We’ve Forgotten How Great It Is To Be a Catholic Woman

Mama Mary comes to mind, by the way. 🙂

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It is difficult to be a woman today, especially a Christian woman. It’s no wonder Catholics are confused about who they are. The Church boldly declares feminine traits are part of a woman’s core identity, deeply rooted in their souls, not just apparent in their physical appearance. Saint John Paul II, in his letter On the Dignity and Vocation of Women, explains God created women to be different but equal to men as complementary partners, be it as married or religious/consecrated or single women.

Our contemporary culture opposes this view as misogynistic. Some feminists promote the idea that women are born as blank slates with exactly the same traits as men, dismissing femininity as simply learned behaviour. If this were not confusing enough, society now toys with the idea of a blending of genders. We have somehow lost the truth about how great being a woman actually is.

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Nature…

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Breaks and Sudden Changes

I haven’t updated this reflection series by the usual weekly frequency lately, and it’s honestly something that’s been irking me. Furthermore, I considered ending this series because of that.

But now that I think about it, perhaps such breaks and sudden changes are part of the ordinary as well, no? I was thinking about saying that I write better with fiction, and that I only write about extraordinary things, but this sort of writing I’m trying to do tries to draw techniques from writing fiction, and writing about ordinary things would lead to realizations about extraordinary things.

I am uncertain about how I would update this from now on, though. But who am I writing for, anyway? What am I expecting? Am I expecting the world to change greatly and for the better overnight? Am I writing for a large audience expecting me to post something regularly? Really, even though I thought of ending this series by saying that I feel like I’ve been showing off and being hypocritical and such, that attempt at an excuse also sounds like a hypocritical statement now, as I think of myself as an entitled celebrity or something.

I also have more important things to do outside this as well. There’s school, there’s household work, there’s Mass (and in fact, I ended up being really late for Mass because I put more vigilance into working on my previous entry to this series), and so much more. It’s easy to blame society for this being delayed and even ended, but to be fair, this is more of an extracurricular activity, and I can still have conversations about spiritual things with other people outside the Internet.

With how I’m doing now, putting my daily responsibilities at risk for the sake of activities like this, I end up falling deeper into laziness through frustration over inabilities with continuing this, an example of such falling having happened recently, when my mother called me about buying some chemistry equipment for my sister. I know the importance of it, and I understand that said equipment are cheaper in the university store, but I easily became irritated when I stuffed in thoughts about whether or not I have enough money to afford the equipment I needed to buy. And at the time of the phone call, I was working on this entry as well.

Yes, I think I should change up the way I write my next entries for this series. I am not sure about whether or not there would be people who would care to comment on this right now, but regardless, I need to do deeper reflections, and a change of routine here is important, I think.

Indeed, I need to practice what I preach.

So yeah, God Almighty keep on helping us all.

The Not-So-Flashiness of Godly Glory

In my reflections on the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary, there’s something I realized as I thought more about the surrounding circumstances and the more specific details of those Mysteries.

See, one thing that probably makes them labeled as Mysteries…is how much ordinary they had.

Think about it:

  1. In the telling of how Jesus rose from the dead, there was no vivid and close-up depiction of it. He was shown again resurrected, sure, but the Resurrection proper was never shown past the whole earthquake and message at His tomb (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-11, Luke 24:1-11, John 20:1-18). Even Mary Magdalene, whom Jesus appeared to on that same day, did not recognize Jesus so easily, thinking that He was just some gardener when she saw Him after she wept to two angels about His disappearance (John 20:11-18).
  2. The Apostles were reminded by angels to get to work with preaching and all after Jesus ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:6-11). In other words, ordinary life still went on, even after such marvelous events.
  3. Of all the amazing abilities to particularly show the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Apostles having right after they got descended upon by the fires of the Holy Spirit, emphasis was put on the ability to speak well in other languages (Acts 2:1-12).
  4. The Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed into Heaven, body and soul together. In other words, she didn’t leave a corpse behind when her life on earth reached its end.
  5. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Queen of All Saints, and where you would find her speaking in the Bible, you would also find her being confused about God and His actions, followed by obeying, supporting, and even praising God without so much question.

Now, if I were to think about those with the mindset of someone looking for blinding lights or, at least, empirical evidence in the search for the existence of the great glory of God Almighty, then I would probably find myself doubting and disappointed. And if I were looking for a whipping woman with a mob under her heels, then I would also be doubting and disappointed by Mama Mary.

Like, really, the hatred held by that proud being named Satan makes more sense that way. With that sort of thinking, followers of God Almighty would seem like practically invisible and nodnut followers of some faceless ruler dude who makes the citizens underneath him do mundane and dirty work over and over until they die.

So yes, believing in God and following Him really is like walking on water while facing the wind, which dear Saint Peter failed at before (Matthew 14:29-31). Oh, and it also makes me think that God really has an awesomely humbling sense of humor, considering how doing ordinary duties extraordinarily well (which was notably encouraged by Saint John Bosco) can be compared to walking on water while facing the wind.

And yes, being properly ordinary still feels that way to me. I don’t know everything that’ll happen to me next, and the twists and turns of life still are quite a puzzle. I wish I could finish everything in one fell swoop, but that sort of thinking would just lead me to square one at best or Hell at worst. Being properly ordinary feels even more challenging when I think about how to do it while being an artist as well.

But still, I do believe that I’ve been helped by God before, and that I can prove that in ways so many more than I think, especially since He values the ordinary so much.

So yeah, God Almighty keep on helping us all. 🙂

As Basic as Eating

It was just recently when I began to seriously wonder about why Jesus Christ decided to have something as ordinary as eating as the core part of a Sacrament.

Yes, I do know and believe that the Mass is one sacred activity, but if I were someone looking forward to more explosive sounds and blinding lights in our quest for divine salvation and eternal life, I think I would also end up questioning the worth of gathering in one place, listening to readings, and then eating.

Yes, eating. After that and everything else that came before it, we go back to our regular life programs. There’s the change of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ during the Mass, yeah, but it can be easy to take for granted, especially since there’s none of those flashy and spectacular sensory effects accompanying the Consecration…well, unless you count the sacristan’s bell-ringing as flashy and spectacular, but that would probably be considered negligible by the popular lover of bright sparkles and booming shockwaves.

So yeah, during my continued endeavors at praying the Rosary daily (which is tough, even if I haven’t exactly broken my current streak, mostly because I waste my time on things like hanging around with questionable people and material online for the sake of pride and such), I had those thoughts about the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Not like I felt disappointment, though, as I actually realized more about the true level of difficulty that we need to face to truly get to Heaven when I had those thoughts.

Think about it: Eating is pretty much the most basic form of nourishment, and we people have to eat three balanced meals a day. And then there’s Jesus, instituting the Holy Eucharist as one of the essentials in Catholic life, the core of it all being a mealtime with His Body and Blood as the main course. And sure, Sunday Masses are the required Eucharistic attendance, but don’t you think there’s something to be said about something as basic as eating being that important a task?

And hey, don’t we easily take the basics for granted? I can remember how easy it has been for me to have an eating routine that goes from not eating much to eating too much like a seesaw. I don’t eat much when I want to focus on my studies and my Tobby stuff without a lot of disturbance, and I eat too much when I come to eat after those periods. There’s also my choices of food, which has a load of carbs, oil, and sugar lately, tipping the scales out of balance. And then there’s socialization during mealtimes, which I haven’t been appreciating as much as I should, considering things like my annoyance at my family complaining – even if they’re mostly through jokes – about diet struggles and such.

Now, my dad’s talks about less fortunate people come to mind again, with them eating the scraps they can get, and then there’s me, putting myself in a cycle of fattening up and then lazing around.

Yeah, the Eucharist got me thinking more about properly appreciating the basics, alright. Oh, and in the Eucharist, we eat, and we eat something that doesn’t seem much. It’s easy to question it, to call it a cheap lie, but in that, we can see the everyday challenge that God presents us. It reminds me of John 20:29, which is Jesus’ response to the once doubting Thomas after He appeared to him and the rest of His disciples: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

Indeed, it makes me think more about how there really is beauty in the ordinary.

So yeah, God Almighty help us some more. 🙂

Dining Table Tales

The importance of the dining table, particularly in terms of mealtimes with the family, was something that I easily took for granted at first. It’s something to be expected, I guess, with taking the learning of eating at face value during childhood.

Then, years later, came those commercials by a certain locally notable noodle brand which also advocated mealtimes with the family. Said commericals often presented lonely scenes of kids and their parents underneath dim and shadowy lighting plus stiff and feeble (or worse, shouting and distancing – like, there was one commercial where the kid’s side of the table stretched back farther and farther every time his parents shouted with rage) exchanges of words in the midst of clinking and clanking of utensils on food and on the table. Following those scenes would be some advising text or a celebrity endorser reminding about family mealtimes at the dining table being an important part of family life, and they worked well, indeed, even to the point of convincing my parents, as far as I remember.

And although we’re not that consistent in terms of having at least one mealtime together as a family daily, especially since there are factors like us university students tending to spend more time outside the family lately, I think all of us have a significant amount of understanding regarding the value of eating meals with other people. Mom and Dad often call us to eat together when the opportunity is there, and they would even have one of us kids call the rest of the family (and yes, that also includes the extended family and even – back when we had such – the househelp) if there are members who still need to be called. Along with eating second helpings or being reminded to leave over some for those who haven’t eaten yet, we would do things like talking about our recent activities, teasing and reminding each other about our physical fitness, and reminiscing about our younger years.

The value of all those things become more noticeable to me when I eat alone, especially in open places, the silence feeling like a more deafening thing there.

I can remember how my throat easily went dry from all the rapid-fire respiration whenever I hung out with my friends, who would joke and/or ask about who would the “manlilibre” be for our munchtimes if the host’s parents weren’t the ones preparing the food. I can also remember smiling, laughing, and leaning back more and more whenever I discovered and rediscovered memories like how much of a tough and competitive girl my mother was during her younger years, the funny situations my parents found themselves in when they met certain former classmates again after so many years, and all the attention-grabbing stuff that we kids did back when we were more under the care of adults.

Indeed, I have overlooked something so beautifully ordinary. No wonder Pope Francis encourages having good mealtimes with the family as well.

And yeah, I do know that I’ll have to strike out on my own eventually…so I guess I need to work harder and better in terms of making friends and all that while living life outside the family. Mealtimes with trustworthy people contains more delicious eating, after all.

To be honest, though, the struggle I have with trying to make friends outside my family’s house is pretty much the fear of seeing other people’s dark sides, I think. I don’t think that the problem is how the dining table is also a stress relief venue, though. I’ve learned of heavy tales from my family while at the dinner table, and we’ve dealt with that a lot of times without too much trouble, our voices leveled and our faces focused as we try to understand and respond to the situation to the best of our ability, so why can’t I do that as well with people outside my family?

Hm, perhaps it is because I have a hard time forgiving myself whenever I find that I’m unable to form a proper response in delivery and content to people I’m not used to. Burying myself so much in the shame, I begin wishing that people would just stop talking with me or avoid talking near my earshot.

Perhaps it is also because I don’t want to try understanding the other person, especially when they hold beliefs that I don’t like. I put more effort into avoiding their presence rather than seeing how much I can lead them towards better dialogue, lying to myself about how I know everything about what I can really do.

And perhaps there’s my control freak issues messing with me again, going narrow-minded about the people I want to hang out with. I sit down and wait for them to do this and that, but I don’t bother diving into understanding how they work their lives out, making me sink lower and lower into misconceptions and lack of breath because of my weight which increases because of my gloomy laziness.

In other words: Perhaps it’s pride again.

Hmm…perhaps I should go offer some hot chocolate to a housemate in the boarding house sometime?

Well, anyway, God Almighty keep on helping us all. 🙂

Crossing Out

Among the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary, the Fourth has captured a significant amount of my interest lately.

In particular, what got me trying to think deeper was my memories of the Stations of the Cross which involved that event: Jesus falling thrice while carrying the cross, Jesus meeting His Blessed Mother, Simon of Cyrene being taken by the executioners to help Jesus in carrying the cross, a woman named Veronica wiping Jesus’ blood-and-sweat-stained face along the way, and Jesus consoling the crying women of Jerusalem. Along with all those, there was that declaration of His in Luke 9:23, which went “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Likening carrying one’s cross to living a good ordinary life while thinking about all that, I also start to think that Jesus really understands how hard that would be for us. We’ll fall repeatedly. We’ll need help from others at times. Our families would have a hard time witnessing us taking in the reality of the struggle that is trying to live a good ordinary life. And even with all that, we’ll still need to prioritize the good of others over our own, all while we’re striving to properly finish the jobs we need to fulfill.

Following the Carrying of the Cross in the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary is Jesus’ Crucifixion, and it should be noted that crucifixion was the most humiliating form of capital punishment in Jesus’ time.

And so, thinking about how a good ordinary life would be that humilating in the eyes of the world, I think I can guess how that would go.

To be honest, I still have moments when I feel alienation while interacting with other people, and even with my own family as well. I tend to feel out of place among the youths I interact with, whether online or offline, because I like to think about properly dealing with things we often grumble about, such as chores, homework, work, societal issues, and all that. I even have a growing disdain for all their loud complaining about those things, even though they do present problems that need to be thought about and dealt with. And speaking of which, there’s the popular confrontational and sniping attitudes which we, whether or not we’re well-intentioned or ill-intentioned, like to take into our moral battles.

Yes, I feel scared about saying that I don’t want to have those attitudes anymore. And I guess that’s also pride trying to get in the way again, trying to get me to turn this into me showing off. Yeah, I value confidence, but I have a feeling that I’m still struggling with keeping my own in the thin line between underconfidence and overconfidence, considering things like some stuff I’ve posted online. There’s also me wanting to call out certain people and paint them as hypocritical and foolish and all, but my growing dislike for things like sarcasm despite having grown some habits with that has been making feel like I’m off-balance whenever I realize that they’re in action.

Yeah, I guess that’s why wanting to become more flashy has become more tempting lately…I struggle with the crazy desire to put down fellow sinners like I’m slamming a giant iron hammer on them, all while being scared to admit that I wish for them to rot in place after putting them down…

Humility and forgiveness…they’re such hard concepts to grasp, no?

But nothing good would come out of staying down after falling. I’ve already experienced true goodness in my life before, too, and that’s already enough reason for me to keep going…to keep struggling.

Yeah, God’s road is a road to humiliation, I know…and it hurts to admit it by trying to practice what I preach.

And now, I guess I should stop with this level of dramatic tone. I get the feeling that I’ll be defeating the purpose of this weekly reflection series if I keep going with this moping…

So yeah, God Almighty keep on helping us all.

The Gold that is Humble Silence

To be honest, I’m not quite a supporter of the dominant – or, at least, very noticeable – vocal attitude that a significant amount of my schoolmates makes our university (in)famous for. My dad tells me that the exploited poor are more easily convinced by that sort of people, though, people who would stand up and shout out with spines straightened and chests puffed out as they say “There is a problem, and you need to stop causing it!” to people who are clearly doing something wrong or “You know you have been hurt and stolen from, so fight back and take back what is rightfully yours!” to people who are clearly being wronged. My late paternal grandpa was that sort of vocal person too, and he once dreamed of getting into the university I’m studying in now, but he never did, though he did maintain that gruff and tough attitude of his. Still, with the help of his dear wife and their hard work which included overseas work in the US, he managed to raise his nine kids well enough to get them graduated from college and striking out well on their own, with almost all of them married and with their own kids, and some of them even living out in the US and in Canada.

Despite all that, I’m not really a fan of that brand of vocal attitude he held on to, even if I do believe that the late 60s to the mid-80s was one of the worst, if not the worst, points of Philippine history.

It’s not that I don’t like following the style of held on to by people like those classmates of mine or my paternal grandpa simply because I just took the gossip about that activist stereotype surrounding my university at face value, though. Deep down, I felt like more of a wreck whenever I tried to be as hard as those people, even though I knew that there was something wrong and someone needed to take responsibility for it.

For example, back when that grandpa of mine was alive, my elementary schooler self told him during a visit that I had issues with bullies at school. In hindsight, I think he understood that I had issues with bullying, but when it came to his advice regarding how to deal with them…well, I cried, Mom had to take me back to the car, and I remember she and Dad telling me some time later that Grandpa was somewhat under the influence at that time.

But what advice did my grandpa give back then?

Well, I don’t remember his exact words, but they were along the lines of “Go fight back and beat them up!” and he delivered them with his rough and hoarse voice, colored with a tone that has also painted my memories of having to listen to my schoolmates and my professors doing name-calling and satirical shots against understandably problematic people who should be doing their jobs right.

Yeah, I guess that’s why I struggle with class discussions. That’s why, instead of posting a rant willy-nilly on the Net or shouting out during class, I would rant about my dismay to my parents and to other people whom I trust very much after classes and in private. I’d send them walls of text, or I’d be spitting with tones just like those schoolmates’, something I also found hard to do because I would feel like I would be a hypocrite whenever I tried to go deeper with thinking about how violent I would be if I did that. But still, I learned that it had to go out, and that there are people who would be patient and forgiving enough to help me get it out better. Better that way than to have my mouth be trigger-happy in more public spaces, after all.

Still, it’s a problem, and I struggle with it, especially since the temptation to be a sarcastic nut is something I now consider more dangerous than I think. I’ve been realizing that it would be doing a certain thing that I and those schoolmates of mine detest so much: dehumanizing other people. In other words: looking at others as if they had no faces of their own, calling others hopeless cases that should rot and die in prison, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

Talk about hypocritical, no?

Though even with my awareness of all that, I feel as if I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place when I have to listen to such prideful offenders and keep quiet in humility. The struggle now reminds me of a certain aunt’s reminders of how the sin called pride is tied to our baseness, and, of course, it isn’t easy to deal with.

And now, I think I’m understanding my struggle there even better.

You see, in a prayer community gathering I recently attended, a guest speaker told us the story of Fr. Steven Scheier, who would have been dead and in Hell if Mama Mary didn’t intercede for him. It was a story the guest speaker presented as a part of an advocating presentation of the Devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and although I honestly have doubts about going for those Devotions right now, something about Fr. Steven’s story struck me.

To be more specific, I think I felt particularly struck when it came to the part where Fr. Steven talked about the excuses he once considered delivering but could never deliver in the face of Jesus the Judge. That, and perhaps the fact that he faced Judgment with a capital ‘J,’ almost ended up in Hell, and miraculously lived to tell the tale was something striking in itself. I was quiet on my seat in the prayer community meeting venue, but my eyes felt kinda watery back then, and I felt like a lot of glass barriers were shattered by a spear that was thrust into my heart multiple times as well.

But the one thing that came out of it, one thing I want to share in more detail with you today, is a set of memories of my younger years.

Those memories, well…they were my memories of my crybaby self…memories of me crying loud and hard that you were likely to want me kicked out both figuratively and literally.

I guess we can say that an ordinary day for me back during those years, especially my elementary years, included an offended me crying very hard. I was easy pickings back then, you know? I didn’t like violently reacting, but I didn’t like ignoring the bullies and letting them run over me with their jeers about me being a weird fat boy, about me being a teacher’s pet who tried to force his classmates into speaking English more, and, inevitably, about me being a noisy crybaby. And even though I improved as I grew up, I had to face the struggle with pride I’m still facing, pride that had me thinking as if I’m a scapegoat as I held grudges and self-hatred in my heart for having to witness other people nearby being improper – especially when it involved them targeting my friends – and being unable to do anything right in the face of those things. A bunch of times, I lashed out, resulting in meetings with school authorities, and in hindsight, I was the one who gave the them the biggest part of those troubles, because they had to spend so much time staying with me and trying to convince me to calm down and think straighter, while the kids I was angry at went on with school activities more easily…and they also got more ammunition to shoot at me and my friends for the next bullying session…all because I acted more immature than the bullies.

Perhaps silence is more golden than I thought. Well, to be more specific, humble silence is golden, now that I think about it some more. Being silent because I don’t want to admit that there’s a problem and that I’m always right is a bad thing, and I think that sort of silence was something I indulged in a lot during my younger years, years in which I thought being an edgy and anti-social smartass was the pinnacle of coolness, a foolish belief which was further strengthened by certain anime and video game characters I easily fell for back then.

But being silent in humility…humble silence…I think I know what is now. Humble silence is keeping silent while more militant classmates and professors spit their insults out, not because critically thinking about the issues they discuss is a bad thing, but because it would be a bad idea to join in if all that can be gathered and given out in response during the moment are only barbs that are just as bad or even worse than the barbs that have been spat out already. Humble silence is still doing still worthwhile homework after classes and going back to still worthwhile classes when the time is supposed to be for such, all while being polite and even forgiving despite being in opposition to the displeasing delivery styles of those prideful yet potential-filled classmates and professors. Humble silence is also reporting a clearly directly attacking bully to the proper authorities and with proper processing but without gloating about it to the reported bully afterwards!

And hey, humble silence can even be crying quietly and privately over things that the tear glands can’t handle, all while still going on with life and trying to keep up with God’s assigned schedule for me instead of trying to nose around and hijacking others’ lives like I’m worthy enough to be the driver for them.

I still don’t think that I’d be able to get along with the barbed vocal attitude of a bunch of my schoolmates, but I think I can endure it better now.

Still, God Almighty help us all.

Mama Mary and the Art of the Ordinary

Taking the advice of a priest during a Confession I made recently, I’ve been trying to pray the Rosary by myself with more frequency.

So far, I think I’m being consistent with the act of praying the Rosary itself, but I think I need to put more effort into living the more ordinary aspects of my life well. Such a thing is something I find difficult, particularly as I aspire to be a good artist, a road with a brand of difficulty that has temptations toward pride and lust most frequently pestering me everyday.

See, in trying to be an artist (like, in the more general sense and not just in the visual art sense), I’ve realized that it’s easy to mishandle confidence and have it power the other deadly sins and its subordinates, especially when that confidence is aimed at fulfilling some good intentions. Not that confidence is not needed, though, but it’s easy to be overconfident, especially with a crowd of supporters backing me up and all of us having baseness that we tend to fall for in our desire for more ease in our lives. To be more specific, what God would want us to do can grate hard on our pride, making it look like something as bad as sin, and I’m certain that it’ll be a struggle for me to stay properly confident despite being despised and such. Pride is scary that way, you know?

For getting me to think more about that, I have an aunt of mine to thank very much. How she managed to do so, well, in her talks with me about the dangers of pride, she presented the Blessed Virgin Mary as a good example of humility. Ah, and even the priest who advised me to pray the Rosary also helped there, stating that where Mary is, the Devil isn’t.

Now, thinking about Mama Mary as a good example of humility, what I remember about her is that she was very…well, ordinary. She lived a very ordinary life for a woman who served as the great Mother of God. She and Joseph, her husband, weren’t even that rich too, with the Nativity of Jesus in a manger in Bethlehem being a sign of that (Luke 2:7). And judging from Matthew 13:55, which is a part of the depiction of the reactions that Jesus’ fellow Nazareans had at his preaching (“‘Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary?…'”), Mama Mary was seen as someone ordinary by her fellow Nazareans as well.

And hey, much like how easily a significant bunch of us pity the woman who easily submits – and especially to a man – these days, I think that Mama Mary would be someone who would be very easy to look down on. The prideful would find her pathetic, for she just followed God’s orders and blended into society without much protest, even when she was troubled by the angel Gabriel’s greeting (Luke 1:26-29), even when she and her husband had confusion over the reply that her young Son gave them when they found Him – and after three days of searching, even! – teaching in that temple (Luke 2:42-50), and even when she was told off by her grown-up Son that it was not His time yet in that particular wedding which had a problem with the wine (John 2:1-4) – even telling the servants afterwards to do as He says! She never reacted violently during her Son’s Passion too, just letting Him meet His fated humiliating death in the hands of us sinners and complying with her Son’s entrustment of her to Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist (John 19:26-27), and she still came along with the Apostles to Jerusalem, praying with them as well (Acts 1:12-14).

Now, for an aspiring artist like me to draw inspiration from Mama Mary and to even try living as humbly as her…I honestly found all that unbelievable yet fascinating.

Like, really, for so long, I’ve been thinking that a good artist has to be flashy, much like the superheroes of novels, comic books, and animations. I’ve already come to terms with the fact that I can’t be as superpowered as them, but I still long to be looked upon like I was as sparkling as them, for being revered is something that those superheroes needed to have as well so that they can be more seen as heroic.

And that’s why being like the idols on the stages of the entertainment industry became quite a wonderful idea to me as well. Thing is, though, as that same aunt of mine reminded me about, fame is quite a fickle thing, and with that in mind, desiring it so much is bad for my soul.

But what does that mean for me as an aspiring artist, then? Does this mean that I shouldn’t be an artist? Are artists just burdens to society?

If you ask me, well…I don’t think being an artist means being a burden. After all I’ve been through in life, I’ve realized that perhaps there are ways to be a truly humble artist, and that I’ve been holding so much pride, so much that I still struggle with finding those ways. Perhaps I should try rapping with toned-down swagger. Perhaps I should focus on singing less angsty songs. And perhaps I shouldn’t aim towards notching up the sexiness in my adorkableness, even!

Along with that, I shouldn’t think about having a good image only. Even if no other human is watching me, I, along with everyone else, am always within the watch of God, after all, so I still need to think, speak, and act properly, even in private. And I need to work hard towards being more proper there, especially since I still have some bigtime fumbles with my spare time. If I improve there, then I’ll be able to handle having fans better, because being famous is like walking on a tightrope, and I need more balance in my life.

Yeah, there’s more to life than just trying to entertain people. I still lack knowledge, so I need to go to school. I have struggles processing others’ opinions, especially when they’re vocally opposing, so I need to keep calm and search for humbler listeners to talk with and learn from. I need to be more mindful of others as well, which means that I also have to smack my pride down and take corrections from people like my parents better. And like it or not, even if I’m the protagonist of my own story, my growth is never something I cause by keeping the spotlight all to myself.

Come to think of it, though, I think I’m centering on myself too much in writings like this lately, with a bunch of previous paragraphs in this entry being a likely example…Hm, I guess I should take some time to get in touch with some good friends and mentors when it comes to such matters, then. Also, I think this is the first time I’m writing Bible citations into something like this, and I don’t think I can say that I know how to do that as well as I should yet, so yes, honest constructive feedback is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated!

And hey, God Almighty keep on helping us all! And don’t underestimate Mama Mary, people! Like, really, considering how she lived here on earth, I now think she’s a major factor behind Don Bosco being able to say “Do your ordinary duties extraordinarily well.”

Ah, and I guess I should look for a girl who looks up to Mama Mary as well…

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!

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.