Minsan gusto ko na lang makiuso sa mga burgis – “Yeah, yeah, you poor, know your place, it’s under me or under the grave” – pero pag naaalala ko yung mga panahon na halos wala akong makain at naliligiran pa ako ng mga Christ-centered classmates ko na may star-shaped pang chicken nuggets, nahihiya ako sa sarili ko. Madaling maging mahirap kung pare-pareho kayo, pero ang kalikasan ng lipunan ay ikaw lang ang maghihirap para sa ikaliligaya at haraya ng iilan. My somewhat privileged life is supported by the backs of anonymous poor people; the least I could do is to stop adding insult to their existence. Wala na nga akong magawa para matigil ang pagpatay sa mga maralita na “nanlalaban,” hahamakin ko pa sila?
When I first used Facebook, it was still a forum for inane things. Then came “news,” “influencers,” “engagements,” “viral,” “bots.” It ceased being a playground and a community. It has now become a marketplace full of swindlers and simpletons. It has become a world unto itself, a reality where it is easy to create, destroy, and recreate selves. A decade ago, my Facebook account was just an extension of myself, a neat little feature to freely communicate and celebrate the innocuousness and idealism of youth. Now, it is no longer just an extension of Me, but another me, negotiating its way in a universe of appearances, deceit, and enslavement.
I don’t write as often and as articulately as I used to. There are times when I want to express myself, but the physical discomfort and inefficiencies of using a pen discourage me from filling my notebook. On the other hand, the caprices and temptations of the internet draw me away from the cumbersome interface of the blogging platform into the instantaneous spectacles of Facebook. I guess I need to put discipline if I am to save both my body and mind from the perils of social media and an Americanized diet.
Hindi bale kung maipit.
Balat: pawis, nanlalagkit.
Maapakan man, tatakbo,
Mabilis, patungo sa’yo.
It doesn’t matter if I’m crushed.
My skin: sweaty and sticky.
Even if I’m stepped on, I’ll run
Fast, back to you.
Mamang pulis, hidhid, malupit,
Sa aming aba, nanggigipit.
Aking hiling bago “manlaban,”
Huwag dumihan aking ngalan.
Mr policeman, selfish and harsh,
we, the poor, you abuse.
My wish before I “resist,”
Do not destroy my name.
I have weighed all the virtues and faults of the Filipinos, and I have come to the conclusion that the Filipino is worth dying for.
– Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr (1932-1983)
“Have you ever been depressed, sir?”
Of course. And I had my share of suicidal thoughts and even attempts. But now, whenever my mind drops into an abyss that I can’t see, I just remind myself that I need to pull myself up to eat ice cream because a tub of Double Dutch is pure bliss. (But yeah, any ice cream will suffice.) Depression is a disease of thoughts, and though modern medicine has developed a panoply of interventions to treat mental illness, it is never bad to help one’s self. One happy thought can be a lifeline enough to drag one’s self from the dark side of the mind. I’m not sure if this remedy is for everybody, but I don’t think there is any harm in reminding ourselves of a moment of happiness. Cling to anything that can make you smile, and work it.