The Immeasurable Power of a Word Slip

It’s been years since I graced this blog, so forgive me if I sound a little off. Like the first time I wrote an entry, though, there are thoughts in my mind that just won’t shut up. They have taken over my supposed good day, and are now threatening to overthrow my good sense — meaning it’s hindering me from working.

So let me vent.

Don’t worry, it will be amusing.

Have you ever been in a position where you say things about someone without really thinking why you’re saying it? Some people call it word vomit, others a slip. Whatever you call it, it imprints an effect on people.

Resulta ng larawan para sa saying rude things tumblr

The effects vary in degrees, depending on what you let slip and just how important you are to the person you’re addressing with these words. Regardless, it’s an effect.

In the most basic of interactions, like a restaurant server and a customer, it could be fleeting. A comment like “move faster” is easily shrugged off, unless, of course, that person has his own deep-rooted hatred towards being asked to move faster than the sloth it was compared to.

There are thoughtless comments though that unintentionally change people. You may want the adverse effect or you may just want to make the person feel bad, but really, you have no control over the results you create.

I have seen this happen so many times, and I’ve been on both ends. Never to the extent that those I’m trying to call out here have gone, I hope. I’ve witnessed this in real life, and alarmingly, on most social media platforms. People resort to thoughtless ad hominem because of a political squabble. Good if it was at least based on facts, but most are ill-conceived. It’s unfortunate that people find the time to put these comments up, but not enough time to Google their validity. Guess it’s easier to say things you never took the time to think through, than it is to challenge your current bias or improve your instinctive responses.

Ever thought to stop and ask what random, negative comments say about you?

 

Because these are spur of the moment comments, it reveals more of you than it does about the person you’re addressing. You call them an idiot, and it shows how easy it is for you to reduce people to their ability to think, rather than their other contributions. You compare them to another person you deem as incompetent when they’re actually helping just because they’re not doing it at your pace shows your lack of grace and gratitude. Resorting to thoughtless rhetoric to make yourself feel better and the other worse shows how self-centered you are. It also reveals that, instinctively, the only way you can motivate people is through negativity.

dr__jekyll_and_mr__hyde___dark_mirror_by_neral85-d8m9raj

What do you think you’ve accomplished by doing that?

If you’re thinking you’ve gotten people to work harder for you, you’re wrong. You’ve convinced them to stay as far away from you as they can when they work. Do you comfort yourself with the thought that you’re only inspiring them to move faster and be better? No, you’re telling them that they’re not worth respect.

Although we are all human and will inevitably make mistakes like this, try… try not to. It’s one thing to do it, apologize and aspire not to do it again. It’s another to resort to it each time you want to gain the upper hand.

Be better, you owe the world and yourself that.

 

 

 

 

 

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DELETE (tweets, posts, entries)

I tweeted out something this morning that I thought was pretty well constructed. Boy was I wrong. Turns out I missed an article which for a girl with grammar OCD is pretty glaring. Well, I thought I could just delete that tweet like I always do when I spy something wrong or unappealing about anything I send out to the virtual world. Just one click and buh-bye!

photo from lynndae.tumblr.com

But is erasing an error that easy? Could you really wipe away a blunder with a swift stroke? No, it doesn’t work that way. If it did, we’d be a world of righteous do-gooders. More than the consciousness of righting a wrong, I find the culture of getting off the hook so quickly for something you do mindlessly is perpetuating society. It’s great that you’re keen enough to notice a mistake and correct it but why were you able to make a mistake in the first place? Have you ever considered that the ease of correcting a mistake is directly proportionate to the tendency to commit it?

Take baking for example, we measure ingredients down to the last teaspoon because we know even the smallest inaccuracy in measurement can cause the cake not to rise or taste bitter or burn. The knowledge that we are doing something so intricate encourages us to think more clearly and act more carefully.

I’m not suggesting never doing anything crazy or spontaneous for fear of making mistakes or things not working out but instead to stop half thinking when doing menial jobs like tweeting or cleaning the house or texting. If you have a preconceived notion that you can easily right whatever stupid thing you do, you’ll condition yourself to do that even in the more important things you engage in. After all, habits are only repeated actions.

So here’s what I’ll do, I promise to double/ triple check my posts before I publish them and {this particular clause I might violate now and then but I promise to try really hard} if there are any mistakes I won’t correct them anymore. I have to learn 2 lessons here and I wanna share them with you. First if I care enough, I should check enough and not always fall back on ‘I can come back and correct it anyway’. Second, that some mistakes are meant to made. If you did your best not to make them but you still did, maybe the best to do is accept you made them and just learn from it rather than pretend it never happened.

 

***

Don’t worry. This isn’t a correction, only an addition.

I’m not implying that you never try to correct your mistakes. You should, if you can that is. I merely want to train myself not to err because I have safeguards i.e. deleting a tweet after considering how stupid it sounds. Removing that safeguard forces me to be more careful. This are but training wheels. When I don’t feel the urge to keep correcting mistakes I should not have made in the first place, I’ll let up on myself a bit.

for gay marriage

As I was browsing through some recent posts on Facebook, I read this from a friend.

Untitled2

Forgive the agitation but that doesn’t, in any way, lessen the conviction I have towards promoting equal rights for all- yes, including LGBT relationships. It was never a secret that I am for gay marriage as I’ve said it a couple of times in my previous posts. (I’ll put the link below in case you wanna read it, for reference or what not.) Marriage is a civil institution and it only becomes a religious ceremony if a couple decides to do it in front of a denomination. Outside of that, it is more a practice of a civil right rather than a violation of some ecumenical belief.

The role of religious institutions has to be clarified because no way is society forcing them to swallow beliefs that are not amenable to them.  However if respect is given to their practices and beliefs then inverse respect is required of them as society decides on issues that are more social in nature. You can’t force churches to marry gay couples in the same way that these churches can’t bastardize societies favoring progressive awarding of rights.

Calling people demonic because they’re born a certain way and pressuring society and governments to do the same is not only below the belt, it’s inhuman. I know there are rational, level-headed and more understanding members of churches; there are a lot in fact so this is not a generalization rather a portrayal of those who go overboard.

photo from heydoyou.com

It obviously pains me that my best friend who believes more in the sanctity of marriage than I ever will can’t be wed because he wants to be with another man. While I who in no way imagines marriage in my future ha that as an option. You can say this issue is more personal than it is logical for me (which almost never happens) but it does not dilute the truth in it.I don’t think pulpits should be used to demonize people for being different, for being born who they are just because norms dictate us to.

We are a far better humanity than that; I still honestly believe that.

*Writer’s Note: Just to be clear, I am not for abortion. I’ll discuss it some other time. I just really needed to talk about gay rights especially when it comes to relationships and the manner by which religious institutions ‘convince’ the public what to believe.
**Links:
  1. https://byunanonymous.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/paint-the-town-gay/
  2. https://byunanonymous.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/my-new-normal/
  3. https://byunanonymous.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/gay-and-great/
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doing the right thing

A fellow blogger, who also happens to be a really good friend of mine, shared this on Facebook a few minutes ago. I thought it was a story worth telling so here I am on my blog, writing about it.

Photo from Brent Tzu’s facebook account

Meet 98 year old Dobri Dobrev, a man who lost his hearing in the second world war. Every day he walks 10 kilometers from his village in his homemade clothes and leather shoes to the city of Sofia, where he spends the day begging for money.

Though a well known fixture around several of the city’s churches, known for his prostrations of thanks to all donors, it was only recently discovered that he has donated every penny he has collected — over 40,000 euros — towards the restoration of decaying Bulgarian monasteries and the utility bills of orphanages, living instead off his monthly state pension of 80 euros.

Sometimes you just know you’re doing the right thing even when no one else affirms it.

Because we live in a world where meritocracy is the rule of thumb, we forget the greatest contributions that we make to society, to people we hardly know are the things we do out of selflessness and utter disregard for social image. Here is a man who may have little financially and in material possessions but he chose to live a life that still cares about others. I’m not encouraging the rest of the world to crowd the streets and beg for money they can donate rather I’m hoping I can convince you to care. 

Our gestures don’t have to be big. They don’t have to change the world. We at least have to care enough to move towards a gesture, an action, a vision that involves making other people’s lives easier than they are now. This has a very special place in my heart because I’ve done humanitarian work since I was 13 and I’ve loved every minute of it. Because I love it so much, I thought it would be fun to celebrate my birthday, the 18th of this month, with my dad on a gift giving mission. It will be my little contribution to world.

I hope one day helping others out will be a part of everyone’s habit, something they do not as a burden but a vocation even when there are no cameras snapping, no cover stories and no obvious reciprocity other than fulfillment.

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when vanity will get you killed

Okay, okay, I get that #selfie is a trend these days but should anyone really be too engrossed as to get killed because of it? The past days my twitter feeds are flooded with pictures of couples in the middle of the street holding hands, all sweet and uncaring of the world around them. They’re happy, that’s great. But let me just remind you guys that whether the shot is brilliant or not is not necessarily the problem of the driver or DRIVERS passing by that lane. It’s a road- FOR CARS.

It was like this

or this

or this

*calming down* Since Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and other social networking and blogging sites have dominated the lives of every netizen *including me*, we’ve seen all kinds of reckless posted online. Pictures and videos of people hanging off a cliff, plopping on the bed head first, racy twerking all over the streets, romantic pictures taken in the middle of nowhere or in the midst of a bustling crowd of people, they’ve all graced our news feed at some point. These are all just expected consequences of having the internet so accessible to half the global population, if not more.

I am in no position, nor do I want to be, to judge what’s ‘too much’, ‘too racy’ or ‘too vain’ because it’s very relative but there are instances that are universally UN*friggin*ACCPETABLE and I think we’re all smart enough to know which ones these are. Like for example, standing in the middle of EDSA (a very congested road) or the national highway without any permit just to take a couple of pictures to post on instagram and hashtag selfie is bollocks. I don’t care which continent you’re from, you don’t do that. You’re gonna get people killed. The moral of this story is to know the limits of your vanity especially if it already affects more than just yourself.

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deleting comments

Posting online takes a lot of bravery.

Granted we are protected by a veil of anonymity and very few if not none will be able to tell who we really are when we decide to hide behind the masks of our online names but it doesn’t make us any less vulnerable to judgements  made by our fellow netizens. The pang of anger and hurt we feel when we read derogatory comments about our posts, what we stand for or, much worse, who we are as people is not diminished by the fact that they don’t personally know who we are and that they’re not saying it to our face. It’s equally painful.

Yesterday I was posing a question towards a stance a blogger had on gun control. It wasn’t anything personal nor argumentative. It was a simple query regarding the logic of his parallelism. He then responded with a full on tirade about how I must be black or an immigrant of some sort who wishes to reek hell on US. At first I thought he was joking. It really did not make much sense how he attacked my character and how he stereotyped non-white races as pro destruction or violence. Although I found it extremely offensive, I wasn’t going to let him turn me into some conflict crazy monster who argues with everyone who has a different view so I simply told him that there was no need to feel attacked but he just wouldn’t stop. He then deleted all my comments and the comments of those who also had a different view.

It’s a blogger’s right to moderate the comments on his page especially if it hampers the image or the goal of his site. However, I hope that we’re all responsible enough to understand that presenting our readers with a skewed version of the truth lessens our credibility as bloggers. Just because you quoted a Harvard Study out of context, it doesn’t mean you’re handed the authority bastardize the dignity of discourse. Disrespecting those who have different views or are of a different race or culture under the guise of a pen name or an online profile is barbaric. Let’s not make the web an avenue for bullying, promoting irrationality and creating racial divide.

And by the way dear Sir, erasing my comments and the comments of all those other people on your page only proves that you think they have merit and you’re a little scared your readers will think the same. Let’s be dignified netizens and respect the influence we’ve been awarded.

the power (or curse) of anonymity

@thenerdhub

@pilyongBrentTzu

@livelaughred

@lasswhoreads

@FantasticThread

@callmetolay

More than half of my Twitter community aren’t using their real names. A good amount of my Facebook friends aren’t who they say they are. Most of my followers on this blog I have not met nor had a conversation with (but I’m thankful for each one, really). In the age where we live half our lives on virtual media, we ought to understand why people act a certain way online and act different off it.

Context changes a lot how people interact with each other. The cloak of anonymity and the lesser possibility of physical confrontation emboldens a person to pursue actions which he might not normally consider doing during face to face interactions. The premise is similar to the rush of courage we feel to go topless on a beach in Ibiza while we refuse to do same thing on the beach in our neighborhood.

It feels as if we have lesser responsibility towards our actions when people who care are not aware we are doing it or people who see us doing it don’t care about us at all. 

On the downside, more and more netizens are becoming unaware and uncaring of what they thwart about online. They believe it’s legitimate because it’s an expression of their freedom but ask them if they’ll do the same, use the same words, curse and not care when they are in front of the person they’re addressing it to. Chances are more than half of them will retract their words or would not show at all.

Granted we have the right to say what we want, when we want, the way we wanna deliver it but with that right comes the responsibility of standing by it, defending it and being quoted for it. If you have the nerve to call someone names and walk all over them, have the nerve to be called out and have someone trash you too. That’s how freedom of expression works, on and off the net.

It’s not all bad though. I finally found the guts to write again, anonymously at first. I was afraid, you see, to be judged and not be good enough or as good as most people thought I was. Slowly, my confidence grew until one day I realized I was typing in my name at the end of my work again. Had I not written anonymously at first I don’t think I’ll be able to take the pressure. I wouldn’t have posted my work at all. I know this rings true to many other people.

For some anonymity is like training wheels, they come off when we’re ready to ride on our own. For others they keep the art or thought pure, free of the bias others might have against or for the writer or artist. Still others find it important to maintain a mystery, an image. I am in no position to judge any of them for I too was once there and every now and then I revisit the perks of namelessness.

I guess the bottom line is you get to decide what role anonymity plays in your life. Will it be the hero that pushes you to higher grounds or the villain that drags you down? You have to make that choice because nobody else can dictate who you can be, whether it’s on social media or in real life. Just remember accountability is not mutually exclusive to people who have names plastered on their opinions. Remember, what you say about others says more about you than it does about them. 

Do everything as if it has your brand on it because it matters less that people know, what truly matters is that YOU KNOW.