Post-immersion rambling

The biggest impact immersion had on me wasn’t something I experienced myself, but rather, what my friend experienced (we went to the same area: a farming area in Rosales, Pangasinan). We were doing processing on the third morning and what he said about his “tatay” (adoptive father) struck me.

Last Thursday, we were discussing the Prodigal Son during Theology class, and one of the excerpts from the novel mentioned something about unconditional love and how the World will always measure you by how much you give, and even when you’ve given everything, it will never be enough. That really stayed with me. Never is such a sad, sad word and with everything that happened to me these past few months, it just seemed like a fucking horrible realization.

So during immersion, my friend was sharing how their “tatay” told them outright that he really won’t make them work in the fields or do anything difficult. He just wanted to love them and show them he loved them, and he wasn’t asking for anything in return. He said that if ever they saw each other in Manila, just acknowledging him would be enough. It seemed like he just wanted them to acknowledge his love for them, and that was all. They don’t have to invite him to his house, give him anything, nothing. And during their stay with their tatay, that’s just what he did — showed them that he loved them like any of his real children and took care of them the best way he could.

This was a man who barely knew the students who came to stay with him. He just knew that he wanted to love them from the start, and that was what he was going to do. He didn’t have to know them well, and they had barely three days to actually get to know each other.

I kept on going back to people I’ve sort-of spent years with, and how negative my experiences were with them lately. It was so hard for me to reconcile friendships so strained with how I just wanted things to be. I’ve never been really honest about how difficult it was adjusting when I got back from JTA and things just seemed to get worse with old friends. I was thinking about how even friendship is so conditional, that the word “never” was such a terrifying reality for me. But then, here was this man who made me believe again that unconditional love CAN exist, even in this world, and it’s just difficult to find. My friend was really lucky to have felt that when he stayed with his Tatay. I realized I still have good friends who I could really trust even though I’ve doubted so many things in my life lately.

I think most of us look for that kind of unconditional love. I’ve experienced this with my highschool friends and I will really do anything for them. We’re all human, I know, but it doesn’t mean we’re entirely incapable of this. I think I’m just the sort of person who’ll be looking for this all my life, and I hope I could become somebody like my friend’s Tatay who could love, even strangers, unconditionally.

 

Oh, vanity

In a perpetual state of distraction
In a perpetual state of distraction

I can’t focus. I’m at Matteo, our university’s study hall, listening to Disney music and looking at fashion blogs. I came to school supposedly to be productive until 12pm, after which I’ll head to Cubao to buy stuff for tomorrow’s shoot. And maybe find a nice pair of shoes for myself along the way. ;D

I don’t know why I’ve developed a fixation on fashion and…legs. Every morning I go through RSS feeds on Google Reader — mostly fashion blogs that I follow. As much as I love looking at styles and Fashion Weeks and models and shoes, I grow more and more discontent with how I look. What I want most right now are thinner legs, otherwise I’d be content. I’m tall-ish. I’m growing my hair longer (finally, my horrible bangs grew long enough already!). I’m exercising to keep myself from getting fatter, not exactly to be genuinely fit. I don’t starve myself or diet (I DO NOT DIET, OKAY? I eat cake, cookies, brownies, butterscotch, donuts, and unhealthy instant noodes) — rather, I eat what I love to eat anytime I want to eat. I just don’t exercise as often, I don’t have a flat stomach, and I have huge calves. :( I’m trying to work on it, especially since I made a stupid bet with a friend, which means I should have lost all stomach fat by December.

I look “ok.” Not effortlessly gorgeous like Ash (haha) or cute and hot like Gela. But it doesn’t really bother me because I know that at least I’m tall-ish, I know I dress well (not fashion-blog worthy, but not like freshman year either, or junior year), and I’m not so much as a terrible person as One Person perceived me to be (basically that means I don’t have that horrible a personality so I’m not completely ugly, not even in the less shallow level of surface-beauty). But I have my insecurities (thank You, you Person, you. I still can’t fathom how I could ever, ever forgive you for everything you’ve said and done. I pray to God I can find the heart to forgive you before I die because it’s just so fucking hard). And I know looking nicer won’t solve everything, but it feels rather lovely to receive compliments for it. Even if it’s on my style or clothes for that day, or if it’s about me in general. I’m not going to pull off false modesty because it gives me confidence when the effort I put into dressing up are noticed by some friends. Even if I know they’re biased. :P

So before anyone goes to say, “Oh my gawd, she’s so changed! Like she went to Singapore and came back all different and she’s just not the Camille I used to know!” — I don’t believe that just because I purged my closet of normal shirts and even some dresses everything about me have changed, down to the last atom. People have their own “inertia”, like no matter how easy it is to try and change yourself and your character, we still tend to act in patterns. And while I’m trying to change unpleasant things about myself, such as the way I used to rant just about anyone online, I’m trying to adjust and be more mature about things. It’s not always effective — I have my moments of immaturity. And I definitely have moments of silliness. But I’m the same girl who loves pulling people into hugs and spontaneous kisses. I’m the same girl who’s slightly apathetic but at the same time, I’d do anything to help my friends. I’m still that person who could forgive but never forget, easily annoyed but one who could brush the small things off soon enough. I’m still the person who prefers to love people than dislike them — but no one stays perfectly innocent forever.

I won’t deny that I’ve picked up habits and expressions along the way, and yeah, even some things have changed. How can they not, when four years in college were (and still is) a mix of experiences that had a variety of effects on me? I’m starting to believe, though, that it doesn’t matter. I’m still trying to fix things I’ve broken along the way and in some ways, as much as some aspects of me are essentially going to stay the same, I’m going to continue changing. Doesn’t anyone else find change exciting?

“forgotten” doesn’t mean “lost”

Thanks to Kasey, I was able to watch this deleted scene from the cut version of the movie Leon the Professional (1994):

One thing led to another and I ended up reading the original script. I don’t remember if this was in the movie (the last time I’ve watched it was ages ago), but there’s this line from that script that caught my attention:

RECEPTIONIST Did you lose your key, Mister?

Léon recovers from his shock.

LÉON No… I just thought if I’d lost anything…

RECEPTIONIST And did you forget anything?

LÉON Yeah… But “forgotten” doesn’t mean “lost”

There’s quite a huge difference at the way Mathilda and Leon’s relationship was handled in the film and in the original script. I don’t prefer one over the other, but I like how the original script explored fully the kind of relationship I thought was there between Leon and Mathilda. I read through some of the comments on YouTube and I see how it is somewhat screams LOLITA, except Luc Besson handles it beautifully, without malice and in a way, the movie tries to tackle this in a more innocent, but not purer, way.

In an interview, Luc Besson said:

No, I’m not responsible for what people think. The story is about two kids, a girl and a boy. They’re both 12 years old, in their minds, and they’re both lost and they love each other. And the rest is just your problem.The most important line for me in Léon is the one we’ve just seen where her conscience says to her “you didn’t see what it was, you saw what you wanted to see”.

“You didn’t see what it was, you saw what you wanted to see.” The truth that rings from that line is so strong. You can apply that line in a variety of contexts, from fangroups to the distortion of truth in every-day life. I’ve read somewhere before that a person’s memory, even witnesses, are not 100% accurate. There is no experience that goes uninterpreted. The moment we believe that what we saw or what we thought we saw or what we thought happened was what happened, that’s what is recorded in our mind, unless a different belief of that memory overwrites it. That’s how people can be stubborn with their beliefs and sometimes compromise never happens.

He answers another question:

I’m more attracted by a female character because I think that now for 30 or 40 years the image of the male actor has been as a strong man, and is most of the time about force and strength. And I’m attracted by the weakness, how they (women) can fight when they don’t have that. And the ways they have to find to be able to fight for something or say something – it’s richer. It’s much more interesting.

I understand this completely, because I have the same fascination. I’ve been writing this story about two people (and most of the characters I’ve penned down) and it mostly tackles that same theme. My protagonists are female but it’s not only because I’m female, but also because there is a kind of empowerment I explore when my female characters take masculine roles. Don’t take me wrong; I’m not a radical feminist. My (sadly, unfinished) stories usually are (were?) just driven by women.

Let’s talk about Philo

Yesterday, during Philosophy 104 class, we were talking about the “complete” life. When you say virtue or happiness requires a complete life, what makes a life complete? In the discussion, we defined “complete” as having a fixed pattern (with regard to how you think/act/react) or, for a better term, stability in the character of the person. Despite having freedom to act in any way and to adapt characteristics we want, we tend to act in consistent patterns anyway. Because of this inertia, it’s hard (though possible) to break that pattern.

A lot of people would testify I’ve “changed.” Surface changes like fashion (since I dropped wearing dresses regularly) are more easily commented upon. Before leaving for Singapore, Marv said I would change for sure and when I came back, Jopy also commented upon my having changed. And I assume he meant something more substantial than trying to be more fit (in fairness, it is the first time I tried regularly exercising). I’ve made personal decisions regarding myself as well: what I want to change and what I want to improve about myself, but I understand how in essence there is something — in that deepest, bottom-est layer of the pie — that somehow stays same.

Some have told me I’m immature and I have an unpleasant way of reacting in some situations. I sometimes am antagonistic towards some people and I write things that I can’t tell them face-to-face in places that they can, if ever, read them because I think it’s better they know even if I can’t physically confront them about it. I am trying to work on these things. I’m not immature all the time, and as much as I belatedly recognize my times of immaturity, I’ve faced bigger issues in my life where I acted mature and definitely better in principle than the other person (my God, how can I ever forgive that person?). I think I will always fawn over people I love, and people who I constantly hang out with in the moment, but I’ve also tried to be nice and tolerant towards those I particularly dislike. I mean, I think in essence I work with a simple principle: be nice to me and I will easily be nice to you, and even love you. Backstab me and all I’ll feel toward you is hatred. If you’re a douche, forget about talking to me, period. Maybe it’s not very Christian, and in Philo-terms I’d like to believe I’m a continent person (I try to do good and all, but I still have the tendency to be mean), but it doesn’t make me evil.

I think, no matter how much I try to change myself in the way I react to situations, how I feel about things stay the same. I will never be the type of person who will shut up or let things pass, or dismiss a rude comment / an impolite action in a disagreeable situation — I will risk being disliked or hated but I will react against it/the person. I will never be content if I feel unjustified or I felt like a friend of mine (or even myself) have been unfairly judged. I will always adore people who love me, and I will always break a bone just to help them. I will always act upon what I believe is right even if it will hurt me or my friend in the process — as long as I’m convinced I’m doing the right thing. I will feel brokenhearted at the smallest things. I will always find people (other people, their lives, their stories) interesting and, I think, the things that motivate me or drive me generally still are the same. I will always find it hard to focus on more than five people at a time and because of that people will, probably, always mistake that inability for a tendency to abandon other friends. And even now, even as I try to think of it, I still wonder how I can change some of the worst aspects of me: I hate as fiercely as I love, and I am as unforgiving as I am loyal.

I just have to accept that everyone who can not understand who I am now, or how I am, never will even in the future. I have to convince myself I have nothing else to prove. Not when everything in surface level is nitpicked and everything that is in essence is merely forgotten. I’m just starting to get used to things now, to adjust to those people, to be unaffected, because as much as my essence will hardly change, neither will theirs.

A letter to August

Dear August,

I can’t believe I could look forward to a month so much, but I have, and I’m glad you’re here. It’s just the first day and all I can feel are good vibes.

it was me, my thinking, the cancer of never letting go

That was 2009. That was Until July.

But, August, you will be about letting go. Of things unpleasant, of all the lies everyone else have said about me, of depression, and I guess, of so many things in the past year that I want to just forget.

August: you will be about excitement and possibilities, of no more sadness, of fun and friends and thesis. You are going to be my stepping stone to ending this year with an Awesome spelled with a capital ‘A’. I have nothing to prove to anyone else besides myself, and I want to prove that I can live happy.

It’s like a new year in the middle of the year, and it’s good.

I’m starting the month right. Tomorrow we’re going to High Street, buy books, drink coffee, eat cookies, do some work (maybe), meet up with old friends, and life will be good again.

Let’s keep it up.

Love,
Camille