Scarred

It’s been one month and five days since my finger accident, and the same period of time of applying Betadine and protective band-aid. One month and five days, but my finger isn’t 100% fully-functional yet. Visibly, my finger looks okay because the wound has closed-up, and all that’s left is a scar that to me resembles a lightning-bolt, like Harry Potter’s, or maybe not. There’s still some pain though when I press on it which only means the wound inside has not fully-healed yet.

There are days when I get impatient, I skip the usual Betadine and band-aid, and just end up hurting my finger more. I miss pointing at things with my pointy finger, but I have to remind myself to give her time to heal. My finger needs time to heal.

My visibly okay but not fully-healed finger and my impatience remind me of people.

Like my finger, people may appear ‘okay’, with big smiles on their faces, engaging in fun and laughter, but it doesn’t always mean they’re actually truly happy, and it doesn’t always mean they don’t have struggles of their own.

Most of the time, things – – people aren’t always how/what they appear, so it’s best not to judge. It’s best not to assume. It’s best not to conclude so easily. It’s best to be patient. It’s best to allow time for healing.

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I Need To Say This

I’m sorry, in advance, but what follows is a rant.

Today, at exactly four o’clock in the afternoon, I received my nth call from Home Credit (HC). In a nutshell, HC is a credit group that allows people, from all walks of life, to purchase electronics, home appliances, and in my case mobile phones, and pay in installments, with minimal requirements.

But no, I did not avail of HC’s services; A co-worker of mine did, and without my knowledge and permission, he made me his guarantor. When did I find out? When I received my first call. Let’s call him DCW, for Delinquent Co-Worker.

What burns me are three things.

First and most importantly, DCW did not bother to ask for my permission, much less, let me know that he will use my name and contact details in such transaction. When someone (S1) asks you for someone else’s (S2) number, it is only proper to ask for S2’s permission first, right? What more if you’re going to make someone your guarantor. Show some respect especially when you only know of my number because of work, not because we’re chums, not because we chit-chat, and certainly not so you can use my contact number any way you want.

But the damage has been done though, what matters to me now is the next step. A sincere apology would be nice, and a little bit more than, “Wag niyo na lang po pansinin pag tumawag ulit, Ma’am.” How can I do that when I keep getting calls because you are a delinquent debtor, and you conveniently changed your number.

Second, typical of collectors is their attitude. They will not listen to your explanations; they will not care if you were just innocently dragged into this mess. They will rudely talk to you, and persistently get a hold of you at any time convenient to them. Rudely. Typical.

And third, just a while ago after receiving the call from HC, I had a chance to talk with DCW. I was upset, but I was calm. But for some reason, I only ended up feeling much worse after the talk. I felt guilty when I know I shouldn’t have because I had nothing to be guilty about. I hate this.

To be honest, I find no shame in loaning or borrowing money. I don’t even keep an opinion on how and what someone chooses to spend money on. But I do take offense in being thrust into a mess of a commitment someone got into, and cannot and won’t own up to his responsibilities.

Come on. Grow up. Man up.

An Ode

Wrote this while on my coffee break a few minutes ago. It’s freezing in our office, thanks to our overly excited air conditioning. Whatever inspired me to write, helped me with the chill.

We’ve spent countless years together

On days when stress overwhelmed,

You were there to provide an immediate relief

You were always by my side

Some people weren’t too accepting

You came on too strong, they said

But I didn’t care

I tried to fight for you

I tried to hold on even tighter

Some bonds are meant to last forever, may be

But ours, sadly, is just not meant to be

I have found another, another far better

One that’s just as strong, but more pleasing

One that’ll fill your shoes and be my new remedy.

*An Ode To Liniment (Farewell to White Flower, and Hello to Human Nature Soothing Balm) 

Switch Off

I was busy reviewing a case when I noticed that my reading area had gotten dim. I thought either my eyes were getting tired, or there was someone hovering my area and covering the light. As it turns out, the fluorescent lamp nearest to me had just officially died, and unfortunately for me, the Maintenance Office claims to have no stored bulbs in its supplies. Tough luck. The light from my computer screen is not enough. This is torture for someone with poor eyesight and migraine.

On a lighter note, I just asked an officemate, who is a mother, to serve as an ‘ilaw ng tahanan’. Corny, but it made both of us laugh anyway.
Obstacles. Minor compared to what most are experiencing.
Like in most obstacles, I had two options. One, to dwell on this negativity, rant my head off, and succumb to whatever miserable state I was in. Or two, be more optimistic and claim that as soon as tomorrow (with fingers crossed), my ‘problem’ will have its solution.
There’s an obvious right choice. However, sometimes the obvious right choice is difficult and challenging to do, so I tend to do the other. I rant. I complain. I explode. Sometimes it solves the problem. Most often, it does not.
And that’s why I chose to do the right, more sensible thing. I feel good about it.
Fast forward to a few hours later. Here I am, in the dark again, stuck in the most terrible traffic, faced with yet another obstacle. I am tired. I am hungry. I have food, but I don’t want to eat here. I want to be home with family.
My driver, who’s probably already in his 70’s, seems more tired and much hungrier. He seems more anxious, too.
We talk. I offered him candies and some takeout food, which he happily accepted. He now has a smile on his face, and so do I.
One hour and thirty minutes (and counting) for what was supposed to be just a 20-minute ride home. Unless this car had long mechanical legs or wings, then I can’t do anything (rant, complain, blame myself for choosing the wrong day to run an errand), but wait and be patient.
Patience. My thoughts run back and forth to the fluorescent lamp (or the lack thereof) at the office and the decision to eat some of the takeout food that I have. Just a bit more, we’re moving. Slowly, but moving anyway.
I blink, and it’s not as dark anymore.
I’m home. ❤️

Much Ado About The Loo (A Reflection On and About Public Restrooms, Among Other Things)

I remember Spider-man whining about how having superpowers is both a blessing and a curse.

You know what I think is both a blessing and a curse? PUBLIC RESTROOMS.

Public restrooms provide the momentary, but immediate and much-needed comfort and relief. It’s not meant to, but it often serves as a witness and venue for when certain matters/issues need to be dealt with privately. Most of the time, at least in my case, it is where I get the most meaningful reflections and the best creative ideas for writing. Am I the only one who reflects, meditates, or composes essays while peeing?

Public restrooms are a blessing.

All these are quickly disregarded though when you chance upon a public restroom smelling foul. While I know it’s not supposed to smell like your own bathroom, I feel the smell should at least be neutral or clean. Or like a bathroom cleanser, maybe? The foul smell assures you the place has not been properly maintained, and that the stench will more or less stick to your clothes better than magnet on steel. The smell is an assault to the senses. Scratch that. The smell and appearance are an assault to the senses.

One restroom I frequent was recently renovated, and with that came a few new facilities. It now has a huge mirror. The tiles have been changed, too. Gone are the yellowish-used-to-be-white ones it once had. The cubicle doors are likewise brand new, with fully-functioning locks. Gone are the days when I had to hold onto the door while semi-squatting on the toilet. That, by the way, is every woman’s hidden talent. Take a bow, ladies.

Blessings, right?

Not quite. Not with the additional provision of bidets in every cubicle. This one’s a menace. A menace, I tell you.

But first, a brief vocabulary lesson. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines the word ‘bidet’ as “a bathroom fixture used especially for bathing the external genitals and the anal region.” It’s clear which part of one’s body bidets are meant to clean. And although I understand why this particular fixture was provided, I can’t help but also think how bad of an idea it is, particularly in a public restroom. I, for one, feel it’s very unhygienic to have or use bidets in public restrooms, but that’s just me. And this is even assuming, bidets are used properly – correctly. Here’s a thought: what if it is not?

Since the renovation and the installation of bidets, I have never seen this particular restroom this filthy. The cubicle floors are always flooded with puddles of water, and the seats are always doused with a mixture of water and urine. With all the amount of water, err –liquid, you see, you’d think at least the inside of the toilet is clean, right? I give people way too much credit and benefit of the doubt, I know, because it seems with the newly-installed bidets, people have forgotten how to use the toilet flush. Of course, the sink counter is not spared. It would take a whole of effort to leave the restroom with a dry shirt after brushing your teeth.

Unrest and discomfort.  Curses!

From public restrooms and other office or school facilities, to social media, free speech and expression, suffrage – these are all reasons to be thankful. Blessings. If only we do not abuse them. Curses.

But borrowing the words of Uncle Ben in Spider-Man, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Just like with everything you own, have, and enjoy, you have to value it, take care of it, and respect everyone else who uses or has it. You lose that, then everything just plainly becomes a curse, for you and for everyone else.

I still use this particular restroom, mainly because more often I don’t have a choice but to. I still wish for a day when I get to see it in pristine condition, meaning no stench, no unrecognizable liquid in sight — a place that can actually live up to its name — a comfort room.

 

But until then, as with everything else (other public facilities, social media, free speech and expression, suffrage), I will continue to proceed with care and caution, I continue to arm myself with enough toilet paper, (p)wet wipes, and alcohol with every visit.

Rest

At times when work gets too hectically busy, my go-to source of relaxation is a hot tub (mug) of coffee or tea with honey.

I put my pen down, take off my earpods, and head on to the office pantry to fix myself that perfect cup. This seemingly rough patch-free task is sometimes disrupted by an already empty hot water air pot, which I have to re-fill because someone chose not to, and now, I don’t have any choice but to. Once that’s done though, I stand beside the dining table with my favorite pink/green mug filled with my beverage of choice: today, it’s hot tea with honey. 

I do not drink it at the pantry. Instead, I proceed to stand in front of the window behind my desk, always my favorite spot. I draw the blinds just enough to reveal the green pastures and birds waiting to greet me. When I’m lucky, I watch, oftentimes in amazement, how the soft drizzle of rain touches the greens that happily await below. 

No chit-chat. No unnecessary things said or heard. Just me, my mug, and nature – – – the same, only more meaningful, respite from work. ☕

I AM BEAUTIFUL

Dear Doreen:


Yesterday, just as you were about to conclude what was supposed to be a great day, someone ruined it for you, with words that you feel (you believe) although meant to be funny as a joke, were unnecessary, offensive, and hurtful. That person might not have realized it, but her words stabbed you in the gut, quite badly. Her words left you embarrassed, angry, hurt, and worst of all, ashamed of the way you look.

Go ahead. I am allowing you some time to feel the pain. Cry if you must. Let it out, and let it go.

How very timely and apt that you chanced upon an article about someone else’s own struggles and how she lifted herself from such. It gave you some relief and assurance that you are not alone, didn’t it?  You are not the only one who gets undermined for the way you look. You are not the only one who has body issues. Everybody has it. But these so-called body imperfections are what makes you who you are. These imperfections are what makes you, YOU. These imperfections make you beautiful.

Yes, Doreen, you are beautiful. Say it again. You are beautiful. One more time, and this time, mean it. You are beautiful.

Look, I know you’re tired of the hurt, the pain caused by people’s words, expectations, and opinions of you. Stop listening to those that pull you down, and start appreciating yourself for who and what you are. I know it isn’t easy. It never really is, but it is possible — attainable, and you can do it.

Realize and acknowledge that as you go through life, you will still meet more people who will size you up and judge you. Let them. Keep in mind that you can never really please everyone, and you don’t really, actually have to.

Cast away negativity, and keep yourself open to positivity, always.

I love you. ❤️