Sanctuary in the Boarding House

It can be difficult living in my boarding house room.

See, the lone bed in my single-occupancy boarding house room is one which has wooden fixtures that serve as shelves and study desks. With that in mind, the bedframe proper is situated over them, requiring a fence and a ladder on one side for safety and accessibility.

I find it tough, having to go up a ladder to get to my bed, though I guess having to sleep on the top bunk of a double decker in my family’s house made me more used to it. But what makes my boarding house bed notably difficult consists of things that can be shown by describing the ladder.

First, though, to have a reference, my height is around five-foot-nine. Now, with that in mind, imagine the ladder being taller than me by a few inches. That’s how high the bed is, and adding to the difficulty is the slant of the ladder, which stands close to ninety degrees. The bed length is also left with a few inches of space once my lying body is there, and the gap between my sitting height and the ceiling is also a few inches long.

The bed’s not the only difficult thing about living in my boarding house room, though.

One thing I enjoy about the boarding house I’m currently staying in is the Wi-Fi. The place doesn’t have a television, but even if a television were there, the presence of Wi-Fi would pull me harder than the presence of a TV.

Now, the struggle I have with the Wi-Fi in the boarding house is how the signal weakens once I’m in my room. Perhaps the walls have something to do with that, but hey, even though I’m not sure about why right now, the Wi-Fi signal is still weak when I’m in my room. My phone can only catch a working signal when I’m sitting close to the door, at least, and although my laptop can catch a working signal better there, it tends to be intermittent, giving me tough times with sudden bouts of disconnection and inaccessibility. With all that, I’m better off being in the common room if I need to use the Internet more efficiently.

I think I’ve complained about those things to my parents before, and I think I’ve mentioned the Internet connection problem to the landlord as well, but I don’t really feel like bothering to complain about those things further than all that.

I mean, with the height between my bed and my study desk, I feel like I can differentiate work and rest much more easily now! Bringing my laptop up to the spot where I should just rest feels more awkward with that setup, and I’d be more comfortable sitting on a chair with the laptop in front of me than trying to curl up while using my laptop within few inches of leeway.

Also, with the weaker Wi-Fi signal in my room, I can better concentrate on doing work that doesn’t need much in terms of Internet connection, particularly homework! And if I need a stronger signal, the common room’s there to serve me better and also keep me more in line, keeping me farther away from certain bad habits I want to quit!

So yeah, I guess that’s why I’ve been getting more used to life at the boarding house. That, and I think prayer has been helping me out pretty well, too. The room’s also conducive for such too, especially with the images of Jesus and Mary on the upper level of my two-level shelf/study desk underneath my bed, images which I let my mother place when we first moved my things into the place.

Still, I gotta keep on putting a good amount of effort towards improving myself. I still struggle with things like getting enough sleep and keeping myself from wasting time on foolish attempts at creative works, things made more obvious by the limits of my room when I try to mess around.

Hm, my room’s quite a training ground, then, no?

Well, with that, God Almighty keep on helping us!

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Manners are Always Groovy

Recently, a professor asked me to be quiet during class.

To be more specific, her voice back then when she asked me to do so had some spiking intonations. Her arms would’ve caused banging sounds on the table if she were swinging them down there too.

What did I say back then? Well, that’s not really the point. Maybe it was good, maybe it was bad, but still, that’s not really the point.

I mean, come on, what’s the point of what I said back then if I drove it in right while she was delivering some very important notes to the class?

In other words, I ruined her groove. She did get back into her groove, but I can’t deny that I ruined it. Having a ruined groove sucks very much, you know?

Like, really, I should know, considering how I feel when I myself get interrupted while I’m doing stuff I consider important. It’s like being in the middle of an tough and epic battle in a game like, say, Pokemon, and the battle’s so tough and epic that the time it would take for me before I can save my game data will take a considerable while, but then someone snatches my gaming system while telling me to go do stuff like household chores.

Well, stuff like playing video games aren’t really stuff to classify as important in the grander scale of things right now, but hey, that doesn’t really take the importance of manners away, still. Even if I’d act immature by not understanding you, doing something tactless is still immature and will not help as much as we’d like to think. I can resist retaliating with more immaturity, yeah, but I would still feel the struggle because I’m not being understood well.

I mean, even if Prof sounded pissed back then, she still managed to avoid saying stronger words like “Shut up!” Such a thing likely helped in getting me to control myself better afterwards despite me having to deal with wounded pride, you know?

So yeah, manners and politeness…Now that I think about it, I guess I really take them for granted more than I think, especially considering how I interact with my family when they try to teach me such things. I think about myself and what I think is right too much, inflating my pride and all that, and my pride tends to make a lot of others’ actions seem ruder than they actually are. For example, I groan when they try to point out the importance of seemingly trivial things like who goes first when it comes to introducing people and not making mixture mountains out of my food during fine dining.

Sure, those things seem trivial, but my ignorance of them, if not dealt with properly, will hit me hard and harder once I meet more and more people. I may not know a lot of the consequences right now, but considering my level of social inclination and how people like my parents and one of my brothers are more socially inclined than me, I think crushing my pride and having some faith in others really is a better idea in my life.

And hey, that reminds me of how I need to be more critical of not only my words, but also how I deliver my words. At times, I think that using cruder words would deliver my point better, but there’s such a thing as overkill, and such a thing is as bad as not saying anything at all during the right times, considering my conflicting feelings when I have to listen to people with good points yet crude delivery. At times, I feel as if suddenly cutting in feels groovy, but if I don’t get the other person’s groove, then my groove is more likely to be noise than music, with that interruption incident with my professor being a very good example. And at times, being loud with my fun seems like something to be happy about, but not everyone thinks the same way I do, and I gotta acknowledge things like my parents tapping my shoulder and quietly telling me to keep my volume down.

I still have a long way to go, alright, especially considering how I still feel the sting of the pride that shouldn’t be in me even when my parents ask me to use my indoor voice while expressing their understanding of my inclinations toward increasing my volume whenever I become more enthusiastic.

Now, more about that recent time when my professor asked me to be quiet because I interrupted her very hard, I felt nervousness while being quiet after that despite feeling irritation, particularly when she started talking about some serious social issues. I could feel the understandable yet still toxic wrath at the corruption of society, particularly its leaders, and even though I wanted to say that each of us are leaders in a way as well, I knew that I still have a lot to learn, and that speaking my mind out would likely lead to a bigger explosion that would put the progress of my education in danger.

Indeed, for me to learn manners and politeness better, I have to look at others more than I look at myself. Such reminds me of something I learned in poetry classes, and that something is the importance of learning about tradition before criticizing and experimenting.

And speaking of learning about tradition – particularly in terms of theory – in my studies as a Creative Writing student, it’s like learning manners and politeness, alright. My professors have talked about how most students don’t like learning about that, reminding me of how I also need to have some faith in my professors despite their imperfections, for they know better than I do when it comes to becoming the proper writer I should be. And tradition may not be perfect, but they have tried and tested stuff, and with all that, we aim to work towards improving it more and more.

Some people say that most of us peeps these days don’t use common sense, but if you ask me, I think that we use a form of common sense that needs to be shaped better every single day of our lives.

And before I even try to help in shaping that groovy thing called “common sense” better, why should I claim that I know what being groovy is when I don’t know what others consider groovy? Why should I claim that I understand others when I don’t want to interact with others? Why should I claim that I know what better manners are when I don’t know what society considers good manners?

And why even claim that I’m self-made when my existence in this world is something that never would’ve happened if it weren’t because of others as well?

Yes, moments like these remind me of how essential manners and politeness are in our lives…and learning them better also requires interacting with and learning from others, something which we struggle with a lot because of things like pride.

So yes, God Almighty keep on helping us all, for I don’t think we’d ever end up learning if we don’t have things like faith.

A Certain Weekly Return Commute

It was a Thursday, but the day after it was a Muslim holiday, which also meant a long weekend.

Knowing that, I packed up my dirty clothes into the new traveling bag my maternal grandmother bought for me, a bag which, for convenience, I also brought to the sole class (Professional Writing, taught by a favorite storytelling professor of mine) I had on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Leaving the blue-green bag I used for most school days at the boarding house which I’ve been getting more used to, I also put the stuff I would bring with me to my family’s house into the pink bag I used for such return trips, including a book to read for my leisure in the provincial bus ride part of that expected long ride through the large yet tight roads of Metro Manila.

Though really, yet again, my earphones and the iPod Shuffle it was connected to took most of my leisure attention during said provincial bus ride segment during that day. It wasn’t like the airconditioned bus didn’t have its lights on as the night began covering the sky, nor did I find no fun in finding out more about how local pieces of fiction are doing lately, but I guess I was distracting myself a little too much about what I’ll be doing in the future, thinking about possible music cover projects and fanfiction ideas, stuff that felt easier to do with my favorite music filling my ears…but felt harder to do when I thought about how much stuff I had on my plate already.

Anyway, I still had to keep my attention up for the bus conductor, especially when he started asking for drop-off points, distributing tickets, and collecting fares.

And speaking of paying attention to the bus conductor, I paid him more attention than usual, as he was unable to give me a proper amount of change for a long while. Even if he managed to give me my change by the time the bus had gone past the tollgate to the city where my family and I lived, I don’t think I felt impatience at the level of exploding.

Now that sort of thing makes me think of how much all those long commutes through Metro Manila have made me more reflective. I mean, that time with the conductor wasn’t the first time I had to wait for a very long while for my change, and thinking about it some more now, I guess we’re in the same boat, being people with not enough smaller pieces of money for an easier transaction.

Still, I had more active distractions during that long wait, a wait which took around four hours, a length of time which was longer than the usual one-and-a-half to three hours I went through on one-way trips from my family’s house to my university and vice-versa. That sort of thing reminds me of my dad’s talk about how days like paydays and holidays usually had more traffic, so I guess I should have expected the longer wait, especially since a long weekend was coming.

Now, as for other ways in which I managed to get myself distracted, well, there was the TV, which I looked at while having to look over my shoulder because of how my seat had me facing the back, a part of the unusual seating arrangement of the low-floor bus I was riding. It did make ignoring the TV easier when the show started going boring for me, though. For example, there was a revenge drama at one point, but I did spend some time having my eyes on that, probably because a revenge-centered drama was something I found unusual in Philippine television. Said revenge drama I was watching was showing a confrontation between the deceptive and grudge-holding protagonist woman and the corrupt and crazed politician antagonist man the protagonist was driving crazy, and then there were the presences of the protagonist’s allies interfering with her plans, much to her irritation when they came to rescue her from the crazy politician’s attempts at violating her.

If you find yourself confused by the situation in that show because of my explanation there, well, I guess that’s to be expected from plots involving lots of liars, regardless of whether or not you consider those some of those liars as good people. And to be honest, plots like those are stuff that I want to make fun of through story-writing, because well-intentioned or not, lying is a pitfall that we often fall into.

Also, there was the evening news, but I’ve been paying less attention to news lately, especially when I’m not accompanied by other people who can process the stuff better than I can. Oftentimes, all I want to know are the headlines, as I think that I need to be in the loop somewhat, at least, especially at my age. Still, if it’s interesting enough, then I’ll go deeper past the headline of a news piece. That’s pretty much how I deal with news because most news pieces I encounter are stuff I find particularly draining, and/or stuff that are like hammers driving nails in too much. For example, I find people name-calling other people, and although I can understand why such things would happen and why it would even seem like a good thing, I’ve already found myself tired a lot of times by the hypocrisy of division attempts for the sake of unity, especially since I have noticed myself doing such things before…like those embarrassing comments I left on a bunch of political posts I shared on social media before.

Yes, I thank God very much for having my parents around to help me process such things better…

Oh, and on my commutes, I can’t really use gadgets bigger than my phone, so…yeah, I was also distracting myself with my phone during that Thursday evening. In particular, I was distracting myself with a game there, especially since I couldn’t access the Net much. It was a cat-themed high-score puzzle game, and it’s surprisingly entertaining despite my weak inclination towards high-score games…probably because it’s not fast-paced like infinite runners. That, and it has cats. I like cats very much, you know.

And so, with all those distractions, I managed to endure the pain building up in my rear from all those prolonged hours of sitting until the bus arrived at my stop. At least I hadn’t drank too much water before the trip, or else I would’ve ended up having an awkward time with wet pants again like I did once semesters ago. I had also gotten the proper amount of change from the conductor as well. Then, having enough money to spare and interest in buying some pizza from the recently set-up Papa John’s near where I lived…well, I decided to buy a promo set that consisted of three boxes of pizza, an order I made which ended up requiring me to wait for a shorter yet still considerable while again because of long preparation plus high demand.

Still, the pizza didn’t disappoint. I texted my parents about how I was buying pizza and going to arrive at a later time as well. But at the end of the day, something got me worrying very much, and it wasn’t the whole long commute back home. The problem, well…

I think I’ve been eating too much lately (Again, the pizza didn’t disappoint)…and I need a lot more sleep…which I deprived myself of during that night via extracurricular use of the computer (read: writing a month-end blog post I could’ve written the next day, because hey, months have two ends, and if there’s the end of the month, then there’s the start of the month).

Yup, I still have a long way to go, alright.

God Almighty keep on helping us all.

Spiritual Grinding

A dear aunt of mine who lives in Texas once told me that she and her family doesn’t watch news on TV, and that they also don’t have cable TV. A reason she has for that was how emotionally draining the news could be, making it a waste of time, especially with her still having a lot of self issues to deal with. Instead, she and her family get their news from apps and the Internet, something which had me looking at the Internet in a better light. Of course, she and I still know that the Internet isn’t perfect, considering the usual concerned elder’s warning I kept in mind, which she gave along with comparing it to a dangerous marketplace, something which I responded to by expressing how I likened it to a nightclub.

Recently, though, I remembered that as I was looking for help in dealing with the moral and spiritual struggles I had to face at school. That also got me asking my aunt a question:

“If the emotionally draining stuff you have to deal with isn’t like a TV that you can switch off and put away conveniently, then what do you think would be good ways to deal with such problems?”

My aunt then called that a great question, and then she pointed out how much of a control freak I was, considering all the other stuff I told her about as I sought guidance from her. Then, as a start, she asked to me pray the Serenity Prayer frequently:

“O God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time. Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace. Taking, as He did, the sinful world as it is, not as I would have it. Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him forever.”

As for how I responded to all that, well, I easily took it and thanked my aunt for that. If I were my younger self, though, then I would probably end up doing some more angst-surfing the Net alone in my room and skipping classes while thinking that I’m upholding actual justice for me and society.

Me as I am now still has a long way to go, though. That question I asked my aunt was something that also came out of having to deal with emotionally draining and spiritually challenging stuff at school. I’ve had to listen to professors and schoolmates expressing their discontent towards the government and its vocally foolish supporters yet again, and at a higher frequency too, considering recent incidents. And although I would agree that there are things that the government of my country is not doing well at, I didn’t sit well with the idea of doing things like name-calling and dehumanizing government officials, fellow humans with rights whom we claimed to be fighting for. Those who claimed to be fighting for justice that way ended up looking no different from the ones they considered their enemies, and it was something sickening that also made feel regret towards pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in the university I’m in. They try to fight for the rights of many fellow humans by dehumanizing some fellow humans as well, and the thought of that made me let out bitter laughs.

But you know what I just did there? I was pretty much talking just like they did, portraying fellow foolish humans like they’re hopeless cases. Maybe it’s not as bad as they tend to do, but it’s still bad. I distorted their faces further, faces I’m not trying to understand as much as I should because of my pride that wants to lord my high ground over them – even if I do have the moral high ground – via snappy comebacks and such. I can win the earthly battle that way, sure, but I would lose in the spiritual war that way as well.

If we were to talk about my current state of spiritual affairs in role-playing video game terms, I’m not grinding for experience points well. Like, instead of taking my time on defeating mobs with levels nearer to my own current level until I’m strong enough to handle a boss, I run away from them a lot while still aiming to defeat a boss. That’s also something which I remember doing during one Final Fantasy V playthrough I ended up giving up on years ago.

And so, “Do your ordinary duties extraordinarily well” rings true yet again. The popularly despised homework is also becoming more a source of relief for me, and I find it easier to look for the good within others, even within non-believers. Like grinding in role-playing video games, it can seem tedious, sure, but that would be the case if I don’t have a good end in mind and making sure that I don’t lose my handle on the basic controls and moves I tend to take for granted.

Like, really, the importance of the basics hit me hard when I have to go through things like when I have to deeply think about things like how fiction works in our lives so much that it’s a very important part of our lives, how a short story is different from the novel aside from word count, and why we aspiring creative writers have to learn about the theoretical aspects of creative writing.

So yeah, trying to speak with the help of gaming terms again, all the spiritual chaos I have to deal with from other people at school and the rest of society so far are the mobs. They can overwhelm me if I don’t have a good handle on the basic controls and moves. I know they’ll come around to mess with me, but they still tend to appear suddenly. They’re also easier to deal with when I have allies around, especially allies with varying skillsets.

As for the bosses of spiritual chaos? Well, I think they’re the chaos within me. Defeating mobs and gaining enough experience to fight a boss is like how I manage to face and beat my own faults better. Fighting with the help of a party of allies also becomes more important there, too.

Cheat codes? I don’t think that’s possible here, though, even if I try to scream and beg for such. God’s way better than the best programmers here on earth, and with how He works, there certainly are proper ways to overcome the challenges we face in life, and if we’re unable to find them, then we’re just not trying hard enough.

Like, for example, not letting others help me well. It’s something I’ve done before, even to the point of considering them dead weight. I guess I can say that I was doing technique spamming or using the same moveset over and over like it’s the one true solution to all my problems in life. That sort of thing can be seen in how angsty I’ve been in the past, which involved me that being some edgy nut with a habit of frowning and glaring would burn down all the ill will that others have.

There’s also my rigidity in terms of change, particularly sudden ones, combined with giving in a lot to bad impulses. It’s like being underprepared in terms of items and equipment while also insisting on using a set of equipment that’s less likely to help me beat a certain sort of enemy, and/or just attacking and attacking without taking caution and watching out for the enemy changing their tactics and using my recklessness against me. For example, there’s me still insisting on working on this despite depriving myself of sleep like its some overdue paid work I have to finish, which isn’t what this reflection series is supposed to be. I have a hard time accepting that I have to put aside important yet extracurricular activities like this for another time in favor of more basic yet still important things, like making sure I eat enough, exercise enough, study enough, and sleep enough.

So yeah, I guess the Run option and all those escape spells and items are things I won’t be needing to use very much in my life…

Now, time to get back to grinding…though maybe I should take some time to change equipment, stock up on items, and get some rest first. That, and revise my tactics and strategies as well, especially with the help of my partymates.

Also, God Almighty keep on helping us all.

Fighting with the Fast Pace

I think I have quite a complicated relationship with the fast pace.

First off, childhood had me admiring it because of all those fight scenes and other motion picture scenes which involved a lot of spinning and zipping shots, scenes which emphasized the powers within combatants and the stakes their battles had. Some slow motion shots in between had me appreciating them even more, boosting the figurative skyrocket I was on. Countering a bunch of rushing minions with limb movements just as quick or even quicker was also quite a sight, adding up to my admiration for the faster and nimbler heroes even more.

Indeed, seeing such quick heroes made me want to be like them. I even thought it would be so easy, that I could be as quick as them in a bunch of consecutive blinks and random swings.

I guess God decided to teach me about the responsibilities behind the fast pace by letting me get injured because of me breaking a mirror when I tried to imitate people like Jackie Chan when I was a kid. It wasn’t too bad, though, as I only got out with a scar in my armpit, but now that I look back at it, I think it was quite the start of a bunch of lessons from God about the fast pace.

Now, though, I think back on my moments with the more physical fast pace through the years. The notable ones are moments when I found myself having my eyes widening and looking straight forward, while my hands held on to the backrest of my seat as I rode a car being driven at a speed above the speed limit.

Really, those moments now make me think of how fleeting life can be and how we forget to check how we’re moving at times. I’m also thinking that perhaps the ease in which passengers can tell how manageable the speed of the vehicle they’re riding is something that can remind us of how we need other people at times to straighten us out and all that. It’s easy for us to get lost in our own ego, and it’s hard for us to get out of it, you know.

Heh, that also reminds me of a recent experience I had with a tricycle as I went back to my boarding house. At one point, the tricycle I was riding went faster than I was used to, and I was having doubts about whether or not such a speed was within the speed limit in the area. I felt like I could fly out and roll and bounce on the road if I didn’t hold on to something tightly enough, and I wanted to take some time to express my doubts to the driver, but I was more frozen by the fear which caught me as fast as the tricycle was going.

Hm, perhaps things like that are why I’m less interested in action shows now. They also remind me of the responsibility which comes with power, too, and they make me wanna slow down, pause, and/or stop for a while to think about how I’ve been handling myself and how I’ve been utilizing and developing my talents and skills.

Ah, and I remember how I’ve been so much in a rush to gain fame and control and all that. I remember my past attempts at blogging and posting creative works online, stuff which involved a lot of embarrassing stuff like overly direct attempts at poetry and trope-overdosed attempts at fiction, stuff that weren’t revised very much as well. That, and how nosey I was when it came to dealing with other people and their troubles, something which still bothers me today. Like, it reminds me of the people I tend to face in uni, people who are quite emotional about the problems of society, so much that me trying to shut them up would just make me hypocritical…and such moments are moments when I find a force stronger than mine sending me from motion to zero motion.

In other words, those moments are the moments when I crash.

Yeah, such are my struggles with the fast pace. And up until now, I haven’t even mentioned people reminding me a lot about the importance of talking slower, especially in the typical speech routines.

Now, if we’re to talk about the things which first come to my mind when the fast pace is mentioned, there’s that one song by K-Pop boyband Seventeen, which now reminds me of how I also have struggles with the fast pace in terms of developing the romantic part of my life. I do see myself having a family of my own in the future, but I’ve let the fast pace become an obstacle to me there. As much as I think and say that I don’t like being carried away by the thought of being lame as a virgin and such stuff, I’m pretty much being carried away by that sort of flawed thinking, which is probably because of me wanting to skip the tough stuff in finding truly good people to have in my life.

Heh, I guess the tangle that is my ideas regarding my ideal type of girl makes some more sense now, then. And I thank God some more for the rejections and turn-offs I’ve had in the past, too.

Oh, and I guess there’s that piece of childhood left within me, considering how I still like fast-paced rock songs like the ones from the Kagerou Project. Though with how such songs have gotten me through life, I guess their influence is okay as long as they don’t work in a way that will lead me to ruin. Like, I shouldn’t be acting at the level of a stalker looking through binoculars on someone I like every single second of every single day, if you get what I mean.

Yup, I do think the fast pace can be good at times. But hey, I think such a pace fits better in bursts or a few moments with intervals that are quite far from each other. It’s like using nitrous boost in clearer and straighter roads in racing video games, drawing from my experience with such games.

And as an attempt at presenting a more concrete example of using the fast pace well, I think making my mind skip out on processing some others’ rants that I don’t need to take to heart so much is something that I need a lot more than I think. Into one ear and out of the other, as I’ve been told before.

Also, my fast-paced talking moments and the reminders about me that often annoyed me have inspired me to try rapping. Whether others like it or not, I can see potential in it, and I think I feel a calling coming from there too, especially with me wanting to put my fast-paced talking to better use.

Hm, maybe my relationship with the fast pace isn’t as complicated as I thought.

Still, I gotta learn a lot more. Whatever I should be in the future, be it a martial artist or a rapper or some other occupation, I still gotta learn my way towards reaching that, especially with the help of other people…and God, of course.

So yeah, God Almighty help us again. 🙂

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.

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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