How do we make peace with ourselves, knowing that, being the basically good people we are, we also have a side to us which we know isn’t the best — our “dark side”? Can we overcome these parts of our lives that we may not be proud of? Or do we simply accept them, learn to live with them, and move on?Fandango’s provocative question
I grew up under the roof of pastors. We were still in the Philippines and my parents certainly are committed to serving GOD. My mom is the epitome of holiness. When I was a kid, I wondered if she ever commits a sin. My father on the other hand is more human than my mom. He’s got obvious flaws. He is angered by normal triggers and from time to time, I hear him comment on things like how I would… Of course. I eventually realized that my mom isn’t holy. She is not perfect. And she’s got her quirks too. Very minute, almost invisible, but it’s there.
I know I am flawed. When I obtained my MA in Theology, people asked, “what are you going to do with it?” — Like in full disbelief that I can serve. It’s not that these people are judgmental, ok, yes they are a little bit “judgy” but they know me, I wonder what makes them question that particular decision I have made, some even laughed like I was telling a joke.
I have a bad side. I don’t think before I act when it comes to my family’s defense. I’d die for my loved ones. I fight whoever crosses them.
In High School, I was holding the First Honors rank, an extremely volatile position since I’ve been running against the current 2nd ever since the world began (since we were in Elementary School). I had to say that because it is significant to the story.
This happened on the SY 3rd quarter late 1996, I remember it clearly. We were about to move to Riyadh. My mom, who worked as a high school teacher had been taking leave days to expedite our papers from the Saudi Embassy in Manila, it was a long commute since we were from the province. One of her friends, wanted to take a loan from the government and felt so frustrated because she was asking my mom to guarantee her loan but she’s been on leave for days. She felt agitated because she was so excited to have her loan. My mom forgot to hand the signed form in the morning, apparently she already told her that she’s sending it through me.
The teacher summoned me and asked to check if my mom left a form for her. That time, only the rich can afford a mobile phone, so yes, we didn’t have one. I had to go home and go thru her files and voila, it was on top of the TV. My home is 15 minutes walking distance from school. I walked, back and forth.
Imagine my horror to stand by the door all sweaty, hearing her badmouthing my mom in front of their students. My mom had a reputation of being well-liked, their favorite teacher, kindest of all — but she just had to tell everyone that she’s irresponsible, careless and was not thinking at all. It was worse in Filipino.
I stood there, holding the guarantee form duly signed by my mom that would enable her friend to borrow money from the government. Her mistake was that she forgot to tell me that I was to give it to that teacher as she was hurrying to get the first bus trip to Manila. She was on an official time off. And see? It was an easy fix.
I think I had a black out for a split second only to realize that I was tearing the form in front of everyone. She yelled at me and told me that I was crazy and so many Filipino words equivalent to my being an evil child and she has also cursed at me to think I was her favorite student. So I cursed back and pointed at her and it was crazy. I was unstoppable and if other teachers didn’t come, we may have brawled.
A lot of people witnessed it and that’s all they remembered. I was a bad kid.
My mom apologized for me!
I did not talk to my mom for quite some time because of that apology. I was just defending her honor. She was badmouthing her nonstop. I don’t understand how she felt that she had to say sorry. The church knew about it and had me disciplined, fine by me because it was really an insane behavior!
BUT the school did not punish me a bit.
They knew that I know how difficult it was for me to keep my cool @ that situation given that I can lose everything that was important to me back then. Honors, awards, citations, God knows I can be expelled. They knew I was compelled to do that. I was triggered. Her students were my witnesses and her track record did not work on her favor.
That’s how crazy I get when someone attacks my family. I’d forget everything that was important to me.
There are about three equally crazy events of similar nature that I can add, but you get the picture. I never think. I act, then think hours later.
Looking back, I didn’t have any remorse because everything is justified. I never instigate. I was always on the defense… but now, being a grown up… I can’t seem to make peace with the fact that people still see me that way.
I go home to the Philippines, no one visits me — old friends and relatives alike. But my middle sister goes home and everyone throws a party! I am nice to them, I am basically the same as my middle sister. BUT that reputation has stuck with me.
And now, whenever my folks would tell them that I will be a missionary.. they will act like it was a joke. To defend me, my sisters would tell everyone, “Ate Janis is actually the kindest daughter our folks have“, but no one buys it. I cannot make peace with that. Not that I want their approval… but I want to be seen for who I really am now and not for who I was. I am bitter and sad whenever I go home because of that.
I am still trying to move on because it’s something I have no control over… but it can get pretty hard @ times…