23 March 2010
Happy 30th birthday to me! :)
One's birthday does not come everyday and, so, before this beautiful day ends, I'd like to write about how I spent it and maybe share some realizations and thoughts along the way. The day was a beautiful and well-balanced one. Good weather, good times, good memories, good food, good friends! I truly hope and pray that this year will be a good one, in every aspect, for me and my loved ones.
As soon as the clock struck 12 midnight and the 23rd of March 2010 officially started, I received birthday greeting text messages from very special people. I couldn't stop smiling as the text messages and the FB messages came pouring. Birthdays are supposed to make us feel special, even just for the day, and special I did feel. And, more than anything, I am thankful to every single person who made me feel that way.
I slept very late (early morning), but woke up quite early because I had some things I needed to finish and submit at the department. I woke up with my mom by my side and hugged her. After that, I whispered a little prayer for my dad. I believe that was the perfect way to "start" my day. I hadn't even eaten anything when I proceeded to the department. As soon as I got there, I had to get down to business. I realized how difficult it is to revise and/or design a curriculum for a degree program. I was getting dizzy and having headaches as we checked and re-checked, counted and re-counted, read and re-read everything. It's really stressful, but I'd say it's still fun. It was fun for me because talking about all the subjects and offerings brought me back to my college days.
A realization: We may think that, as we grow older, things get easier because we become more experienced and wiser as the years pass. That could be true. Partly. But, in reality, things that we have to do become harder and harder and more impossible as we grow older. The same applies to decision-making. But, the good thing? Our years and experiences teach us how and what to prioritize.
I had to leave the department at exactly 1:00 in the afternoon as I actually had to attend my last Finals Activity for the semester-- Toastmasters' Meeting for my Public Speaking class. The program was not as good as I expected it to be, but I asked my students to promise they'd do better in future speaking events they might be in. I knew that they could have done really well, but they didn't. And, that was what was most disappointing about the event.
A realization: Should we set high expectations on things and people? Sometimes, when we expect so much about something, we tend to get disappointed because our expectations are almost never met. But, I guess it's alright to set expectations. We just have to be sure that our expectations are sound and fair.
After two activities that were both rather stressful, my friend and I went to the Commercial Center to unwind and wait for our other friends to come and meet us. They all came and we enjoyed good times and good food! Early in the evening, we found out that the Annual Seniors' Torch Parade was abut to start. So, we decided to watch the program. It was fun, really. We ended up dancing to the band. We enjoyed the fireworks, we were shouting, together with everyone else, at the top of our lungs. My friends and I were joking about how the whole event was actually my birthday celebration and the fireworks, their gift for me.
I love how my birthday was capped by the Torch Parade because The Torch Parade has always been my favorite activity in the Seniors' week. I remember that back in 2000, the year I graduated from college (Wow! I can't believe that was ten years ago already!), our batch's torch parade was also during my birthday. It really made my birthday much more special 10 years ago and today.
A realization: It's the "small things" that truly count. Happiness and contentment are very well within our reach.
Being 30 comes only once in one's life. I am excited and, at the same time, scared about turning 30. I waited for this for so long. Being 30, for me, means being in control of your life. Reaching this age gives one person more freedom to choose what s/he wants to do. The thing is that no one is to be blamed about your mistakes except yourself. When one is 30, s/he is neither too old nor too young, right? Being 30, as with any kind of freedom, comes with a huge responsibility. I don't exactly know what's in store for me in the future, what I know, though, is whatever happens to me in the future is now solely in my hand and no one else's.
I am not a kid anymore. I am 30. I am officially an adult. :)
13 March 2010
I like watching talk shows on TV, live or any other way. Any kind of talk show's all right, if you ask me. Maybe it's because I love to talk. Aside from that, I like to listen to other people's ideas and opinions about things. It makes me know them more and gives me some idea as to what kind of people they are. And, I like to hear the host's last words or their take on whatever issue was talked about.
I was watching an episode of The Tyra Show yesterday. I like this show for the variety of issues and topics being tackled. Anyway, in the episode I was watching, the topic was stereotyping. There were 4 people asked to sit as guests and subjects for the project. They were basically just made to sit poker-faced, without saying anything, and 4 other people were also invited to be judges, that is to say whatever they thought of the person just by what they see. What I found really interesting was the choice of people they had as subjects.
The first one was a hijab-wearing American Muslim woman. Hijab is the normal veil that most Muslim women wear, not the one that covers the whole face with only the eyes showing from a slit. That is called the niqab. With this Muslim woman subject, the "judges" said things like she was probably depressed, unhappy, and angry. One, the sole male judge, even said that he just could not separate anger from the veil. So, that means that if he sees someone wearing a veil, that person had to be angry. The Muslim woman admitted that she really had to be extra nice to everyone especially because she works at a coffeehouse. She has to always be smiling and extra nice because those judgments, unfair and baseless as they are, really do come her way everyday just because of her veil. Except for her veil, she looks like your ordinary American woman.
The second subject was a really, really fat woman who was judged as someone who was so lazy, had no job and didn't do anything except sit around the house, eat and watch TV! It turned out that she was actually a very busy woman and she actually had a really important job, being the President/CEO of a successful company that sells plus-sized women's lingerie. The "judges" kept asking her why she, if she was truly that busy, was that fat! She could only laugh at them as they obviously could not imagine what kind of life she had.
Third in the list was a woman who looked to have come straight out of a punk-rock band poster. She had tattoos and piercings all over her body and she had blue hair. She was judged as a drug-dealing, problematic, depressed, dark, suicidal bisexual who obviously lacked self-confidence and who looked like the way she looked because that's the only way she could get the attention she wanted! One of the judges, the only one who had children and the only one who was black among the judges, remarked that she would never have her kids around the blue-haired woman because she was sure that should she allow her kids to be with that woman, the next thing she'd know would be that they'd be doing drugs and all. She even said that an appearance like that was fit only for the circus or at least in the bedroom. Now, the blue-haired woman turned out to be a mother of two kids herself, and a good one at that according to her kids. She's a straight woman and a very intelligent, active professional writer who looked the way she did because it's her way of self-expression and she's most comfortable that way.
And, last but not least, the fourth subject was a black man, who, when seated to be judged, wore this huge, black jacket. He was judged as somebody who probably had a very problematic childhood and a problematic relationship with his family. It was even said that he had lots of guns on him and that he was probably a criminal, the sort who makes one really uncomfortable and cross to the other side of the street just to avoid him. In short, he was said to be a trigger-happy thief/killer and gang member. As it turned out, he was a well-established scholar specializing on psychology.
The 4 judges were: a very well-dressed black woman, a rather scrawny but cute guy, and two perfectly dressed and extremely pretty belles who looked like sunshine personified. They looked pretty much your typical upper middle class Americans. They all said that they didn't have any problems being stereotyped because every other person was entitled to his or her own judgments and opinions like they were. One member of the audience, while sharing his opinion about the matter, said that, these four people may judge the other four who didn't really fall under your typical American look, but, in the same way, to some people these four judges looked pretty sad and boring! One other audience member even said that the guy judge was tragic! And, those comments made the judges almost jump right out of their chairs in disagreement, by the way! So much for being okay about being stereotyped! Haha!:)
This episode of the show really hit something inside me. It made me really think and wonder about myself. I mean, I do try my very best to be as open-minded as possible and I do try to understand people by looking at things through their perspective or understanding where they are coming from, but I also can't help that sometimes I am guilty of stereotyping and judging people by the way they look or maybe sometimes the way they talk. In fact, while watching, I thought the guy judge was stupid and full of himself and he didn't have any right to be arrogant since he obviously had nothing between his ears!
Some words that really struck me were what the Muslim woman said about the judges having no right at all to judge somebody they knew nothing about and what the psychologist said about looking at yourself first before trying to judge other people. Those words really made me reflect about myself and made me realize so many things. According to Tyra Banks, the show's host, it really depends on a person's exposure, too, like when you are exposed to a lot of things, you get to understand a lot of things more and many things become acceptable to you no matter how weird they may appear to others. I agree with her and I'd like to think that I am exposed enough to be open-minded about a whole lot of things. Or at least I'll try to be. That's the decision I made at the conclusion of the episode.
It's funny, too, that I was just talking about gender stereotyping in the Philippines as I was discussing, in my classes, Alejandro Roces' Of Cocks and Hens, a short story that centers on the subject. I was talking to my students about how, here in the Philippines as well as most parts of the world, people are judged by their gender. It's like being put in a box, like if you're male, you have to be in this box and female, in the other. And, if you actually try to work out of the box, it doesn't matter who you are or what you really are, you are considered a freak. That's the sad reality. But, I left them with the question: "So, if one was out of the box or maybe even gay, would that really lessen his or her being a human being? Why is it considered so wrong?"
I may be judged by others because of my veil, my gender, my appearance, my actions, and even my weight. But, I will always keep in mind how not one of them knows anything about me because if they knew me at all, there'd be no judging. People may continue judging me and stereotyping me, I will try to understand and not judge others and I will not mind nor listen to other people's judgments, be they about me or about others. I decide and resolve to be the bigger person. Insha-Allah.
01 March 2010
Because I was born in March, it has always been the month I look forward to most every single year ever since I could remember. Also, coincidentally, many unforgettable experiences I've had in life took place in March. Just a few examples are my graduations from kindergarten, elementary, high school, and university. Yes, they all took place in March. Well, my college graduation (commencement, that is) took place on the 1st day of April, but celebrations, recognitions and pre-commencement programs took place in March. I also had my period for the very first time in March 1993. Hehe:)
March always reminds me of things I love and things that make me happy. This is actually the reason why I want to celebrate each day of the month in my own special way. My own celebration of my birth month started today. This will be a good month and I will make sure that I will be happy everyday. That way, I am sure that this year will be a good and happy one for me. As they always say, how you feel at the end of the day really depends on you.
Because my 30th birthday (March 23rd) is fast approaching, today, I started my Top 30 Things I Should Be Thankful For list, and listing things down really has been a great exercise for me. I can't believe I didn't think of doing this the past years, I mean, it's just so much fun. My list also reminds me that despite everything, life really is beautiful. I don't know, but a lot of people I know dread the coming of their 30th year. I, for one, am pretty excited. Ever since I was a child, aside from my 23rd birthday (because 23 is my favorite number), I've always looked forward to reaching 30. I can't explain why. Well, I don't exactly know why, but I've always loved the sound of a thirty-year-old woman. I feel like I'm approaching a cliff where one can look and watch over the whole world unfold and when I reach that cliff, I know I'll have to take the plunge and take my share of the world. I'll probably write more about this when I've gathered my thoughts properly because, right now, I'm just giddy with excitement. Masha-Allah.
Another thing that makes me excited about this month is that it brings us closer to the May 2010 Elections. I don't really like politics. Despite growing up in a family that's been very much involved in politics, I just hate politics. Not everything about it really, but for most parts of the whole thing. I'm not exactly excited about the elections per se, what I am excited about is to actually get it over and done with so that we can all move on with our lives. So, the closer we are to May, the better.
Speaking of the elections, we, here in the Philippines, are given the task once again to choose our national and local leaders. It truly saddens me that some people I know just don't care about the national elections. In the advent of all this campaign for a better and honest elections, what with all the Ako ang Simula, Boto Mo I-Patrol Mo, Anong Ambisyon Mo?, and the like, I find it ironic that many Filipinos still don't care. Especially in my locality. They say that it doesn't matter who wins as President and Vice President because we will not be affected. Some don't even know who the candidates are; they only know those who are vying for position in the local government. The higher ups in the national arena don't really care about us here anyway, they say.
But, I beg to disagree. Whatever happens in the national arena will affect us whether we like it or not. It's high time that we realize this. It's high time that we fight for our right to actually choose whom we really want to vote and not be dictated by the idea that we should vote for a certain candidate because our real bet doesn't stand a chance and our votes will just go to waste should we vote for those perceived to be weaker. If we continue thinking this way, then there is little chance for the Philippines. In my humble opinion, my vote will never go to waste if I voted right and according to what my conscience tells me. Win or lose, the candidate whom I think deserves my vote will get it. I will vote for my country, for my people, for my future.
Oh, and if you were actually wondering whom I will be voting for come elections, well, it's the Transformers for me. I believe in them and I am convinced they can transform the Philippines if given the chance. So, I will be shading the circles next to Richard Gordon's (for President) and Bayani Fernando's (for Vice President) names when I get my ballot in May 2010! Win or lose, they have my vote! *winks!*