Sunday, January 15

the good and the bad.

i read something recently that struck a nerve, and of all places, i had to read it in facebook. it was a status message of a cousin who is smitten, bluntly put, by alcohol and momentary euphoria.

she declared for all the netizens to read: i just don't know what's right and what's wrong anymore.

instinctively, i left a comment: you probably need to rest for a while so you can have your sense of perspective back. because through time, and once you've become numb to making the wrong decisions over and over and over again, the line that separates what's right from what's wrong becomes so thin, it's virtually not there anymore. you just need to recoup and rest for a while, and in no time, you will find your center again. it's quite helpful, trust me.

this got me thinking:

why is it that sometimes, nothing seems to be 'wrong' anymore, and everything that we do can be rationalized as the 'right' thing to do? for in the absence of a dualizing standard for our actions, and with the normalization of what we used to think of as 'bad', everything can pass off as good -- for as long as it makes us happy.

happiness, after all, is the ultimate pursuit of man, or at least, according to my standard of what constitutes a happy life. (yes, i am both epicurean and an escapist -- a fatal mix, i know.)

but it has not always been like this.

when i was still a sheltered and pampered young boy who was spoonfed with religion classes and catechism seminars, i knew that premarital sex was bad, smoking was taboo, beer was a form of enslavement, and cursing was the habit of uneducated people.

but as i got broken to the world, i realized that the very concept of morality is fluid, and for as long as you are capable of dealing with the consequences of your actions, then you can do whatever you want to do. you are your own master, and for so long as you do not hurt anyone, and you are in the company of people who share the same worldview as yourself, then society has no right to intrude into your affairs.

naturally and in no time, i discarded my erstwhile notions about the dichotomy of good and bad.

i smoked like a chimney, drank like a fish, and cursed like a maniac. at first, i have to admit, i felt liberated, because for once in my life, i was no longer constrained to be 'conventionally' good. but of course, i would later on learn that that was a false sense of empowerment, because in just a matter of months, i would be weighed down by the repercussions to my overindulgences.

i lost my center, my sense of self, and to a certain extent, even my self-respect. for in the blur of intoxicated nights and days of abandon and mayhem, i've learned to cut classes, kiss total strangers when intoxicated, and perennially use the blanket excuse of drunkenness when my actions would no longer be acceptable even to my friends.

sometimes, and at the expense of being cliche, i shudder at the person i see in the mirror. i no longer recognize the boy who stares back at me during mornings when my head splits from a nasty hangover, or during nights when i am certain i will be possessed by drunken stupor.

someone once told me that in case we lose our sense of self, we need to go back to what's familiar. he made perfect sense, but then again, i thought, with the fluidity of life, even the familiar can be deconstructed -- and sometimes, when you are in a place that is unfamiliar even to you, your sense of familiarity dissipates into something that once was, but has ceased to be.

although i am grateful that my sense of perspective has taken flight from once being so rigidly dichotomized, there are times when i wish i am back to my old self: certain of the divide, and even more certain that the good can be separated from the bad.

Friday, January 6


on honesty.

for this year, i will try to speak my truth silently.

the world, after all, affords us a plethora of words, and we are given the liberty to play with the permutations of which words to use and imbue them with our emotions.

for this year, i vow to think and think hard before i speak, and i will discern before i let out my words, because last year, my obsessive propensity to please others, even at the expense of myself, was what got me into petty skirmishes with friends and foes alike.

i will speak only of good things, and when i find myself in the company of people whose words are laced with poison, i will just smile and not be sucked in by their darkness.

for it is very easy to spew out words of condemnation and lash out at people with our verbal poisons, but it takes courage to temper one's words, lest they become ammunitions that will scathe, sometimes irrevocably, those around us.

on the present.

for this year, i will try to be content with the present.

for the past year, i have realized that i was usually weighed down by the ghosts of my past, and the uncertainty of my future.

when melancholia soaks me wet, i often think of things that have long been relegated to memory --and i pine for them. i drift into the realm of what has already been, and i cling on to these shadows until my heart can no longer breathe from exhaustion.

but during pensive moments, i fret about the future and cringe at the prospect of failure. failure, you see, has been a recurring theme in my life, and even when i have made that first step towards fulfilling my childhood dream, i still become wary of the randomness of the stars.

for this year, i vow to be content with what is, and do away with what has been and what could be. i will be content with watching the stars shimmer on a beautiful night, or bask in the beautiful prose of talented story weavers, or be enthralled by the beauty of love as it unfolds.

on my year.

this year will be my year, and yes, as early as now, i am already claiming it.

happy new year, friends.