As I combed my Simba-like hair after my skincare routine, I saw a long strand of white hair. Make that sparkling silver. It was so sparkly, complete standout from my jet black messy wavy hair.
As a child, I earn a few coins by plucking out white hair from Papa’s head. What’s even funnier is I use two coins to pluck the tiny ones out. On the contrary, I was told not to pluck out white hair should I get one already, cos this would cause more white hair to grow.
And so the day came. I was checking out that strand, pondering about this childhood memory, and without thinking twice, plucked it out.
Questions flood my already busy brain: Was I not afraid to have more white hair? Do I want to hide the white hair with hair color? How many more could be there already?
But the one million dollar question was: Am I not afraid to get old?
Yep, life has gotten into the equation. And for now, it’s simply a matter of accepting that in less than two months, I turn 40.
Wait, was it just yesterday that I turned 30? Oh well, I definitely enjoyed this decade! This had more travels, performances, and a variety of performance and teaching opportunities, even when I had my family already, compared to when I was in my 20s.
I’ve always wondered how I’d look and be like at 40. Well, who knows and who cares, anyway! All I know is that I am happy and content more now than five years ago and ten years ago, where I met bullies in the workplace. But, no regrets! I learned a lot–one is to avoid being with people like them.
White hair is definitely a symbol of wisdom. And there is wisdom to aging, experiences, and learnings. Always.
Pardon the blurry, but I just want to get back to my writing mojo. Been quite a while, but here I go, trying to find my writing voice (yet again) in the midst of all the (social media) noise.
Back in the time when masks were not the “in” thing, my “mask” was a shawl.
Hung around my neck, around my waist, or onto my bag, I have always carried a scarf. Long ones, short ones, colourful and plain ones. I got one for each occasion that would require me to dress up and be in front of people.
I loved my shawls! Some I purchased abroad during tours, others lovingly gifted to me by family and friends. Keeps me warm when it is cold. Or to cover my nose and mouth when smoke and dust hit my face as I walk the polluted streets. Or just to accessorise.
But not anymore, I have not worn one since the pandemic began.
You see, I had a realisation that the shawls were just an accessory I can easily do away without.
So, in the middle of quarantine in 2020 and when we had to go back to serving at church, I found myself not bringing or wearing any. I realised it only a few months ago, while fixing the closet.
I then asked myself, what was I hiding with these shawls? My uneven looking body? My crooked waist, my be-pimpled neck? Will it hide my huge belly?
The shawls, I realised, felt like a rope stringing around my neck while I grasp onto my feelings of doubt, envy, hate, insecurity, weakness, fear. And as soon as I let go of that shawl, the negative feelings go with it and kept in the closet. Kept, not thrown, just like moments and memories, not to be forgotten. And worn again the next day.
I never got to touch any of the shawls for quite a while, not until I had to clean a corner of the closet which was left untouched for most of the quarantine.
And there it dawned to me, I was not anymore a prisoner of the shawls. By not wearing them, I also let go of the doubt, envy, hate, insecurity, weakness, fear.
As I was refolding and tidying my closet, I held each shawl and think about the memories I had with it. Good memories. The not so good ones were still there, not forgotten, but learned lessons from.
Words are my love language and one of my self-expressions (poetry, writing, and blogging). Sadly, words tried to put me down several times in the past.
Thanks to Weight of Words, I rediscovered how powerful words are, how beautiful they are.
And how they should matter, or not. Ironic, isn’t it?
Very timely to have watched this work on Ascension Sunday, which was also World Communications Day. The Homily tackled about how words are used in social media nowadays, creating fake news, among others. And how our role as bearers and spreaders of the Good News is important nowadays.
Going back to the work, honestly, I did not know what exactly to expect in a “solo devised theater performance,” as the description announced. All I know is that a dear friend and great artist, Abner Delina, Jr., will surely showcase what he is known for–being daring, brave, and true to his work.
The premise was simple: how words are used, misused, and abused. The presentation on point and exact: from birth to death and how words evolved from nothing to everything. The message was clear: for all of us to be careful with our choice of words, and not to dwell on what we hear so as not to affect us. The latter may be harder to do, as with my case, but lately I have been praying more, got back to my meditation, and choose my words carefully before speaking or writing.
Abner is indeed a storyteller. With this work, he took his storytelling a step higher and turned out to be a message bearer, speaking for those who do not have the power to speak.
He based this monologue from a book of the same title published by CANVAS. He’s got a solid team of collaborators as well, handling various aspects of the production, which all contributed positively and greatly to the show. This is not just his work, but of so many who believed that mental health is important in this generation of using lesser and more meaningless words. Unfortunately, though, I was not able to participate in the discussion after the show, since I had a rehearsal to attend.
I have been called names in high school, been judged by people I trusted, even people who do not know me that well. There were even instances social media was used against me to destroy my name, which gave me emotional trauma. I never thought that words can cut like a knife, and they made a pretty deep cut which lasted years.
I thank this show for giving me this reflective pause about words I use, misuse, and abuse, and how these very words may affect me. Since morning that day, and especially during the Homily at church, I have been praying and reflecting and preparing myself to watch this show, to have an open mind, to accept things as they are, to forgive, and to use words as source of positivity and strength.
After all the setbacks, I should keep myself reminded of the following:
Sticks and stones may break my bones, (but words can never hurt me) . (Old adage)
It’s only words, and words are all I have to take your heart away. (Bee Gees’ Words)
For no word from God will ever fail. (Luke 1:37 NIV)
You still have four more chances (yes, four more shows!) to watch this work for yourselves, and like me, discover the power of words. See poster below.
If you have watched it already, do let me know what you think of the work in the comments.
And if any of you or your family and friends, even those you do not personally know, think they might need help, do not hesistate to reach out and tell your story, too. Sharing is caring, definitely.
Since 2016, I got into writing Filipino haikus and accompany them with a nice photo of a place I am in. Check out my simple (and I hope not so trying hard!) Haikus on Instagram (search for hashtags #HAInaKU or #Touringkittywrites).
Last month I have been meaning to post something for Women’s Month, and was supposed to do on the last day of it, but Holy Week was jampacked with work and church activities. So here I am with the poem I finished the eve of Palm Sunday.
Buwan ng Panitikan naman ngayong Abril. Pasok pa rin ang pagkakasulat ko nito dito.