Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Child's Innocence

I never thought it to be a blessing. I had even equated it to naivety- stupidity, even. Childhood innocence seemed to be a waste. I was so eager to learn about the dirty, gritty matters of life that I so easily discarded it- too early on in my years, apparently. I thought that knowing the harsh realities of life would make the adults around me take me seriously. I thought that knowing meant more. It was too late when I realized that childhood innocence was a time-bound treasure that could not be brought back.

Oh, what bliss it was! To not see malice in every turn. To hold hands and hug a friend, and not have to worry about raising unwelcome feelings. To easily give and receive with no thought as to ulterior motives. To speak your mind freely and not have to worry about consequences. Or at least, nothing more than perhaps a scolding or even the bite of belt against flesh. To wake up in the morning and not feel a great burden on your shoulders. To look at friends and not question their motives. To look at the human population and not see the darkness that you now realize is present in everyone. To trust easily. To love freely. And, to laugh genuinely.

There is beauty in a child's innocence. One that I find difficult to explain. But I find joy in their kind, sweet smiles. Smiles that they so easily give away. Smiles that I know will come less often as they grow up. So, I take as much as I can get. And, I smile back. Because there is that power in their smile. A kind of spell that makes you smile back at them no matter how badly your day was going.

I feel delight in their unending questions- silly as they might be. I take strength from their laughter. But most of all, I feel hope blossoming in my heart with their presence. I suppose that's it. Hope. It is a rather difficult thing to keep in your grasps when faced with ugly truths of this world. Yet it overflows in them.

It's why they easily believe their parents would really buy them that unnecessary, not-in-the-budget toy. It's how they can look at the dark clouds and smile. And, when the rain does come, how they can laugh and dance in the rain. Because they know that the sun would show up tomorrow, if not later that day. It's hope. Or maybe they just believe that a rainbow would appear and they're eager at the thought of finding the pot of gold.

I feel old, and I'm certain many of the people who know me would say that I look the part, too. But, I know that I am young in years and have more to see, to experience, to live. I am nowhere near experienced enough or independent enough to make claims about the hardships of life yet I keep feeling chains constraining me, dragging me down.

So, yes. I am slightly jealous of children. Of their quick smiles. Of their hearty laughter. Of their innocence. Of their freedom. Of their hope.

Friday, September 26, 2014


The UN has recently launched a HeForShe campaign for gender equality. Now, this might be the right time to admit that I only know this because of the inspiring and truly eye-opening speech by Emma Watson.

So, yes, I watched it because I'm a fan of Emma Watson. But, I'm now writing about it because her words have reminded me of a reality that I have, for some reason, forgotten. Her words stabbed at my heart and I couldn't help but feel guilty.

You see, she spoke of how this fight for gender equality was one that could only be won when both sides came together. This was her formal invitation to all the men to take arms and stand by women. And, this was a revelation that, I must admit, has eluded me for so long. In talks of feminism and gender equality, so often have we made enemies of men- antagonizing them when, I now realize, they are not at fault. Not entirely, at least.

Because more than this revelation is the shocking realization that it truly is partly women's fault that gender discrimination continues to plague us. Is it not women who associate dominance with males? Is it not women who expect men to pick up the tab for every dinner date? Is it not women who require men to pull up their chairs, to open their doors for the sole reason that they are females?

By doing all these, is it not also women who create their own image of frailty? It is through this that we put men on the pedestal of power. And, there the image of man is formed. Man who is strong, unyielding and in control. Man who does not cry for he does not feel pain. Man who does not fear anything. Man who provides for woman. Because what else could a dainty woman be than a damsel in distress always in need of a knight in shining armor?

Yes, the world has placed women in a disadvantaged position. And, women have, for generations been fighting against this. Yet we forget that in the process, the world has also placed men in a cage. It has provided a tight, restricting image of what man is and what he is not. Any slight deviation makes Perhaps it is time that women stop simply fighting for themselves. She for she has been tried and it hadn't worked perhaps because it has resulted in a struggle against an opposing gender that has its own reasons for keeping their place in power.

He for she is certainly a step in the right direction. For how else could there be gender equality without the support of both genders? But, shouldn't women also fight for men? For their right to be free of the constraints that have also been thrown at them by the world? After all, we may carry different burdens, but they weigh us down just the same.

Monday, September 22, 2014

All the Little Things

Solitude within a crowd. Silent screams. Giant dwarfs.

Everyone seems to understand the existence of contrasts in our lives yet we continue to be blind-sided by these. We take advantage of the literal, the tangible, and forget the greater meaning behind what would otherwise be seen as trivial, petty or insignificant. We forget the value of sentiment.

Sentiment. What is this, exactly? It's that feeling, that emotion that overpowers the worldly value of items. It's what makes the smallest of gestures amount to so much more. And, it is the contrast of the smallest of deeds and it's potential impact on others that blind-sided me.

How often have you found yourself feeling down only to have your spirits lifted up by someone saying "Please" or "Thank you" to you? I'm sure there have been some, if not several, of these instances. It may not have solved your problems but hearing such words could easily lift a burden from your shoulders. It makes the endless hours of slaving over your work, worth it. It makes the pain in your back or neck hurt a little less. Because somehow, in some way, someone appreciates and respects who you are.

Yet, when was the last time you ever said "Thank you" to someone else? Just awhile ago when you asked that unassuming man to pass your fare to the driver? When your server came up to you with your food? This morning, when you woke up alive and well? A week ago when someone helped you carry your heavy load? A month ago, during your birthday? Last year, just as you accepted your Christmas gifts?

It's a bit sad how we so often forget the simplest of things, the most basic of etiquette even. Have we been leading such busy lives that we have forgotten? Or have we simply discounted the power behind the simplest of words, the smallest of deeds?

Nevertheless, the power remains. It is this power that makes hearing the words "Thank you" more fulfilling than being paid a million dollars. It is this power that makes handing a loaf of bread to a beggar more heartwarming than handing him a wad of cash. It is what makes a ring woven from grass and bound by promises more valuable than a diamond ring.

This is the power that exists within all the little things that make life seem a bit brighter.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

What If? Sept. 20, 1519

Have you noticed how Google always marks some of the important dates of the year with some creative design or game? Well, I think they missed today. Why today, you ask? Well, today is the 20th of September 2014.

I can feel some gears turning. Can't think of anything particularly important today? Don't tire your brain out. Centuries ago, way back in 1519, it was on this very day that Ferdinand Magellan began his search for the Spice Islands. Am I beginning to make sense now? No? For those who don't know, I'm a Filipino. And this is me having my not-so-rare moments of over-thinking and over-analyzing what if questions.

What if Magellan hadn't gone on such quest? What if he hadn't found the Philippines? What if he and his ship had landed on some other Asian country? Would we have had been under the Spanish regime for so long? What kind of language would we be using now? What would our country be like? Would there still be so many Roman Catholics? Or would the entire nation be Islamic instead of just the Mindanao region? Who would our national hero be?

There are endless questions swirling around my head and all from just one question, "What if Magellan hadn't gone on such quest?" It seems that the entire culture of my country had changed in the hands of one man. I mean, sure, if it wasn't Magellan, someone else might have had come. Someone else surely would have had influenced our culture. But, it wasn't someone else. It was him. So, what if he hadn't? What if this country had remained pure and untouched by any outside entity?

I allow myself these possibilities and I see a country that's so unrecognizable I don't know if it could possible exist in this world. I see myself wearing native clothing- not in the line of "tapis" but simply clothing made from locally-produced materials. I hear myself speaking in a native tongue- so unfamiliar and foreign, yet so right. I imagine a country so enriched by its own colorful culture- it's fiestas, its traditions, its beliefs.

I mean, sure, paganism would probably be more pronounced but I believe that God would have had found another way to penetrate through the culture of this country. And, imagine living in a country that relied on its own and knew how to stand up for itself. A country that patronizes its own products instead of going after brand names and trying so hard to be in trend. A country that sticks to its distinctive traditions and customs instead of trying to bury these under the bland taste of mainstream materials.

It's wishful thinking. It's a dream, really. But what's so wrong with trying to imagine a nation that's distinct from the rest? Because, sometimes, when I look at this country- my home- I see nothing more than a second-grade, trying hard, copycat.

A bit harsh, I know. There may very well come a time in the near future that I regret writing this, but I'm feeling blue and this is how I feel.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hello. My Name Is.

"Tell me something about yourself."

Time and time again, this has proven to be one of the most challenging statements thrown at me. I mean, sure, I have a lot to say- my name, my age, my likes, my dislikes, my course, my dreams, my aspirations, my so-called accomplishments. But, it never really felt quite right to me.

I'd say my name. I'd give my age. Then, I'd find myself pausing and thinking, "Now, what?" What do people even mean when they ask you to say something about yourself? Are they asking you to define who you are? To put to words your entire being? Because I highly doubt that mentioning my petty likes and dislikes would accomplish that. Neither would my wishful thinking and almost-impossible dreams.

I could start talking about my ideals, my thoughts about the world. That seems closer to the goal but when I start the ball rolling on that, I'd never stop. Besides, that seems like setting yourself up to being the too-much-information girl. I could maybe share one of the life changing moments in my life. But, who does that?

In the end, I stare wide-eyed at that person and smile. Then, I state my likes and dislikes. Because really, how else do we answer questions like that? And, isn't that exactly how people see others, nowadays?

People think they know who you are when they know what you eat, what you drink, what you don't, what you watch, what you read, what your IQ is, what you placed in an exam, how much you have in your bank account. It's almost as though they believe such singular things could possibly measure up to who you are as a whole.

Exactly when did people start being nothing more than a few lines in a black and white paper? When did we start seeing human beings as nothing more than statistics? When did it become so easy to define who people are?

I'm not sure when all these things happened. I'm not sure why. But I am sure that I despise it. I am, with the entirety of my being, against it. Why? Because I am so much more than just a number. I am so much more than a mere collation of words. I am a being so complex and beautiful it would take more than a thousand years to decipher exactly who I am. And, this goes for each and everyone of us.

So, why? Why limit ourselves by mere words, by incomplete images?

Hi! My name is Doris Dayne. And, I'd like to know who you are.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


What is your greatest fear? What are you most afraid of?

There are a lot to be frightened of in this world. Snakes. Spiders. Cockroaches. Ghosts. Killers. Death. Getting hurt. Falling. Heights. Failing. Stumbling. A lot. If one was to interview every single person on earth, I'm almost certain the list would include everything on earth. Because people are good at finding reasons to be scared of something. Of everything. People are good at finding excuses for limiting themselves.

And, that's what I'm scared of the most. That my fear in something insignificant would limit me. My greatest fear is fear, itself. Because fear, left unchecked, is crippling. Fear is what keeps you in your comfort zone. It boxes you in. It stops you from accomplishing things. It keeps you from being great!

It allows you to see your dreams come within reach but keeps you from actually getting it. Soon, it isn't only fear bearing down on you but regret, as well. Regret for not having courage. Hatred, directed at yourself, for not having been able to do anything. Hopelessness because you see no light at the end of the tunnel. In a bit, you'll be drowning in sorrow. And, all these is because of fear - fear in something you'll come to realize is insignificant.

That's just the way fear works. But, just who gave fear all this power? The answer is plain and simple. You.

Fear isn't actually bad. It's necessary. It reminds us that we're not untouched by death. It allows us to remember that we can get hurt. That we aren't invincible.

But, the moment we allow fear to enter our hearts, we allow it control over our lives. Because fear is not one to smile and mingle. It seizes the heart and all in it. It drains our courage, shoots down our ambition, beats our hope senseless, and tramples on our self confidence.

So, yes, fear is my greatest fear. But with this admission, I look fear in the eyes and laugh at it. Because I refuse to give it even a nanometer's space in my heart. I refuse to be brought down by my own doubts and hesitation. After all, fear is nothing without our own second thoughts and uncertainties.

Keep your fears close. Let it fuel you at your lowest. Let it remind you that you are human. But keep it far enough that it doesn't have access to your heart. Because there is greatness in each and every one of us. A greatness that is chained down and restrained by fear and doubt. A greatness that deserves to be seen.

We can all be great. We just need to stop our fears from hindering us.