So apropos: As of writing I am listening to tracks of Björk, starting with Human Behavior (*If you ever get close to a human, and human behavior/ Be ready, be ready to get confused and me and my here after/ There’s definitely, definitely, definitely no logic to human behavior/ But yet so, yet so irresistible and me and my fear can/ And there is no map uncertain 🥁🎶*)
Friday | 26 July 2019
What an uncanny cocktail:
1. I managed to sleep for three hours, thinking that I do not need it.
2. I did not drink my medicine on time (damn you, quetiapine!).
3. I thought the schedule for the Mission Partner’s Day is at 8:00 am when Zumba and registration started at 5:30 am (therefore I was late for the party, therefore I was having an orgy with Mx. Guilt, Mx. Absurdity, and Mx. Anxiety in my mind; therefore I decided not to eat the snacks laid on the table because I had no contribution to the group.)
4. Showering is a taxing routine.
5. The day entailed enhancement of socialization skills when I am yet to find where I threw my self-esteem.
6. We are to reflect and pray to God.
You may be able to surmise how this day would play out. Aside: This blog post contains shitposting and excessively strong language directed to my God. Read at your own risk.
My officemate and partner-in-crime went straight to the third floor to participate on the sacred time. I told her the things I wrote above, although she didn’t have to hear it.
In this part of the whole occasion, we were grouped into a pretty large segment of personnel to watch the crucifix, the Holy Bible, and the candles parade in front of us, to sing songs, pray, and further be divided into smaller groups in reflecting the discussion questions based on the theme.
The stood up, a worship song played on—it has something to do with the soil and the seed; and all of a sudden, I kind of got my vision unclear. There was heat on my ears, and my head started to numb.
We sat down listening to the reader of the scripture. I shook my legs to compensate for the desire to walk out and yell anywhere. I bowed and closed my eyes to focus on the words said, my left hand massaging the temples of my head, my right hand pulling my hair out. Good thing I was not palpitating and hyperventilating and crying—three of my body’s most favorite thing to do in this state.
“Let us put our presence to the Lord, our God and pray,” the leader said, reading from her notes. I’d like to believe the prayer’s for all of us, including me whose mental state was wasting away.
And while the prayer was being delivered, I opened my eyes and stared at the words written on the wall. My thoughts were racing and I thought (Aside: I admit this retelling could have been polished and inaccurate, but this rage was actually I felt that time), You really wanted me to pray huh? Okay, here: fuck you God. Fuck you! Fuck you big time! Go to hell, God! What an unfair Being You are! You created loneliness and anger and tell me You love me. You speak in fucking parables nobody understands. I do not give a fuck with your soil and seed! Please, I don’t want anything to do with this—the anxiety, the feeling of dread. Why are You giving this to me? Why do You have to make this complicated for me? Even You have forsaken Jesus one time! What a formidable God You are! I believe I don’t deserve to hear my alarm clock reminding me to take pills. I believe I don’t deserve to have my worth questioned by myself. I believe nobody deserves all of these too, but I also believe I am better than some people. People claim You are a God of abundance, but I don’t want abundance of this. I hate this feeling! You are omniscient and all-powerful, Lord. You could have done better for me, Lord. How dare you! Fuck You right in Your face!
The reader changed the slide. I stopped praying, but my attack went on. The reader told us to break into small groups and discuss the following questions on the wall: 1. In dealing with our students or work, with what soil do we as sowers sow our seeds (love)? Are we sowing seeds of love? 2. As Marist Mission (sic.) Partners (sic.) journeying with Children (sic.) and young people today, do we listen to and respond creatively to their needs? 3. Do we consider our students and co-workers as sowers of good seed for us to become a good soil?
I called my officemate. “I am having an attack.”
“It’s okay,” she smiled.
“I think the sharing is too much for me right now.”
My groupmates I arranged the chairs into a small circle. I was between a Vietnamese Marist brother and my officemate.
When we were already settled down, she just laid her hand on my lap—just pressed enough to calm me down. “It’s gonna be over soon. We’ll go home earlier today,” she told me.
I was uncertain if she was being metaphorical or being at the moment, but it comforted me.
“Look at me. I am a great actor,” I softly said, and she laughed while I stopped shaking my legs, acting nonchalantly.
I stared at the wall, whiter even with dimmed light. It reminded me of the cream-colored wall of my therapist’s office. I remembered she told me I may take one tablet if an attack occurs. I fished my bag and opened the film. My water tumbler was empty, so I sucked it dry.
We introduced ourselves one by one. Our group is dominated by men who are fresh graduates and millennials. There were three people who are in service to the university for more than 10 year too, but most of us haven’t spent one year there. You could’ve guessed we’re the group seated at the back seat. And we’re pretty much the introverted type.
“These are all yes-no questions, so maybe we’re done? Can we agree that we say yes to these all?” The oldest among us laughed, much to our chuckle.
Bro. Long, the Vietnamese brother my age started talking, saying that he loves it here. The students are well-mannered and promising, and the observation reflects the work ethic of each of the personnel.
Everyone clapped. Then an awkward silence.
Our librarian built on the discussion, saying that on a daily basis, she makes sure students are assisted with resources and knowledge. She halted mid-sentence, looked at the Bro. Long, and laughed. “English!”
“It is okay, please you go on, I get the context,” Bro. Long said, smiling.
So my officemate saved us, telling her experiences, telling her dreams of being here. She said she even extended her time to be of help.
I am a great actor, I thought. I can also participate. I raised my hand, and said, “Well, I agree with what you all said,” –I stopped, breathing heavily, “I’d like to bank on to the keyword ‘creatively’. We must also be responsive to the times our students are living in. So as for me, I try to be approachable to them. I watch the Netflix shows they are in, I also get to know their hobbies and favorites. That for me is the way we can be effective as mentors.” I heard the sound of them clapping, and damn. That was good. But when another reticent guy participated and shared about being patient to his underperforming tutee, damn, I remembered The Merchant of Venice.
So I raised my hand again, trying to remember the quote. “I think we also need to ask the why, Ma’am,” I stared at our accountant. “We are a sort of individuals with different roles and we know we are contributing well to the mission. That’s one of the reasons—we are inherently good people,” and they all laughed. “But I also would like to share Shakespeare. He said that mercy is twice blessed. It blesses him that,” I paused and realized, what a sexist quote. “I mean—it blesses him or her that gives, and him or her that takes. We stand in our classes and be patient with the struggling, not only that our students may benefit from our knowledge, but also that we may become people capable of forgiveness, because we are children of God.”
My groupmates were amazed by it, and God damn. “And can I say another point, Ma’am? Like, we should also internalize what kind of soil are we providing to them. Our foundations are the core values, like family spirit, integrity,”—actually it’s integrity OF CREATION— “Marian… But I get this Ma’am, Sir. I am an English teacher, and I teach them how to read. Learning is like a change of attitudes and values. Unlike programming courses which have a clear outlook of what the courses have to be, it creates machines, or I do not know… I mean, no offense meant to you all,” I was referring to my groupmates teaching computer courses, and they nodded, “teaching core values to our students can be frustrating. We do not see the change right away. But we remember these precepts, we still embody them here. After five years, one or two students may approach us the mall, or may pop in our FB message, and say thank you because we have taught them to be better. I’ve been teaching for five years already, and I reap these harvests, modesty aside. And I say to myself, like, why? I do not remember being exceptional at many things, but I inspired someone. So we remember the values and exhibit them, and treat our students in a certain kind of way, because we do not have an idea on the effect we have. I mean, really, I am out of topic, but, core values.”
They all smiled and clapped. “Anybody else from the group?” the eldest of us said.
Oh my God, I thought. Does she think I am monopolizing the discussion? I don’t intend to hug the microphone, but if it feels like I am, sorry ma’am. Sorry sorry sorry…
Sorry Lord. But I meant what I said to you. I also meant what I said to the small group. Again, sorry Lord.
Because I felt excitable, I was assigned to synthesize our discussion to the larger crowd. When it’s our turn, I walked in front and made a sign of the cross, just to make the passive listeners laugh. They did.