Becoming the monster I abhor

Plato quoteA friend introduced me to her colleagues who were visiting Bangkok over the weekend. One of my joys being away from home is to meet old and new friends visiting Bangkok. Touring them around is also my way of getting to know Thailand better.

All of them –my friend’s colleagues—were nice and fun to be with. But one of them is just extra warm, it’s like her heart is full of kindness which radiates from her sweet smile and soft voice. She’s the oldest among the group, much like our mother. But really, I felt so at ease around her that I couldn’t help but mention it to my friend. That’s when I heard an interesting story.

My friend said that she has never really spoken to that lady except for work-related matters. “People say her personality used to be like that, kind and loving. But she suddenly changed about two years ago. They say she suddenly became aloof. She doesn’t talk to people anymore except for work. Even after meetings, she doesn’t join her colleagues for a cup of coffee. She became strict and unfriendly, very opposite to what she used to be. Even people who have been so close to her, who have worked with her for over 10 years couldn’t understand what has gone wrong with her. She was like that for two years and now she is back to how she used to be, kind and friendly.

I got curious. I told my friend; maybe that lady has gone through very challenging trials in her life. And tough times always bring out the worst in us. And I smiled at the thought that I had my own share of unleashing the monster in me.

I hate confrontations. Whenever I encounter misunderstandings with people, I would opt to stay quiet and not defend myself even if that means I have to take the blame. I could not speak out for myself because sometimes it would mean revealing the other person’s mistake and I could not stand that a person is humiliated or hurt because of me.

My colleague once told me, “nobody can stand up for you except yourself. You can’t just let people abuse you.” I also read somewhere that staying silent and suppressing your emotions is not good. It will eventually take its toll on your health. But I was stubborn. Until one day, I just lose it.


I was overly stressed at work and was facing a lot of problems in my personal life too. I had been suffering from insomnia and I couldn’t eat well. I just don’t have the appetite for any food. I knew something was wrong with me. I was aware that I was not being myself. I just don’t know how to stop the negativities. I cannot decide whether I have obsessive-compulsive disorder or bipolar disorder (see, I have already made my own psychological diagnosis hahaha). Kidding aside, I knew now that I could have been better if I had enough sleep then.

But anyway, in that not-so-good episode of my life, I turned into the monster I abhor. I made this stupid argument with someone and ended up saying words I could not imagine coming out from me. Now that I’m over those dark hours of my life, whenever I think about it, I would regret why I had not dealt with the negative situation positively. But regrets don’t come first and feeling it would not help either.

I believe that the first step to move on is to forgive ourselves and accept that we are just humans; we are not perfect and we are bound to commit mistakes. Like what Rahim Khan said in the book The Kite Runner, “there’s a way to be good again”.

People who we see as bad, people who are cruel and unkind are people who are hurting inside. They need our understanding and love, not our hatred and scrutiny. And when this happens to us, let us not forget to appreciate those people who stayed by our side, the people who never gave up believing in us when the rest of the world slummed its doors.

Longings of my heart

Cup of tea with lemon and honey

Enjoying my cup of tea. I love weekends like this!

My work had been hectic this whole month of August. After our communications workshop in Tagaytay, Philippines in July, I went home for an 11-day vacation. When I came back in the office, I was swamped with emails, reports and articles to write, and meetings which seemed like an everyday affair.

Yesterday I was writing a report then decided to take a 10-minute break to just breathe and do some stretching. I suddenly felt a longing for some creative activities. But no, not only that, I longed for the tranquility of a slow-paced lifestyle I once enjoyed when work was still not as busy as now. These days I normally go home after 6PM even if work finish at 5:30.

I miss photography. Before, I only had my pink Sony digital camera. But with the limitations of digital cameras, I decided to get a DSLR. However when I got my Nikon D3100, that was when work started to get busier. I hardly find time to take photos, much more, learn the technicalities of photography.

I miss drawing. Well, I was never really into drawing. That was only my childhood hobby. But I started drawing again in 2011 and to date I only managed to draw four. Although sometimes, I just feel like doodling or painting. Unfortunately, when that craving hits me, I’m usually out of the house or in the middle of work so I don’t get to sit and draw.

I miss yoga. I have been fascinated with yoga since the first time I knew about it. I joined a class in February but a lot of travels in Thailand and abroad followed after I finished the beginner’s class. But I’m thinking of enrolling in another session soon, hopefully I will find the time.


I miss writing. I’ve been wanting to write about my recent travels but somehow, I find it hard to write when I don’t feel like writing. I know, I read it several times that writers shouldn’t wait until they feel the urge to write. But my few attempts in the past all failed. I haven’t gone past staring at an empty page and a blinking cursor.

I miss those weekends when I’d just enjoy a cup of tea and a good book or watch a documentary and news on BBC. Although my long train rides to and from work every day enables me to read, still it’s different when the environment is more relaxed and quiet.

Sometimes, we tend to get so overwhelmed by our fast-paced lifestyle. Worse, we are inundated with technology that at times we forget to even appreciate the aroma of coffee or the warm hug of our loved ones. So today, I decided to refuel my soul by not working; by letting go of the chattering in my head. I will be still and enjoy a cup of tea; savor the serenity of a relaxing Saturday and be thankful for the gift of life. I will hold my camera and write again. Sometimes, we just have to stop planning and wanting, and instead start doing. Happy weekend 🙂

Imperfections

We stumble and fall, get bruises and commit mistakes. But in the end, it’s us, it’s what made us and it’s our life. We have to accept the good and the bad and celebrate life’s imperfections.

Mary Antonette H. Abello
1 June 2013