Ang pagsasama nang tapat ay pagsasama nang maluwag. In another version of this, it also means “ang pagsasabi ng damdamin ay pagsasama nang maluwag”.
If we want to know the size of our heart, simply clench your fist this way and we have a good look of this vital organ that pumps blood or basically, life to every part of our body. I find this dynamic reminiscent of an obsolete Filipino parenting style. When parents categorize their child’s passivity, non-resistance or blind following as respectful not only by the parents but something to be proud of in the entire family, I am disgusted. How can parents choose good schools/universities for their children and yet shut them up whenever these kids use their critical or analytical minds, as fruits of their education? This means, their child is not a “kabisote” or a student who memorizes something but not truly understanding anything. Speaking up feels like crime and you would be labeled as “palasagot” (cocky) and “bastos” (rude) when you just want to drive a point and share your insights. This act is driven by love not by the need to feel superior. The desire for verbalizing thoughts and feelings is a crucial part of the growth process for everybody in the family.
I remember the time when I called my Mom in her office to ask what I needed to prepare for dinner before she arrived. Her officemate-seatmate, Tita Mabel happened to answer the phone – clearly because my Mom was nowhere near that desk. When she heard that it was me on the other line, she readily became so ecstatic. I could feel her voice quivering with overspilling joy, “Angelica, congratulations! Your Mom told me you are now working in ABS-CBN.”
If Tita Mabel could only see my face from the other line, I had turned white as paper, probably even corpse-like purplish-blue afterwards. There was a long moment of pause. I didn’t know what to say. I have never worked in ABS-CBN. My only purpose of calling the bank, my Mom’s office at that time was to get clarifications about her errands laid out for me the morning earlier. Suddenly, I found myself dragged into this dilemma of whether I should tell directly to Tita Mabel the truth or would it be better if I talk to my Mom first and instruct her or plead her to be the one to clarify this misinformation to Tita Mabel.
I remembered responding to Tita Mabel with an anger-suppressing voice saying, “Tita, can I speak to Mama now, please?” And, as jolly as she has always been, she transferred my call to a line closest to where my Mom was.
When I clarified this one with my Mom with a confused and anger-stricken voice, “Ma, what was that all about?” She antagonized me saying, “Anak, don’t do this to me.” I was taken aback. She didn’t even apologize to me for inventing a story and went straight to asking me to spare her from the accountability of her actions. You see, I was involved here. I was dragged into this story that somebody, unfortunately a family made up something within her reach. It was my name that she used to create a story that was never real. I kept quiet. I needed to save enough energy for that day because I have loads of work to do. I wished I have the time to go there to my Mom’s office and clarify everything to Tita Mabel.
When my sister knew about what happened, she was mad at me. I remember it so well. She said, “Why would you do that to our Mother? Buti nga, proud siya sayo. (Good for you, she’s actually proud of you.)”
My heart sunk that for a minute I forgot to breathe. I learned then that my Mom did not only drag my name but also my sister’s and she told Tita Mabel that my sister was taking up a nursing course. It was getting worse! A double whammy right before my eyes. Is she really okay with that? The mere fact of using false narratives to make our status more appealing to other people whom she’d like to make good impressions with, made me realize that she wasn’t really proud of me being able to work as a Branch Trainer/Training Supervisor at SM, then. I despise that because I love SM. That institution taught me so much on training dynamics and met people who, even up to now, I consider a family.
It was agonizingly difficult. I remember Tita Mabel saw me at the mall, having my dinner. She was so excited that she met me there. She readily sat at my side, even before I could manage to stand up. She told me that she needed my help because a relative of hers wanted to work in ABS-CBN. Dread resurfaced once more – probably even a lot more awful than the last time when I could only hear her voice and not being able to see her so-enthusiastic-face. I never wanted a life filled with lies nor stories that were never real. I was lucky enough to validate this and met the person who received a false story.
I told her the truth, “I’m sorry Tita. I’m working at SM not in ABS-CBN. I guess, that’s my Mom’s aspiration for me in the future but I’m loving every bit of my work in SM.” By looking at her reaction at that time, I knew she was disappointed that she wouldn’t be able to back up a close relative’s dream and most probably, shocked that one of her close officemates lied to her. When she left with a heavy heart, I felt so relieved. I did the right thing. As a resolution here, I transparently post on Facebook the companies I have worked with because I don’t want to deal with this situation again. It is the platform where my communities can easily see.
I have never studied in UP but I love what this institution stands for. UP recognizes the spirit of being critical, to call out people when it needs to, to not glorify the mistakes of the elders or anyone just to show your loyalty, to stay true to the values your school has taught you, to choose not to be a part of the problem by facing and laying out the facts right there for everybody to see and most importantly, to share how an event has affected you. I gained two mighty face slaps back then, so painful that my face felt numb while name-calling me a “palasagot” when I actually mean not tolerating all those lies.
Why do I need to go through all these troubles sharing a personal experience to all of you? Because this desire of being heard or seen is not only self-serving or selfishly gratifying my need to be understood. This also stems from the same goodness of desiring a better life for our families and communities. I or We want them – parents and leaders alike, to take a second look at our level of maturity and to grow alongside with us. All these built in the spirit of love, not division by misleading people.