If our furbabies were real kids, I’m certain that they could have thrown a full-blown tantrum or pulled my hair thinking I was keeping them out of the loop on whether they could see Jhois already. No matter how they wish to deliver a spectacle by making me angry, I still find it interesting to juxtapose their incredibly short-tempered nature with their prolonged willingness to wait for Jhois or even me when I need to go out.
8 Brutiful (Brutal & Beautiful) Nudges that Made Us Gasp, “Oh, dear! We’re not that young anymore…” or Maybe, “This pandemic made us feel old!”
These are gentle age-reminders not only for us but also for everyone who keeps surviving this pandemic, regardless how it looks and feels from your side of the world.
Who would have thought, even a year and a half ago, that our biggest scare would arrive earlier than expected? It’s hysterically absurd that this pandemic implanted the worst kind of fear in all of us. Enochlophobia. Covid taught us to fear the crowds. There are times that it can’t be helped, right? Oh, how we wish this is all a hoax after all! Nonetheless, there’s a new kind of scare brewing. Unless you’ve been quarantined with your partner 24/7, you wouldn’t know what it’s like.
I wrote this article last 20th of January 2021. It was the time when the military’s presence was summoned to UP Campus due to the alleged leftist recruitment from the University’s students who were airing their sentiments against the government for handling the pandemic so poorly, leaving NCR (covid’s epicenter) with surging death rates. How can somebody, exaggerate a simple act of voicing over people’s concerns as an act of rebellion against this regime? I don’t think we can ever have a perfect leader who knows it all but it is crucially important that he knows how to listen to different sectors that are being bombarded with problems because of this ongoing pandemic. Alarmed parents who believed this narrative went to the University and protested as well. I couldn’t help but notice how this dynamic of silencing and intimidation is actively present among families, the basic unit of our society as well. A flashback swept over me as I witnessed a stark resemblance to what was happening in front of me.
I’m filled with gratitude for the gifts that my struggles bring. It tastes bittersweet but leaves me with a warm feeling. It gave me back my voice. I almost forgot how my voice sounds like because in the past, I rarely used it. It constantly allows me to reach full awareness of myself, sift through what matters more to me, extract my truth and live it. I think this is what integrity is all about, isn’t it? Integrity, from its Latin adjective “integer” which means whole. I’m thankful for this inner sense of wholeness.
Jhois and I have learned not to judge others’ path no matter how different it looks from our viewpoint. Their paths are not something that should make sense to us. Those only need to make sense to them because those are calling them, not us. We heed our own call. We pay attention to what feels like magnets pulling us in and yes, even as couples we have differences, too. I’m grateful that Jhois allows me to fully express myself in ways that I want and of course, I allow her to do the same. We’re complete opposites and it’s a miracle that we manage to complement, in more ways than one. It’s a liberating feeling. No suffocation. No feeling of being trapped or constrained in our little world. This is why we don’t believe in comparison, competition or even jealousy. We don’t want what’s destined for you. It’s not calling us. It’s calling you. We don’t have, even the slightest hint of interest in getting what’s meant for you. That’s all for you. We’re only interested in what’s calling us and we don’t want to get distracted in decoding what our inner guide says by wasting our time checking on others’ lanes.
People-pleasing or fawning is a trauma response. It’s a false safety net that involves an indirect condition in which, if this person does all these things that the other has expected, then the latter would be indebted to do the same. Is it? If that’s the case, it’s not love. It’s a form of manipulation. It’s a slow death of the individual self among couples, friends/peers or even within a community. People-pleasers are easy-targets for abusers. There’s nothing wrong with communicating your boundaries or standing firm on not compromising your values. The ones who truly love you would make sure they get to honor you because of that and live up to those qualities that make you feel more safe and at home for simply, being YOU.
I remember during the first few months of this pandemic, Jhois and I were vacillating between being joyful (the longest time we were physically together due to work from home setup) and being furiously sad (what’s happening outside was just crazy). We were also vacillating from overfunctioning and underfunctioning (common responses to grief) at home. Nothing wrong with these, actually. Then, we felt we were in this dreadful spiral and we needed a breather. So, we decided to stop and pause. We tried new habits such as “crying breaks”, “laughing breaks”, “shouting breaks”, “sound/music-chilling” and a more frequent walk-in-the-park with my Father and our dog, Maple. Gradually, things appear clearer. We managed to be calm then we focus on what we can control while praying for better days to come, not only for us but for everyone.