about the talking fish

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Writer. Wheelman. Occasional DIY mechanic. Walking collection of hang-ups. Hopeless romantic. Old-school. Analog soul in a digital world. I am all of these things and more.

Monday, September 06, 2004

I seem to have been born with two demons very close by, and after all these years I haven't been able to get rid of them at all.

They are demons called self-pity and inferiority complex.

They come and go, but when they do hit, they do so very hard...and they hit me right in the middle of the Bacolod tour. Right smack in the middle of the drunken Friday night revelry just beginning to unfold before my eyes, I was beginning to cry. Before I could humiliate myself any further I clambered down the stairs to my room and wept my eyes out alone. There I was, a crying fool talking to himself, feeling miserable.

I've never understood why I've had to feel like this. It's always had something to do with never fitting in, I suppose. Even though I'm active in Pops I can never muster the kind of popular rapport other people can. All I get from most of the Pops people is a perfunctory "Hi"---no nice long friendly chats, no one tugging at my hands wanting me to come along, no shared knowledge of the little things that make Pops life interesting.

It's not only in Pops, mind you. Every time I'm with a new group of people I seem to run aground, never winning as many friends as I wanted and making enemies along the way as well. It's no secret now that I suck at people skills. As much as I would want people to be with me and actually enjoy themselves, I can't. I'm so afraid of doing them wrong, of disturbing them, that most times I would simply just step aside.

Why did I join Pops in the first place? Perhaps I joined because I was their ultimate fan. I saw them perform back in my high school days and was inspired by the desire to become part of them one day. All my life I've been a frustrated performer, and now that I'm finally in Pops but working behind the scenes, a bittersweet feeling just wells up from within me. I guess this is fate's way of telling me that I'm relegated to simply being a fan of Pops for the rest of my college days---taking their pictures, doing their voice-overs, but never captivating an audience.

It makes me regret fully dedicating myself to Counterpoint back in high school when I could just as well have joined the DLSZ High School Chorale. So many people sensed potential in me to be a good singer in 7th grade. Back then I dilly-dallied with what I wanted, content on knowing that I could do all of these things (or "talents") but never cultivating them to the fullest. Seven years later, I can still sing quite well, yes, but whenever I hear the vocalists do their sectionals I retreat into my shell of inadequacy and regrets.

Yes, I am irrational, I have hopelessly low self-esteem and I have precious few friends who transcend the oft-(ab)used label. I have lousy luck with the women I like because my self-pity was one huge factor that ended my one and only relationship anyway. How I wish I could turn all these things around. I probably could, but I still don't know how.

Maybe I should fuck thinking about myself and try thinking of how to help others? But I've always done the latter...

Then we went to the Bahay Pag-Asa Center of USLS, a short bus ride away, the following day.

This center was for all those children in conflict with the law, as Brother Gus explained to us. Ideally the government should be able to protect and provide for the reintegration of these youths into society but they failed miserably. These kids stay in jails which are hell on earth, where they experience being physically, emotionally and sexually abused. I'll spare you all the gory details. It doesn't help that 40% of these kids are in fact innocent.

Bahay Pag-Asa was the very first center of its kind, aimed at getting these kids off the streets, giving them a proper environment for education and giving them the basics to start their own livelihood. We saw these kids and they didn't stink like street kids usually do. They're very clean---right down to their living quarters. They were shy---language barriers owing to that, I suppose---but I could sense the intelligence in them. They were able to plant vegetables, cook, cut hair, make handicrafts, and even forecast the weather for the next 12 hours. More importantly these kids were happy.

I felt tears welling up in my eyes again, and I apparently wasn't alone. Had I not hurt my eyes and run out of tears from crying the night before, I would've cried along with our young fiddler Martin who felt the same thing I did. These kids were a lot worse off than I was, yet they survived and were lucky enough to be picked by Bahay Pag-Asa to become productive members of society, to work their way out of the poverty they were born in.

What the fuck was I crying about the other night? Not fitting in? Not getting to do what I dreamed of? Being jealous of PJ's moves on Denise? I felt so ashamed at the triviality of my concerns.

I'll definitely remember this place, I told myself. When the time comes that I can earn my own money (and lots of it), I'll make sure to donate what I can to Bahay Pag-Asa. I seem to have been able to help their cause by purchasing a ticket of Pops' concert last year. The Brothers have a good thing going on here and they're planning to open similar centers in Manila and in Iligan City. They'll need the help they can get.


Anonymous said...

hey JM, thats was brave move.. to face your fears and let others see what you wud have wanted otherwise to keep for yourself forever..

self pity attacks not only you.. everybody else.. only, theyre too shy to admit it to themselves.. i myself, am insecure about a lot of things.. and i mean A LOT.. but i never entertained the idea that im lowlier than the rest.. i stil believe i am "fearfully and wonderfully made"..

JM said...

Thanks, friend...whomever you might be. :)

Anonymous said...

this is meowski dear :P

Anonymous said...

hey jm it's me!! ahahah kate dlp! Yeah i do read people's blogs. Now you know my secret.

Anyway I felt kind of bad with what you wrote, then again I could also relate. Even a talkative person like me also has issues "jamming" and getting acquainted with people I meet recently. I am particular kasi kapag iba ang wavelength ng tao sa akin. But you know what? Don't sweat it. We are not made to be friends with the whole damn world. You're a really nice person (though moody hehe) and I'm sure you could make friends in POPS easily. Just give yourself time. Just initiate any conversation no matter how stupid and mundane. You have a gift of gab naman so I am sure it will come in handy.

As for self pity, yeah pare I have tons of that. Add to the fact that I am turning 21 next week and I never had a BF. Sometimes nakakainis pero I know I am a catch. haha kapal. I guess time is the only answer :p

Sorry if parang self righteous ang dating ko. just wanted to help blockies!! Peace!!

JM said...

Thanks Kate...I appreciate it :D

I didn't know you were the type to read people's blogs! That was a (pleasant) surprise. Take care!