My life is no hype


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My head hurts. I slept late. One a.m. to be exact. I didn’t do any physical chores today. My left arm hurts. It started when I had this fever, third Saturday of last month. The next Saturday, it was measles. I look at the open door, the tube that shows some youngsters, dancing to the tune of some old pop hit. And I had to watch, because the tube is on, and my eyes are on, and yeah, it’s HD.

I’m reading Fight Club, watching tube shows, and FBing. Multitasking, this is. And I have these two notebooks, waiting for words. Worse of all, they wait for completion.

The New Year’s hype is all about starting all over again. Lies. They feed you with lies. Because the truth is – it’s just a feeling. “New”. Yet, as soon as Monday’s back, and we’re back at work, at school, at whatever it is we’ve been doing, we’re back at the old cycle. The clogs fit together to push the wheel, and make it move.

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No. I don’t feel new. At all. And the only best thing this “new” feeling is giving me is this: I’m reminded to stay truthful to myself. I could occasionally join you in your live-hype. Yet, when I feel like I’m feeling something else, when I’m inside the ‘contrary’, I will stop wearing your hat. I will welcome that real tingling. I will listen to my instinct when it kicks the ever-beaten gong. I don’t know about you, but this is my life, my chosen path. And I intend to make the most out of it. Or I could opt for a few detours. It doesn’t have to matter if it’s me who matter … to me.

Outside our pantry-window


It was dark and cloudy. There weren’t any stars to see tonight. Perhaps, they got bored huddling in the dark sky-blanket. So, they chose to abandon it, even for awhile.

In exchange for the skies, they went to lit many houses. Outside of this office’s pantry’s untidy window, I could see them run along the hills, where big and small houses sat. In the gloomy darkness, it was a sight to behold! For awhile, I thought to myself: they’re contented.

Perhaps, they got bored huddling in the dark sky-blanket.

Work, school, chore

I have school-work waiting for me. As final products, it demands a revised written requirement (plus, an oral exam, too). The day job, on the other hand, screams of a quota — alias: word count. At home, there’s the laundry and several dusty surfaces.

If the stars stayed for a long time, would they accompany me in my schoolwork and home-chores? I’m suddenly seeing myself as the ever-bustling Cinderella. If that were my fairy tale, the stars would have been my rodent friends.

Would they accompany me in my schoolwork and home-chores?

And what would the stars do? Can their light, though shadowed by the sun, give me powers? Can they cheer me up, and with pompoms or without, say: “go, you can do it?” Or can they enlighten me and leave me glowing like a halo?

It changed.

I never knew the answer. I looked up at our corrugated roof. I didn’t expect to see any single star. They do prefer their blanket sky, I suppose. But as I turn away, a slanting light caught me. I turned back and reel at its glory. The light stretched and went to reach my hands. It warmed me.

I held it for awhile. My hands and sight rose, tracing the source of my star. What I saw struck me: I realized, this was no star. Our roof got some teeny weenie hole!

I went outside to call my dad. Seriously?! If there were indeed visiting stars, they could have spared our house! Now, it wasn’t just me who’s getting real busy here; my dad will have a roof-hole to fix, too.

Oh my… so much for stargazing.

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First published on Medium.com

Why Criticism Looked Like a Jewel to Me


I want it clear, more often than not.  Yet, there are times when my mood isn’t exactly up to some kind of brutal verbal beating.  So yes, a bit of kid gloves might come on handy.

I think it helps, from the point of the criticism-deliverer, to first observe the subject of criticism carefully.  Is she or he in the right state of mind to take some points, be reminded about rules?

One of the most unforgettable comment I have received pertained to my poem entitled, “Difficulty.”  A particular panelist told me he couldn’t appreciate the piece well because it didn’t seem to address a specific audience.  Prior to this critique were amazing comments: someone said she enjoyed it! 😀

Still, I couldn’t help but bristle over that one specific critique.  The result of over-analyzing is great!  I had reflected over my method of writing, reviewed my motives, and reached an important realization (that helped me effectively tackle my craft).  This just goes to show that criticism — if properly communicated — turns out to be a gift.

Do you agree?  Or not?

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Today’s piece is inspired by The Daily Prompt’s “Handle with care

Questions Are Just as Awesome as Answers (Probably, more awesome)


How do you get good marks?

You read stuff and absorb it. The term ‘absorb’ may mean memorizing, rote learning, or matching questions with the correct answers. And then under a given period of minutes, hours or days, you sit and write it all. Your lucky stars may even do more by giving you with boxes to shade!

The education system used to be well-balanced. Young adults are likely to be provided with other avenues to pursue their creativity. They can approach composition with the sole purpose of self-expression. They can paint and experiment and make reaching their potential their goals.

But that was eons ago. Today, our education system was retrofitted on several levels — its evident result is this stripped bare of a scheme, characterised by its factory-like aesthetics and mechanically spewed children. They’re out and ready to get with life, minus the dynamics of sheer curiosity.

They don’t know how to come up with good questions. They’re used to someone giving them those that the beauty of question-generation is long lost to them.

Where questions are king (or queen if you like)

In dissertation or research studies of similar ilk, you need to come up with research questions. In fact, the whole piece is wired to start with that million-dollar question.

For those attuned to ask, they’ve probably got the edge. Come to think of it, if you do things again and again, tweaking it there and now, wouldn’t you end getting better at it? If that is true, those who are insatiably curious and aren’t timid to put out questions of any kind (both smart and ‘stupid’) are probably an essential source of good questions.

But what’s a ‘good question?’

Of course, it has to be well-thought out. It need not contain a collective set of variables because a very good question can sustain with the barest essentials.

How do you eat passion fruit?

It sure cuts the chase, does it? But if you were to ask about its anatomy, you won’t just learn how to eat it. You could learn about its proteins, the good stuff it gives your body. By understanding its tender meat’s texture, you might soon learn how to make it become the next jarred jam. And, of course, you might learn that the fruit may not actually fit well as a jam.

Hypothesis, hypothesis

The system and everything else

Ironically, our education system supports this line of poor questioning. In fact, even if you were to use that passion fruit-question, results from trusty ol’ Google will show comprehensive pieces — that cover stuff about anatomy, nutrients, jams, and products!

Clearly, there is no good (or tangible) incentive to coming up with good questions. Even our education system rewards answers. Just answers.

Have you ever heard of marks or points derived out of good questions?

As a lifelong learner, it is our ultimate choice. If they can’t teach us how to make good questions, let’s teach ourselves! Let’s ask each other a question.

And then, perhaps, stop stigmatizing question-making by calling each other ‘stupid,’ ‘dull,’ or ‘foolish.’

Yes, we can start with that.

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First appeared at Medium.com

“Not good enough”


It nuzzled my hair, then slyly went to whisper the dreaded words…

But, who knows what enough really is?

Our standards isn’t exactly our own, is it? It came from our peers, our socio-cultural backgrounds, our associations, our family. Such is the crux of the ‘standards’ problem.

Each of those mentioned elements tell us what to do, what to say, how to say it, and so forth. When these messages (command messages?) cannot register in our own mumbled consciousness, we start to panic. We think, “there’s something wrong with me…”

Exposure to too many voices have erased our ability to hear our own voice. We sought others opinion more than ours. In the course of so-doing, this pattern weaves itself to become a habit. It’s a long, almost-unending story of unhappiness and discontent.

Again, let’s ask: Who knows what enough really is?

Nobody.

The so-called authority may claim that these and that is the standard. Thus, we condition ourselves that standards exist and subject ourselves to the same old self-torture.

But it is just an illusion. Just like ‘fairness’ or ‘justice,’ standards is a man-made concept. As most man-made creations, standards were created to maintain stability. And while it did us a lot of good, there were also a lot of externalities.

One of those externalities went to urge the wrong side of ourselves to talk to us more often. It wasn’t the voice that spoke of freedom. It was the voice imprinted by someone else’s. And its constant message was this:

“You are not good enough.”

Monster.

Now, how are we to know that the voice was a bug and not of our own? It came just where conscience came from. Its proximity suggests one source: us.

The standards, that came to give birth for that particular voice, made us deaf. And as it wears and tears us, a certain kind of fear develops: it is the fear of never being good enough.

This fear, its voice — it came to wrap me lovingly in its arms. And without a moment’s hesitation, strangled me.

We thought of our inner, mental voice as our guide. Ironically, it is also our enemy, the culprit of our not-so-petty circumstance. Is there any chance of freeing ourselves from that ‘other voice?’

Suddenly, I’m reminded of the story of the two wolves. One was a bad wolf, the other is good. Interestingly, the two wolves live in us. Perhaps, the most memorable part of the story was the question: “Which wolf will win?”

I, for one, am so through with this voice. I don’t want to listen to it anymore, though I know that there were times when it’s simply trying to be helpful.

But if it comes to a point where I have to choose, I know which voice I would want to listen… more often.

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First appeared on Medium.com