Friday, March 14, 2008

Discovering Me Discovering Life

When I was a little girl, I thought life was listening to bedtime stories, a stroll by the seaside with my father, vacation in the farm, attending Sunday School, playing house in the backyard, etc.
When I became a teenager, I thought life was having good time with friends, studying, watching movies and listening to music.

Now that I have grown, I am beginning to understand that life consists of my continuing response to the constantly shifting weather conditions of my existence. It is a process which has its highs and lows but in which I am always a central organizing presence.

In my experience, the more I enter into life, the more clearly I feel the pebbly cloth of the human fabric of my existence. And this is because I feel the problem of being human. This problem is a difficulty I cannot shake off and it is one problem I know not how to solve. In fact, there is no solution to it. I only need to learn how to live with everyday problems.
Eugene Kennedy says that everyday problems "come in connection with growing. These are invitations to develop and to come to grips with the difficulties that arise in each new moment."

And I believe him. I feel I have grown as a person after experiencing difficulties in life. For instance, it is not always easy for me to live with myself, my unnoticed changing moods and hidden bad temper, my disappointments and discouragements, my sensitivity and impatience, my health, etc. I felt the challenge to refine and deepen my own unique personality. Meeting this challenge is not at all easy. The everyday problems I encountered reveal me as quite vulnerable and yet at the same time quite as strong. what to me appeared as a weakness at first turned out to be a strength. The times when I had to swallow my pride and chisel my stubborn personality has been treasured moments for me because what I saw as an awkward misfit, I came to know later as a strong and beautiful person.

A healthy person is one who can accept and live with authority, recognizing the right of other individuals in institutions to possess it an understanding the need for some system of rules and regulations as well as that moral standards must govern any developed culture. And further on, if a person senses a need to rebel again ts authority she is far freer even to question or disagree with it when it seems the correct thing to do in his life. The sense of authority is built on a deepening awareness of appropriate relationships with other persons. This involves us, in other words, in acknowledging that there are times when we respond to authority and times when we exercise it.
Indeed, everyday problems exist in relationships within relationships. It is our reaction, whether to an emergency schedule, rainy day, lost bunch of keys, the heavy traffic, a stupid or moody companion, that shape the problems. Reactions are always part of the problem because it is in and through them that we experience the sadness, pain or tension that subjectively define a problem situation.
Life with others is the problem if living. It is at once the best and worst of human experiences, the hardest and easiest, the most of everyday challenges and opportunities. It is together that we finally find and express ourselves and are able to understand where the real treasure of existence lie. It is when we stand close to each other that we also know the region of the heart where the pain can be the deepest.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Feelings in Colored Lenses

When you are wearing sun glasses that are tinted blue, everything looks a bit bluish. Things that are not blue look blue because of the lenses you are looking through. In a sense, we are always looking at the world through colored lenses. We never see things the way they really are. Our feelings are like colored lenses that makes it impossible for us to see things the way they are.

For example, consider what happens when you walk down the sidewalk. To an old lady carrying a shopping bag, you are one of those wild youngsters. To a child on a bicycle, you are an obstacle. To a friend, you are a pleasant sight. To somebody from another neighborhood, you are a threat. To a construction worker who is trying to put some new concrete, you are a nuisance. To a member of the opposite sex, you are a feature attraction. To each person, you are something different. The difference is not in you. It is in the feelings of the people who see you.

Feelings are not things we choose. They rise up in us spontaneously. We have feelings all the time. Everything we see, hear, smell, taste or touch gives us feelings. We have an immediate emotional response to everything our senses put us in contact with. Our emotions may be strong or weak, long- lasting or quickly passing, but there is always some emotion.

If we look over our past experiences, we may so able to understand our approaches to many of the ordinary situations in everyday life. Most of us have a regular set of feelings that rise up whenever we encounter old people, members of our own sex, members of the opposite sex, parents teachers, dogs, water, flowers, the color red, a knife and so on. The key to understanding our emotional response to all these things may lie in the past experiences we have with them. If we recall the past experience, we will understand the feelings.

However, past experiences are not the only source of our emotional responses. We also learn many emotional responses from other people. Very few women have had any painful experiences with mice. Yet many women become afraid at the sight of a small gray mouse. This is an emotional response that little girls learn from their mothers and then pass on to their own little girls in the next generation. Most prejudices against a certain nationality or race or religion is learned by children from their parents. The emotional responses we have learned from other people have become as much part of us as those we learned from our own experiences. They have become part of our way of looking at the world.

Besides our past experiences and what we learned from others, our present fears and hopes color our view of reality.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Loneliness After Dusk

Each of us has been alone. We have all at one time or another been starved for companionship. Each of us had endured days, weeks , months, perhaps even years without finding meaningful relationship that could relieve us from the loneliness that was slowly eating away our inside out. We have to admit to ourselves that at some point in our lives that we were lonely and afraid.
I remember my long walks to and from school. I remember how my heart cried out for a friend with whom I could share my innermost thoughts and feelings. I remember the countless times since my childhood when I feel the pangs of loneliness. However, I am not sad about all that. In many ways, loneliness is a blessing. It can have a sobering effect on man. Loneliness has a way of causing man to realize things that would otherwise go unnoticed in his life.
A woman who has experienced deep loneliness is in deep position to enjoy that tremendous feeling of exhilaration that comes about with love. She is more sensitive and appreciative of the blessings that friendship brings. When a person has been up the whole night, she becomes very much aware of the slightest trace of light that signifies the dawning of a new day. When a woman has gone without love and deep friendship for some time, it takes just a little bit of tender loving care to cause her to feel deeply what others might take for granted.
Lonely people are easy targets for insecure persons who are alert enough to understand how little love and affection can have such a tremendous impact on the one who feels that she is living in a world without love.
A woman who has experienced crippling loneliness fully realize the beauty of love and the value of friendship. She treasures every tender moment that her faithful friend offers her because she is reminded of the total isolation and the tremendous suffering that almost destroyed her emotionality.
The lonely woman tends to review her life. She remembers the bitterness of the past and how it need not have been. She recalls those moments of intense loving and deep sharing she wishes that they could have been more numerous and longer- lasting. She becomes aware of the incidents of petty dishonesty in her life and suddenly realizes how silly and useless they were. She remembers the hurt she had caused other people and feels she could very much like to make up for her cruelty by whispering a few loving words to the offended person.
The lonely and isolated woman searches for answers to life. She looks for a better life. She is willing to sacrifice many things, even herself, in order to attain some sort of union with somebody in order to drive away from her life the feeling of loneliness that is slowly driving her to the edge of madness.
Perhaps for the first time in her life, she becomes honest in facing conflicts and problems. She longs to validate her values and priorities in order to reassure herself that she has done right and is in the correct path.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Deep Inside Her Heart

She walks on the streets with downcast eyes and sad countenance. People are busy, cold enough to stop and smile. Everybody is moving so fast, pushing, trying to get their way through. Somewhere in the depths of her being a struggle is raging,But they were just too busy to know what's going on,
Deep inside her heart.
She silently enters a hall, Her head bowed down out of shyness and uncertainty. But all they can see is her tight lips and serious eyes That they somehow perceive as a sign of cruelty and meanness. They clung to their distance and indifference Because they don't want to be her friend. But they just don't know all the anxieties that she feel,
Deep inside her heart.
She does her best to be friends with people, Trying so hard to open up to them. But all they thought was that she was too difficult to handle. They were afraid, intimidated to help and share her burdens. For they thought they were too weak to carry the yoke,
Deep inside her heart.
She enters her room in private and forgetting all inhibitions, She threw herself on the floor. Right there, crying and wailing, trying to shout it all out; They all refused to see her pain, her sufferings of rejection, Betrayal, insecurities and frustrations! They refused to see the things that have been consuming her,
Deep inside her heart!
From that time on, she made herself a vow Never again to be attached, Never again to reach out, Never again to trust! As her wounded heart got numb, As her broken soul collapsed And her shattered spirit concealed themselves in total apathy, She knows from within that she longs to love...
She longs to love and be loved... Deep inside her heart!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Removing the Chip Off My Shoulder

Sometimes, I just can't help but feel like I don't always get what I deserve or the things around me are not meeting up to my standards, they are never good enough for me. That I don't feel that I am being treated fairly, that I deserve to be given more consideration than others. That I am far smarter that my other calssmates, yet they always get better grades than me. I am ashamed to admit this, but yes, this is how I often feel nowadays.

After I attended this school that I am in, it seems to me that I have never been happy, never been satisfied and am always disappointed and frustrated of everything- my teachers, my classmates, the school, my test results, my family even with the miserable jeepney drivers that I encounter everyday.

I have to admit that even I myself find it hard to understand. I tried to formulate answers and to stop being so cynical about the things that surround me. I tried to avoid comparing my new school to the previous university that I attended but sometimes, I really feel like crying to the point that I desperately want to go back to where I was- to my previous college life.

But then it finally hit me- I realized that it is all up to me to make myself feel miserable or to get adjusted to the new environment that I am in right now. And finally, I think, I know what the problem is-- I'm arrogant.

It is not easy for me to get adjusted because I refuse to accept the fact that I am in a totally different place with totally different people now. I was absorbed in reminiscing my happy, carefree life in the past that I've reached the point where I developed a very negative perception of the the things that I am involved at present.

I'm not sure if the other second coursers like me feel the same way, but I honestly do.

Right now, I have resolved to take things lightly (but mind you, I have no intentions of being a delinquent student). I decided not to take myself seriously but instead, be serious with my studies without being obsessed of always being the number one.

In order for me to be happy, I have to accept my limitations and weaknesses and not to expect too much from myself.

I have to admit that there are people who know far better than me. There are people who are smarter, more eloquent and more receptive than me.

That there are people who will not like you and you don't have to kill yourself in trying to please them.

That there are times when you will be not be fairly treated but there will be people who will be kind to you, who would even give you second or third chances when you make a mistake.

That true friends are not measured by their kindness and politeness toward you. Friends would criticize you, even crush your ego if it is necessary for them to do so, just to save you from being an asshole.

That I am just but a small dot in this wide universe and that I cannot control anything else but myself.

That I have to remove the chip off my shoulder and accept my frailty and limitations in order for me to understand and enjoy the best things in life.

There. I said it. Goodness, writing this blog really helped a lot and I feel a whole lot better now as compared 15 minutes ago. God bless me!

Monday, January 14, 2008

What They Have To Say About Me

My friend, Jello Cubelo, wrote a blog entry wherein he chose several Friendster Testimonials for himself to show what his friends say about him. I find it very amusing so I decided to do the same thing in my blog.

With all due respect to my good friend, I would like to reiterate that this whole idea was his own. I just imitated his style because it's always nice to feel good about yourself through the words of the people who are close to your heart. Thank you very much, Jel. I hope you won't mind me being a copy-cat for now! Peace!

Here are some of the best Friendster Testimonials from my profile:

"She is very smart, very hard working, very down to earth, a very sincere person, yep, she is all that and more." - Nickson Uriarte, one of my good friends back in my Psychology days. He was one of the first friends that I had when I was a neophite in Silliman University and in Dumaguete City.

"I luv this girl bcoz maski daghan ayo cya og appointments, naa gihapon cyay time sa iyang friends... One Of A Kind... A smart fighter... Owns a genuine heart... Finds comfort in writing... A good friend, sister and daughter."- Suzette Calibo, one of my true best friends, a fellow hopeless romantic, and a very trustworthy person.

"Lenlen is one of my best friends whom I haven't seen in 5 years... But friendship when it's real does not die, even with distance, it stays in our hearts. That's how I describe Len2x as a friend.. she is very loyal and you will be lucky if you'll earn her friendship."- Sheila Joyce Shia, my bestfriend when I was a Freshman at Edith Carson Hall, SU. We're the exact opposites, but what's important is that we're bestfriends.

"Very friendly yet maldita at the same time." -Anne Christine Torres, one of my students in Psychology 11 when I was a Graduate Teaching Fellow for the SU Psychology Department.

"You can talk to her about everything.From deep philosophies to nonesense talks... Meanie back- to- school lady!" - Maitri Thamavithya, one of Silliman's innovating minds, Thainoy, Thai Scrooge, my best friendster friend.

"Chika galore almost everyday. Bahala walay study basta maka chika lang jud!"- Liza Marie Dangkulos, former dormmate at Occidental Hall, best chika-mate and a very smart lady (langga ni Mark B.)!

"It amazes me to know someone like her. If you think that she's serious, mind you, she can be childish sometimes... and hopeless romantic too." -Cheenie Lamayan, a former dormmate, chika- mate, fellow hopeless romantic and one of SU's cutest!

"She has a good heart yet sometimes her actions are misinterpreted by many." -Precious Anne Murillo one of my good friends back in my Psychology days.

"A strong woman, very independent... looking for a guy to be her partner in life."- Cris Arboleda, EdD Candidate, former colleague at FUHS, a friend who never fails to make my stomach ache while laughing at his jokes!

"[You can tell] when she is happy and when she is really mad!"- Lui Jovero, a good friend, a trusted teammate when I was working at Convergys as a Fraud Analyst for JPM-Chase.

"Yan ang astig kong roommate. Mahilig sa books, mabait pag- tulog! Honestly, mabait yang si Len saka malambing din yan. Wag nyo lang i-po-provoke kasi papalag talaga yan!" - Liway Derequito, former roommate at Brosas Dormitory, one of my trusted friends when I was working in Makati.

"Impression sa uban, ASTIG! Can't blame them astig man jud! But she's a very loving sistah to her super lambing brother!"- Betchai ObaƱana, my former roommate in Larena Hall, SU; a very friendly, very lovable person.

"Now I know that you need to know Len better in order to understand her. Better to be frank than to be 'Orocan.'" - Leilani Banzon, one of my good friends during my Convergys Days, a friend that no one will ever want to lose!

"Very thoughtful... a smart, independent person who knows what she wants and what she doesn't... always talks with sense.. simple but really rocks!" - Grace Soberano, former teammate when I was working at Convergys.