Mar 27, 2010
Mar 18, 2010
It was a puzzle to us that we were deprived of material things. Back then, I suffered from the constant haranguing questions some of my classmates and schoolmates would throw at me. “Why don’t you ask your Papa to buy it? He’s a doctor isn’t he?” — quizzical brows would be drawn when my answer was a mere shrug. My siblings and I would ask Papa why he wouldn’t buy us the latest gadgets that were “in” those days, and his answer was always, “We’re not rich” or “We can’t afford to be luxurious now, you will need a lot in the years to come”. As expected, we did not understand.
Although we lived in a city, my hometown was not as big as Cebu or Manila. At that time, there was not one mall that boasted of a variety of boutiques where people could shop what they really needed, and wanted. The family’s solution to this was to travel to the nearest highly urbanized — Cebu, to buy clothes, school supplies and etc. However, our trips were scheduled: 1) just before opening of classes (for our shoes, bags, and other school supplies), and 2) a few weeks before the Christmas season (for our party and holiday clothes, Christmas decor, etc). Unscheduled trips were exclusively for emergency purposes.
At home, we were never allowed to watch television. It was only during Sundays that we were able to gaze at the entertainment box. But only for a few hours. What did we do? We were all obliged to do our assignments and study our day’s lessons before supper, and to be continued after. Then we were sent off to bed.
During summer breaks, Papa would enroll us to summer schools and workshops to keep us busy. Piano school, art school, calligraphy lessons — we did that and many more! Then, he would urge us to read books of fiction and literature. Still no TV. On semestral and holiday breaks, the parents would encourage us to play musical instruments — the piano, the guitar, and the flute. Reading was always soldered, but still, TV wasn’t allowed. Until our interest in the little box diminished and went *poof*.
When we were all in High School, everyone had cellphones. I only got mine when I was in my senior year, a gift from an uncle.
College — I was dispatched to live in a dormitory managed by nuns. The rules were not so much different from my parents’. I didn’t find it hard to adjust with the dorm life. Most of all, I danced through College easily, and with flying colors. Modesty aside, I daresay, that it was funny that I didn’t have a hard time, considering I had to balance my studies with being the Editor-in-Chief of my college publication and Vice-President for the biggest inter-school organization for my course.
Now that I am 22 and earning a doctorate degree; my sister being a debater in one of the best debating teams in the country, and due for Law school; and my brother almost done with his Pre-Med degree being a Vice-Governor in the College of Nursing, we finally understand what my parents have, all these years, inculcated in us, encapsulated in one word: restraint.
If we were not dispossessed and had full access to the world’s luxury and caprice, maybe we would have grown as spoiled braggadocios wasting away time, money and our lives. Who knows, I might have been out of school and with child if not for that minute piece of order that symbolized my parents’ authority.
We were taught and showed to live simply, and not want for much. We were pushed to explore and develop our skills, especially that of reading, writing, critiquing, and public speaking. We were forced to be content with what worldly items we had, until being self-effacing has become part of us. But we were not constantly nagged about these virtues. The values that grew in us came from a tiny seed, manifested by a single phrase that started with “Just because …” and continued with “… it doesn’t mean”. We were taught, showed, and encouraged, and we learned.
What we have achieved, and all that we are, we owe to that one line that screwed our heads firmly on our shoulders. And that, we owe to our parents, who really had a hard time raising and molding us into the leaders and champions that we are in our own right.
From that small seed of restraint, of being deprived from lavishness, grew a tree of discipline. At this point, it may not be as tall nor as sturdy as a sycamore, but it exists, and continues to grow.
They say that children go into the world as tabula rasa — blank slates. It is up to their stewards to feed them with the values and morals they will need to survive through life. I am overjoyed — beyond words — that my siblings and I fell into the life of a couple who may not be perfect, but fitting embodiments of God’s ideal masterpiece
Mar 12, 2010
I was scribbling away on my notebook while I was waiting for my friends to arrive at Hebrews. This is what came out.
It’s a widely known fact that the best thing about liking someone is the undeniable new meaning it breathes to your life. The very instant you realize that you hold a certain degree of admiration for someone, every day, from that moment forward, everything just feels right. It’s as if the whole world has conspired to make you feel brand new; to make you see joy even in the most unfortunate of things --- like nothing is impossible. And every day, you simply know that not only are you alive and living, you are existing.
Suddenly, you feel so good about yourself. You feel your lungs getting fresh air. You feel your heart beating once more. Each morning when you wake up, even if it’s cloudy outside, you see the skies open up. You sing, even when you’re out of tune. You dance, even if there’s no music. You see light, even when the world around you is in havoc. You see a ray of hope, a flicker of radiance in almost anything. Worst of all, you smile for no absolute reason --- exactly like a crazy, unbalanced person. And all this … all this, is because of one soul.
What I love about one-sided admiration is the amount of complication involved --- none. You simply marvel at the person, in all his glory, from afar. Zero mayhem because there are no strings attached. No one really knows how you feel, but you and a few of your friends. But of course, you get into miniscule troubles. The entire production of getting him to notice you, and keeping track of him is one. Accepting the fact that he won’t look your way is another. But, the rigmarole of it all is good fun and worth every inch of the mess. You get that jolt of electricity even at the mere sight of him, after all. What’s not gleeful in that?
So, to my crush:
I don’t even know if you’ll have the chance to read all this nonsense, however, please know that you have caught my eye. It was unexpected because usually, I wouldn’t look at guys like you. Normally, I wouldn’t single you out from the crowd. Not so long ago, I have used several adjectives to describe you, including “childish” and “retard-ish”. But I was completely wrong, and in turn, though quite embarrassing to admit, I swallowed what I said. You must know that the guys I would typically prefer are not half the man you are. Also know that I have technically been stalking you, all thanks to the internet, especially Facebook, and the few common friends we have. Although there’s really no likelihood of you having the same feelings as I have, there’s a small spark of wishful thinking inside me. I hope you understand. I don’t know how, I don’t know when, I just woke up one morning and realized that you’re absolutely amazing.
I utterly feel like a kid with a teenage crush. And I think it's okay. It's alright to be happy even just for a while.