Friday, June 14, 2024

The Mean One

By Jeck Tirambulo | Ex-Batallones

Vol. XCI No. 17

Feb. 21, 2020

They used to say that everyone’s first victory was winning the swimming contest to the ovary. Although hearing it calls for an immediate celebration to my part as I rarely excel at anything, sometimes in the most melancholic moment of my life, I wish it wasn’t me. The other billions of spermatozoa who swam along with me, there must have been at least one percent of them who could have become a scientist, a lawyer, a great painter, or a performer. My parents could have been hanging a beaucoup of certificates, medals, and plaques somewhere in our living room. Instead, what came out of my mother’s placenta was a demotivated, always anxious, and barely functional human being. Great, I won the swimming contest, and now, I am facing real-world problems and a slice of existential crisis. All these pestering frustrations in life, I would not even want to be the main character of my novella

God knows where had I been when s/he decided to bless a portion of humanity with talents, competencies, and good looks. Look at that high school intern at NASA; he discovered a planet just days after the start of his internship. Or that 7-year-old boy who earns millions only by reviewing toys on YouTube. Erstwhile, there’s also that neighborhood or relative whom my parents wanted me to emulate for s/he was an ideal figure. Often I lose track of who is it that I want to become. I can no longer appreciate what I am capable of doing. Do we all need to go through a path of self-loathing and despair? However, as I look at myself now, I could not say if I should be grateful that I went through those stages or feel contemptuous because I could have been happy during those trying times. Leastways, I outgrew it.

If there’s anything that self-loathing taught me, that would be acceptance, tolerance, and improvement. I could not be like Einstein nor Luciano Pavarotti, not even close to Mabini. We all have these particular individuals whom we adore much and hope to be like them, but we can never be them. You have your path. It may take time to create that path, at least you have a vision, a destination where that path leads. You may find yourself left behind by those whom you have sailed together, and it is still okay. Sail at your pace. Acknowledge what you are capable of that is the essence of acceptance.

People will always have something to say to you, and you can’t get rid of those. I know how bad it is when they badmouth you for not completing your degree in its designated timeframe. I know how bad it is when you are being compared to your siblings as they have received honors during their time as students of the same institution you are right now. When it came to me, I immediately built barriers and severed my connections with those kinds of people. Look, he was a consistent honor student during elementary, what happened then? Why is he still in college even when his batchmates are already working? It hurts hearing this from others, how much from your kin? However, I did not grow a pair of ears to store those uncharitable and unsolicited opinions in my head. Ipalapos ra na sa pikas dalunggan. Just tolerate and disconnect. 

However, it is not enough that you have accepted and tolerated unending negativities. Check before you wreck yourself. If it feels heavy despite having accepted and tolerated things, you might as well try to improve yourself. Are you bad at something? Work on it. I used to despise math until I found how fulfilling it was when I solved a particular problem. I realized that circumstances in the past might have rendered my skills into dormancy. Dili ka bogo. Maybe the methods that your teacher used in high school were too complicated, and they weren’t simplified to the point where even the slowest learner in the classroom can comprehend. Always know that there isn’t just one thing that can influence a situation. Continue to learn as life continues to teach.

It’s okay to be average; we are wholesome creatures.


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