I’ve always been a much better writer than a speaker – always have been. No matter how hard I try to express what I truly want to say, I will always lose the courage to share my real thoughts, because I get anxious. Anxious to learn about the thoughts of what others think about the topic I have brought up, and anxious to actually cover everything I set out to say from the beginning.
I know that when I speak, I will always hide what I actually think, because it’s my natural self-preservation reflex coming into play. I will bring up topics far away from what I really want to talk about, because I don’t want to bother people with the topics I do want to talk about due to their rather personal nature. Instead, I hedge around topics that are far away from what I feel needs to be discussed or far away from how I really feel just to be safe.
Safe from what? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I want to keep parts of what I feel to myself and only let fragments of these thoughts out, whenever I feel like they won’t be too heavy for people to hear; to keep some control over at least something in my life. I use the word heavy, because my thoughts are usually heavy – heavy with the weight of the responsibility I feel obligated to have. Towards the world. Towards family. Towards the people surrounding me.
(If my thoughts aren’t on the heavier side of things, they’re usually ludicrous and inconsequential)
Obligation. Responsibility. Those are very important words to me, because they encompass my whole being. I feel like the two words are interconnected and I see them as interchangeable words. From my perspective, I do not think it is possible to have one without the other.
Most people usually find discussing these things a joke and how I feel towards them silly. They don’t really take it seriously – maybe it’s because it’s too heavy. Some may even say I have a feeling of self-importance; in actuality, I just truly want to help out the world however I can. And because of that, I exemplify the importance of the role I must take in helping out the world in my own head – I guess that reflects in how I act sometimes. Because of my idealistic nature, I want to see the world in a state as close to utopia as possible. I know that’s impossible, but I can’t help but hope. And so I think and plan on actions that I could take to do something about the causes I care about. “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” That quote, supposedly from Aesop, just speaks to me regarding this.
I see the bigger picture and it’s hard for me to actually focus on smaller details at times. I just see the goal and want to take big steps towards its completion. I know the smaller details need to be dealt with first, but my impatience can sometimes get the better of me. And so, I leap. And miss. Many times.
That’s one of my many weaknesses. I want to leap and in doing so, I forsake the minutiae of tasks. Trivial day-to-day life, and anything related to it, can bore me very quickly, often finding myself seeking the next best thing to do. The things that do become part of my routine, I try to keep, but new things that need to be added to the routine will take substantial time to stick.
Details on the theoretical and abstract side of things, however, I can manage quite well, because I am a thinker and a dreamer. I can imagine things easily in my head, despite the fact that most thoughts probably won’t ever get enacted, as I carefully select the more realistic thoughts to work on.
I fear being probed. I fear being judged. I fear negative reactions.
I don’t like being hated. I don’t like the negative feelings connected to being hated.
I’d prefer to stay neutral in most cases – except for the causes I truly am impassioned about, of course. I’d also prefer people to regard me with neutrality, not with outright hatred or indifference – especially from the people I truly care about.
Reading through what I’ve already written, it seems I’m quite people-centric. But I digress.
The point of the matter is, I am sharing all this to solicit understanding. Understanding and no judgment. Understanding and no judgment for the next part.
I am quite cerebral. And I like to mull and think things through. Sometimes, I think about things at an obsessive amount. I try to stop it, but I just can’t. My mind is abuzz constantly and it won’t ever want to shut up. I’ve accepted that. Like father, like daughter, I suppose.
Regarding the current turn of events, I know for a fact that my initial response was repulsion. I am averse to the idea of being dropped into a country ruled by hypocrites. I am absolutely repulsed by their actions and the disregard they show to the people they govern. That negative association is what comes into my mind every single time our homeland is mentioned. The repulsion and the disgust. I don’t outwardly show those, but then I’m really good at hiding what I truly feel about most things. Only when there’s just too much inside that I’m dealing with do my emotions start to seep out. But I’m usually good at covering that up as well since I have numerous reasons all lined up in my head. Which are all true, mind you.
It takes time to warm up to the idea, especially considering the place we’re all going to be in. But I can’t deny that I get the sense that this is a good decision for us all, merely from my own intuition and from my own analysis. Signs also point towards that direction.
First and foremost, it will help the patriarch of our family to feel at peace; less stress and more relaxation. And it’s high time too, especially since he’s been working tirelessly for so long, just for our benefit. Dad definitely deserves it. He really deserves to finally rest after decades of working. It’s his ‘me time’ that he now needs.
Secondly, this will help us siblings reconcile with our roots – to balance out our hatred towards what our race is associated with, with our love for the physical land itself (here, I stress land, because the bureaucracy is appalling to us. The land, however, is an object and remains neutral). I know it isn’t just me who feels this, because I understand what my own little brother is going through right now. The confusion and the uncertainty on how to regard our homeland is something I’ve also felt at his age, even to this day. His actions and words show this. But needless to say, moving back will definitely help us hate the country less.
Thirdly, I see both your points regarding academia. Where I am now, I am not as challenged as I was. From the beginning, I’ve always felt this, but it was all I had – I really had nowhere else to go – and so I made do. As you may recall, I was initially miserable with the idea of studying where I am now. I’ve adapted well enough though, but there are times when I truly am dissatisfied with the school; I’ve voiced some of those times to you before. What I don’t really say is that I feel like that a lot of the time, but I don’t want to complain. What’s the point? It can’t change circumstances. Going back to the homeland will definitely give me more challenges in terms of academia. I am worried, however, that my creativity won’t be as used as it is here, where the focus is mostly on design, rather than technical aspects of architecture. There is also more freedom of expression in the classroom here than what is most likely the case back in the homeland. I am also worried that I won’t be able to compete and catch up, and that I will fail the board exam at the end. I feel like this, because I feel like my time at this current university has changed me far too much, and it may not be in the most positive sense, as I feel less competent by the day.
Although I see these points, there are also other points that keep me from wanting to go back; the people here and the people there.
I was never one to conform, preferring to be unique and different from the rest. Maybe that stems from the fact that I’ve always felt different from the majority of people around me since I was young; I’ve gotten so used to it that it’s become my default setting – to be different. Back in the homeland, people expect similarly raced people to conform to general standards, or else they will not be accepted and are dubbed snobs or outsiders. I’ve experienced this from family alone; how much more from outside the family?
Experienced this from family alone, you might ask? It is regarding a debacle some years past. I don’t think I ever mentioned it (maybe I have, but I don’t recall), but it’s bothered me ever since. I merely greeted a maternal cousin on her birthday in English, and I was questioned as to why I greeted in English when we’re only Filipino. I chose to reply with, “So what?” I was shocked, merely because I’m so used to people not caring and letting people be. And it annoyed me. Maybe I’m just hypersensitive, but it really did. I mean, I still remember it to this day, after all.
If that alone comes from someone in the family, I can only imagine what it would be like living there. And the cultural barriers. Yes, I know I am Filipino, but I didn’t grow up in the country itself. I wasn’t even exposed to many Filipinos half my life. Cultural expectations I will most certainly fail and fitting in will be a hindrance to many things. Being ostracized is what I fear, merely because I’ve experienced it most of my childhood and those negative emotions I still remember to this day; I’ve reconciled with those memories, yes, but they do still hurt. And it has always been my fear.
I yearn to be different and unique, yet I also yearn to be accepted for who I am and not feel misunderstood.
I also want to stay, because I’ve come to care for the people that I’ve met here. And I want to see how I can help them along their journey in life – to be there when they need me, especially in terms of organizing life priorities and guiding them in doing at least the right decisions instead of the wrong. I have also begun working here and it would be such a shame to let go of that work experience, which also comes with benefits in terms of finances and connections – I would lose all of that, as well as my independence. Where we are now, I also have a lot of freedom to go anywhere I want to go in general; there are no limitations when I do seek adventure outside of our home here locally. I just can’t say the same thing about our homeland’s security and safety. The chances of me being safe outside at night are zilch back there, whereas here, I can come home pretty late and not feel like some horror/thriller movie is about to happen, with me as the unfortunate victim.
Now, the next part is one that confuses me. As I’ve already said, I want to stay because of the people. But despite that, a part of me wants to leave because of the people. Right now, I really don’t want to leave, because I feel like I haven’t really tied the loose ends of the something I have to deal with; I want to fix it and leaving would just be like giving up on it. And I really don’t like giving up. Because I have a feeling, deep down, that it is fixable and shouldn’t be left to fester away. Yet at the same time, I really am tired of having to deal with thoughts that surround it, because despite my claims that it doesn’t bother me as much, it still does. Maybe it’s because I care a lot and I just feel like it is such a waste to let something good go. Regardless of the matter, my mind can be obsessive at times and this is one area that it is so. If we left to go back, it might help me stop thinking about this issue and move on. But I know I will always have that feeling of wanting to know what could have been.
My brother. Now he might not like the idea and probably won’t be as flexible about it as much as I am. The only life he’s ever known is the one he has now. And the people he associates with here are a far cry from the people he will have to deal with back in the homeland. He isn’t very good with change and I fear for his character that he might become less open and more closed off towards people, similar to what happened to me when the same thing happened back when I was 7 years old. Granted, he is 4 years older than I was back then, but I’d say he’d feel the same way I did.
I chose this outlet to speak what’s on my mind and heart merely because it’s the easiest and most convenient way for me to speak to you. This way, you can read my points and not immediately pounce on me right there and then. That just shuts me up and I revert back into my own cocoon of thoughts, all the while giving off the impression that the thought has completely left my mind and that I’ve moved on to other things. When you confront me, it can be nerve-wracking, because sometimes you don’t understand where I really am coming from. And that just frustrates me, compelling me to shut my mouth and not want to discuss anything anymore.
Mostly, I feel misunderstood. This world. This society. I can safely say that I have identity issues. At times, I feel at one with being who I biologically am. At times, I abhor my race, because of the social atrocities associated with it; the illogical embarrassment I feel when my race is discovered baffles me. At times, I wish I were born a different race or, at the very least, looked less like my own race. All of this is because of how I feel about the country. I feel more foreign sometimes, especially with how I regard the world and how I think. But I’m always pulled back, because despite my efforts to disassociate myself from the homeland, I am still culturally affected. Both sides are in me, but they war. I know, however, that I am made up of both, as I cannot deny one or the other.
Sometimes, I also do feel understood. And those are the times I am most thankful of, because those times are rare from most people.
I contradict myself a lot, especially when I am speaking. But that’s because only half my thoughts have been expressed. It never is the whole picture.
I know you care and that’s why I’ve written this. I just don’t know how to verbalize any of this without it feeling like I’ve just performed a Shakespearean monologue that very few people care about, despite the fact that those monologues are crucial in understanding character development within the plays themselves; they allow the audience to understand more closely what drives the characters to do what they do. It’s a similar situation, in this case. This gives you an idea where I am right now and what I’m thinking about, without wasting any saliva.
I know you and Dad are just planning this at the moment, and it’s not certain yet (although it is mentioned at such a rate that it sounds like it is truly happening soon). I also know you will say that this is all in the hands of God, but I tire of you saying that all the time. Because I know that. Thinking about all this just comforts me, yet it also stresses me out. I really am just an obsessive thinker.
Maybe I’m just being melodramatic, but I’ve edited this enough to know that I feel all of this.
P.S. Regarding the sign I’ve received about all of this, I feel like it is something more meant for myself, rather than for everyone. I don’t know if it is truly a sign, or just a thought that pops into my head frequently, but all I know is that I don’t really know if I should share it as of now.