Between the colors black and white, I always chose gray.
During my formative years, I always aced my arts classes because of my proficiency in the art of making the color wheel. The idea of mixing and blending colors always fascinated me. It also taught me that certain colors, when combined together, create new hues. There are some, however, that simply do not go well together. And when you try and mix them together, what do you get?
It is disgruntling and infuriating when opposites collide. The tension and the fear you get in the middle of a strife is just suffocating. Nobody likes differences in opinion, don’t they?
Growing up, I have carried with me that fear of confrontations. For the longest time, I stealthily avoided that by hiding under the cloak of being labeled as “the good guy.” I rarely got into fights, and during the exceptional cases that I did, it was always an intellectual bout.
Unfortunately, differences in opinions always lead to a falling out, or the occasional awkward relationship phase with the opposing side. I figured, then and there, that I’d live with the principle of compromise instead.
I said, between black and white, I’d choose gray.
Living by that principle worked wonders for me. I was always on the good side of people, successfully navigating different social circles with ease. I learned that people would trust you more if you listened to their woes, versus blatantly opposing their ideologies no matter the intent.
Whenever an adverse idea was laid down, I’d carefully tread and go around in circles. I always relied on the voice of reason, to understand the situation and rationalize it. But the truth is, I just didn’t have the guts to confront whatever the issue was. It was always an unnecessary confrontation. It was always better to err on the side of caution. Less risks, less drama, less trouble.
Between black and white, I definitely chose gray.
The gray area was almost perfect, until it became a safe space. At some point, the gray became an excuse. It was the perfect escape to avoid uncomfortable situations. Away from conflict, far from criticisms.
Little did I know it would also mean indecisiveness. When the moral compass is challenged, the gray stays in the middle. When people are killed mercilessly and society becomes rife with injustices, the gray sticks to silence. When black stands for evil and white for good, gray means apathy, indifference.
In the middle of everything, when the harsh realities of life test our morality, choosing gray means siding with the oppressors. Staying silent and pretending to be blind when all the atrocities are happening around you means choosing gray, and it also means conniving with debauchery. Being part of that side is way worse than the stifling atmosphere of confrontation.
When you see with your own eyes how abuse of power triumphs, and when the safe space that comforted you is destroyed, you’ll realize that gray isn’t always the answer. At some point, you’ll have to take a stand.
If and when such a case comes to you, choose black, or white. But never gray.
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Vince Dominic C. Gapit, 24, is from Binan, Laguna, and works as a senior media relations associate.
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