My Family Thinks I'm an Activist Because I'm from UP
During family gatherings, the elders' favorite appetizer has always been a bowl of questions to the young ones mostly about school strewed with a few questions about who's having romantic affairs already. Their question regarding school always starts with "Where are you studying again?" when it's my turn, I vigorously say "UP, University of the Philippines." I have always been proud of answering this question as I often get compliments like "Oh, UPCAT is very hard to pass. You must be really smart."
However, in our very own family dining table, I get reactions like "So you're an activist now?" and my other aunt says "Rallying must be normal to you? Or maybe you have been joining rallies already?" One of them even added, "Maybe you haven't been attending classes; instead you're in the streets shouting nonsense."
Their appetizer made me lose my appetite. All I wanted to do then was introduce a new appetizer recipe made with systematic, constructive enviable points that will not cater to personal interests but have a general perspective about issues.
Instead, I just respectfully said, "You actually have the freedom to join or not, it's not like a class requirement, which means not everyone in UP are into protesting."
When in my mind, I wanted to say how much I have grown tired of all the stereotyping not only coming from my own family but from everyone else who thinks that to be in UP is to be an activist.
It is not like being branded as one is negative but I do not deserve to be called one.
To be an activist is to have a brave soul that is selfless enough to shout in the streets to become the voice of the minority, to understand the real situation of our nation beyond the surface level, to resolutely fight against these problems despite being called names and to be bombarded with ad hominem attacks and threats to their security when after all, they're not doing it for themselves but for everybody, even for the ones calling them "stupid."ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
My aunt finally came to the table serving the family's inherited specialty, I expected for the interrogation to come to an end as we were eating dinner all together now but my aunt didn't seem to let go of bombarding me with the things all UP students are tired of hearing, which was "Sus mang-eskwela pa lang mo ug tarung, dili kay magsayang sa tax sa tao (It's better for you to study well than waste the people's taxes)."
This is only one of the most annoying accusations battered to us by many. Contrary to popular belief, we are called "iskolars" not literally because we aren't paying school fees. Sure, a portion of the taxes are allocated in state universities which is not just in UP, but we are not wasting people's taxes.
We are actually aware of social issues and we choose to fight for it, while we are also in the battle of accomplishing requirements which includes papers, exams and a lot more. We consider more than 5 hours of sleep as a waste of time, so you can't call us a waste of tax.
I still tried to eat dinner, though. There was only a last piece of chicken leg left in the platter and as I reached for it my uncle came with the last piece of insult also, saying "Mga bright man gud kaayo, mao na mga dako ug ulo (They're too smart that's why they have huge heads)."
This used to be a compliment, but now this is something that they feel like using against me. All I wanted to say was, first of all thank you. It's a privilege to be called a genius just because I am in UP, however I am not.
If there's one thing I am sure about, it's that UP has taught me a lot of things beyond the units of my subjects. UP doesn't limit its students to academic values but also to social issues which are equally important.
This has helped shape my opinion from my then childish and skewed perspective into a more logical and open-minded point of view that consists respecting and listening to other people's opinions, even those opposing mine.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
And as much as I want to defend myself and all other UP students from my family's statements, I calmly answer, "I know where all these activists are coming from, and we all need to see and understand that. Anyway, all of these are just stereotyping and generalizing." I said this in hopes of creating an intellectual discourse that won't end up in the pinpointing of who's right and wrong, but instead end up with a balanced perspective.
So I kept quiet, despite all the stereotyping and generalizing. Yes, we strongly fight for our stance, but we are not the violent and aggressive people everybody brands us to be when it comes to pushing our opinions and proving ourselves right. What we value most is to rise to an understanding that both parties are worth listening to, despite their differing views. This was the chance they failed to give me—to talk and to help them understand why we think the way we think, why we do what we do.
My thoughts are finally interrupted as one of my cousins suddenly started teasing our niece for having a crush in school which immediately grabbed everyone's attention. This revelation led to teasing, laughter, and sharing of everyone's crush stories from back then which eventually became the family's dessert.
Are you from UP, too? What stereotypes do people assume about you because you're a UP student? Let's talk.
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There was this guy I dated for a while but things didn't turn out well. I was so into him that one night I can't stop thinking about him, I've decided to send his MOM a message on facebook confessing how much I like her son. I wish it ended there but no. I had to make it so emotional, lengthy and detailed like the drama queen I am. Luckily, it went to message request so I'm hoping she hasn't really read it yet. Up until this day it makes me cringe whenever I think about it but hey, whenever it pops in my mind I make myself laugh too so thank you self for being unbelievably shameless and brave when it comes to love. I may age faster because I have made a lot of cringe-worthy moments that I constantly make faces out of embarrassment just reflecting on my antics but I know I've made more hilarious memories than what ifs and somehow that makes the disappointments feel more like assurances that I have gave it my all and I have lived as honest (maybe a little to honest) as I could. #ItsOnlyNatural #CanBnatural
I've been investing in arts, photography, and writing. I've also got back to reading the other day and I finished reading this amazing book entitled 300 Things I Hope by Iain S. Thomas. It is all about the things the author hopes his readers to do in all aspects of life. So, I decided to make a version of it with all of the things I'm hoping for.
I hope I get to see my friends be successful in life. I hope to make a big mural someday. I hope to be a well-known artist like the artists I look up to. I hope to marry the person I am in love with today. I hope to be a little kinder to myself. I hope to see happiness even in the smallest things. I hope to travel the world. I hope to be a good mother and a wife to my future family. I hope to have my artworks displayed in a gallery or an exhibit. I hope to learn more about creative writing. I hope I won't learn how to get tired and give up my passion. I hope I won't get too hard on myself whenever I don't get the results I've been wanting to see in my works. I hope to love myself more even on the days I hate it the most. I hope to lead and empower women; to be their voice and for them to believe in themselves that they can be the woman they look up to. And when I've reached my limit of these things, I hope I won't get tired of reminding myself that my emotions don't make me weak, hence, makes me stronger. These are some of the things I always hope for. What about you? What are you hoping for?
I started fixing myself this quarantine. I mean, I started trying makeup products. As a teen, I'm on my phone almost every hour of the day, scroll on my social media accounts, especially Instagram, and also Pinterest where you get to see nice and pleasing photography by bunch of amazing and beautiful people from different parts of the world. So I started taking my own as well. I did not know that taking your own photo and try to get an Instagramable one is sooooooooo hard, it's exhausting. I do not have alot of space in my room, and I would definitely not do it outside our house because of Corona Virus, and I don't want to be seen by our neighbors HAHA so I have no choice but to make tiis inside my room.
Out of atleast 25 shots, only 2 are a nice picture. While I'm all sweaty and tired, I am proud of what I could do beyond my comfort zone. And this definitely built my self confidence, (and I secret love the compliments I received from both people I know and don't know) It's not my first time visiting in here, Candy! But I'm new to writing my thoughts and experiences, so bare with me HAHA.
Until next time!