Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Ready or Not

I was writing to myself in my journal the other day, and stopped when I scribbled the following:

...always being ready for the worst makes you miss out on all of the best.

It's so simple and yet I didn't see it.  I've always seen the opposite of optimism as negativity, but I never considered how destructive paranoia and over-preparedness can be...  Sure, I didn't expect the worst, but I considered and planned for it the way I planned for 'best case scenarios'.  It seemed like the most reasonable way to go about planning.  It still does...

I suppose there's a reason why they say 'ignorance is bliss'.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Worry

In high school, I usually had crushes on the smartest boys, but in my OAC year, I had a crush on one of the average guys.  Everyone knew, too, not because it was obvious but rather because I had a big mouth.  I wouldn't have admitted it then, but I told people because I figured that if word got around that I was interested that he'd be confident enough to make the first move.

Anyway, one day after school, he was in the gym playing soccer.  I think it was tryouts, but it could have just been a pickup game.  I was with a bunch of our friends outside of the gym doors peeking in and watching the game.  After much coaxing and teasing, my friends convinced me to go and talk to him when he was benched.  So, I took a deep breath, and walked into the gym.

My heart raced as I walked along the side of the gym towards him.  He was at the opposite end.  My palms got all sweaty.  The yells and screams of the teams on the floor and their audience grew increasingly muffled behind the loud, clear sound of the beating of my heart.  I tried to play it cool by casually averting my eyes from his gaze until I got closer, walking at a steady pace that was neither awkwardly fast nor peculiarly slow.  And when the perfect moment came for me to raise my head (that is, when I was close enough to say 'hi' without having to scream it), I looked up, made eye contact with him, and smiled.  I raised my right arm to wave, opened my mouth, and BAM!  The soccer ball whacked me on the left side of my head.  One of my friends, who was playing, accidentally kicked it right at me.

What I should have done was not move, and perhaps nurse my head.  What I actually did was awkwardly run right through to the other exit at the opposite end of the gym in utter embarrassment - an exit, I might add, which was just past him.  Eye-contact was broken.  Opportunity lost.  Confidence shattered.  My friends and the teams, all came running after me to see if I was okay, and they remarked on how odd it was for me to run away, but no one seemed to pick up on my actual purpose: going and talking to the guy.

I never did try again.  He and I remained friends for the rest of our high school careers, and all of it is of little consequence.

Months after the incident, on our graduation night, after the ceremony when everyone congregated in the courtyard for hors d'oeuvres, pictures, and good-byes, when he and I were saying our 'good-bye' to each other, he said something to me that has stuck with me ever since, "I don't worry about you."  He went on to talk about how I'd be fine, and that he never wondered or worried that I'd go on to do 'great things', and how I'm "just that kind of person".

This comes to mind now because these are words that I have heard many times since.  They are words that have been spoken to me by so many different people recently.  They are words spoken to me all too often.  When I'm down, they feel insulting.  When I feel better, I see it for what it truly is: a nice compliment.

I don't worry about you.

Thank you, everyone.  I guess I don't worry, either.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Pride

The older I get the clearer it becomes how affected I have been by the opinions of those around me throughout my entire life. I can see it  in my blogs and my personal journals.  I see how others' opinions affected my definitions of success, the goals I set and dreams I had.   It has taken me years to realize that I disagree, and to discover what really makes me happy.  Most importantly, it's taken me years to have enough humility to swallow my pride and fail in others' eyes.

But as much of a barrier as our pride can be, we still need it. Without it, we may crumble. What is 'dignity' if not a sense of pride?

So, to what degree do we concede (swallow our pride)? Or to what extent do we persist (keep our dignity)?  What's sad is that there is no chosen point on the spectrum of answers that can be defined as the optimal spot.

"Success" is relative, and not necessary for "happiness".

Okay.

But if this is the case, then how do we set a goal and aim for it? How do we guide our actions The answer must be subjective, but that's not really settling. It feels arbitrary.

I hope all of you find this as troubling as I do.

Greg Hilado's Manila Hair Design

I had met Greg Hilado one fateful day when I was fifteen while wandering around downtown looking for a hairstylist. The sign read "Manila Hair Design", and being Filipino, I thought I'd check it out. When I walked in, he asked me if I had ever modeled, and on the spot, he invited me to be a model for his hair designs. Long story short: below is a video of my first hair show.

I was thinking about getting highlights when Greg Hilado came to mind. I googled his name to see if I could find him, and what I found was this video posted on Youtube. I never thought I'd see this again.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Apathy and Agnosticism

Voter turnout is affected by a variety of socio-economic and hereditary factors, but I've always taken Canada's ever-decreasing rate as a sign of its general political stability.  What is political apathy, after all, if not a symptom of a content society?  and what better way is there to celebrate contentment than to not take action (i.e. vote).  No vote is a vote for the status quo.

Ah, sweet, ignorant indifference.  What does it matter if it is a Conservative or Liberal government if our general standard of living is upheld?  What about ethics and morality?  Questions surrounding freedom of speech and disclosure?  Privacy?  Rights?

It's easy to be indifferent when the consequences don't directly affect your life, or anything you think about.  Holding an opinion becomes an intellectual exercise.  What would I do if... ?

All it takes is one event to throw you into a circumstance where you can definitively see how politics noticeably affects your life.  When that happens to you, how can you go on being indifferent?  How can your opinions remain only intellectual exercises?  They become your reality.  You can either rise to the challenge, or cower in shame.

I hid for months out of a confused and misguided sense of remorse.  I had been terrorized into silence.  Well, silence won't speak the truths that need to be told.
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