Fields of Poetry

I don't know how to love him
What to do, how to move him
I've been changed. Yes, really changed
In these past few days when I've seen myself
I seem like someone else . . .

Monday, December 6, 2010

"Rebel Without a Cause"

"You're tearing me apart! You, you say one thing, he says another, and everybody changes back again!"- Jim Stark (Rebel Without a Cause)
Since birth, we see our parents as gods. Some even see them as kings and queens because of the role parents play in our lives. Parents sets rules and make decisions that affect our future whether for good or bad and we could only hung our heads to our Majesties and obey. I've loved Fairy Tales since I was in Elementary and I've always seen myself as a princess or a maiden in distress with two powerful royalties as my parents. And yet, I've failed to read between the lines of these magical tales: obey and all will be well.

Even the Genesis speaks of obedience: God constantly punishes Adam and Eve and their children for disobedience and grant them honor when they follow His words.

There are times though when parents can be so frustrated with their children that they say things without thinking. And at these times, children often struggle to remain calm and stay sane. I understand parents only want their children to be better models for the society than themselves, but some of these parents fail to observe their own methods of teaching and articulate the damages it harnesses.

Take the movie, "Rebel Without a Cause". The words that Jim Stark screams to his parents speaks a lot of truth about them: They are so bunched up in their own emotional bubble that they are damaging their own son's well being by contradicting what they have already said and taught.

My parents are guilty of that same tendency. For the past several months my mother had continuously pestered me, telling me to find a job-- a sideline that could bring joy to my life and to others. Now that I have finally found one, instead of appreciating my efforts, she starts questioning the salary and asking if it's worth the effort. And in my mind I was thinking, I found a job that you wanted me to be happy with and now you're complaining the salary isn't good enough?

"You can't have everything" were her words and I had this urge to say that to her during dinner but I bit my tongue. I understand that my mother only wants what's good for me, but sometimes I think she's impossible.
She wants me to find a job that I can do at home so I won't have to travel to the city and back and waste precious money over the gasoline. Now that I found one, she's complaining that I work so hard using up all the electricity in the house for a meager wage.

Who in their right mind would not be angry? Sometimes I think my mother is just trying to test my patience. And at these times, the best I could do was pretend to be tired and sleepy and excuse myself from their presence. It's just exhausting. Too much. Just too much.

My father is a lot more understanding than my mother and for that I am very grateful. Still, sometimes when I rebuke my mother, my father would side with her and I have no one to lean on. And so I've learned to distance myself from my father. I love them very much and I would do anything to make them happy. It's just that they're tearing me apart.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Saying Sorry

I love the author of "The Alchemist". I follow him on facebook and his updates are incredibly penetrating. Sometimes he even adds 10 seconds moral stories, which often questions my own ability to respond to the world and in a good way, too! Today's story was about apologies or, as goes the title, "Sincere Repentance".

My parents taught me to apologize whenever I am wronged and even if I am right, I must not insist my cause. That was one of the many rules in our house. For many years I've been cynical towards their teaching and often fought against that rule. Why must I apologize to someone who is, by fact, erroneous and vulgar and worse than an average barbarian? It is mortifying when that barbarian accepts the apologies of his rival with hours of criticism on his personal being.

It's disgusting!

I am glad that someone at least agree with me: Paolo Coelho. In the short story, "Sincere Repentance" the monk, Chu Lai is defeated by a professor. Although the professor does not want to apologize for humiliating the monk, his wife forces him to do it. Chu Lai, surprisingly does not accept the professor's apology. The wife is furious and demands why. Chu Lai reasons that to accept an apology that is not sincere would only cause tension between them and in a long run, it is better for the professor to acknowledge that he is angry than live his whole life hating Chu Lai.

I love how Chu Lai understood. He clearly understands that forced apology does not create harmony and that he accepts that not everyone can adhere to one's ideas and principles. I bet after this, the professor witnesses why Chu Lai is greatly respected and becomes friends with him.

Apologizing to a man like Chu Lai is enlightening, but to apologize to a moron is suicide. How often do you come across an intellect? Not as often as you meet a jerk. However, I do take to consideration the rewards of humility: inner peace.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Keep Your Thoughts to Yourself

I can be deadly honest with people telling them things that has been gnawing through the back of their heads and because of that, I attract more enemies than I do friends.  There were times when I would curse my own tongue for speaking and wished that I were mute.  There were times when I would console my bruised heart and to tell it to weep silently.

I try restraint on my verbal tendencies to attack. It's hard. It is especially hard when the people I bashed, and rightly so, wins the majority's vote and I am cast to the side like an outsider.

"Be honest."

Always? No, not always. I cannot be honest all the time. I have to either keep my silence or refrain from giving unsolicited advice. Even in the corporate world, or whatever job you do, you cannot ensure that your honesty will win you a promotion. Sometimes even the boss of your company admits to illegal activity. My father once told me of this acquaintance he met in New York.

He said he caught his manager doing illegal activity, which is against the company's policies. Instead of confronting the manager, he went directly to the boss. He was surprised to discover that even his boss was doing the same. He was fired that same day.

Luckily for that man, he found another job in another city and he swore to never speak until he finds the truth because 'Honesty' does not always equal to the 'Truth'. My father said that it is necessary for people like myself to adorn a mask and pretend to not see the injustices that's smothering the world.

"You will only hurt yourself more." he worried.

It's difficult for me. I fight the urge to speak for I was raised to voice out.  It seems that to voice out for insignificant people like myself is to lose to the people who played by the rules: take whatever you can take. Sometimes I think the messages that the world gives are misleading and they often proved useless.

I am no Mahatma Ghandi. I am not Mother Teresa. I am not Jesus Christ or Princess Diana. The only thing I desire in this world is to survive and be happy. If silence and cordiality will protect me, I will practice it and practice it hard.