Wide Awake

One morning, I woke up and decided I wanted to pursue women’s studies. On that same morning, I browsed through the university’s website and grabbed the phone for inquiry. I was not expecting the college would still welcome my application for graduate studies. It was already on the mid of April, the deadline for application and evaluation of most colleges. Coincidentally UP changed its academic calendar which led to postponing the department’s deadline.I took it as a sign from heaven that it was meant for me.

Yes, it was impulsive. It did not take me days to decide whether I should spend four years of my life in grad school. A conversation with my cousin last Christmas just popped on my head. He gave me the idea: “Why not study about women?”

I don’t know how it began. I grew up in a loving household. My childhood was not memorable but it wasn’t traumatic as well. I have had a pretty normal life but I have always been interested on women issues. I bleed everytime I hear stories of women who are undervalued and mistreated in their social context. I  get inspired when I hear powerful message for women.  Sometimes my blog talks lightly about women empowerment. I have written essays online about women. I am much pleased that I echo sentiments of other women.IMG_20131008_191427 Even before I knew the word feminism, I have always had feminist inclination. When I was a young girl, I asked men why they did not allow their wives to work or continue their studies . I felt uncomfortable when people around me discussed how a woman’s clothing could invite disrespect and rape. I had been gender-sensitive. I could not enjoy my lunch while having a conversation filled with sexist remarks and victim-blaming mentality. IMG_20140430_182418 When I started studying women and development, I was able to validate my feelings and convictions towards the stereotype given to women. Sadly, at this day of age, gender ideology to be exact, breeds oppression. My professor said: ” There’s nothing wrong with gender ideology. It is our reality. But if you are going to use it to alienate, to discriminate,to eliminate, it becomes a problem.” Gender inequality is not a small problem but it is a global problem. It affects labor force, economy, commerce, health, and personal relationships. It affects the entire human race. We are losing a lot of human potential by excluding women in the marketplace, in policymaking, and in services.

As I continue with the course, I have read a lot of negative impressions about feminism. It seems that the western world has painted an unfavorable image of feminism. But closely examining theoretical frameworks and development approaches, feminism works best not only for women but also for men; not only for individuals but for the society as whole. It posts questions that our government, our society should have answered ages ago. There is discomfort in finding answers to these questions. People who are pessimistic about feminism fail to see that those who need this movement most are the marginalized women from the lower class and from the third world countries. Watch Emma Watson’s speech

I am now on my second semester. I am not sure where my studies will take me but I must say, I am enjoying the process. I study primarily to feed my brain which my routinary lifestyle cannot provide. And I study to find a place where my ideals are met or challenged. I just want an egalitarian world where we can all use our talents and make choices for ourselves. Free~2

Mama

 59850043

“My mother is the best mother in the whole world.”

How many of you have said that?

We all do.

I can’t remember if I said that when I was kid. I probably did because that was a default way to describe a mother. But now that I’m an ‘adult,’ I know what I mean by “my mother is the best mother in the whole world.” When I was a kid, I probably loved my mother because she fed me, clothed me, sheltered me. As I age, I love my mother more for small reasons, for deep reasons, and for no reason at all. It’s when you are a grownup, you gain deep appreciation the kind of life your parents have given to you.

Minimalist Lifestyle

When I was in Grade I, my mother only gave me two pesos for my baon along with sandwich or crackers she bought in the grocery store. Though we were not really poor, I felt a little deprived. I was studying in a private school where almost all the kids had yayas, drivers, and tutors. I stared at them with envy as I saw them buying soft-drinks and chips in the canteen. My brother and I learned to save when we were kids. It was not because our mother told us to do so, because we knew there was nothing much we could do in spending our allowance in a day, compared to saving it for the things we wanted to own. When I look back, I’m glad my mother did not give me too much of everything. I don’t buy designer clothes and I am not in a hurry to buy the latest gadgets. I also go for the basics first and save for my luxuries.

No “Don’ts”

My mom was always present in my class presentations, parades, and all the school activities that required parents to come. But she wasn’t a typical stage mom. She did not tell me to be like this, like that, to join here and there. She wasn’t like other mothers who would push their children to be honor students, to study in a prestigious university, to finish on time, to take up nursing, to be lawyers or doctors, to work abroad. She was happy if I achieved something. When I didn’t, it did not matter to her. And I am happy that my mom is like that. She gives me enough freedom to be what I am and to discover my own interests.

Mothers usually tell their daughters during their teenage years:  “Books first before boys. Studies first before love” but my mom said nothing like that. Deep inside, I wanted to say, “Ma, don’t you think I’m pretty enough to have precautions or warnings about boys? ” (haha) I’m glad that even if my parents have never given me lengthy anti-boyfriend sermon, it turn out well. I don’t have you-and-me-against-the-world love story. And I haven’t brought a male specimen in the house for my parents to be afraid of. Maybe that’s a simple lesson of parenthood. The more you say, “don’t”, the more they will do it.

I did not make an attempt to be rebellious because there was no reason to be. When I was staying with my parents, I never had a curfew. She did not have to tell me to come home on time because most of the time I was at home by choice. Yah, I pretty had a boring life. When I told my mom, I had to  finish a group project overnight, it was easy to believe. There was no need for me to make white lies.

Unconditional Love

If there’s one thing I learn from my mother, it is unconditional love. It’s a kind of love that you don’t ask anything in return and that you accept people as they are. My mom does not require anything from me.

Some people will love us for what we have. Some people will love us because we are funny, nice, and charming. Some people will love us because of what we can do. Some people will love us because of what we have achieved. Nobody can just love anybody that freely. I know that even if I travel across the universe and meet as many people as I can, I know no one can give me that kind of unconditional love.

I love my mom, not only for giving me life but for the kind of life I had, and the life I made out of it.

Mama, Happy Birthday!

If you want to get to know my mother, read this… hehe

Part- time Superhero

Dear Friend,

You are one of my favorite blind items in my blog. Let me reveal your identity by sharing a piece I wrote for your year book ages ago.

Happy Birthday, Rima

                                                                                              

rimaThe eyes speak much of who we are. So when you cover your eyes, you hide one-fourth of yourself. This does not hold true to everyone but with the case of Rima, yes, it does. Not only one-fourth of who she is is covered by her eyeglasses but half of who she is. People portray Rima as someone smart, serious, studious, plain and simple, kind and quiet. There is some truth with how people perceived her but there are greater truths. To add to people’s delusion about her, she sits alone or sits with a group yet she finds herself locked in her wonderland. Then observe her closely, and surprisingly you will discover her mouth moving to speak with no words. And in moments when people think she is quiet, the possible explanation is that sometimes the brain works hard enough that it does not leave time for the mouth to speak. Nevertheless, this is Rima, at least one-half of who she is, or one-fourth rather.

In the qualifying essay exam for shifting in to Journalism, she wrote there that it was her childhood dream to be a journalist. Her self-prophecy might eventually become her reality because now, she thinks like a journalist, acts like a journalist, and writes like a journalist. She can meet deadlines no matter what time she starts her work. She is dedicated to her work that sometimes it leaves her trauma when her laptop shuts off at the night before the deadline. And God knows how many drops of tears she shed to finish an article. Well, all students cram but not all students have much success from cramming. Thank heavens though, that she can work under pressure. She wakes up at 6:30 for her 7am class. And like the speed of the bullet, she now has her clothes on and combs her hair. For all we know, superheroes have to cram and work on the very last minute. For her speed and agility, Rima is a superhero in some sense.

Our heroine then gathers information for the day and begins with who, what, when, where and why. Who and another who, when and another when, where and another where, why and another why are all important to her. That‘s how journalistic she is or that’s how nosy she is. Nevertheless, she searches for more and more facts and details. This also includes spending quality time with the newspaper vendor, the photocopier at the library, the security guard and all the people from different walks of life. And so she is a journalist in the making.

Also, she said that writing for news is an art. Having a pair of glasses for blurry eyes does not necessarily mean having artists’ eye. She does have an artist’s name, though. Rima is a Filipino word for rhyme. A link to her name would probably explain why she finds inner rhythm within words whether it is in poetry or in straight news.

And everybody remembers Rima as someone having wings on her back and a halo floating on top of her head. This is not to say that they are wrong. But she would be happier to hear if you remember her as Beyonce or Mariah Carey. But can you imagine a girl with wings on her back would sing ‘Touch my body?’

So this girl, who acts, thinks, writes like a journalist, sings Beyonce’s song and the next thing you’ll see her do is watching Gossip Girl. But, behold, she indulges herself in business, economics, geography. These sound pretty heavy for someone who has a special addiction for SIMS. While she takes care of her own family, dream house, and love affair in the computer game SIMS, she is also concerned with graphs and figures. Maybe she finds art in numbers as she finds art in words. Maybe numbers and figures have rhyme to her as what her name implies, Rima.

The most lovable trait of Rima is that anybody can make her happy. Her happiness is found on a simple slice of cake, or a slice of pizza, or a doughnut, in short, food. She is fully aware that the most basic need of human existence is food. So she cannot trade a box of chocolates with a new branded skinny jeans . If you ask her why, she would say, “It’s impractical.” For her, fashion, glamour, parties are secondary because the most basic need of human existence is food.

The image of Rima with wings on her back and a halo on top of her head appears again. Someone might describe Rima being pure in heart. “Pure in heart” is such a cliché to describe somebody as if there are no better words left. But this is the true Rima that is visible to others. Her roommates back in Ilang Residence Hall would wait patiently for Rima to come home with the hope that she brings take-home food. She fills their empty stomachs. Also, she is a friend who will accompany you in the narrow streets of Divisora. She will spend the whole day with you in Divisoria buying a single belt while you do the rest of the shopping. To prove that she is pure in heart, she saves her first kiss for her wedding day. A memory of Drew Barryome of the movie, Never Been Kissed flashes. Therefore, “pure in heart” is not a substitute for having no better words.

Behind the pair of glasses is a part- time superhero and a part-time journalist. But the most visible part of who she is is the wings and the halo she do not hide. Some things about her remain hidden. This is when her brain works hard enough and leaves no time for her mouth to speak. We might only see one-fourth of who she is. But the rest of who she is can be seen in her writings, in her true copy of grades, and in the people who guessed and were right in perceiving her as a girl with wings on her back and halo on top of her head.