The Choice to Keep Calm is Always Available, Tobby!

I step into the chaotic crowd again.

As usual, I see a bunch of agitated people

Being affected by and affecting the people around them.

I think I’ve been here before, too.

As the crowd tries to influence me into becoming agitated again,

I am reminded:

“Tobby, pick your choice.

Become agitated?

Or keep calm?”

Ah, I can see it again.

I have been reminded by a lot of people:

“The choice to keep calm is always available, Tobby!

You can’t control others,

But you can still control yourself!”

After the reminder was reinforced into my mind

Through repeated hammers and flashes,

I can see the buttons clearly now.

I am an individual.

I can’t directly control others,

Because others have free will!

But I can still control myself,

Because I have free will, too!

As the crowd tries to influence me into becoming agitated,

Two buttons stand in front of me:

Let the crowd’s influence control me into becoming agitated?

Or shield yourself from the crowd’s influence and keep calm all the way?

I know what to do now.

I have to think things through.

Problems are harder to deal with when agitated,

So I decided to shield myself from the crowd’s influence

And keep calm all the way.

The glass barriers of agitation surrounding my calmness shatters

And my mind felt clearer at that moment.

As the crowd still keeps on trying to influence me into becoming agitated,

The buttons appear once again.

Become agitated?

Or keep calm?

Well, I should remind myself again:

The choice to keep calm is always available, Tobby!

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Mom, Why Are the Creases and Wrinkles in Clothes Such a Big Deal to You?

Mom, I have a question:

Why are the creases and wrinkles in clothes such a big deal to you?

I haven’t checked for several days if the clothes that I was wearing were ironed,

And I haven’t been called out because of it even once in public.

Well, maybe there would be more people like you who have difficulty tolerating such things,

But I don’t understand why clothes shouldn’t be creased and wrinkled.

The clothes that I’ve been wearing are clean.

They’ve gone through the washing machine,

They’ve gone through the drying power of heat,

They’re folded or hung,

And then they end up in my closet.

Yeah, now I’m wondering is really worth it, too.

Well, ironed clothes feel warmer,

And they look cleaner,

But they don’t stay like that forever, you know.

Iron them or not, they get more creases and wrinkles,

And that reminds me that we’re imperfect.

I should wear ironed clothes to look more respectable, huh…?

Well, looking cleaner does seem to have a point…

Maybe it would give others a better impression of me…

But when I think about it…

In the long run…

It’ll eventually be creased and wrinkled,

And I don’t understand why I should turn creases and wrinkles into a big deal.

Besides, in the end, a person’s true worth isn’t determined by their appearance.

I think it’s a person’s decisions that makes them who they are.

Well, I apologize if my previous reaction towards your opinion on the neatness of clothing were offending.

If you want them ironed, then fine, I’ll go by your rules.

I don’t see anything morally wrong with it.

But in the end, I would like you to remember that physical appearance won’t tell everything about a person.

There’s a possibility that a person with ironed clothes may be bad,

And there’s a possibility that a person with creased and wrinkled clothes may be good.

Let’s not judge by appearances, Mom.

I still love you, you know.

I just don’t see why I should make a big deal out of creases and wrinkles in clothes.

I also don’t see why I should make a big deal out of dirtied clothes.

If they’re dirtied, I can still choose to keep calm and change it.

If it’s creased and wrinkled, well, unless it’s a bother to a lot of people, then fine, I’ll go change into an ironed set of clothes.

Still, I don’t think we should worry too much about creases and wrinkles,

Because physical appearance doesn’t totally define who we are.

We’re not perfect,

Like the creased and wrinkled clothes that you worry about so much,

Those clothes that look clean

But still have imperfections.

Still, we should accept others for who they are.

Even if we’re not perfect,

Please remember that we can still make a difference to ourselves

And that we can also help other people make a difference to themselves.

We just have to do our best,

Have fun,

Keep calm,

And look at the bright side!

There’s always something good in each and every one of us, you know!

Let’s not make a big deal out of creased and wrinkled clothes, Mom.

I guess I’ve been repeating my message here over and over already.

I hope you understood all the stuff that I just said here!

Hmm…you know, Mom…I thought of something.

I think I should make the washing, drying, and ironing of my clothes

Serve as reminder for me to keep on improving myself for the better!

I’ll look at ironing that way

As I try to understand why you make such a big deal out of creased and wrinkled clothes.

Right now, I’m still wondering:

Mom, why are the creases and wrinkles in clothes such a big deal to you?

Clean Your Room and Your Soul Regularly, Tobby!

As I was preparing myself for my friends’ visit,

I was reminded to clean my room up quick.

While I was distractedly circling around my room,

I pulled the cabinet drawer open.

I knew the darkness was there for a long time,

So I started gathering them in my hands

And then put them in an empty paper bag.

Then, I sensed darkness.

It came from the depths under the study table.

A cardboard box stood there

And it was full of darkness

Just like the study table drawer above.

The darkness was strong in the cardboard box,

In the study table drawer,

And in the cabinet drawer.

They have been residing there for a long time,

And I wasn’t cleaning it up regularly,

Just like my freaking soul right now.

“I should clean this place up regularly,” I thought to myself.

“Oh yeah, I shouldn’t forget to clean my soul up regularly, too,” I added.

I’ve promised to improve myself,

But there are still some sins that I keep on repeating,

And they’re piling up in the depths of my soul,

Just like the trash piling up in the depths of my room.

But I shouldn’t worry too much about it.

I can’t improve myself alone,

But I can ask for help from others.

There’s always someone willing to help,

So I shouldn’t be afraid to ask for it when I need it.

Anyway, I cleaned up my room

With some help from another person,

Who was already cleaning up my messy room

While I was distractedly circling around.

We swept and mopped the floor,

Took out the trash,

Changed the bed sheets and the pillow cases,

And wiped the dust off the study table.

In the end, it felt good.

My room was now cleaned up

And it was a sight worth being happy about.

Still, dirt would try to pile up in my room

Just like darkness would try to invade my soul,

So I shouldn’t slack off when it comes to cleaning my room,

And I shouldn’t slack off when it comes to cleaning my soul, too!

Time for a self-reminder, then:

Clean your room and your soul regularly, Tobby!

A Poem to Bob: Teachers

I haven’t been talking to you much about life, Bob.

I guess I’m pretty shy about talking about it with you,

So I decided to make some poems to lob

Right at your freaking face that I haven’t checked for clues.

I heard your comment about your teachers a while ago

But I won’t directly state it here.

I’ve heard comments like that from you in the past years.

I do hope you would at least try to look at the bright side, though.

If you think it doesn’t work,

Then try harder, bro.

Your teachers are trying to teach you stuff about the world,

But of course, they’re humans, too, you know.

They’re not perfect.

We’re not perfect.

But we can still try to be better.

We just have to do our best

And have fun with what we do!

If you don’t think they’re teaching you well,

Maybe you should try to cooperate with them more.

Even if your classmates don’t want to cooperate with them,

You can still try to focus on learning the teachers’ lessons.

There’s always something interesting about the teachers’ lessons.

You just have to put your mind into looking for them.

Well, you can still ignore what I’m saying.

I can’t force you, man.

I wonder if you think that I’m an embarrassment to you?

If you think that I’m doing something morally wrong,

Then feel free to call me out.

But if I’m being who I am,

And I’m not being morally bad,

Then relax.

What they say about me isn’t your problem.

They’re not even doing any direct effect to you, when you think about it.

What they say about us isn’t a big deal at all, you know!

Now then, back to the point:

Value your teachers more, bro.

You’ll see the good intentions that they have

If you just try hard to look for them and learn.

Ah, the rhyme in this poem seems to be going off already…

Or maybe the rhymes were not that many…

Anyway, Bob, I do hope that you try to see

The great value that education holds within!

Share Happiness, Friendship, and Virtues This Christmas, Tobby!

Today, after a Biology class, while I signed on the attendance sheet, I also had to write what I wanted for Christmas. Without hesitation, as I needed to talk with my groupmates in class and also because there were other people waiting for the attendance sheet, I wrote this on the “What do you want for Christmas?” part:

a copy of Mekaku City Records (Regular Edition)

And then I went on talking with my groupmates. But when I got out of the building where I had my Biology class, this thought suddenly dawned on me:

I think I’m focusing too much on getting material gifts for Christmas again.

When I went to Mass last Sunday, I was reminded that Christmas these days is getting too commercialized. When it’s Christmas, more people buy from stores because of Christmas sales, children expect really great gifts from their families or from Santa Claus, everyone’s decorating their homes to fit the season, people are preparing for Christmas parties where there’s lots of eating and gift-giving and socializing and blah blah blah…

You know what, people, maybe we’re forgetting the true spirit of Christmas. Well, for us Roman Catholics, Christmas is the time when Jesus Christ was born, and it’s a time for us to practice and spread happiness, friendship, and virtues. But it seems like some Roman Catholics are forgetting that, too. It seems like I’m forgetting it, too.

I see and hear of poor people, and it’s saddening that some people forget, or worse, don’t even care about them. Well, being sad about them and blaming others isn’t going to help. I should do my part to help them. We should do our part to help them. That copy of Mekaku City Records that I wanted…at least for my birthday…that can wait. Those gaming consoles, computers, video games, and all those other luxuries that we want to have…they can wait. There are better ways to be happy, there are a lot of reasons to be happy, and we can find these ways and reasons if we choose to have some willpower and look for them. What’s amazing is that we can find true happiness close by, too! Once we find that, we should spread it. There are people who are suffering out there. Let’s show them happiness, friendship, and virtues, people! Even if you’re not a Roman Catholic…even if you don’t celebrate Christmas in your religion…whoever you are…let’s spread happiness and friendship! Even if we’re different from each other, respect can connect us. We can decorate our houses, we can give gifts to people we care for, we can buy what we want, we can prepare parties, but whatever the season, even if it isn’t Christmas, let’s not forget to practice and spread happiness, friendship, respect, charity, humility, and all the other virtues! Christmas is supposed to remind us that even more, you know!

Well, if you don’t want to believe or if you don’t agree with what I’m saying, then I can’t change you. You have free will. We have free will. I can only influence you. You can only influence me. Still, I hope that you would find the light, and if you do, I hope that you would spread it to illuminate the great darkness out there. I believe that there’s always at least a glimmer of light in a sea of darkness, you know.

Now, time to remind myself again:

Share happiness, friendship, and virtues this Christmas, Tobby!

Also, keep on sharing happiness, friendship, and virtues, no matter what the season, too!

Keep calm, look at the bright side, and friendship for the win, people!