Saying things nicely

When I was younger and when I used to stay with my auntie, she taught me how to communicate with people. Street smarts of sorts, if you may. She would make me talk to waiters for our orders and cashiers for paying our groceries. She would tell me how to properly address our concerns to other people.

It helped a lot. I grew up not being shy in telling people what I need. I need not to ask the people I am dining with for them to say what I want to say. When I want to ask something to people, especially those working in the service industry, I don’t feel shy. I just talk to them and everything from there flows smoothly.

However, without me realizing it completely, my aunt taught me how to fight for the service that I deserve, even if it means being mad and rude and inconsiderate with service workers. Growing up, I saw how she would talk down to employees just because they got the order wrong or because it is taking too long for them to serve the food that we ordered. Over the littlest of things, she would already get irritated with the service.

By virtue of behaviorism and how we learn through imitation, I found myself doing the same thing. Just earlier, I was asking an employee where I could pay the one item that I would buy, hoping that the customer service counter of the supermarket will allow one-item purchases due to the queue of customers. When she said that I should fall in line because it was unfair for other customers, I let my temper get the better of me, talked down to her, and walked out.

It killed me of guilt, let me tell you. While I was hating my classmate for being rude to the clerks at the graduate school office for not having her forms prepared, or my supervisor for scolding the delivery boy due to the ice cream that melted before it arrived one hot day, I am actually one of them.

It is sad because I call myself a communicator and I have failed to understand people. It is sad because I am the violator of exactly what I hate about other people. I saw my aunt do it, but it does not give me the instant free pass to do it, too.

We are all workers of the society. We should not hate people for doing their job because we all have roles to play in the community. If they are not doing their tasks well, there is always a better way to say it. Also, not everybody has the ability to empathically understand how other people feel and what they are going through. For us who can understand them, for us who want to understand them, for us who believe that we could, let us not add in the burden that they carry from people who don’t.

We cannot hate people for why things happen. For all we know, the service conundrum may be out of the worker’s control. Everything can be dealt with in a peaceful manner. Say things nicely, not because you are afraid they will spit on your food after your complaint, but because you understand and you are willing to accept the situation and adjust yourself to it. Say things nicely because that’s the right thing to do.

Finally letting it go

There was so much to miss. There were a lot of memories, and the harder I try to make myself believe that I care less about them, the more I bleed with nostalgia. There was so much to miss and to continually remember. It was hard to let go.

We did not have a tragic run. Ours was special. I believe that we do not measure the greatness of a relationship in the outcome but more on the shared experiences and the accumulated memories. Thus, ours was special, something that we would continually miss.

Still, despite everything shared, we reached an unexpected turn. It did not end; rather, it continued its mediocre ups and trench-deep downs. It was unhealthy and made us really sick. True enough, life and love are roller coaster rides: they make us vomit.

What followed was a series of uncertainty. We did not know what to do, where to go, and what to feel. We did not know where to go from where we were. It was just bitterly and stubbornly and painfully stagnant. We were trapped in the misery that we ourselves have created. We created shackles out of our pain and clasped them to our own arms. We were prisoners of our own selves.

I arrived at a realization that the only way to escape this limbo is through acceptance. The future is yet to come and we do not know for sure what lies ahead. But for now, what we know is that we should accept the taking shape of things. For us to escape the traps of the past, we have to live here and now. For us to establish better relationships between each other and towards other people, we have to accept and understand that things have happened and that things happen.

Thus, I am letting go not of the memories but of all the hate, bitterness, and pain. I am finally letting go of everything that can only bring us down as I continually hold on to the memories that we have built together. Hopefully, at the time you deem perfect, you will, too.

Thing is, faith is tricky. We can believe all we want, and most of the times, its power will bestow us the realization of the things that we hope for. But on other times, faith has to be challenged. You find yourself at the crossroads of odds, desire, hopelessness, salivating taste of the happening, and pain of not being able to reach it. Given those and the strong emotions that will tend to bring you down and release your grasp, will you still be able to hold on? Is faith just all about believing that something will happen, or isn’t it about the belief that things happen for the better, even if it doesn’t look quite good at face value? Is faith for the sake of getting what we want, or isn’t it about holding on and hoping for gracious blessings even if they do not appear as we like them? Tell me. 

There is nothing wrong with being wrong and with not knowing things, but the moment you become way too confident in the things that you do, you mess things up. Overconfidence doubles the weight of errors, so if you are not a hundred percent sure or even if you are, do not boast about it because, as they say, the higher the flight, the harder the fall.

Nostalgia, somehow, is a great emotion. When you look up to the cloudless sky and see leaves sway like little feet frolicking below the branches as the wind blows, you feel that nostalgic kind of calm reminding you of the happenstances of the past that have been great and those that are rather sad and hard and tiring and painful. You are reminded both of the joy and the misery. In just a glance at a cold still late-afternoon sky, you get to rummage an epistolary of experiences and you end up feeling all nostalgic not only of the moments but also of the people that have come and gone. It is sad, sure, but you can always be thankful for they have been part of a part of your life, for the people who have stayed, and for the open possibilities of meeting old and new people in the future. With nostalgia, we remember the experiences and the people, and we hold on to the memories forever.

We are like Tengo and Aomame. We are apart, and for a long time, we shall be separated by gaps of time and space. Then, one day, we will defy the odds and we will be together. Neither of us knows much about each other, and neither of us knows if it will work. We don’t have much to hold on to—no memories whatsoever. We only have our hearts to offer. We don’t know for sure if things will work out, but one day in the future, we will try because we know deep in our hearts that it is worth it.

Music is indeed more than just entertainment. For instance, Wilson Phillip’s “Hold On” goes “Someday, somebody’s gonna make you wanna turn around and say goodbye. Until then, are you gonna make them hold you down and make you cry? Don’t you know, things will change, things will go your way, if you hold on for one more day?” Glinda and Elphaba go singing “I’ve heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason, bringing some thing we must learn” in “For Good.” You see, we know these things, but when confronted with situations where lessons are fittingly applicable, we tend to forget. Listening to music both calms us down and reminds us of these lessons, a friend in abstract advising something to us. On the other hand, the thing about any advice is that we can try and give it to a person, but it’s no good until applied. Thus, no matter how hard we listen to songs or books or films or web articles or friends or family telling us what to do and what we are better off doing, nothing will happen until, for our own sake, we act them out.

The heat is burning my skin. Its warmth is no longer soothing. As much as I want to will my mind into thinking that it is what it feels to be loved and that, if only I would think about it, it will feel good, it is hard, because the heat burns and the confinement suffocates me. As much as I want to, I cannot stay anymore because it is already too painful to hold on.

Maybe we should not get our hopes up. Maybe it is just better for us to wait for things to come. Maybe we can save our emotions for when things happen. Maybe we can just invest our feelings when things are actually taking shape before our eyes. It might be better that way because the more we hope and wait for what seems to be a wonderful promise, the harder it becomes for us and the more painful it gets in the end. Or maybe we can just avoid people who make us wait in vain and hope for the hopeless. Yes, maybe that.

Sometimes, you just feel all nostalgic and you don’t even know why, but isn’t nostalgia a nice thing to feel? It reassures you that you still do not forget the gifts of the past and the people who came along each of those binding memories. It reminds you that, still, you are holding on.

Problematizing Wants and Beliefs

I have a friend who shared with me her mantra on getting what she wants. According to her, if you want to achieve something, you have to stop yourself from wanting it. Apparently, Andy Warhol also says so: As soon as you stop wanting something, you get it. However, it poses to me the question of not wanting something because, deep inside, you want it. It seems like you show a face that does not like something but deep within you, the liking does not stop. Of course, it depends upon the person. If not wanting something is truly performed, then probably, it will be given to you. No one knows how the mechanics work, but somehow, it does for some people.

This then negates praying and believing and hoping for the best. Instead of having faith that things would go for the better, you stop yourself from wanting the betterment to happen. You make yourself believe in the resolve that what you have now is enough. While it leads you toward a sense of fulfillment, there might be a message of not believing in the goodness of the all-powerful creator. This brings forth religion and other issues, so I better veer away from it.

Anyway, things get blurry and the visions go hazy. It could be anything and anything could indeed happen. Postmodernistic as it may sound, there would have to be multiplicity of meaning, blurring of lines, and overlapping of ideologies in what seems to be a world that should not, after all, be problematized. We have the truths that we believe in. Other people might say otherwise, but we should hold on with what we believe, whether it is wanting something so badly or not wanting anything at all to get what we want. The world is messed up like that. It is an organized kind of mess, a world where things clash only to lead to even deeper abyss of unexplainability.

My point is, wanting something is fine with me. But the concept of wanting should be cleared. When you want something, what do you do with it? Do you do everything just to get it, even it means compromising what you already have for what you have? Do you know when to want more and when to stop? Do you know if you really want it and how far you are willing to go to achieve it? Do you know what happens next when you get what you want? And do you go wanting and wanting to the point that you forget to live? These questions and more can question not only the mantra my friend has presented to be but the whole concept of wanting and believing. Everything is a possibility, and as these beliefs clash and as reality happens the way we believe them or otherwise, we are left with choosing and wanting certain things to happen still, even if it means we have to not wanting what we want just because we want it.

In the end, things would have to be simple. Wanting something is fine as long as you do not let your wanting cloud your visions of what to believe in. After all, we are in a complex world where anything could happen. You just have to believe.

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