Filling Free Time

These recently past days have been quite shaking for me. There’s me trying to settle in my boarding house room and doing all those basic care stuff I should know by now, such as bathing twice a day to keep the bad smell away and eating at least three balanced meals and drinking enough water to keep my body up and going along with my breathing. There’s also me having to mash in my school schedule and doing all the required work that would come with it, which has already hit me hard as a starter via complex readings and homework that, surprisingly, are still manageable, especially with the right assistance. And then there’s making friends, keeping in touch with my family, doing Tobby work…things that would be considered “free time stuff.”

So yeah, that reminds me of being told about how vacation is just a change of occupation…and yeah, it makes sense. I think I even despaired when I first heard it? Eh, more laughable me aside, “free time” is pretty much synonymous to “vacation,” making both terms matters that shouldn’t be taken as lightly as we usually do.

Yes, I really agree that vacation is a change of occupation.

Like, really, I have realized how much the darkness can start pulling my strings once I let myself go like a puppet without strings during my free time. Doing that while feeling troubled after discovering sharp bits of info about my first pieces of homework to deal with, along with being surrounded negative vibes floating around like how environmental pollution is nowadays, got me spitting very disturbing words of pride, lust, and wrath…words that I’m not gonna go into very deeper detail about.

Yes, they’re that bad, so please don’t ask about that further…unless you’re someone I consider trustworthy enough.

So yeah, with how tough it can be, we can call it a different brand of work time, therefore turning it into what’s probably the most hated thing of humanity, considering how frequently I encounter complaints regarding work, both online and offline. Even I myself have contributed such complaints, and that sort of thinking really turned my free time into more of a waste of time, leading into moments involving me being some self-righteous, Internet-obsessed dude with quite a lust for power, fame, control, and, of course, sex.

As much as I hate to admit it, I guess I really am not ready to get into a romantic relationship yet, considering the perverted habits I still have and should discuss with trustworthy enough people, like, say, my parents, whom I still foolishly doubt despite their tried and tested dedication for me and the rest of our family all these years of our life together. And hey, talk about pride-induced anxiety and procrastination. Real easy to trick myself with that, too, and then there’s me getting wrecked by things like slow computer processing combined with going for less important matters like immediately acting on my inspiration sparks for my Tobby activities, which I consider extracurricular. A bunch of times, I’ve thought that my parents can’t help me with certain troubling matters I have to deal with, which is understandable when I consider our imperfections, but still stupid because I haven’t even tried to ask for help when they’ve helped me deal with other troubling matters before, such as a bully that kept on bugging me during high school and me having to process a controversial piece of creative nonfiction and a bunch of responses to it for class. One can’t know where the ceiling really is unless it’s felt by the touch, you know. And sure, doing so, can be a pain, but that’s the way it goes. At least I know where it is once I touch it.

And hey, my stupid pride also made me scared about and protesting against my parents correcting me by stopping my bad computer habits via them taking my laptop and phone whenever bedtime comes, something which even I myself requested from them. No wonder they have a hard time dealing with me…

Yup, free time is quite a matter for me lately. It’s been an important point of discussion during my recent Confessions as well, with the priest reminding me about how every minute can be a minute of salvation or a minute of damnation, and I couldn’t help agreeing with him.

See, often, I had been scared of letting go of certain sinful things I’ve been doing during my free time. Some of those things are things I found hard to consider as sinful, making them tougher to remove, like those hard-to-remove stains that stick on the frying pan, either requiring careful removal with dishwashing soap and water if it’s on teflon, or hard scraping with dishwashing soap and water when it’s just uncoated steel. I even thought that they would just stay there forever as unchangeable parts of my life, just a natural part of who I am…but really, who am I kidding?

And now, I’m on a cliff, having to rappel my way down or, more likely, stick to the wall and climb down, having my arms and legs getting scraped by rocks and being strained by prolonged use. That’s also gonna be me during my free time, and if I didn’t know faith, then I would’ve just let myself drop and turn into a big red splat on the very distant ground, also letting myself seep into the depths of damnation because I let myself stay ignorant through claiming that I know better than The Best Writer of All Time a.k.a. God.

And again, I’m talking about free time here. If your butt, the biggest muscle in the body, lost all feeling while you thought about how free time is another heavy load you’ll have to deal with along with work, then don’t worry, ’cause I understand.

Still, we gotta recharge well and get up well. I mean, if we can’t improve, then I wouldn’t be here writing about this and you wouldn’t be here reading this, would we?

So yeah, I gotta think better about what to do with my precious free time, which is precious not because we can cut our moral restraints loose, but because we can reach true happiness better by spending it well along with our work time. With the setup I have now, I can do things like making friends at school with more consistency, and all I need now is to put good will in, with faith, patience, fortitude, and so many other blessings from God boosting it.

I also gotta think about how regular I should keep certain things, like this weekly reflection series, that monthly reflection series I prefer doing during month-ends, uploading writing and music stuff that take a considerable while to work on well, and me going through a bunch of creative content from others for entertainment and/or inspiration’s sake. And speaking of the creative content I choose to go through, that’s another matter I gotta take seriously, as they can influence how I think, even if they’re usually subtle there. There’s also the people I follow online and how often I should check for updates on them, too.

And again, I’m talking about free time here. It’s really easy to take it for granted, you know?

And hey, all this planning I’m talking about sure is easier said than done. For example, it’s easy to get lost into unnecessarily obliging myself to be rigid with an extracurricular activity like this, depriving myself of sleep while thinking that my required workload is that of, say, a celebrity artist or something like that, when I haven’t even proven my worth with smaller things like being more consistent with doing household chores, especially chores which I don’t need to be spoken to and reminded about so much just so that I would do them.

Heh, and I dream of having a happy family of my own while having my level of self-righteousness. I’m still not ready for that yet, alright, and I still got a long way to go until I can really fulfill that dream. I gotta bring my rigidity down and be more flexible, quickly thinking of and switching to more worthwhile things to do when something I’m working on is becoming a waste of time and energy.

But again, it’s easier said than done.

And once again, I’m talking about free time here.

So yeah, God Almighty keep on helping us.

Maintaining the Haven

Yet again, during a Sunday, though on my way to a Mass with my family and the prayer community we’re a part of, the saying “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” suddenly made more sense to me.

Well, I guess there was me also thinking about stuff to write about for my next reflection post. I kinda felt like I was running out of topics, really, especially with my mind spending a little too much time on my comp and on the Net again. Said overspending showed in things like me sneaking in bits of writing for this on my phone’s Notes feature…so yeah, I guess I should give thanks to God for using my phone’s kinda weakened battery to mess with my excessive desires.

Huh, now that makes me think about how laziness can kill motivation. And if you ask me, laziness isn’t doing nothing, but actually being unproductive. Like, really, one can be lazy in terms of sleeping!

But hey, I think I’m going tangential here, though considering what I want to talk about, perhaps I would end up tackling my other habits in life later on in this reflection.

So, cleaning up my room.

See, in my family’s house, I share a room with one of my younger brothers, specifically the one who’s also in college. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been subtly rubbing in his laziness in terms of keeping his stuff in order by trying to clean up for him without also politely telling him to clean his stuff up. I let out a lot of groans when the occasional time comes, times when I sweep out dust bunnies and pick up scattered and even hidden trash in our room. In other usual cases, I just leave his mess alone, just like that, thinking that he should just do everything ’cause he’s being such a messy guy…

And then I remember how there are other things that I can and should clean up, like those pieces of trash within the drawers we rarely clean up…and then there’s me remembering that it’s also my room, and not just my brother’s room.

Yeah, talk about a painful pride crusher.

But really, I gotta learn to clean myself more and more, or else I’d be more susceptible to sickness, and I’d also be stuck dumb with trying to teach others how to be clean. Sure, such a thing is probably not a decisive factor in improving my whole personal life, but a contributing factor still affects stuff, and they should not be underestimated as well.

And hey, the way I treat contributing factors still can say a lot about me, just like how bits of seemingly trivial info in my favorite stories are supposed to show a bigger picture. I guess contributing factors work that way too.

Hm, I seem to have gone on another tangent again, no? Well, whether or not that is case, I still want your honest constructive feedback.

Now, back to talking about cleaning my own room. Specifically, the obstacles in my way towards doing that right. And hey, I’ll try to talk about it like how my favorite stories do.

So, now’s some time for some questions and answers:

Q. The usual obstacles in my way towards actively cleaning my room when I have the time and energy?

A. Going online too much and waiting for cleaners too much.

Q. Why do I let those obstacles get in my way so much?

A. Because I still got a lot of important online work to do, and because there are people who should be doing cleaning instead of me.

Q. Speaking of cleaners, who are those people?

A. In my family’s house, it should be my brother. In my boarding house room, well, there are cleaners who come around from time to time.

Q. But what about the things I don’t want touched? And about my thoughts on my brother, why should he be cleaning the room?

A. For the former, well, fine, I do have to clean my own things up, especially since I know myself best when compared to other people. As for the latter, well, my brother’s a lazy butt who often forgets to bring his dirty plates out of the room and on to the kitchen sink, among other things.

Q. Okay, I guess my first answer is fair enough, but the second…Well, aren’t I forgetting those drawer and closet items which I haven’t been using for so long?

A. Uhh…but most of them are my brother’s.

Q. But I still have some that are mine, right?

A. …Yeah.

Q. And whose room is that again? My brother’s and…?

A. …Mine. But I still have more important work to do! Like with my comp! And online too!

Q. And what’s so important with my computer and online activities that I gotta forego cleaning the room?

A. Uhh…

Q. Come on, what am I gonna say?

A. JUSTICE!

Q. What?

A. A bunch of peeps out there are within reach of my amazing artistic potential, and I would like to develop it by creating and sharing and creating and sharing and…uhh…

Q. And what about that “JUSTICE!” I just screamed? What’s that got to do with this?

A. I GOTTA TEACH THOSE NUTS RIGHT AND BRING JUSTICE!

Q. Can my own self give me a detailed plan for that, then, please? Like, say, including how I’ll properly maintain my mind, body, and soul along the way and not succumb to the poisonous nuttiness that I want to defeat?

A. Uh…Uhh…Okay, you’re sounding just like Mom now, you know.

Q. Yes, it seems so, but aren’t I just trying to run away now at this point?

A. Okay, fine, I suck.

Q. I only suck?

A. Okay, I can improve too, so stop bugging me already!

So yeah, now’s a good time for me to get back to some actually productive work, no?
Also, God Almighty help me again. Sucking at tasks so ordinary, although not exactly a decisive factor, can still be a mark of my spiritual weaknesses. Thinking about that some more as well, I’ve realized that the capital sins that often get in my way lately are pride, lust, and sloth. I think too highly of myself, thinking that I’m way above doing ordinary tasks, even to the point of being a coward and lying to myself about what I can do when it comes to ordinary tasks. I long too much for fame and control, longing to keep on working on my online activities, desperate to get famous and powerful real quick, all while lying to myself that I’m doing things for the good of others. I groan a lot when I need to do chores, especially urgent ones, even blaming my tendency towards rigidity instead of fighting against said rigidity when I’m faced with such sudden things.

And yes, there is such a thing as lying to oneself. I myself still have difficulty with noticing such occurrences within me, and I think that my improved detection on those is pretty much a miracle being caused by God. So yeah, I thank God Almighty so much.

And hey, although I find this kinda awkward to say because of my dumb pride getting in my way when other people ask me to pray for them…well, I ask that you pray for me as well.

So yeah…honest constructive feedback is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated.

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. 🙂

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.

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…

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!