Atoms & other dreams
Basically, my story is like this: I woke up one morning and announced to the other people in the house that from that day forth, I won’t be living there anymore. They were bewildered.
In less than an hour, I packed my things and vacated the place. On that day, my life as a prodigal began.
Certain posts I see in Newsfeed remind me of my dreams then: billions of pesos in cash, piles of material possessions, and a high corporate post, executive level. Yeah, I was an ambitious careerist once upon a time.
The turning point, I suppose, happened when I joined CEGP (College Editors Guild of the Philippines). Well, actually, I only did it out of sheer adventurism—something I had not yet done, rallying. But it modified the atoms in me that the former being became a fleeting haze hovering around the crevices of my memories.
My life in CEGP was hard, I must admit. Some days would pass without food; I had three consecutive days full of fries as my only meal. To alter the taste, I mixed the stuff with Mang Tomas or Magic Sarap.
Hell, I even experienced asking the crew at various fast-food counters for sachets of ketchup to survive lunch. I swear it was maddening.
But in CEGP I learned that there’s more to life than ego, corporate position, material possessions, and insatiable financial greed. That it’s impossible to become a CEO if your father isn’t the owner of the firm. That serving the capitalists is not worth it. That everyone is important.
I was exposed to various social realities, most of them painful—so painful they will crush a human heart.
In Negros, I met women whose husbands were abducted by armed men in front of them. I met people who lost their homes in demolition and arson. I wrote statements for the journalists who were murdered. I witnessed instances of police brutality, I saw broken bones and jets of blood gushing out of someone’s head.
I marched in the streets with people whose humanity burns more than the scorching sun. I saw so much misery, but in every struggle and step, I found hope. In CEGP, I accumulated experiences and they made me older than I am.
Most people, I am aware, find it odd why material possessions do not draw me in. I say there’s more to life than iPhone 6. There is friendship. There are small victories. There are selfless days. There is genuine love.
Jing Paz, 23, of the College of Development Communication, University of the Philippines Los Baños, says she is “the gushing lady in Chekhov who is dying to be described.”
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