Milestones, Turning Points, and Activity Updates – July 2017

My YouTube Channel now has 150 subscribers, but to be honest, the numbers I have there and in my other zones in the Net, although still holding importance, don’t feel like something I should make a very big deal out of. I’d rather think about how my stuff is being received by my audience, see.

Anyway, August is coming, and along with that is the beginning of my university’s first semester of the new academic year. I’m honestly worried about having to deal with the surging currents of the dominant views there again, especially during discussion periods, but this time, I feel less worried than I was during past semesters, for I know that I have some strong links I can hold on to, giving me more confidence in forging and strengthening healthy bonds with other people.

And speaking of which, this month has been quite a worthwhile spiritual journey for me as well. I guess the rest of my vacation has that sort of feel, too, considering how I’ve been taking more time for prayer and daily Bible readings, particularly during the morning. I still have things I’m conflicted about, though, most of them being things which involve the arts (e.g. my choices for my music playlist, how I should read the books I read, and what sort of creative projects I should work on), but I still have will to improve.

Now, more about my activities as The Overlord Bear, with a list of posts for this ending month of July:

I also reblogged a bunch of posts from other blogs and bloggers this month:

As for my future activities as Tobby, well, uploads will likely be less in the remaining five months of this year, as I will have a lot of school stuff to deal with again. I think it can be a good change of pace too, as I think I can put the course major theory stuff I’ll be learning this semester into practice through my writing works that I’ll post online as well. Along with that, I think I’ll be having less insecurities thinking about how I’ll make worthwhile stuff to post online and such if I treat my Tobby activities as extracurricular activities. That, and I’ll be able to have a better social life outside the Net that way…and no, I don’t believe in healthy academic life and healthy social life being mutually exclusive.

Still, it’s not like I’ll never drop by the electronic blue ocean ever again. I still feel a calling to it, though it’s different from what my younger and more foolish self thought he heard.

But still, I have a lot to learn, considering stuff like me slacking off with stupid jokes and me cringing real hard at important corrections, so yeah, to those who are willing to do so: Please pray for me, okay?

So yeah, updates will be sudden, as usual…well, unless it’s the Beauty through the Ordinary series and these monthly updates, which have more regularity than, say, my fiction posts and my music uploads. There’s also the likelihood of me and my friends actually working on that live-action music video for that one original song of mine sometime during August, and there’s also the likelihood of me posting some sung translyrics and a recorded vocal arrangement.

With that, I ask for more honest constructive feedback, dear nutshellcrackers! \(^o^)

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Back Yourself and Look at the Mirror

To begin this piece, yes, up there is a title which is a Rap Monster line I find memorable in “BTS Cypher Part 3: Killer.” It’s something which came to mind as inspiration was sparked within me during a recent Sunday Mass I went to, one which had a blunt yet guiding priest as its presider.

Though to be honest, I consider stuff like the BTS Cyphers as some of my guilty pleasures. Their sound hits hard, something which I’ve been getting into a lot lately, but their words have been becoming too sharp for my softening heart, particularly when I think of myself as the receiver of those words.

Furthermore, although I consider myself an ARMY with a significantly grown interest in the Bulletproof Boy Scouts, I’m pretty sure that there’s a being whose awesomeness surpasses even those seven boys.

And yes, this piece isn’t gonna have the Bangtan Boys as my main topic.

So yeah, about the stuff which got me referencing said BTS Cypher line, I think it’s time for me to do some more gentle and reflective honesty than blunt and haughty honesty, which I’ve been considering doing as I was working on this part of this reflection. I think I need more of the former sort of honesty, along with some more humble determination upon receiving a “Back yourself and look at the mirror” shot.

And really, properly taking such shots is something I find difficult. To present how difficult it has been for me, well, there’s when my parents – particularly my mother – ask me to look at the mirror when they find me having an unruly appearance and/or bad fashion sense.

Like, really, I find myself wondering why they find my appearance bad a lot during those times. Why is my t-shirt with a funny print not practical and stylish enough? What do you mean my messy and spiky bedhead doesn’t look cool? I don’t feel anything, so what do you mean there’s dirt on my face? And why do I even need to go along with your fashion requirements?

Still, I don’t think I’d be able to develop my own fashion and hygienic sense, let alone a good one, without my parents’ help. Even though I can have something more appealing than their senses when I grow older, I can’t deny that in the beginning, they know a lot more than the younger me.

And then there’s when my parents tell me to watch my facial expressions and my speech tone. Such times become more irritating when they do so during moments of heightened emotions, especially with me having more rigidity than most people. They ask me to pipe down when I suddenly talk loud and noisy with other people, and they also ask me to stop frowning when the time comes for social interaction.

Like, come on, I’m doing some nice social interaction when I talk with such energy! There’s also me feeling like I need to be honest with my feelings! Other people should get what I’m specifically feeling and thinking by simply looking at the standoffish expression on my face! Otherwise they’re just dumb!

In summary, my foolish self wonders: Why do I need to check how I look?

The answers? Well, I begin to understand those when I cut the resistance down and start doing what my parents asked me to do there.

And when I look at myself in the mirror that way, I begin to feel as if I’m looking from another person’s shoes. My loneliness and my ignorance, which have been bugging me along with my parents’ insistence, ends up in clear view, and I realize how much I hate having to look at my own weaknesses. My parents – especially my mother – can go too much with pointing out my weaknesses, but my weaknesses that should be pointed out would still be there if I don’t do something that would properly put them down.

Sure, my parents should also back themselves and look at the mirror, but even I need to back myself and look at the mirror. That, and have an honest and constructive audience of critics, for I’d more likely spiral down to the depths of self-deprecation if let myself have an audience of critics who think that just rubbing my weaknesses into me even more equals humility. Along with that, I don’t think it would be healthy to have an audience of critics who just tell me to do what I want, as doing that to someone with insufficient knowledge and improper understanding of proper morals would be very dangerous and counterproductive than we think.

Still, to be honest, I have struggles with measuring how good my audience is at giving me critique as well. One big obstacle is my own pride, that warped mirror which often gets in my way in both looking at myself and having a honest and constructive audience. Pride is a word which I have been having growing dislike for lately, and me treating it as something with a meaning that is equal to sufficient self-love is something that’s been bothering me more and more than witnessing others treating it the same way. It’s so easy for me to fall into that trap as well, so much that it’s both scary and infuriating to me.

And with that, there’s also the problem of self-hatred. Pride can fuel that as well, making me do destructive things, particularly self-destructive ones, under assumptions like “atonement for my sins,” something which I don’t truly understand during those times, as much I hate to admit it. The mirrors of pride block the mirrors of truth a lot more with those problems, and when the mirrors of pride are shattered…well, I find those moments miraculous.

And that’s why I find God important. Essential, even.

When I look at the mirrors of truth, I realize that I’ve been the one who has been hurting myself the most, that I have inherent flaws in terms of looking at my own faults with enough focus and clarity. I see the wounds caused by my own hatred, and along with that, I find myself being healed as I keep looking at the mirrors of truth and begin serving God even more.

Sure, my blindness to my own faults, failures, and weaknesses is something that irritates me very much, even to the point of self-hatred, but why should I succumb to my blindness when I have already seen my spiritual vision, among other essential parts of me, getting better? I’ve been asking myself that question again and again lately, and that shows how much of a struggle I’m having, don’t you think?

And so, I find myself beginning to appreciate others even more. Having companions who back themselves and look at the mirror better than me are people whom I should follow as well, for I would learn how to do a better job at inspiring other people into the path of true goodness, something which I want to do very much in my life.

Of course, there will be pain along the way, but that’s how life in this world would go, even when working towards improvement. No pain, no gain, yo.

And hey, when you know that improvement – even if you’ve only witnessed a little – is possible, then there’s really no reason to say that life is a hopeless thing.

So yeah, God Almighty keep on helping us.

Also, as I’d like to request, honest constructive feedback is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated. And yeah, my pride can get in the way of me finding those, even to the point of trying to drive you away, but hey, don’t let that stop you from trying your best there. 🙂

Chubyou Gekihatsu Boy — TOB English Cover

And now, another English cover of a Japanese song.

Also, Myo helped me out again! We took a while, though, considering our respective lives outside the Net, but I’m not that bothered by the slowness. I consider what we’re doing as extracurricular, see, and it would be a different story if this were professional work already.

Anyway, although my interest in Vocaloid lately isn’t as strong as it was back then, it still has a special place in my heart, considering how it was a gateway for my interest in music production as well. Also, I still find this song funny, and working on this had more of me goofing around, particularly during recording. Maybe I should share this with certain friends of mine too, considering how we are…

And speaking of my interest in Vocaloid music, it seems stuck to a bunch of producers who broke out before 2015. That, and I’m becoming more interested in working with human vocals, along with a wider range of music and a wider audience. I also honestly feel like I’ll stop uploading to NND eventually, and I also feel some sadness at the thought of that and anything further than that, especially since – as I’ve mentioned – Vocaloid music had a big hand in igniting my interest in music production.

But who knows, maybe I’d end up buying a Vocaloid engine and a voicebank (and it would be fun if IA ended up getting an English upgrade) like I strongly dreamed of back then. But there are more important things to deal with, like me needing to sharpen up my technical knowledge on music and audio, and, of course, finishing my Creative Writing course.

Also, there’s the part about money, which I’d need a lot of to buy some Vocaloid software, so yeah, I’m pretty much gonna be sticking with what I can afford so far. That, and get a proper job after graduating, of course.

Indeed, I’m growing up…

But hey, back to talk about this cover of a funny song about some nutty youths, here’s the mp3, and here’s the lyrics sheet. Do remember to mention me and Myo and link to my video upload and our respective Net zones if you’re gonna do stuff like using them lyrics for a song cover, ‘kay?

And of course, honest constructive feedback is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated! \(^o^)

Beaming and Lighting

Once upon a Sunday Mass homily, my thoughts had an intersection of family, feminism, and religion.

See, in the middle of the priest’s homily about the importance of spreading the Word within the family, the domestic Church (the Gospel was the one with the Parable of the Weeds, though, by the way), and giving parent-oriented reminders and lessons, he also reminded us about how the father, in the Filipino language (like, the usual and mostly Tagalog-based Filipino which most Filipinos often interchangeably refer to as Tagalog nowadays), is called “haligi ng tahanan,” while the mother is called “ilaw ng tahanan.”

About those phrases, well, the one for the mother is easier to translate into English, it meaning “light of the home.” The one for the father is more complicated, as the “haligi” is, according to my understanding of my dad’s explanation when I asked him about it, a post or a column which has a foundation keeping it in place, and it’s also something which works like a cornerstone. So yeah, I guess it can be translated as “foundation post of the home,” if we were to talk about sticking it closer to what it means in the Filipino context, but I find calling it “foundation beam of the home” in English funnier, because there’s something hilariously awesome about Mom and Dad working together to become a beam of light.

Get it?

Well, whether you found that funny or not is a different story.

Anyway, in that intersection of fields of thoughts I mentioned at the start of this reflection, an intersection that was triggered by the priest’s reminder about those titles for the parents in the Filipino context, I realized how presumptuous we’ve been with thinking that there should be one parent who has an inherent overall upper hand over the other…especially when it would be foolish to try looking at a construction post or beam like it can be a ball of light, or a ball of light like it can be construction post or beam.

Like, really, can any of them work well without them working together as well? Looking at it in the more earthly sense and also in accordance with those titles I mentioned, a house built with strong foundations but with weak or no light is a place where its residents would stumble around a lot when the darkness comes. A light that burns brightly yet has a weakly founded or an uncovered house is something that can get snuffed out way more easily, still causing big trouble for the residents.

With that sort of thought, I laughed with glee as I realized how such can be worthwhile stuff in reflections that I’d like to share to others. But of course, the sharing is another thing, so do remember to give honest constructive feedback on how I’m doing that as well, okay?

Anyway, I also realized how my parents were still living by those titles which the priest reminded about. Along with that, I’ve begun more firmly feeling like there’s no reason for me to be worrying so much about how my parents’ dynamics should work in our family.

Like, hey, Mom and Dad are two different people, sure. There are things that Mom is better at, and there are things that Dad is better at. For example, Mom’s better at working with English, something that Dad has a hard time learning about, while Dad’s better at processing current social events, something which Mom isn’t as good at, as far as I’ve observed.

But hey, it should be remembered: Their differences don’t make them unequal overall! Whatever inequality they may seem to have…well, I guess that’s the darkness of our hearts messing up our vision. For example, I had times when I thought that Mom was a worse parent than Dad because of her fiery attitude, an attitude I had a very hard time taking, especially when she got stressed, while Dad seemed cooler, because, well…he had a cool way of listening and talking when I talked to him about my problems. I guess I became more of a wimp back then because of that mindset as well.

As time passed, though, I realized how they were always on the same boat in terms of being different but equal in terms of overall value. They have their strengths, and they have their weaknesses, but put Mom’s set and Dad’s set on the scales, and you’d find that they weigh the same, even though they’re composed of different stuff overall.

And with those differences, each of them are meant for certain things. We just haven’t tried hard enough to find out what they can really do in their respective elements if we think that such a setup is foolish. Like, for example, put Mom’s fiery attitude and Dad’s cool attitude, especially in synergizing tandem, and we get some equilibrium, yo~

And hey, I think that Mom and Dad understand that, considering how our family’s been doing lately. Me, well, I’ve been pretty much a worrywart the whole time with that, empathizing a little too much with people who aren’t as fortunate as I am in terms of family, feminism, and all that. Sure, it sucks to know of men who look down on the potential of women and vice-versa, but I don’t think it would ever justify me making my soul rot and making things worse.

Also: Do not underestimate housewives. I repeat: Do not underestimate housewives.

See, my mother, who’s pretty much a housewife now, considering how she left her regular job (though she’s currently working as a consultant), has to deal with not only her husband, but also us four kids, with two of said four being special kids as well, if you get what I mean. And lately, I’ve begun to realize how awesome she has been because of her great efforts for the family and how she still keeps on caring for us despite our faults and weaknesses. She left her regular job at a certain well-known company for the sake of watching over the family better, and because of that, she’s now able to do things like watching over my youngest sibling some more, the one who needs a lot of parental supervision because of his special needs. And although she took up work as a consultant, said work doesn’t really eat up as much in terms of her time for the family.

Also, I think I should stop wrapping my head around my extracurricular activities too much to feel the good changes with Mom being a housewife some more, hahaha…

So yeah, to all you husbands and kids and everyone else who thinks that being a housewife is a stupid and demeaning job: Do not underestimate housewives. They may not work like most men do, and the darkness of our hearts may have made their work seem like a mark of ignorance, but with the responsibilities that they have and the effort that they have to put, their work does not make them unimportant, let alone useless or inherently weaker.

Along with that, think about household chores some more, especially while you’re doing them, please. You’ll understand what I mean much better by doing that as well.

And speaking of housewives, I once wrote a story with such a woman as the main character for a writing prompt response…and I think a certain Roman Catholic woman from Canada, whom I met through blogging, can talk about such things better…

Now, to end this reflection, I would like to say that I’m continuing to look forward to my parents becoming better light beams, and that I’d like to become an awesome light beam combo with the awesome girl of my dreams as well. God Almighty keep on guiding us, too.

Pro-Life Motherhood: A Feminist Career Choice

I know I’ve read this before, but I don’t know why I haven’t reblogged it before! Anyway, God keep on blessing you, Mrs. Juneau, for you are among those who helped me appreciate housewives better!

joy of nine9

Raising children is not a default chore for women who were not successful in the world of business, power, and wealth.  However, the trend in the last few decades has been to delegate childcare to women who are often treated like second-class citizens. Society seems to dismiss and even ridicule women’s most sacred, natural role as nurturing mothers.

I fully realize most mothers have no choice but to work in our present economy. My contention is with prevailing attitudes about children, mothers and child care. From preschool, we are groomed to get ahead, surpass our peers by getting into the best universities and snatch prized careers. But success alone will not make us happy. Just take a look at the generations who have gone before us. The all-too-common mid-life crisis is a testament to the failure of a life focused on career advancement to the exclusion of family. Many women bemoan…

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Exercise Routine of Life

Despite my struggles with maintaining a regular exercise routine, I think it’s something that has taken root with depth in my life.

Well, my reasoning for that is how I tend to think of other tough but important things in life as things that remind me of exercise. Said things include learning from school, honing my creative craft, and doing whatever God wants me to do.

And just like most people I’ve encountered, I’ve been someone with a very pessimistic and reactive view towards regular exercise. I didn’t want to be tired, I didn’t want to feel those growing pains, and if I tried to put effort into exercise, I didn’t want such slow developments on my body.

Heh, and that reminds me of my lust…and not just the sexual sort. There’s my lust for fame and my lust for control as well, something which shows in my messy time management that has me staying up so late at night with my computer and slacking off on keeping the house in order. The poor and rushed execution just ends up twisting me away from the noble goal I wanted to reach and into a shoddy imitation that looks like the real deal because of my wrong processing.

Now, back to talk about exercise, I’m reminded about things like how to stretch properly and how to breathe properly. And if I were someone with a lazier mindset, I would be questioning the whole “how to breathe properly” part plus wisecracking with a “I’m still alive, therefore I’m already breathing properly, genius.”

And, uh…to be honest, I’m still mostly curious about the basics of proper breathing in exercise. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Anyway, lack of physical fitness technical knowledge aside, I have a growing liking for appreciating the importance of exercise and other related physical fitness essentials. I honestly wanna have a better figure, yeah, but if that were my only goal, then I would be easily swayed into complacency by all those “You’re perfect so just eat and exercise how you want” attempts at encouragement or all those “Go starve yourself and overwork for quicker results” calls of the desperate.

See, when more regular exercise became more involved in my life, I felt more alive. There was a subtle feeling, something with an effect that became more noticeable when I looked back after a considerable while of alternating mornings with exercise and no exercise. There was also an overt feeling, something which became more satisfying the more I gradually challenged myself.

And sure, seeing my figure become more pleasing to the eyes may be a cause for celebration, but that’s not everything. Another effect which I consider essential is having the feeling of someone who’s ready to take on tougher challenges.

Hm, maybe that’s the endorphin release kicking in? I don’t know if I remembered it correctly, but I think there’s something about exercise and endorphins that I learned during physical fitness theory class and that one exercise psychology lesson…

Anyway, although it may seem like something little, I find outdoing myself in exercise rewarding. Be it lengthened running time or a further in-sync dance workout performance, knowing that I’m able to break my own records, even by just a little difference, is something that makes me feel more alive and optimistic, especially when I think about how big things are made up of little things. It makes me want to endure a good amount of pain for a length of time that would end up feeling shorter if I work hard enough. It also reminds me about how talent – which, although in different forms, is something that I believe everyone has – would just be waste without it being sharpened and maintained as an evil-cutting blade.

Along with that, exercise becoming a routine feels lighter yet still fulfilling when compared to random blasts with exercise. It teaches me about how to have faith and patience, about how to not be complacent nor desperate. It also reminds me about how there’s a time and place for everything, particularly through doing exercises for specific parts of my body and changing the contents of my exercise routine.

And speaking of having faith and patience, I sometimes feel as if I’m insulted when my parents remind me to exercise, especially while we’re eating together with the rest of the family. There’s also when I feel discouraged by sudden stuff like bad weather, which keeps me from doing outdoor jogging, an exercise which I like to do, or being unable to do exercise in the morning because of my tired body. But I guess that’s just my pride trying to doing its usual stuff that is covering up and being the glass barrier that it is. Fortunately, it’s a glass barrier, which means that it can be shattered easily. If it doesn’t break or if it hurts me more than it should, then it’s just that I don’t put enough force and/or smarts into my smash.

Anyway, it’s not just my parents’ exercise reminders which the glass barrier that is my pride perceives as slights and uses to keep me foolish. There are also the reminders about eating enough and sleeping enough, reminders about things that would create an even bigger boost of health to not just my figure but also my mind and soul when done well with exercise. And freaking nuts, I find similarities even between dieting and exercise!

So yeah, I guess those reminders about a sound body leading to a sound mind do hold water. And of course, better not forget pushing my willpower towards that direction. Like going for those dance workouts in a smaller but still spacious enough room when rain falls and keeps me from going outdoors. That, and listening to my parents some more, ’cause I know that they can teach a lot more worthwhile lessons than what my ugly-colored glass barriers try to show me, considering their struggling yet still inspiring efforts at keeping themselves in good shape. Like, my dad managed to finish marathons before, and my mom’s diet efforts are shown by her printed diet plan and the ingredients she prepares separately from the rest of the family’s meals!

And indeed, the gym isn’t the only place where improvement and maintenance happens…so God Almighty help me do better.

As for when this exercise routine of life, breaks and changes and all, will no longer be needed…well, only God knows, I guess.

And now, back to putting effort into following what He has prescribed for me…

Some cheese with your ‘whine’: Pope ‘establishes’ complaint-free zone

There are problems, yeah, but there are solutions as well. It’s something that even I myself forgot today, too, hahaha…Anyway, thank God very much for the lessons, indeed… ^_^

CNS Blog

Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 2.11.48 PM A sign posted outside the door of Pope Francis’ office in the Domus Sanctae Marthae that reads “No whining” (Photo courtesy Vatican Insider/La Stampa)

By Junno Arocho Esteves
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis left a not-so-subtle message outside his office in the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence: anyone who is thinking of making a fuss, leave your whining at the door.

Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli published a photo on Vatican Insider of a sign posted on the pope’s door with the words, “No whining.”

The sign warns potential complainers that “offenders are subject to a victim mentality” that decreases one’s sense of humor and ability to solve problems.

“The penalty is doubled if the violation takes place in the presence of children. To get the best out of yourself, concentrate on your potential and not on your limitations. Stop complaining and take steps to improve your life,”…

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Tobby tried to arrange and sing “Rokuchounen to Ichiya Monogatari”

This arrange cover’s actually something I made during my earlier attempts at producing with LMMS. I set it aside after feeling like it was too difficult for me at that time, but after some more time with building experience and all, I managed to gain confidence to work on this some more and get it uploaded with a video. kemu’s stunning return to Vocaloid is also a major factor in the production and release of this, I guess, considering how my focus in terms of music have been shifting to more pop sounds recently, particularly K-Pop. Still, Vocaloid music like kemu’s hold a special place in my heart as inspirations for my own attempts at creating music and all that.

Well, that, and there’s me trying to do worthwhile stuff while on vacation. I really need to soften my rigidity with things like this and care for my body better, though…even if I have to deal with slow processing when it comes to working with AviUtl in my comp…

And speaking of AviUtl, I’ve been trying out some more new things, like the flares. It may be hard to preview my video while producing it, but seeing stuff work well with smooth playback is still something that I enjoy! Also, my Japanese online friend named Biwa drew for me again! As usual, she did well, if you ask me!

And I better not forget Vocaloid producer Tenshi~Akari! Freaking nuts, it’s been a while since I last communicated with her…Anyway, this arrange cover, particularly during its early stages, was something I showed to her for feedback. I think she sent me a melody line track as a guide as well? Ah, my memories of that are blurry now, honestly…but still, I’m certain that she had helped me enough to deserve special mention! So yeah, thanks very much, yo!

By the way, this song is still my top favorite kemu song (which the presence of my previous attempt can probably attest to). I feel good about this arrange, yeah, but the original arrange is still something I like more than mine. The fast beat, hard guitars, delicate synths, and the way they mix and shift to present the song’s heart-rending story all really get me more than my high-speed acoustic parade, you know?

So yeah, that aside, here’s this cover’s mp3. Also, here are the instrumentals (-3 key and original key) for those who want to make covers with it. Of course, you better credit me properly! Like, mention my online alias and link to my YouTube Channel, Niconico MyList, and the like in your upload description, yo!

And again, honest constructive feedback is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated! \(^o^)

Why Most of Us Are Scapegoats, Not Saintly Martyrs

This just reminded of how much of an oversensitive worrywart I was back then. That, and that one “Pasan Ang Mundo” award that I got during my last year of high school. I find that funny now, yo.

joy of nine9

Every society, every culture has a tradition of a scapegoat: a person or group of people to blame and punish for the sins of that particular society. Centuries ago, old women were blamed for poor crops, cows which failed to produce milk and any birth defects. Less superstitious societies turned on each new group of immigrants to blame for their economic woes and rising crime rates. And, in the beginning of the spiritual life when we are confronted with our own sinfulness and those around us, we also tend to act just like scapegoats. Even if we live a devout, disciplined, ascetic lifestyle with a daily round of Mass, rosaries, Eucharistic Adoration and frequent confession, most of us still fall into this scapegoat trap as we try to become devoted disciples of Jesus.

Suffering For Our Own Sins

When we suffer in isolation for our own failings or act like…

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Beauty through the Ordinary

A certain confession (like, Catholic Confession, that is) I once went through had me focusing on something I didn’t think much about before.

See, when the priest told me to be more obedient to my parents, he also noted how Jesus Christ lived His life as a carpenter in Nazareth, growing up following Mary and Joseph as well, before He went out to do His preaching and miracles and all that.

After having that pointed out, a bunch of things made a lot more sense to me. Like, say, Saint John Bosco’s reminder to “Do your ordinary duties extraordinarily well,” which still is repeating in my memories a lot thanks to my whole high school years being spent in a Don Bosco school plus regularly going to churches which were run by Salesians, among other things. Along with that, the difference of Jesus from the sorts of heroes I longed to be back then made more sense to me as well.

I’m sure that my younger self wouldn’t quite grasp that, let alone like it, for I was quite an impatient boy back then. I still have issues with that even now, considering my remaining interest in the showy and over-the-top ways of entertainment, but I don’t think that it’s still as strong as it was back then.

Anyway, can you believe it? Imagine: You meet a man who claims to be God the Son, preaching to a bunch of people, even to the higher-ups of the religious community, when all you know of Him is that He was just some carpenter from Nazareth, the only child of some couple named Mary and Joseph. If we didn’t know better, which is a state that all of us living peeps on Earth are still in (but in different degrees), we’d call Him crazy! How can He say such things? Does He even care for the good of society? Does He even care for the people who raised Him?

Certainly, my younger self, who dreamt to be very much like a shounen manga hero with all those flashy moves, yet still claimed that he believed in God, would be having a mixture of emotions, with sore disappointment at the top of it all. Like, the secret to true happiness means first having to go through being some ordinary guy who obeys his parents while serving a boring society that can’t seem to fix itself without somebody crazy awesome shaking it up? Boo! Can’t I get to the whole majestic teaching parts and stuff already?

Yeah, I’ve been thinking like that a lot back then. Maybe even now too. Lesser degree, yeah, but it’s still there, like in how I’ve been working on stuff as The Overlord Bear in the past and, still, even lately. Caring so much about becoming some online idol, yet not caring for my more basic yet still important needs, particularly things like my relationship with my family, my remaining years of education, and the sharpening of my housekeeping skills. Sure, it’s bad to consider God less important than those things, but the problem in my case is that in my attempts to get closer to God, I’ve been considering the ordinary as something unimportant. I’ve been doubting God by doubting the importance of the ordinary, letting myself be swallowed by the cynicism that’s been permeating our society lately. Why do I have to live with such imperfect parents, with such imperfect superiors, with such imperfect citizens, all living some boring cycle of stupidity? I can still feel that doubt trying to drag me back, asking me about whether or not I care about the people I formed bonds with the way of thinking that I had when I did so. I can imagine the disappointment when they find me not acting as they like even more, and I can imagine the disgust when they find me saying that I’d rather die for the perfect morals of God than live for the flawed morals of the world.

But you know what, it’s more foolish to act like some gloomy anti-hero or something, ruining your head even more by rambling on and on about some philosophical stuff I need to think about more quietly before uttering it all to the public. And hey, I still got chores to do, a course to finish, a family to learn from, and of course, a society to help improve. And above all that is a God who’s waiting for me to call for His help.

So yeah, we can find beauty through the ordinary. There’s a lot of examples, and I won’t be listing all of them here for you to read in one sitting. I’mma try to show it to you like how ordinary life tends to show it, see. And hey, my slow embrace of that perspective has been showing in my changing tastes in the arts and such, too. A lot of those action-packed shounen and seinen genre stories have been becoming more dizzying to me, and all those more subdued romance and slice-of-life stories have been becoming more fascinating to me. Not like I completely lost interest in superhero stories, with my admiration for Elena Buncaras‘s Superhero Problems being one example, though, but I can certainly say that my tastes there have changed significantly. Think of it like a shift in interest from “comparing superhero power levels” to “wondering about how superhero powers can be used for true good.” That, and I think my increased interest in comedy is also a sign…but my shifting interest in sorts of comedy is probably a clearer sign. To be more specific, mean comedy is something I’ve been losing interest in lately…

A part of me finds that shifting saddening, yeah, but I also feel like I’ve been finding a lot more beautiful things in my life lately with all that. They’re all difficult things, yeah, but doing household chores and caring for my family better makes me feel like a worthier man, going through more school days and learning more about how society works with more open-mindedness makes me feel like a more worthwhile citizen, and appreciating the Holy Hour and Sunday Masses with more cheer makes me feel like I’m really becoming someone worthier in God’s eyes.

I still have a long way to go, though, but I won’t give up.

And hey, if you ever find yourself having sparked interest in God and all that, then you get some encouragement! And even if you don’t, well, you still get some encouragement! Like, I’m sure you can find more worthwhile days, yo!

So yeah, God bless you all, dear readers! May you find beauty through the ordinary as well!