Monthly Archives: August 2013

7 Things Writing On The Internet Has Taught Me

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Been reblogging a lot, but I can’t help it. This one applied very much to me, too.

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Maybe It’s Not About Letting Go, But About Making Room For What We Can’t Change

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This one would not have struck me if I did not know people who did lose their parents at a young age or have an infant die in their arms or get diagnosed with terminal illnesses in the full throes of their adolescence. Or if I had not, two years ago, lived in fear when I accidentally found out I had the same illness that killed some of my family members.

Thought Catalog

When something tragic and gutting happens to someone, something that is miles beyond what we can empathize with emotionally, we tend to think to ourselves, how do they go on after this? I am talking about the people who lose parents suddenly at a young age, who have infants die in their arms, who are diagnosed with terminal illnesses while still in the throes and wonder of adolescence. The things that seem, if they were to happen to us, to be the end-all. I’m not sure that we can grasp that kind of emotional pain until we’ve been in those shoes ourselves. But for the little bit we can understand from our own experiences, we inevitably wonder how people move on after the worst befell them.

The people who have seen these depths know something. They know that often, it’s not about moving on or figuring out a way to…

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Peace rallies: At the intersection between history, politics, and corruption

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In the Philippines, tomorrow is the Million People March Against PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) at Luneta Park. By no small coincidence, this is the very same park in which our National Hero, Jose Rizal, was martyred via firing squad. Many of the provinces, scattered all over the archipelago, are joining in.

The dominant emotion is anger, and perhaps whatever possessed the Les Miserables characters singing “One Day More.”

For those who don’t know, the PDAF, or pork barrel, is the fund allotted to local lawmakers for spending on projects geared toward the betterment of the country.

But recently, quite by accident, a scam involving the suspicious siphoning off of P10 billion worth of those funds was uncovered–and my people, trite as that term may sound, whose discontentment and frustrations have been boiling just beneath the surface for a very long time, are finally arising in anger.

The taxes going into the PDAF could have been used to make so many lives better, but instead, it turns out we’ve been buying luxury cars and new gadgets and house and lots for a handful of senators, congressmen, and the businesswoman allegedly behind the scam, Janet Lim-Napoles.

I’d love to go, actually. I’ve met too many women saving up just to paint their houses; been to too many public schools in want of extra tables, chairs, and textbooks; seen too many kids playing half-naked on railroad tracks and traffic islands; too many farmers hacking at sugarcane under the blazing sun on lands that are not theirs; and recently on the news, witnessed too many people fleeing to the roofs of their houses when the floods come in, just because we do not have an efficient drainage system or they could not afford to live elsewhere. Only the truly self-centered are capable of passing such things every day and remain indifferent…oh, wait, look at our solons…

I’m indignant for these people and at the same time, I would also like to help ensure for all time that I am not helping pay for the opulent lifestyles of our government leaders when I could be trying to build my own life, at the very least.

But understandable familial circumstances and health concerns prevent me from being physically present at the peace rally. I’ll make up for this somehow, in some small way unique to me.

My favorite line from “One Day More”:

Tomorrow we’ll discover what our God in Heaven has in store

May countrymen find that tomorrow, God is with them.

One last note. 330 years under the Spanish, 50 under the Americans, and 3 under the Japanese, and not once did we manage to drive them out without outside help, or at the very least, get them to leave us alone on our terms.

But hey, if we succeed tomorrow, if tomorrow is truly the first step on the long road to ending widespread corruption in the Philippines, then we will have proved to the world, to our solons, and most importantly, to ourselves, these things:

We are not stupid, we have been abused enough, and we will not take this shit lying down.

15 Important Truths That Will Change How You Think About Introverts

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It’s a way of life, really, so don’t judge us.

Thought Catalog

Introverts can be difficult to know – because we often require a little more work that the average bear. We take time to build real relationships, because having genuine interactions with those we spend our time with is important, and we don’t care for small talk. Because of our Fort Knox-like nature, there’s a lot of misconceptions and misinformation about what we’re really like – and even this post won’t do all introverts justice. We are infinite.

However, if you’re going to try to get to know us, get to know the real us. That’s important to an introvert. With that in mind, here’s 15 misconceptions that we need to clear up right now. We’re not who you think we are. We’re even better.

1. Not all introverts seem like introverts.

It can be difficult to spot us, and it’s not as easy as playing “Where’s Waldo?” because we don’t…

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A poem, a speech, a haze of doubt, and the importance of darkness

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In the beginning, there was only darkness. God looked upon it and thought long and hard.

It took me six months to realize that all the changes, all the fear and sadness I’d unknowingly tried to deny to myself—all of it were symptoms of growing pains, of adjustment pains.

While it derailed me from what I thought were fool-proof writing plans, I wouldn’t take back these months for the world. I’ve met a handful of very interesting people, got rid off some that I didn’t need in my life, read some books I’ve put off reading for two years (such as Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing), and I’ve begun at and continue to adjust to my first job ever.

So all right, I go home at 10pm for four days a week and I have to file a leave for any holidays I wanna take. I sit for eight or nine hours in front of a Samsung LCD screen whose brightness I have yet to learn how to lower. But I also get to watch movies and plays, read books, and attend cool events for free, just so long as I write about them afterward.

And best of all, when I’m in between editing articles, I can browse the internet for inspiring comics and speeches. In fact, that’s all I’ve been reading of late (that isn’t for work, anyway), and it’s this sort of thing that helped get me through really rough times.

I’d like to highlight this illustrated version of “The Winds of Fate” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (who is quickly becoming one of my favorite poets), and the part in J.K. Rowling’s speech about having worked for Amnesty International for her first job.

What “The Winds of Fate” is getting at is that it is one’s inner strength that determines one’s path in life, in spite of and not because of the obstacles one encounters. I love rereading this every once in a while, when I feel as if the new arrangements in my life are threatening to crush me and turn me into the overly-cautious, impervious-to-amazement adult I loathe and would loathe to become. I’ll get back to this poem later, but here’s my favorite part of it.

‘Tis the set of the soul
That sets its goal
And not the calm or the strife.

One of the best parts of J.K. Rowling’s speech was the part talking about her experiences at Amnesty International, just before she hit rock-bottom in her life. It struck several cords in me: the part about life experience and human nature and the part about hitting rock-bottom.

Okay, this part’s going to sound completely contradictory to my first couple of paragraphs, but bare with me here. See, I’m in my early twenties and I’ve just begun my grown-up life, but I’m already afraid of going to such a dark place even though I’ve already been to dark places—I think I might be afraid that that sort of dark place will be different from the darkness I know, and worse, I won’t be able to get out. (But that’s where “The Winds of Fate” come in, right?)

My mom said that if I am already thinking about that, then perhaps the job I’ve got isn’t the job for me. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t—but I am sticking with it for the time being because journalism seems to be the fastest way to gain life experience, of which I think I have too little of (and which is the key to good literature, even if it is in the vein of the fantastic, and the writing of which is the underlying shade behind all my decisions). That’s how Neil Gaiman worked his way around the publishing industry, after all.

My only other option regarding life experience is to travel (like, town to town and country to country kind of travel), but I need to save maybe a shitload of money for that on top of my grad school dreams. That does not mean I’ve completely put it out of my mind, however.

How do some people do it? How do they decide to just up and leave all that is safe, all that is known, and with what seems like enough money to burn, for dreams that may trip them up at every step? I truthfully cannot even say to myself that I will one day do just that without a few uncertain hiccups. Maybe everyone who has ever thought of that kind of life has been through this haze of doubt I am almost blind in.

But back to Rowling. What her speech is telling me is that there must be hardship before a victory, and there must always be hardship while continuing to bag one victory after the other. There must be glimpses (sometimes more than a glimpse) of the deepest horrors and highest joys of human nature before you can pull a glinting something out of the jumbled melting pot in your soul and lay it bare on the blank page.

There must be darkness before light. Sometimes that’s difficult to remember, but it’s as good a bedrock as any on which to build my life.

In the beginning, there was only darkness. God looked upon it and decided there would be light—maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow, but there will be light.

There will be light.