united colors of bullies

It’s been awhile since I last put up an entry and before I start sobbing and saying sorry for leaving you guys hanging, let me just say that I had a tough month writing 15 chapters of a book I’m hoping to publish. So please please put down the pitch forks, I’m not one to make excuses but my brain was fried (figuratively of course).

Today I thought it would be fun to write about a topic that inspired one of my book concepts and that is bullies– in all their colors and varieties. We already know about the obvious ones, which mind you are a scary lot but there are more subtle versions. They hide under the covers labeling themselves something more beautiful and attractive. The magpie in us grovel for the promise that it oh so boldly declares then we realize later on that the shine it has is all that it is, shine.

The inspiration came from a nostalgic evening of coffee with 2 of my best friends- after they convinced me to keep writing on this blog because THEY ACTUALLY READ IT AND LIKE IT. Imagine my surprise when they started talking about entries I wrote, I mean these are my overly critical, highly intellectual and difficult to please best friends we’re talking about. My self loathing subconscious found that difficult to believe and quite frankly, I was speechless for a few moments.

On the same night, we realized a lot about the path we took together in college. We gave up so much to be that image of an over achieving student whose main goal is to get the best grades, manage as many  extra curriculars and maintain as few creative, non logical pursuits as we can. Labels and expectations- the box they made for us- those were our bullies. 

photo from caity-bullying.blogspot.com

I’ve finally learned that bullies don’t just come in different kinds of people, they come in every shape, size or form. I may not have been shoved around or locked in a janitor’s closet by some teen fiction stereotype queen bee but I’ve been confined in a society where there’s a predetermined standard of beauty- one which some may claim I don’t fit. That norm, that belief, that is my own brand of bully. It follows me around, taunting me to cinch around my curves and smoothen my edges to fit this overused mold already made for me.

When I  found enough courage and fought back, told society to shove its size zero, fair-skinned, blonde perfection up their bums, another bully manifested from the shadows- one far stronger and more paralyzing than its predecessor. The firm grip of its manacle, over sized hands smother me with ridicule of how success has and will continue to elude me because the career I chose to love and devote my life to will not earn me millions, buy me a mansion or a jet-setting lifestyle

Your bullies may be far more frightening or life threatening than mine. I can’t be the judge of that and I won’t try to. If there’s one thing I took away from dealing with bully after bully, people and circumstances alike, they’re never as easy to deal with as they they seem on the outside. It’s a bully for a reason. They know your weakness and capitalize on it as much as they can so you’re hurt in the worst possible way. They planned the perfect, most gruesome way to twist and turn the knife they stuck to your heart so you’re left clutching at it, trying to rip it off and stop the bleeding.

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But if you don’t know already, let me be the first to tell you, you’re far stronger than any of your bullies. You have the ability heal and those battle scars will remind you every day of how you fought and how you deserve to be happy- HOW YOU’RE WORTH A LIFE YOU CHOSE TO LIVE and not one chosen by some thug or an unfortunate circumstance for you. 

You get one shot at life my friend, don’t let some bully take that away from you. 

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commas and periods (a tribute to the How I Met Your Mother Finale)

Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched the final episode of How I Met Your Mother Season 9 yet then reading this entry is probably not the best idea but if you don’t mind spoilers at all or have fallen victim to other spoilers  (like what my twitter followers did to me) then go right ahead. 

First things first.

WE DO KNOW WHO THE MOTHER IS and yes, Ted married the mother after some years and 2 kids. Barney and Robin got divorced, tried to stay friends but ended up following their own pre-wedding patterns. Barney wrote his second Playbook and Robin became an international news anchor. Although Lily tried to keep the gang together, their meet- ups got rarer and rarer which was expected for most friends with families, careers and responsibilities. Barney’s old ways finally caught up with him when he got someone pregnant. He was quite apprehensive at first but then we saw the Barney that Robin fell inlove with when he finally saw his daughter for the first time.  

And then after some blissful time together, Tracy got sick and passed away. In the end, Ted is shown finally concluding his 9 season long story about how he met the mother to his 2 kids. His kids point out that although he labeled the story to be about the mother, it was really about how he has kept his feelings for Robin all these years. They’ve always had some sort of a spark and the kids, well now teens, are okay with that and they give him their blessing to go after Robin finally.

Now what does that story have to do with commas and periods? Don’t worry this entry isn’t just an excuse to vent out my frustration about match airing fails and spoilers. I know there are some readers here who aren’t fans of the show but I’ve been following that HIMYM since I was a freshman in high school. It was always funny but more than that it has a way of introducing life lessons that’s subtle but isn’t lost in translation. 

So here’s my take on it.

You know how period is always the goal of the sentence and commas, although they’re important, they’re just marks that come before it all ultimately ends with a period. I always thought that the mother, when she was introduced would be Ted’s period. She will be the answer to his 9 seasons-worth of mishaps, insane women and thank-goodness-it’s-over experiences. For awhile it seemed like she was. All the mysteries in all the 10 years it has aired led to their meeting  by the train stop. It makes sense because the way they built her character, she was really what he thought he’d end up with but never met. They were happy and it seemed like she was the period to his messy but definitely interesting sentence.

Then…

Tracy died and Ted finds his way back to Robin. The mother, the character to which his entire story was leading towards, isn’t the period after all. She was just one of the commas along the way, granted maybe a more important and a more strategically placed comma but a comma nevertheless. It seems that Robin was ALWAYS the love of Ted’s life and although I have been a supporter of their relationship from the start, it got me to thinking.

Is the comma okay with being just another step towards the period?

Because to be quite honest, even if I’m not sure I even have a romantic bone in my body, I’d like to believe that I deserve to be a period in someone’s life too. I deserve to be a Robin to a lucky Ted. 

 

CUT NO MORE

Someone in the world commits suicide every 40 seconds.

That is a terrifying number, as if encountering one suicide attempt in your lifetime isn’t traumatic enough. I was in a senior in high school when it happened. Before the commotion, all I could remember was being sleepy in Math class, seated beside my best friend and trying my hardest to look the least bit interested. Then we heard screams and feet running. Because we had quiet hallways, you immediately knew something was up.

I tugged at my friend and motioned towards the door to check it out. Half the class, including my teacher was headed to the same direction. Most of us thought it was a drill or a school emergency. Very few, if not none, would have guessed what we were to see next.

In the middle of a four storey building was a student holding on to the ledge already about to jump. At that moment, I thought I was seeing everything in slow motion. She was struggling to maintain her balance as there was very little foothold on the other side of the ledge while her hands were slowly slipping from gripping the safety bars too tight. Students from our side of the building were running towards her in a desperate attempt to help her because it won’t take long for her to fall off. If she does, it doesn’t look good. There are a bunch of decorative rocks and statues in the middle of the garden where she’ll fall. We already know she might do it as she has always been depressed and we often see her with cut marks on her arms so we were all hoping for a miracle.

Miracle there was.  James and Ken, guys from our batch, came swooping in and carefully lifted her away from the ledge and into safety. She was still crying and inconsolable though- according to my friends who were right there with her as I did not get to see her up close. After our math teacher ushered us back in, I remember thinking to myself what if she did jump?

photo from theeonlyeexceeption.blogspot.com

I’ve had my personal battles with depression and what it reduces you to but this isn’t the time for me to talk about that. I’m still trying to muster the courage to narrate difficult times in my life, times when I was too vulnerable for my own liking and too devoid of understanding to be better. I wanted to share this story not just to show you that there are people who feel as hopeless or as depressed but to persuade you to think twice or thrice or a million times before you hurt yourself.

I know it seems that nobody cares, that nobody understands. The latter may be true, the pain may be unique to your experience but I don’t have to understand the premise for you pain to care about you, to be here for you, to just hug you and tell you I love you. At that moment when she was about to jump, I wanted her to know someone cares. Someone always cares- often more than you think they do.

The next time you feel like hurting yourself or ending it altogether, give me call or send me message. I’ll tell you how big a loss you will be, not just to stop you but because it’s the truth.

You’re worth a life.

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.

time travel

Don’t remind me that this isn’t a sci-fi blog. I know that and I promise you guys I’m not trying to impose upon you my insane obsession with all things Star Wars. NOPE, NOT YET. *laughs nervously* A few days ago, my sister and I watched About Time starring Rachelle McAdams and  Domhnall Gleeson. It reminded me of a cliché question always asked during get-to-know-you activities, ‘What would you do if you could travel back in time?’

For some reference on time travel, here’s a video of a recent on YouTube, charlieissocoollike, explaining time travel in the coolest way only he knows how.

(This entry operates on the first kind of time travel- the Back to the Future model- where you can alter specific actions made to create a ‘better’ outcome.)

Let’s say for this entry’s sake that time travel is as common as a bus ride. Would I buy a ticket?

photo from nellanablog.blogspot.com

To be completely honest, I MIGHT.

Regret is a powerful motivation. It haunts even the most accomplished men. I only know of very few people who can whole-heartedly say they’ve had zero regrets. For the rest of us, yes including yours truly, we know how regret has the power to suffocate us in the most terrifying of nightmares our subconscious can command while it paralyzes us during the most uncomfortable times the day. That fear plus the curiosity to answer our many ‘What Ifs’ could most likely skyrocket the sales of time travel tickets if  there were any.

So yeah, as a human tendency, I might consider it but…

I believe there is never a perfect version of any moment in a man’s life, only a real one. And in reality, you will always find some flaw, something you could do better or something you shouldn’t do altogether unless you accept that the imperfection of that moment is what makes it uniquely yours. We’re wired to be insatiable and the chance to fuel our insatiability is what encumbers our ability to grow as people and appreciate life the way we chose to live it, now and at any point in the past. As if living in the past without time travel isn’t destructive enough.

It’s like what one of my mentors in writing once told me, Honey, at some point you’re gonna have to put down the pen. Trust that YOUR STORY IS WORTH READING NOT REGARDLESS BUT BECAUSE OF THE MISTAKES.

I could argue the more expected ‘there is a great design’ notion, one where your action isn’t just your own but is a part of a bigger, grander scheme that affect’s another’s result as much as your own. I’d save that for another time though. For now, I’ll leave you with something to ponder on.

If time travel is a possibility would you do it?