Arranged union

I have a friend whom I just recently parted ways with. She was an international student, and she needed to get back to her home country.

I would say that our upbringing is somewhat similar. We both grew up in a country that did not “match” our ethnicity. Even though we are similar, our views of our motherland is different. She wasn’t born in the country where her parents were from, but she finds love and attraction to that country. I was born here in the Philippines, raised in England till I was 10, then lived here in the Philippines since then but have no love or attraction for this country.

Don’t over generalise and say, “This guy hates everything about the Philippines.” No. I do not hate. I just do not love it. However, I do love my friends and experiences that I’ve created.

I’ve lived in this country for over 17 years, yet I have not grown to love it. Here’s the question. Is it wrong of me not to love something that was arranged for me? I may be genetically coded to be a Filipino, but does that mean that I should be a Filipino? I’ve seen too much dirt in this country that it’s impossible to see the beauty.

If people can undergo sex reassignment surgery because they feel like they were born with the wrong parts, I should be entitled to change my own identity to what I believe I am.

I am the least culturally​ Filipino person you’ll ever meet. I tell this to all my friends with confidence and gusto not because I feel egotistic but because I know who I am. I will not lie about my heritage or lack thereof of it. I am not Filipino because the culture I grew up with was not Filipino, and the culture I follow is not Filipino. 

People may call me brainwashed or a traitor, but that will only push me away even more.

I don’t know what I am. I do know that the answer to that problem is not in this country. 

And another post on happiness

There has been a great amount of incredibly influencial set of circumstances that has fallen upon me this past week. One of which was my discussion with my mother on my academic trip to Japan. I’ve been planning this trip for most of my childhood till now. 

I’ve always looked forward. If there’s one thing that my parents’ generation and our generation have in common is that we’re both looking forward to the future; it’s something that must be acquired. The past, however, is a different story.

Since this is about happiness, the joy one has experienced​ differs. Some people are born into families that love and support one another. This love and support would translate into personal growth in mental and emotional stability. These are some of the bases for a person’s internal happiness, and if that person has had those while growing up, he’s had a good past. But then there are people with families who have disjuncted love and support, like mine.

How can one grow as a person, move forward, and reach for the stars when family is lacking? When I talked about my Japan trip, I was quickly reminded of my past. I never thought of what would happen to my mother if I left her. Is it selfish of me to think of my own happiness when my mother said that all she wished was for my own happiness? I’m not even​ sure if she can literally survive without me because I doubt that my father would take care of her.

This is what’s holding me back, my father’s ineptness to take care of my mother and my mother’s lack of skills to take care of herself. There’s no love and support among my parents, and I want to escape that. Yet, it seems like I can’t escape because their lack of love and support holds me back.

Another post on the lack of happiness

I’ve always had this belief that happiness must come from within me. If I were to experience true happiness, I should be able to “produce” it on my own.

A professor of mine in philosophy, Laureen Velasco, told the class that she didn’t need a man to be in love. I took that to heart very seriously.

I believed that I didn’t need any sort of external objects or influence to make me happy. If I could achieve internal happiness, I’d be set, right?

However, I think I may have taken her lesson the wrong way. For years I’ve been trying to find this happiness within me even if it’s just a tiny bit. Nothing. My father put a strong dent in me or rather took a lot out of me. I can’t seem to feel happy for myself.

There are other things that do make me happy: friends, pets, books, videos, films, music, gym (I would be dead without this), academics, etc. But all these things are external.

I can list a dozen more things that can make me happy, but at the end of the day, I can’t make me happy.

When it hits you way too late

Seven months ago, you told me that you would come with me to Japan. The perfect girl living with me in Japan for two years, that’s the life. Seven months have passed, but I realised way too late that I fell in love with you. For fuck’s sake, I’m still thinking of you, yet I haven’t seen you in five months. If I had the clarity then like I do now, I would have changed things. Emotions, when it hits you way too late eh?

[I have a paper due on Monday. What the hell am I doing with my life?]

Is ignorance bliss?

In my previous post, I wrote on the line of not understanding what happiness is. Now, I’m experiencing something new yet not necessarily good. Indeed, I have been “studying” how these people have procured such positive outlooks in life. I conclude that they have so much love and support from their own family that they are able to use those emotions to fulfil their desires. I do not have this love or support from my family. By studying happiness, I have inadvertently exposed myself to the fact that I am not as lucky as others. Find people who can love you for you shall grow into a better person. That is my recommendation for this study.

Not Understanding Happiness

Social media has made it really easy for me to peek at people’s lives. I just found out that one of my high school classmates is pregnant with a boy. Knowing that sort of thing would have been impossible a couple years back. Anyway, that isn’t important. I’m here to talk about happiness (again).

I don’t understand how some people can inherently find happiness in everyday life. I don’t understand how they can easily be happy. When I look at them, they’re full of joy–actual joy. It seems like it just happens on a whim for them.

I, on the other hand, have to make sure I do all the things I need and want to do in a day to feel a bit happy. I work SO FUCKING HARD just so I can feel some joy in me. If things don’t go as expected, it’s difficult to push through with the day.

You might be thinking, “Well, of course, things won’t go as you’d expect. That’s life!” No. No. No. What I’m talking about is everyday happiness. The thing that people describe as the “Small things in life bring you joy.”

I have to plan my day. Do the things I need to do, and maybe, just maybe, I can get some happiness by the end of the day. You heard me right. I plan for my everyday happiness. Why? Because I don’t know how those people, who inherently find happiness in every fucking nook and cranny, do it.

Everything I do, I do to make myself happy. I don’t get given happiness like most people. I work for it.

How a Girl Made Me Forget Buddhism (re-written)

I’ve been writing and rewriting this blog entry for over a month. This was supposed to be a blog rant about how a girl made me so mad that I forgot I was Buddhist. I realised that writing a blog rant wouldn’t be very Buddhist. I would be putting more wood in the furnace when the furnace isn’t supposed to be there in the first place. I decided to scrap the entire entry. The best thing I can do is to realise that these negative emotions towards her hold me back. Around 90% of my mind is convinced that moving forward is the best thing to do while the remaining 10% yearns for those days I spent with her. I miss being with her, yet I know I won’t be able to stand her.

A Life Update (just in case you care)

I have no idea where to start. Should I bore you with specifics? Should I strain myself to interest you? In all seriousness, each time I write something I get this faint fear of being unheard. This will probably get two or three views by the time I publish this. A part of me says it’s due to how clumsy of a storyteller I am, and another part tells me that most people don’t really care about what I write. It’s unfortunate that these two parts are true. Yet here I am, giving lesser fucks to people who don’t give any. That sounds impossible considering that a person can’t have lesser apples than a person that has none. I’m rambling again. Here’s my laundry list of thoughts with no restriction nor refinement.

  • I got a job as a teacher. I’ve been teaching for 10 months. It’s pretty uneventful. Kids these days aren’t so keen to break collective thinking. They’re either too engrossed in it or they don’t care. Getting kids interested is the most difficult thing I’ve done in teaching. I’m not good enough as my professors. Maybe I will be one day if I continue teaching.
  • I passed the civil service exam. Hooray, I guess. I over-prepared myself, and now the company I work for gives me professional level subjects to teach. It’s a double-edged sword. I get paid more, but there’s less demand.
  • I just took a graduate studies exam at DLSU. If I pass, I’ll be taking Political Science come January. I’ll be shifting to Asian Studies as soon as I can. I honestly have no interest in local politics. I couldn’t choose Asian Studies from the get-go because they only offer it on the 1st and 3rd term. January is the 2nd term.
  • I also applied for the scholarship program. Hopefully, I get in that too.
  • DLSU has a double degree program tied with Osaka School of International Public Policy where students can earn an MA in International Public Policy. It’s been one of my short terms goals to study abroad for grad school. My mother felt undetermined about my decision and asked that I get my MA here in the Philippines. DLSU answered my prayers.
  • I still have plans to go abroad. Whether for work or for study, the Philippines has nothing for me. It’s too small for the Clan (I mean that in a negative way). Australia or New Zealand is still an attractive option, although I’ve been leaning towards north-east Asian countries lately. The Asian cultural diversity and liveliness is intoxicating. Manila doesn’t have that. It’s too westernised.
  • I decided to study for the GRE and/or the GMAT. It’ll be useful to have since I’ll be attending grad school. Also, bragging rights. I looked into tutorial rates and holy shit are they expensive. $1,500??? Are you kidding me? That’s a term’s worth of tuition!

Now the acads stuff are out-of-the-way.

  • I’m a pretty outspoken sexual person. I have no shame in talking about the partners I’ve had or even the time I was raped (never wrote about that. I’ll keep a mental note). All my friends know that I’m pansexual. What’s that you say? According to Oxford, “Pansexual |panˈsɛksjʊəl, -ʃʊəl| adjective, not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity.” Still don’t get it? My attraction towards people, whether sexual or not, is bound by nothing except for one–their personality. If a person’s personality clicks with mine, I wouldn’t care if that man or woman’s straight, lesbian, gay, or transsexual. Why should I be put off by a person’s dangly bits if we can satisfy each other fully? It just doesn’t make sense but oh well.
  • I know my sexuality, but I’m still confused with my gender identity. My pansexuality has little to do with my gender. At least I think it does. Think of a tomboy lesbian with female tendencies in a male body, that’s what I think I am.
  • I had a thought a few months back. If my future kids were straight, I’d be disappointed. Weird huh? I want gay kids. It’s still discrimination, and it’s something I have to learn how to get rid of.
  • I told my father that I’m going to grad school in Osaka in the near future. The Japanese embassy asks for a bank certificate, showing that I can financially support myself. When I was on the line with my father, I told him how much it was. He laughed. That really pissed me off. He just laughed when I was talking about funding for my education. I kept my head. He is the only large source of income for me and my mother. Again, this shows that we are in his clutch.

That’s it for now?

Winning Another Battle isn’t Usually Good

Tomorrow marks the third week of being clean. This is also my third, and hopefully succesful, attempt in quitting cigarettes. I can’t tell you how fucking difficult the first week was. Winning another battle isn’t usually good. Why? Fighting again means that I made a choice to put myself in that low position.

I fucking hope this fucking cycle stops. It’s seriously depressing.

Giving in to Social Pressure

A few weeks ago, my mother and I decided to visit this new supermarket 15 minutes from where we lived. I have a thing for groceries. There’s a certain way how products are placed. Each display entices the customer to buy something that they don’t need. It’s this placement of products that interests me.

Our original plan was to go food tripping in UP Town Center, the new place for food, fashion, and other things. Katipunan is known for its variety of restos and cafés. It’s literally a university town, and most of the students are from wealthy families looking for a dish or cup to satisfy their taste buds.

We crossed to St. Marc Café to get some appetisers. I suggest you order their matcha latte and the matcha Daifuku Chococro. Those were AMAZING.

We walked in and out of shops, looking at stuff we would never buy. I saw a Fujifilm X-T10, and the price made me realise that it almost costs as much as my mother’s surgery.

I mentioned earlier that a lot of the students come from well-off families. Classes were canceled that day (I think) and a number of them went to UP Town. I dressed pretty normally and pretty decently, decent enough to blend in I suppose.

The only thing I ignored were my shoes. I wore Crocs that day, not the obviously hideous ones that everyone hates (I own a pair and still use them btw) just a different type.

I don’t know why but I was overly conscious of my feet. Was it because it had holes on the sides to allow easy breathing? No. I hate closing off my feet to the air, so having my trotters tread true was the least of my worries. What was it then? Was it the shoes themselves?

I caught myself looking at these students’ shoes. Adidas, Nike, Reebok, New Balance, Puma, Onitsuka. Canvas, synthetic, leather. High-top, low-top, slip-on. Red, white, blue, yellow. As I saw more and more of these amazing shoes, my feet felt more and more naked.

I knew no one cared about what shoes I was wearing. I knew no one was looking at my feet. No one was telling me that I had terrible taste in casual fashion. Yet the sensation ate me away. Invisible eyes were ridiculing me of how stupid I looked. It felt like I was transported back to when I first arrived in the Philippines, a person who chose to be different then outcasted and judged.

We walked into a sneaker store with shelves on shelves of NBs that I’ve never seen. One pair caught my eye. It was simple, comfortable, and not that heavy on the wallet. I love NB; I think NB makes the best-looking sneakers. I’ve always wanted to buy a pair, but stores never had my size. This store did. So I bought them.

I love the style, they were fairly “cheap,” they were simple and unobtrusive (which I look for in a shoe), and super comfortable. But I felt guilty. I felt guilty buying these shoes even though the only con was that I spent money. I bought them because I wanted to feel good. A social anxiety coupled with nakedness fueled by a materialistic solution gave birth to this guilt.

I took a picture of the shoes I bought. I don’t know why I did it. Probably because I felt so good. I felt so great that I didn’t realise I had created an emotional crutch. I wish I had bought these shoes under better circumstances. I feel guilty yet safe each time I wear them. It’s like alcohol really. It comforts you and kills you.

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