Publisher's Note

  • Publisher’s Note

    Belated Happy Labor Day to all. Colors are changing around us, a sign that summer is over and fall is here to stay for a while.  My 13 year old daughter and my 5 year old son are very much excited that school will soon start.  We have to make sure that our children are safe [...]

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Page added on October 27, 2020

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Erwinism: Beauty

Erwinism: Beauty thumbnail

By Erwin D. Maramat

There is no such thing as an inconsequential choice. Once made the road ahead is never the same and the future would not be how it used to be. The possibility is redirected, and it leads to a different reality. Every course of action which stems from the judgment we make sends out ripples to the stream of life and as they propagate, they intertwine with other ripples.  Imagine that: a harmless action disrupting chains of events and resulting in unintended consequences that alters lives. Even something as insipid as words break or make people. A conscious effort when we act or when we say something to a greater extent could mean a world of a difference for someone.

Words

“Be careful what you say. You can say something hurtful in ten seconds, but ten years later, the wounds are still there.”

Joel Osteen

Words can make or break someone. In the years following graduation, his once terrible life took a turn for the better. No more would he have to endure getting bombarded by insults or spit balls. No longer would he have to endure other teens huddled together plotting twisted schemes against him. He would not have to hear the distasteful comments about his mom who did nothing but love him. For most of his life, the school has been a nightmare, and everyone is Freddy Kreuger. It was an inevitable reality he had to deal with since he was young. He once told me that the bruises he kept away from his single mom hurts less than the names they call him. Children are sinister beings and you cannot always blame the parents because some of them were born inherently evil and despite a loving home they find a way to unleash monsters that are banned at home to school, so that their insidious Pokémon may torment other children.

By any stretch of imagination, the playground where he used to stay in grade school has never been a happy place. It was there where he was first called ugly. From that fateful day onwards, he has been called the word and the more they said it; the more it burrowed deeper into his heart, until he started believing it. Funny how something as meaningless as birthmark on the face can be an invitation for cruelty—a petty flaw that turns into an overcast that eclipses the radiance in a person.

It turned for the worse in high school, and it was a far cry from the atrocities of yesterday. It is then when we all discover love for the first time and a time where acnes grow in weird and visible places. He got it bad, I was there when he approached this girl from another school and asked her name. I remember him rubbing his ears nonstop while striking a conversation that lacked eye contact on his part and yet through that awkward situation you can see the expression beaming out of his face and bursting into life. She reciprocated with a lovely smile on her face. Then, the unimaginable happened, chance is not without a sense of irony, the guy bullying him in school happened to be passing by that and since it was gym day, he went right behind him and pulled down his pants and ran away laughing. His face was blank as his chin fell down his chest. As he gently pulled his pants up, his eyes welled up and started walking away. I thought that he was going to get the guy back, but he never did, and he just pretty much kept to himself after that until the day we graduated.

El Filibusterismo

“If you spend your time hoping someone will suffer the consequences for what they did to your heart, then you’re allowing them to hurt you a second time in your mind.”
― Shannon L. Alder

Of all the places in the world, I ran into him in Calgary a couple of years ago. He was visiting an aunt here. It felt so good to see him again. I barely recognized him. This time his looks spoke of his confidence and he seemed to be planted where he stood sturdy and unyielding unlike when we were young when he appeared to be unsure of where he was. Sure, the birthmark was still on his face, but he wore it as if it were a battle scar. After university, he established himself by pursuing a career in IT and investing in start-ups. His been juggling his time between the Philippines and abroad ever since.

“So, who looks after your business when you are out of the country?”

“Do you remember Ted?”

“Wait, what? Ted the guy who picked on you? Why?

“Yes, but he has changed a lot. It was hard for him in the beginning.”

“Did he ever apologize for what he did?”

“No.”

I thought he was crazy, but I believed he has a reason for doing so. It was too much for me to take at that time, but he put things in perspective.

“I’m happy with the way things are,” he said, “If you have not forgotten then you have not forgiven and when you are willing to forgive, you do not wait for apologies, because what matters most is you have learned to let go so you can finally heal.”

“Even after all the things he did?”

“I believe in ripples, a single drop in the stream of life disrupts and interacts with other ripples.  As much as hate can create chaos; so too can love. Evil is a machine fueled with hatred and for as long as it get its fill it will run forever, so I have decided to end it. Ted used to call me ugly, but because he holds a certain standard of beauty and yes, he bullied me, but what do I stand to gain by doing the same thing to him? Ugliness lies in perspective because it refuses to see beauty, and all it needs is a pair of glasses.”

“Beautiful is he who recognizes what is truly beautiful even if the surface is ugly. Truthful is he who says what is true even if the truth is ugly. Ugly is he who measures beauty by its exterior without first weighing the interior. And ugly is the man who judges harshly what he sees looking out without first judging what he sees in the mirror.”

―Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

There is so many lessons you can draw out from that conversation. In this world, we often find people who do not have enough yet with a sense of altruism would extend their hands to provide in a time of need. There are those who are hurt and are still forgiving. While others turn their backs, the best of us are willing to share with the burden even though they themselves are carrying weight of their own, and there are those whom we burden with unkind words and acts of cruelty and would go on and take the pain as an inspiration to bring beauty into the world.

Happy Thanksgiving! From my family to yours and may you be abundant in blessings.









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