For one thing, I really do have a lot of questions, but sometimes, I tend to realize that people around me don’t even care about the things I’m asking about. Some say that I was making their heads ache and some say that I was too curious and that curiosity will kill the cat. So in this one point in my life, I decided to feign ignorance and try to fit in with the people I spend my time with. Obviously, a person needs a sense of belongingness.It’s third in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I felt it. It was fun at first. I had a lot of friends, I became quite accepted and I became popular, but I felt that I was losing myself along the way. I was being another clone in the society. I was losing my sense of individuality, trying to fit in with others.
This one professor, then, told us a story about how she has this deviant classmate who even leaves the class by passing through the window. I thought that it was so cool and being deviant is not that bad. You’re unique. You’re you. A lot of people think he’s weird, but who cares? It’s how he wants to be and that’s how he is comfortable with himself.
I also decided to be myself after that; to be who I want to be, to do what I want to do and focus on my own interests than the interests of others. I am gradually becoming who I want to be and now people I know can distinguish me from other people they usually interact with. They know me by the pattern of my personality and how I communicate with them. I even say what I feel about things out loud because I really want the people I’m referring to for them to hear what I say. I want them to feel angry, to realize their mistakes and make a good scene, if ever they get really mad. My mom often scolds me whenever I do my own thing in a public place, like in a mall. She tells that I’m embarrassing and I looked like I was asking for a fight, but my dad and I always tell her that I don’t really care on what other people think, and she shouldn’t too, because they don’t even know me. I’m just pointing out what I think is wrong, saying out loud and maybe making use of what little I have understood about freedom of speech.
My mom is the type of person who will follow the trend. She will try to fit in with everything. She will try to be in sync with everything around her. She won’t even try to go against the flow of events. I used to be like that, but now, I can’t even say I’m totally not. Maybe a little bit not into it, but I will always be a victim because of my sense of being “in”. All I can ever think of is it is inevitable, especially when my mom is one of the worse-case victims. They say mothers know best. Yeah. And I love my mom. It’s just that she’s slowly losing her own uniqueness because the media and the society dictate what she should be.
For instance, she now thinks that she should be rich so that she could buy these expensive things that just are the same with the things we find in “tiangge” and in “ukay-ukay”. I actually bought a P5,000.00 worth of boots in a “tiangge” for only P100.00. The quality’s just the same. There’s a little bit of smudged color but it still looked new. And there’s this instance that she wants to drink at Starbucks, the overpriced café of the capitalists, for the sake of being coined as someone rich and can afford to waste money. She’d also rather watch Wowowee because most people like it and when people around her talks about it, she wants to be able to relate with them.
Then this course about Philosophy came in. I learned about how true life is absent, as Levinas said. My life is just an imitation of the other and that the media dictates what you should be. I remember the time when I first got an idea what beauty is. Media told me that it was having a pretty face as white as ever and hair straight, black and long. I grew up thinking like that, and as I see dark people, I feel that they’re not beautiful; and I myself wanted to be considered as beautiful. I became discriminative because when I was a kid, I often see in the T.V. that they give these beautiful people special treatment, especially the white ones. I wanted to have that same kind of treatment where everyone looks at me when I pass them. Also my concept of being sexy was from the media. Models are skinny to the point that I can’t even see some fat in their bodies. All I can see was bones, skin and more bones.
These are some of my initial perspectives that I got primarily from my curiosity when I was still a little girl. But in T.V., in newspapers and in magazines, they seemed to be more interested on people like those, the beautiful and the sexy. Only people who are very successful are credited if they don’t even satisfy the criteria of beautiful and sexy. Sometimes, there’s this trend in media. I’ve observed that in year 2000, there’s this emo trend. Then some time in 2005, there’s now this Asian trend where everybody liked Korean and Japanese girls. I’m thinking about what’s next, but I really doubt that Africans can dominate a new trend in the media. Although, Tyra Banks is trying to do that, some people do widen their perspective of beauty.
Everyone I know was a victim. Their perspectives are being molded on how the media wants it. With my sense of belongingness, I too become a victim. One of my close friends wants to have plastic surgery so bad that I was really against it. I told him he’s fine the way he is and that he doesn’t need to resort to plastic surgery. He said he hates his nose because it’s flat and he also hates his chin because it’s long. But really, it’s so pointless that I let him do whatever he wants. I just keep telling him that I still want to recognize him after the surgery.
With my opinions, I don’t have many friends. Some people don’t understand me; rather they don’t try to understand me. I have this trust issue and I love being different. I give out these unique ideas I got from waaay back inside my head and I write stories that most people won’t even get. And I also don’t like faking with other people. I tell them what I think about them, whether if they’re cute, nice, obnoxious or annoying. I don’t even think about how I tell them that. It just comes out naturally. And whenever I do that, I feel like I have no friends at all. People avoid me. I don’t know why.
Lately, I don’t feel sad about having limited friends. I don’t even care if they call me friendless, because I know for a fact that I’m not pushing myself to fit in with them. At least I’m not one of those wannabes who just pretend to be like everybody else trying to be popular. But if I’m going against the trend, won’t it make me like everybody else? Because I don’t know if that’s what I really want. I’m confused. I’m just going against the trend because I think it’s lame to be with them. If I go against it, won’t be the anti-trend that is considered the haters of the trend?
Like for example, Twilight. This introduced the idea of sparkling vampires. Wow. Scary. A lot of people liked it for their own reasons. But the mere fact that the author changed the idea of a scary vampire to a glamorous, sparkling vampire, some people became enraged. I, for one, is one of the haters of twilight. But isn’t that “hate” we found about sparkling vampires is also dictated by the media we’ve watched and learned way back? It’s only a matter of what has the more impact to us. We’ve closed our minds to new possibilities because of the stereotype of vampires from the past.
Well, now, I agree with Levinas. True life is absent. From the very beginning, I think people have the sense of wanting to belong. When the media started to tell what people should be, our point of views either change or get stuck with the old ones said by media also. They always think that everything happens for a reason. Reasons like what? To make you stronger? To make you happier? Isn't all that just psychological? But what can we do? Everything’s dictated by media, one way or another. Everyone’s living a life they’re comfortable with. Some are not happy but they rather choose to not do anything about it as long as they’re at ease, as long as they’re content and accepted. They find a sense of comfort with society making them feel as one with the others. They feel understood. Satisfied.
I want to find out what my true self is; what I really should be. But how? If I do, how will I know if I am my true self? Should I let go of my need of belongingness to find out who I really am? Will I lose my friends? Will I be happier? How will I know if I am? Questions just keep coming out. Will I ever find an answer?