When in Doubt

Every time you find yourself doubting something or someone, ask yourself the following questions:

1. What do I have to lose if I trust this person and he/she turns out to be a fraud?

2. What do I have to lose if I don’t trust this person and he/she turns out to be real?

3. After weighing out the two losses, which risk am I willing to take?

For number 1, you would say that the biggest risk is that you will get hurt or be put in danger. But the thing is I’m not talking about random strangers. I’m talking about people you actually know who can possibly be a part of your life. People who make you happy and probably deserve your trust. Maybe your past experiences don’t allow you to trust anyone. You can probably tell that these people have been very honest to you. You know they are trustworthy but your fear of betrayal is hard to let go.

For number 2, you would say that there’s really nothing to lose if you avoid having anything in the first place. If you let go of these people, push them away, you will fall right back into your routine, your comfort zone. Maybe you’re not necessarily happy, maybe you don’t need to be happy. Right now, you’re okay and that’s good enough. But these people, they can make you happy, very happy. There’s just the possibility that they may also betray you and just disturb the “fine” life you have.

Years ago, I would have taken risk number 2. It’s better that way, it’s easier. I never met anyone worth the pain anyway so why bother building relationships that are doomed to fail or lasting but boring as fuck. But I will answer now that I’ll take risk number 1. My argument? You’ll get hurt anyway. If you want to be more pessimistic, life is pain. You’ll get hurt whether you like it or not except there is something worse than the pain that betrayal brings you – regret. Knowing or not knowing that a person would have changed your life, would have made you happy, would have spent many years of his/her lifetime with you but you decided not to take the risk. You decided not to give it a shot. You decided not to live.

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When in Doubt

Being Good

Some time in your life, have you ever believed that there’s an evil living inside you? And at some point, have you ever tried to kill it? Perhaps many times you tried to be good. You have good intentions but somehow it makes you feel like a fraud. As if evil is all you are and there’s nothing you can do to change it. I have, so many times. I’ve also failed so many times.

Just like everyone else, I was born innocent. I only wanted to do good and be good. But being a quiet kid, you get bullied a lot. Having abusive parents who turn on you instead of protecting didn’t help either. I felt like a snail without a shell. Alone, vulnerable, and hopeless to escape. When you’re on your own, no matter how good you want to be, eventually, you will fight back and this is where it all began for me. I saw the world as a land full of demons. People who hurt and intimidate the weak. At some point in my life, I was one of the weak. Until one day, my mother told me, “You’re a demon” and I began seeing things on a different perspective. I’m not a victim anymore, I’ve already turned myself into a demon.

Without anyone protecting me from people who constantly pick on me, I turned violent. I’ve become more aggressive than anyone could imagine from a fragile and quiet little girl who cries every time her father leaves the classroom. I made people bleed, broke some bones, vomit blood, and I was the grade school student who brought a knife in class. I have threatened to kill people and destroyed them with my sharp tongue. It is only when I’ve grown into an adult and looked back did I realize how fucked up I was. Little quiet girl in a skirt, a grade school uniform, bangs and bob haircut, carrying a knife in her backpack. I wanted to ask her, “What made you this way?”

I reached high school and turned into a war freak. I would make friends with the weak ones and try to protect them. I believed I was doing it to protect myself and the people who reminded me so much of my old self. But another part of me knows just how much I miss the feeling of hurting someone, that maybe I’m trying to find an excuse to do that. I was addicted to the rush, the adrenaline, the rage, that feeling of danger you feel in your heart that puts you into “kill mode”. The feeling of everything turning dark and just letting go. People feared me and my temper. I built a reputation that my anger knows no limits. This didn’t stop the bullies from provoking me.

I remember pinning two girls against the wall at once, each of my hand around their neck squeezing and pushing so hard they can barely breathe. I remember kicking a boy in the stomach and then hitting him with a metal chair as soon as he crouches down from the pain. Of course, I tried to change all these. I knew that they are bad, they are bullies, but none of that justifies me hurting them back. Being feared is good because almost no one tries to touch you and would avoid getting on your nerves but being feared made honesty elusive for me. You walk into a room and you know the smiles are lies. Every time someone tries to talk to you, you can feel their nervous smiles and their painful effort not to offend you in any way. I didn’t want that.

I tried to become less violent. My defense turned from physical violence to sarcasm. I tried meditation and practiced stoicism. I felt good for some time. I felt more in control with my emotions and avoided doing stupid things in the heat of the moment. But sometimes, people still provoke me. People seem to have a built-in detector that allows them to sense when you are trying to change yourself for the better and they are all so excited to screw it all up. They always push your boundaries like leeches thirsty for a negative reaction. The more you ignore them, the more they seek and try desperate to get your attention. And they don’t care however they get it. They don’t care how much you work hard to be a better person. They don’t care how much one burst of anger makes you hate yourself. They never want to see you be good.

I started acknowledging the fact that I am a demon. I just embraced every bad name that people gave me but I never picked on the weak. I never took revenge on others or bullied the quiet ones like what people did to me. I refuse to continue the cycle and create more fucked up people like me. You can say that I’m a demon who so desperately try not to procreate. During my time of trying to be good and inspiring others with my work, discipline, and morals, I helped so many. I’ve been called so many good names and even put into some kind of pedestal for being the way I am – calm, quiet, intelligent, and humble. But these same people I helped are often the same people who drag me down the wrong path all over again. Maybe it’s jealousy of some sort. Maybe they struggle to reach the same place I am so they drag me down instead.

All I know is it’s hard to be good, to be really good, not to pretend or show people that you’re good. Sometimes, it’s even harder as if people are ganging up altogether to destroy your plan. I know someday, no provocation will work anymore with me. I will try and work really hard to get to that point.

Being Good

Baggage

I don’t know when the transition happened but it did. The transition from self-loathing to self-love. All I know now is that it took two to three years of alone time to recover from the damage I got from the relationships I had with other people. It all starts with understanding the people who hurt you without rationalizing why they did it. I realized that obsessing with the “whys” and “hows” behind people’s behavior will drive you nuts because not everyone can be as rational as you. Even if they can, the entire basis of their justifications could be different from yours. What’s illogical to you may be logical to them. No matter how obviously wrong people are, no matter how much their beliefs and actions break all the rules of logic, they always fall under a support group. In that support group, you are wrong, they are right, and everyone else agrees with them.

The Earth is flat so fuck you.

I realized that the best way to deal with people is to view them as no different from animals because they aren’t anyway. If you want to be more specific, condescending, and expect the least of people – view them as insects (small and annoying fish food). If a snake bit you, sure you can ask yourself why, maybe you accidentally stepped on it and it bit you as self-defense. But you don’t lose sleep over whether it’s a valid self-defense or not. You don’t expect the snake to take a deep breath and contemplate on how it should respond when you accidentally stepped on it. It is normal to expect more from people since we are told that as humans, we are different from animals in a way that we can control our behavior and consider alternative solutions. Sometimes we step on other people without realizing it and they do something to hurt us as an act of self-defense. When I say “step on other people without realizing it”, I do not mean that we are all that insensitive. I also don’t say “an act of self-defense” to justify bad behavior. Like I said, what’s illogical to you may be logical to them and this is the part where humans use their thinking abilities the wrong way.

You don’t need to directly harm other people for them to see you as a threat. Observe that the most beautiful, the richest, the smartest, etc. receive the greatest number of unsolicited criticism from people they don’t even know. This is a very basic observation. It’s so obvious and yet it makes no rational sense. Even the most generous philanthropists are torn down for no logical reason. Just the mere fact that you exist and that you are of a higher status makes you a threat to them – you are stepping on them without realizing it. To defend themselves from your “attack”, they retaliate. People are funny and complicated like that. The question of why some of them view such things as an attack and why they have to tear you down for it is exactly the question that you should stop asking yourself because it will drive you nuts to find the logic in such irrational behavior. All of a sudden, the snake who bit you for accidentally stepping on its tail makes a lot more sense. Animals make more sense than people. When you start seeing people like animals, things will get dark but acceptance will be a lot easier for you.

I am not saying that people who engage in bad behavior should go unpunished or people’s intentions should not be questioned. I’m saying that we should waste no more time arguing with people who lack the same logic as we have. It’s perfectly healthy to have arguments with people who have different interests, beliefs, etc. because you get to view each other’s perspectives and if you have the same foundations of logic, you will find each other on the same ground. But arguing with people who are far from rational is a waste of time. It’s like asking people what is the result of 1 + 1. Most would say 2, some bastards 11, and the philosophical nerds would say 10. If you don’t follow the same rules or discipline, it’s impossible to go anywhere.

So if you find yourself hurt by people and you can do nothing to change it (it’s in the past), the first step is to understand the facts but do not rationalize. This is the only way you can be free of frustration and accept the situation as it is if you can do nothing about it. This also helps you get to the next step which is to stop playing the victim or stop pitying yourself for all the horrible things that happened to you. In most cases where there is no definite wrong (no one goes to jail for it), there are so many different perspectives that there is no way to give anyone the title of the villain or the hero. You will always be the hero of your own story and they will always be heroes in theirs. The only advantage you have is being aware of the fact that in another person’s story, you are the villain. Once you have accepted that, there’s no more room for shame, guilt, and defensiveness because it really doesn’t matter.

Maybe it’s hard to find the correlation between seeing humans as animals and turning self-loathing into self-love. If you look at it on the surface level, it seems like I just redirected the hate from myself towards other people. But seeing people as animals does not mean you hate them. I love animals. To me, it means to view people as innocent and even irresponsible. It’s giving yourself closure soon after a person harmed you. Asking yourself over and over again why someone did what they did, how irrational and hurtful it was, and how they could have avoided hurting you if they have just thought things through. All these thoughts, questions, analysis, all they do is frustrate you. You are abusing yourself with poisonous thoughts and prolonged suffering while the people who hurt you live their life as if nothing happened.

The more time you spend thinking about the pain and the people involved instead of crying it out and letting it go, the more likely it would turn into a baggage. Some sort of grudge you bring into your future relationships. Maybe someone broke your trust in the past, used you, cheated on you, etc. Maybe you assume that the new people in your life will do all those things too. Soon enough, you’ll be abusing other people without knowing it. You will mistreat them and punish them for the sins of the people from your past. It is not so much of a shield as it is most often a trap. But I have to tell you that if you can give yourself the love and trust that people almost took away from you then you are more than ready to give the same for the people you will meet in the future. They deserve a clean slate, everything that happened before they walked into your life is not their fault.

Baggage

Paradox: Space and the Self

I have nothing to lose but myself. And to be honest, I will always choose myself over anything or anyone. I learned that the hard way. I am a living paradox. I am a person who has it all and has nothing at all. I am a woman who gained everything when she lost everything. The thing about space is that it’s nothing and everything all at the same time. It’s a void that fills the void somehow. It makes no sense and it goes against our truth but somehow it works the way it does.

When you are nothing and you lost yourself, does that mean you lost everything or you lost nothing? If something can somehow suck in all the space in our universe, what would be left of it? If you are staring at the night sky and you imagine something pulling off the darkness of the night sky, what do you imagine taking the place of that sky? Perhaps a clean white canvas? Maybe a variety of mixed up colors that insinuates that your view is broken and you’re not meant to see this. Or maybe elements and dimensions we could not see that would distort our minds.

When you imagine everything that’s right in front of you being taken away from you, how do you feel? You can be surrounded by family and friends one day and then be completely by yourself the next day. Remember your first day of school? You cried when your parents left you because you thought they may never come back. Who knew that one day, you would never want to see them again? What if everything and everyone that means “everything” to you becomes “nothing” to you? Will you mourn at the loss of it all or will you sigh a big relief as you embrace the peace of nothingness enveloping you?

Paradox: Space and the Self

A Dead Dream

Have you ever been in love? I have never been in love. I’ve been into relationships but never felt the need to spend my whole life with someone. I’ve had my share of break-ups and tears but I never had my heart broken. Today, I woke up alone, as always. As I was sitting quietly with my breakfast in front of me, I mourned over a lost love. I mourned about a man I have never met in this life. Memories of events that never happened surged into my mind and it felt real.

In those memories, I was in love. I was in love with a man who is also very much in love with me. We spent a very short time together and we had to part. I pictured him standing in front of me. We’re about to part ways and would never see each other again. We said goodbye and I cried. It was hopeless. I thought, “What kind of barrier could ever stand in the way of love?” If one of us is leaving, the other one can go with him/her. It makes no sense to lose a love over something so small. But in those memories, there was nothing I can do. Like a movie, there was nothing I can do, I can just sit through it and watch. It was just that. I watched the love I finally found, my first love, go away. The thought that I would never see him again killed me.

What is it with this man and how did he capture my wild heart? He was not a skilled hunter. He was the man who connected to my other side or what I call “my soft side”, the real me. He tamed my soul and took my heart. I’m two people at once but most could only see one. Just like twins in a very complicated birth where the other one has to die in order for the other one to live. Naturally, the strongest one, the one more capable of surviving this world was chosen. The dead twin refuses to be forgotten. Time and time again, her presence is felt. When I decided to kill her, she understood. She did not judge me. She did not get mad. She simply understood. As I write this, I cry as if I just had an abortion. A few moments ago, I was mourning about a lost significant other and now, it seems I am mourning about a lost twin and a lost child. None of the people I cry about even exists.

You see, I’m a dreamer. I fit into the common description of a writer, an artist, and an old soul. When I was a kid, I liked to draw. I wrote poems and turned plenty of my notebooks into comic books. I liked to sing, too, and I also used to dance. When I was young, aside from having several ambitions such as being an astronaut and going to space, being a pilot and cruising through the skies, and being an architect and designing and building beautiful cities, my greatest dream was to have a sketchbook. I used to call it “a notebook with no lines on it”. All I wanted was a notebook with no lines on it! Now I can buy as many sketchbooks as I want but I never did.

I’m afraid. Even when I hoarded notebooks, I always hesitated to write on them. I’m afraid to make a mistake, to ruin something so clean and perfect. I’m also afraid that the notebooks hated me. High school was the end of my creativity. High school was the time I burned all the comic books I made. It was the time my peers have accepted my talent and my family did not. I used to have my classmates borrow the comic “notebooks” I made and read my stories. I used to have people ask me, “What’s gonna happen next?” Now, I don’t even remember what the stories I wrote a decade (or more) ago were about. I burned it all. I thought to myself, “I could write it all over again. I will draw again.” Then I asked myself, “What’s gonna happen next?”

Years later, it never happened. The surviving twin successfully earns a great amount of money in her career. She killed everyone with her technical skills. She was able to afford renting a new place for herself. She severed ties with an abusive family. She lived alone peacefully. Sometimes I think what it was all for and I always get the answer, “So that we can do whatever we want, what we always wanted to do.” Then I ask myself again, “What do we always wanted to do?” And my mind goes back to the dreams I had decades ago. My first love. I want to make comic books again. I want to write stories again. Like a haunting memory, the dead twin wants to come back to life. Maybe she has never died at all, she just stood in the background as the stronger and more practical twin takes on the world to build a cradle just for the two of them. A safe haven where none of them could be harmed. A world where both of them can live and survive.

Maybe I was mourning not over a man, a sibling, or a child. But I was weeping about a lost love, indeed. And whenever I feel a barrier, maybe I should picture myself parting ways with a lost love and thinking “What kind of barrier could ever stand in the way of love?”

A Dead Dream

Different And Alone

Hold on to your loneliness. Please hold on to that feeling. I know you feel different and alone. I know you see that everything around you is false and you can’t connect to anyone right now. I know you feel detached from it all. I’m not telling you to hold on with hope that the day will come when you will meet someone who understands you. That person may not happen to you at all. And I’m not the one who will break your heart by giving you false hopes. However, I can assure you one thing – there’s a place. A place you can look forward to. A place where you can feel safe and warm. A place that cuddles your solitude. A place where you belong.

You want to know what’s so good about this place? You’re the one making it. Whenever you look around and see people with their families, I want you to consider that “That may not be for me.” This is not to deprive you of the joy of having a family. I just want you to stop thinking about it. Every time you look at those people, I want you to stop thinking “That’s the standard of happiness. That’s what we all should do or have.” I want you to keep dreaming about the future but dream about it as a whole. I want you to stress about the future of the universe as a whole. I want you to not waste that beautiful mind of yours conforming to what your corrupted mind tells you. I want you to realize that this is not you talking to you but the collective opinion of everyone else that came before you.

Before you go to sleep, I want you to look forward to the next day. In the morning, you will have scrambled eggs for breakfast, maybe some bacon, coffee, or anything you like. You will shower and bathe with the scent of the soap you chose. You will listen to a podcast or a song you really like on your way to the office. You will take breaks with tea, biscuits, or anything you prefer. And if you don’t like your job, you will find a new one. You will go home, eat a great dinner, and read. You will spend time working on your personal projects or other interests. You will lie in bed, maybe bring out some scented candles, stare at the ceiling, and think. You will fall asleep and do it over.

What is it that we find so bad about repetition? Our own dislike of it is what’s making us miserable. We crave for something big and new all the time that we fail to notice the small details that change in every second. Have you ever stared at your tea and admire its color? Have you ever looked at other people’s writing and yours, and smiled? Have you ever loved your blanket so much as if it was another person? The way I see, you’re already happy and society keeps telling you that you’re not. No, you don’t want a celebrity status, someone else wants that. No, you don’t want a child and that’s totally fine. No, you don’t want a big house with twenty rooms, you just want your bed and your blanket.

There’s nothing wrong with you and I want you to know that. You are already happy as you are and who’s to say that your goal should be “to be happy” in the first place? That may just be the idea of many but you could be different. And in that difference, most often, you will be alone. That’s okay, too. I don’t want you to wait for the time that the world would recognize, appreciate, and accept you. I want you to think for yourself and re-assess your own thoughts if they are your own.

Now that I’ve told you that things I want you to do, I want you to ignore them and listen to your own mind’s advice.

Different And Alone

Singularity

The following words would not make sense and it shouldn’t because it’s a dream. But if you turn off your “normal” thinking mode, maybe it would. I want you to abandon your definition of “singularity” before you read my story because my own definition of it has been overridden by a dream. My brain, so thirsty for facts and evidence, unleashed its poetic side and provided me with concepts from my subconscious. I woke up with a new perspective and hope.

I had a dream of singularity hitting us. Yes, hitting us. I had a dream that I was waiting for it. It looked like a horizontal aurora. I was with a few people and quickly hid behind a post when I saw the colors approach. In my head, it’s supposed to crush the infrastructures including me and everyone else around me. In my head, the Earth would be destroyed. I closed my eyes as it inevitably hit everyone and everything. Surprised that I’m still alive after it left, I opened my eyes. Everyone else opened their eyes and wondered as if they just woke up from a dream. Something has changed, I felt it. Everyone was intelligent. Everyone was wise. It’s as if singularity or how my dream interpreted it to be was really a storm of wisdom and knowledge. It’s as if it wiped out all our biases, stupidity, and corruption. It cleansed the world and left us a better civilization – much more fit for the future.

After waking up, I thought about it for a while. I remember telling someone that if there was a button that could destroy the world and I’m standing right in front of it, I would never hesitate to push it. I would never think twice. I would never look back and daydream about the memories I had with people I loved. I would never think about the people in it. It’s not because I’m evil or I don’t care. It’s because it doesn’t matter. I remember that someone telling me that I’m cruel. Maybe I am but I’m not doing it because I hate people or I hate this planet or I have no hope left for humanity. It’s simply because it doesn’t matter.

If all humans were wiped off the planet, it wouldn’t matter. I imagine a vast universe – dark and almost empty. This tiny little thing wouldn’t count at all. What excites me is our possible ability to outlive this planet or this universe. I’m a software engineer crawling my way into data science, big data, and all the information and analysis that comes with it. Maybe I’m not necessarily a scientist but I see existence as an exciting puzzle that the majority wouldn’t live long enough to solve. I look forward to the day that everything we know wouldn’t be wiped out clean by extinction. I look forward to the day that if my human body dies, my thoughts can be preserved and that I can see the far off future.

This dream gave me a different interpretation of my supposedly cruel thoughts.

Singularity