Inspiration can come from anywhere..even from people behind bars.
Just yesterday, we had a fieldtrip to a rehabilitation center for drug users and a prison for high profile crimes. It was a place full of souls who have done wrong in this world. But they’re all behinds bars and walls for a reason–and that is change.
I never thought that people who had lost families and lovers, people who killed and raped women, people whose destinies are confined within fences and police… I never thought that people like these had enough spirit in them to dance and sing and share their stories with us college students.
Yesterday, I got to eat lunch with a 17-year old guy who smoked weeds at age 11. It was his 3rd time in rehab but he said he wanted to change.
“Gusto ko ulit makuha tiwala ng aking mga magulang. Nagbabagong buhay na ako.” (In English: I want to get the trust of my parents back. I want my life to change for the better.)
And later that afternoon, I got to sit and talk with an inmate who had spent 4 years of his life in prison and will be doing so for the next 13 years. I didn’t ask him what crime he did. Of course, I was too scared. But he did leave me with some of his hopes and ambitions.
“Gusto ko maging Computer Engineer. Krimen kami, pero marunong din kaming sumayaw at magpasaya.” (In English: I want to be a Computer Engineer. We are criminals but we also know how to dance and make people happy.)
I almost cried watching the prisoners perform a complicated dance routine and sing very meaningful songs. They conveyed the message that sometimes there are prisons without chains.
The life of a prisoner doesn’t start when they go behind bars… It starts when we get clouded with our own darkness that we see no more light. Some people are prisoners of their own fortune and intelligence. While some are just prisoners of the monsters that leave inside our heads.
Dear reader, I want to share this inspiration with you the way these people did. The world is full of mischief and sometimes we involve ourselves in these wrong things but never ever think that there is no way to change. Crimes are in every way wrong and they affect other people’s lives in ways that they don’t deserve. These criminals, they have done unthinkable things. But then again, they’re also trying to change for the better. I’m not generalizing criminals as people who may be good.
They are criminals. But they are humans too. Not all criminals want to stay criminals. And not all prisoners are chained. Sometimes, we can be prisoners too.
You are not the monster they say you are. You are not a centerpiece of mediocrity nor some guy’s property…or even cupid’s lone victim. You are not a slave of the world’s criticisms.
You are so much more.
All your dreams, advocacy and passion- that’s who you really are!
You are the words you speak, the thoughts you think, the songs you sing. You are not what your horoscope defines you as..but you are the person who fathoms her own constellations.
You are the damsel not in distress. You are the glow of sunlight..an ocean of vast wonder…a fleeting kiss..a shooting star.. a beam of dancing auroras brighter than any fire those demons can spark.
You are as lovely as the fresh bloom of roses in spring…much more enchanting than the most perfect sunset at the beach.. much more inspiring than what they say you are.
You are not your past.
You are your choices.
You are human.
You are beautiful.
I’ve been reading a lot of my previous writings lately and I guess I realized that I write not because I want to be a famous author someday but because on the days I lose hope..on the days when nothings sounds better than the thump from the collision of my body with the bed..on the days when all i see becomes blurry from all the tears..on the days when the world somehow decided it hates me..on the days of pure sadness, at least I would have the voice of my past reminding me what used to be good.
Before, the only pain I cried from was missing my favorite cartoon on TV, and getting tooth aches from the endless pot of sweets, and being left alone in the middle of the supermarket when mom has to go grab some cheese and milk. A decade ago, the only things I got in trouble for was running around too much and breaking the vase and being in places I should not be in and screaming too loud. The only thing I have to worry about before going to bed was not wanting to go to bed. Everyday was play day and every minute was sweetness and light and cookies and pancakes.
But times have changed. Im growing up because I have to..because the universe demands me to..because life wants me to…and because Im learning.
But dear reader, no matter how old you are, dont ever forget what used to be good. What used to break you down and keep you going. Always remember your roots but be careful not to live in them because life has a lot more to give. Remember the good times and also the bad times because we would never know the worth of such memories if not for all the bad. So be grateful for everything. Cuz you’ll never know what can happen next 😉
Dear reader, if you are reading this..then give yourself a pat in the back.
Whether your caught in the middle of a love triangle, or currently belong to a shitty family tree, or in the process of watching your dreams crumble into falling debris of wasted efforts, its okay. Youll get through because one thing Ive learned is that when life dumps upon you a massive rainfall of depression, and pain and dullness and more pain and hurt and remorse and more pain and sadness and aloneness and mostly more pain, you need to remember that this isnt the first time life did this to you.
How old are you? Look back and remember all those traumas, heartbreaks, diseases that said youre gonna die and never succeed in your ambitions… dear reader, if you are reading this, then youve survived all of those stuff. You are invincible, remember that. And dont let life tell you otherwise.
Behind the clouds are beautiful things- airplanes, parachutes, air balloons, helicopters, and most specially sunlight.. but youll never get to the good stuff if you cant get up each morning and take the risk of staring out into the window and greeting the day a good morning.
Smile, dear reader, because you are awesome.
In my chest there lives an eternal maze of broken glass- suffocating me..trapping every bit of hurt I feel.. the kind of pain that no tears can ever let out.
I still love you.
Of course, I never stopped. Nor did I ever think of stopping. But whenever we talk, it is always the wrong words that escape my mouth.
Please stop holding her hand. You’re fracturing every fiber of my being that holds on to the rails of hopeless love. Please take care of her but not in front of me. I can’t bear to see you in her shadows..I can’t even stop choking every time you close the distance between you and her. I used to be that girl.
But not anymore.
Your hand is not mine to hold anymore. And I guess, it never was. Maybe it was just my job to scar it with wounds to be healed by another.
And so I watch your life from the corner of my eyes.. still believing in what I though we had..still missing you.
I hate to say it but I still love you.
The mind is always filled with questions whether to continue or not, to let go and move on, or to go one unnoticed..and we often try to search for the answers through the random views of the window, the blankness of the ceiling and the silence of the walls.
But today, I stopped bugging inanimate objects for answers they cannot provide. I realize, there is no choice offered. No matter how wide of an ocean is your tears of misery, the sun will seize to set and rise. No matter how close your heart is to giving up, the universe will continue to expand and the people in it will not stop living and dying. No matter how many stitches fail to cover up the pain, the earth will tilt and the clouds will not stop creating rain. No matter how many times I fly and fall, time will persist to plant wrinkles upon my face and invade my head with a crown of snow.
There are no choices fluttering above our heads because life goes on. It does not wait for the little hands we have to be big enough to catch all the bitter things in the world. Life will always send clouds upon you head, to rain on you until the spirit inside you wilts dulls up. It does not stop or wait. Life goes on.
But dear reader, one thing I’ve learned from being dragged across this race of life is that within me there lives an invincible summer-a courage that no winter can ever break. And do even if life goes on, I will always stand up and say “do your worst.”
Did you ever wonder if the girl in the pink gown really wants to wear the crown or was she just trying to fit in? If the girl sitting on the bus alone really wants to sell all those drugs or was she just broke? If the girl walking the streets half naked really wants to give away her body or was she just making money because she has a daughter back home who needs medicine? If the mom drinking alcohol in the streets really wants the little kid starving by her side or was she just a victim?
Everyday I ride a jeepney back home and I see all the different kinds of people. I judge them by their looks– people who, like me are students worn out from all the school work, people who got their hearts broken and are craving for their undeniably supportive bed and pillows, people who have families to come home to, people who are lovers, waiting to see their other half on the end of the road. I see them everyday, I see them through their eyes. But of course, I only know what I think.
But I never know their stories.
I only wonder if it was destined for me to see them or even to touch their hands when they hand me their money for me to give to the driver.
But I guess I realized one thing- the world is filled with unknown stories and it is not our job to just look and judge. It’s our job to seek and understand.
It’s ironic when society loves to criticize the undesirable people but society itself makes them undesirable. We often judge people by the looks because we think their stories are written in their tattoos or their exposed parts or their smiles. But we never ask if more is written in their homes or in their family or in their history.
One day, I want to go out and wear a vampire costume without being judged immediately as a lunatic. One day, I want the people to open their eyes more and think more and not just follow trends. One day, I want to cry without everyone calling me a crybaby. One day, I want people to start understanding rather than merely judging.
Yes, opinions matter. But opinions should also learn respect and truth.
The jeepney (jitney) is filled with stories- unspoken but felt. Just like the universe, it works in whispers and silence.