Social Identity Theory

Never has Tajfel and Turner’s Social Identity Theory rang true more than now.

You don’t do that to my ingroup. You never do that to my ingroup.

One thing I have very little patience of is stereotyped, prejudiced and racist remarks. I’ve had enough.

I was asking a new acquaintance of some happening places in the city. I was doing a research for a German friend who wants to come over for a visit only if the place merits a good nightlife that meets his standards.

Then off this person enters saying I have to have a local with me when I try those spots. I said sure, but the local should know his place and quickly evaporate from my side if I meet somebody interesting. Of course I did not mean it seriously and was just trying to make fun of the whole idea. And then he says “Oh yeah you’re not Indonesian. You’re easy. You just throw in some condoms and you’re off to go. No worries.”

If only I can throw the boiling Steamboat soup at his face so he can sense the gravity of what he said, I would have done that. But the polite and civilized in me just rolled my eyes 360 degrees over and over again and then I shut up.

As the blood from my face drained so as well as my appetite. The idea that I still spend time and have meals with him escapes me. I must be a masochist or something. After time and time again touching my sensibilities with his egoistic snide remarks and acting like an arrogant, insensitive asshole, I still have the kindness (or stupidity) to give him attention. I must be really out of my mind. Or I must be bored.

You don’t say those things. You never say those things. You should have learned that in school. You should have learned that from your parents. You should have learned that in one way or another if you’re the civilized person that you claim you are.

But no. Some people just don’t have it, will probably never have it and I just have to live with it. So much for growing up and living in a country where everything is nice and wonderful. You can shove it up your ass. Learn some manners then maybe I will change my mind. You irritate me to hell.

And if you think the mosquito repellent you bought for me an hour ago will make up for your insensitivity, dream on. I am neither that cheap nor easy. You can go to hell.

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Right Now

Pitter patter of the rain
A nice dinner
A lot of time to bludge
All alone in a cafe save for a colleague fiddling with his phone
An Indonesian show blaring on the TV
Conversations I can barely understand
Feet propped on the chair opposite mine
Today feels great
Totally great
I am grateful
🙂

Until Everything Becomes Alright

It has been 8 days, a difficult 8 days.

What can I do? I chose this. I chose to end this.

I cannot go on like that. I owe it to myself. I cannot keep on hanging onto something that is time and time again hurting me. I cannot wait for that moment when finally, what I want is also what he wants. Something’s got to give. And what’s giving now is what I truly deserve.

I do not deserve to feel this. It’s been 6 months. The first three months were wonderful. The last three were all downhill. It is so difficult. All because I did not look at the situation as what it really was but glamorized it and made it fit the fantasy I created for myself.

So what’s next? Nothing is next. I just have to endure this bad feeling that has been enveloping me since I can’t remember when. It is just so funny because I have always known myself to be in control. And in this moment when I let the control reins lose, I also lost myself.

It is a nice lesson. I realized that I am also capable of behaving differently than what I know about myself all along. The feeling is new. I learned  that despite the fact that the self kept on building walls to protect the heart as what it has been accustomed to doing for the last sane years of my life, sometimes the heart just shows its mighty power when it wants to fight for something that it thinks is what it deserves.

The outcome is not something I hoped and wished I would experience, but it only shows that despite the greater planning for protecting the self, these things just happen. It just happens.

I am sitting with my feelings and emotions now. I have tried to sit and make amends with them several times the past few months. I’ve always failed. I have always allowed my emotions to win over. I have always fooled myself into believeing that maybe what I am doing is not the right way of dealing with things. Maybe I am sabotaging the future. Maybe I am sabotaging my happiness. Maybe I just have to be patient. Maybe I just have to wait.

But what is real?

The only real thing now is that I am hurt. Terribly hurt. More because of my own doing. I can list down all the reasons that will point all the blame to him but that is unfair because in the end it all leads back to me. I let it happen.

Self-agency. I always had control at the situation. I always have control over the situation.

And now I am letting it happen that my heart deal with all of these things until everything becomes alright.

Until I can tell myself that everything is alright.

Tatay

I dreamt of Tatay.

Tatay is a Filipino word for father. In our family, we use it to call our grandfather.

In my dream, I visited Tatay in their house. He was lying on the bed. Next to him is my Dad while Nanay, my grandmother, is sitting next to his feet.

I asked how Tatay is. Dad mumbled something.

Then I sat next to Tatay, cupped his face, looked at him in the eye and asked him who I am. He said my name, Leslee. Then he gently caressed my face, similar to the way he caressed it the last time we visited him in the hospital.

In my dream Tatay was staring at me, was looking deep into my eyes. But it seems he is staring blankly, like he cannot see me.

As we were locked into that gaze, his face changed into a young man. I recognize that face. It looks similar to one of the photographs hanging on the wall of my grandparents’ living room. That was Tatay’s face on his wedding day.

Then I woke up. There was heaviness in my chest.

———
Tatay is 89 years old. He just celebrated his birthday last November 7. I wasn’t there to greet him personally because a day before that I flew to Indonesia.

Two weeks before his birthday, he got into an accident. He slipped/fell as he was getting out of the bathroom. That dislocated one part of his thigh. He underwent an operation last October 31 to hinge the bones and was allowed to recover from home last November 5.

I clearly remember that night of November 5. We visited him in their house. Tatay has just gone out of the toilet and is sitting on the wheelchair. I was sitting in front of him taking in Tatay’s state.

Then he asked me, “Kailan ang iskedyul ng kasal mo?” (“When is the schedule of your wedding?”).

I stood up, smiled and gave Tatay’s hand a light squeeze.

Then I sat next to him, “Tatay, hindi po ako si Ate. Hindi po ako ang ikakasal.” (“Tatay, I am not Ate (my older cousin). I’m not the one who’s going to get married.”)

Tatay replied, “Alam ko. Iba yun. Yung kasal mo ang tinatanong ko.” (“I know. Her wedding is different. I am asking about your wedding.”)

I can only manage to give him a smile again as a reply, gave his hand a light squeeze for the second time and caressed his bruised hand where the dextrose was previously attached.

———
I talked to Dad today over Skype. I was asking him about Tatay. He filled me in on the details. Then I saw my sister’s newest FB post, a photo of her and Tatay, and I cannot help but swallow the knot which suddenly formed in my throat.

What makes this extra difficult is that I am not there.

I would have wanted to sit next to Tatay and listen as he recalls stories of how he courted Nanay,

of how he stole a kiss when she is not looking,

of how he told Nanay, “Akin ka na lang. Tapat ang pag-ibig ko sa ‘yo” (“Please be mine. I swear my love for you is real.”),

of his advices in choosing the person we will marry in the future,

of what he will say when he meets our future husband, “Mahal ko yan kaya sana mahalin mo rin.” (I love her so please love her too.”)

———
Tatay, the pain might be unbearable now as what you were whispering that time I was sitting next to you when you were in the wheelchair, “Napakasakit. Pero kailangan ko nang gumaling. Marami na ang nahihirapan. Ang Daddy mo nahihirapan na.” (It is too painful but I need to get well. Too many people are already being bothered. Your Dad for one.”)

Tatay, nobody is bothered.

Take as much time as you need.

We will always be here.

The whole family, near or far, will always be here.

We love you.

Please get well soon.

You still have to tell our future husband to love us… because Tatay loves us.

Life Lessons and Travelling

I woke up this morning battling if I should jog or not. It was drizzling last night and I was seriously hoping it still is so I can have an excuse to stay longer in bed.

As the id and superego were fighting, I decided to check Facebook on my phone first.  I have a message. It is from Jen!

Jen is one of my best college buds who now lives in the US. After passing her MLE (United States Medical Licensing Exam) and flying to the States to specialize, I have only seen her once since then. I love this friend so much and despite the time and distance that separates us, I know she is a real one for keeps.

Anyway, her message reads:

Though I cannot claim that I did excessive travelling, the author’s realization somehow rang true.

1. Good company is hard to find, but easier when you know you’ll never see them again.

I cannot agree more. The friendship that I was able to form and keep when I was still living in Turkey was far from perfect. Being with people with totally different backgrounds, beliefs, personalities and attitude can sometimes make you tick. We all agreed to that. But thinking about the likelihood of a Moroccan, Russian, Brazilian, Ukrainian, Austrian, Romanian and Filipino being together again in one place at the same time is close to nil. So despite the fact that we sometimes hate each others’ guts we just think of this thought, we will probably never see each other again. So why worry? Just enjoy and make the most of each and every moment. And enjoyed we did.

And to fortify this lesson, one of my best moments this year or maybe the best so far in my life is because of this thought, that we were pressed for time, that this might not happen again. So maximizing the time together and throwing caution to the wind whatever the cost and result maybe is worth all the laughter and heartaches.

2. You learn to associate certain places with certain people.

I have caught myself several times on this. My Facebook page will bear witness. Just the slightest stimulus of a place or an experience and there, memories will come gushing through and I will find myself either posting photos and tagging friends or writing a post and tagging friends in the hope to reminisce the shared moments. I think that’s how romantic to the point of being pathetic our brain is. It never fails to associate places and experiences with people especially when the bond is so strong.

3. Home is where you make it.

I always battle with the word home. The latest one was last Wednesday. I recently moved to Indonesia and as I try to “immortalize” that moment by labelling it as a life event in Facebook (yes, that’s how I immortalize events in my life… sorry) I was typing and retyping. I wanted to say “This will be home for the next n days, weeks, months, years(?)”, but as I write that I got pangs of guilt. How can I call an unknown place home? There is only one home. Home is Philippines. Home is where my family is. Home is where I grew up in.

But I have proven time and time again too that home is that place where my heart settles. That place where I know that whatever happens they got my back. I am so fortunate and grateful that I have found several from my travels. And it’s interesting that these “homes” are from perfect strangers who opened their doors for me, welcomed me, cared for me, and treated me like real family.

So what really is home? I would always hang on to my belief that it is a construct, a construct which means that place where the heart settles.

4. Paradise is temporary; reality is there.

Receiving bad news while away is the surefire way to bring a person back to reality. It has happened to me several times. Learning about a demise of an uncle, of a near-death-experience of a cousin, of illnesses of family members, all returns me back to earth with a thud and let me face reality. I can be all existentialist in these moments but really, being miles away while these things happen make me just want to drop everything and wish to be where I think I should be.

5. You find the most important people in your life when you’re the furthest away from them.

Those people you can hardly wait to spend time with and who gets the first dibs on your schedule when you are back matters. For sure.

6. If there is one thing that you could spend the rest of your money on for the rest of your life, it should be this. And by “this” I mean traveling, new experiences, and new places.

It will always be different from person to person. But those who tried “this” never had regrets. I never had regrets, only lasting memories.

P.S.

Here is the link to the full article: http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/6-lessons-you-learn-from-traveling/#wDu8wxVj8vYBPa63.01

P.S.2.

The rain has stopped after I read it. Yes, the superego won. I jogged.