and positively so that next time, we won’t do what they don’t like.) I understand her point, but I think that just because other people don’t like it, we shouldn’t do certain things already. I believe that we should just be ourselves, but be cautious.

Sofia puts things simple and straight to the point. “Ignore them or prove them wrong.”

Alie takes things in a biblical context. “Take every thought captive. [Read] Philippians 4:8. Focus lang sa mga bagay na nandun sa verse na yun. Pag di aligned dun, do not take them in to your system. Mahirap gawin. Ako nga kailangan ko pang i-remind ang sarili ko to do it.” (Take every thought captive. [Read} Philippians 4:8. Focus on those written in that verse. If your thoughts are not in line with the verse, do not take them in to your system. It’s difficult to do. I even have to remind myself to do it).

Philippians 4:8New International Version (NIV): Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

As for me, talk to your best friend about what you feel (much emphasis on what you FEEL). Ask people for comfort and reassurance. But, one should learn how to stand on her own feet in the end. Letting things out makes people good (just not violently).

The bottom line is, social networking is actually good, but bad contents can ruin it. Social networking is a good invention, for it can connect us to anyone and everyone. But, we should be reminded that social networking can be bad, too. Relationships and moods can get destroyed just because of a single comment or post. There are many ways to deal with these comments. If one does not want to get bothered by that person anymore, nothing is wrong with blocking or unfriending. But if one does not want to pursue that, just take things light and think happy thoughts. You can even talk to that person who posted something not so good about what happened, or just talk to someone about it.

But one should always remember that things will turn out to be alright eventually.

Social networking is on the internet. Whether you delete something from the internet or not, it stays in the minds of everyone who saw it forever. To end, I’d like to quote GMA News on their view on social networking. “Think before you click”.

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Special thanks to my girls Axl Esguerra, Aira Leung, Roie Moralde, Sofia Nacpil and Alie Tumbaga for letting me interview them for this post.