Sunday, June 21, 2009

shades of gray

between our blacks and whites
are a dozen shades of gray
beneath our "truths"
are carefully concealed lies
for what or for whom exactly
i can only wonder...
i've lied, been lied to
to spare myself and yourself
from pain
fervently hoping
maybe even hopelessly
that shades of gray
will work for us...
white lies
are they,
will they
ever be

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Expecting the Worst

photo credit

Gil Grissom: It is interesting to me how you always expect the worst.

Catherine Willows: You see that way, I’m never disappointed, and sometimes, I’m nicely surprised.
I was six. I wanted a puppy for Christmas. I did not get it and I was hurt. The fact that I expected my Christmas present to be a puppy and get dresses, toys and money instead made the disillusionment even more painful.

I was ten. I was reading Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame and expecting a good ending for Esmeralda and Quasimodo. Their death thus unnerved me. I was disappointed.

I was sixteen. I thought the friendship I was sharing with a really nice guy would blossom into something more. It did not and thinking about it later only brought me sadness.

I was eighteen and a junior in college. I studied so hard for an exam. I pored over every book we used as reference, even did further readings and research in the school library and on the Internet. I fervently hoped I would pass. Days after, the results were posted in the college’s bulletin. I did not pass.

The list of my hopes and expectations getting reduced to painful losses is innumerable. Hearing the above verbal exchange from two of CSI’s main characters thus made me think. Will it be better if I align my way of thinking with Catherine’s? Will it spare me from needless disappointments and hurt?

In college, one of my closest friends once told me that I am a hopeless optimist. I laughed. She then added half-jokingly that hopefuls are often fools.

Is it foolishness to believe that things will turn out good? Do pessimists fare better in this world?

I remember the time when I expected the worst of something. It was when I took the UPCAT (University of the Philippines College Admission Test). A couple of weeks before the results were out, I was already conditioning my mind that I failed and bracing myself for it. UP, after all, is the country’s premier and most sought after university that getting in is considered a rare privilege. It was thus a very pleasant surprise to find out that I passed. It was so unexpected it was exhilarating, especially when it dawned on me that I did not just pass. I made it to Diliman, UP’s flagship campus.

I keep on thinking of the reasons why I should shed my optimism. And I have just decided that I will never let go of it. Why? Because it is my optimism that has saved me countless of times from being devoured by life’s negativities. It is my shield, the one thing that keeps me from turning into a completely bitter cynic and saves me even from my own self.

Yes, I get hurt. And disappointed. I am sometimes frustrated because things do not come out as I hope. Because I expect better results but have gotten something less. But you know what, I think it’s better this way as it makes me a believer. In myself. In other people. In the nobility of the human spirit and man’s capacity for faring better when confronted with the harsh realities of life.

I expect to succeed and I sometimes fail. But the reason why I expect to succeed is the thought that I am up to the challenge. I do not expect to lose as I know I can and will do better.

When people have done something bad, I do not automatically assume the worst of them because I give them better credit. I trust their capacity to do well and be good. Certain circumstances may drive some people to do something bad or be bad but I refuse to let this handful of people taint my faith in the entire humanity of my race.

Things sometimes do not go as planned or hoped for but in these instances, I learn patience, flexibility and resilience. I learn to appreciate blessings in disguise and value them for what they are.

And in times when things are at their worst and I am on the verge of giving up, it is my optimism that makes me see beyond life’s current difficulties. That I may strive to do better, be better. It is this optimism that cloaks me in courage so I will come out triumphant in life’s challenges.

Optimists are not fools. Fools are those who opt to give up without a fight. They are the ones who wallow in feelings of despair instead of finding the courage within their selves to bounce back higher despite stumbling down many times. Fools are those who chose to end their lives just because they thought there was nothing else that could be done. That they had seen the end of days and there was no hope left for them.

I am no fool. And so come what may, I will always choose to see the brighter side of life.