How deep is your ‘hugot’?
On a scale of one to the famous Marianas Trench, how deep is your “hugot”?
Think it over. Maybe the guy you saw recently walking confidently just had a heartbreaker. Maybe the girl you thought ate a lot and too much missed her breakfast today.
We are among the billions of people searching for places and trying to make marks on a blue planet, carrying within us a story completely different from others. Each story holds scars from the past, moments of the present, and hopes for the future—all run by varying emotions, human feelings. People always say that feelings are just feelings and are to be ignored because they tend to leave just as they arrive in the unlikeliest of times. They are apt to bother you most of the time and leave you empty.
Recently, I have been feeling people—not literally, but in a broader sense. Since this generation is finally showing its true colors to the world, it is unlikely not to see a post or even hear a quote stating a rock-hard, face-smashing, heart-crushing fact that most Filipinos label as hugot—a term derived from the expression “may pinaghuhugutan,” mostly statements unintentionally formed because of the emotions a certain experience provides. Probably, almost everyone has felt or experienced this kind of sensation. I’d bet on this more than I’d bet on graduating college with flat-1 grades because I know. I know our stories are similar. Our stories, though unique from each other, are marked by similar emotions, and it’s not a tall tale that we have experienced similar feelings that made us what we are today. We have all done so, and it’s fine to let these sentiments out sometimes.
It’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to cry. Nobody said you’d die if you cry, and it’s impossible to drown in your own tears. It’s all right to let the water out because you’ve been carrying it for too long. It simply means a heart once covered with ice is finally melting. We were not made to be strong all the time.
It’s okay to break down sometimes. Being broken by someone or something doesn’t mean you’ll be worn-out for life. Broken crayons can still color, and you will be whole again one day. This will all take time, but it will be worth it. If it is a grade you were working hard for or a person you once loved that broke you, don’t let it define you, your intelligence, or even your worth. It’s okay to pick up the pieces and let God mend you.
It’s okay to fail. You will never value the glory of success unless you experience failure. It’s okay that you had mistakes in your recent midterm examination. It’s all right that you got confused and did not follow the instructions correctly. Forgive yourself for encircling the answer instead of underlining it. Forgive yourself for writing “true” or “false” instead of “T” or “F.” Forgive yourself for every shortcoming. Forgive yourself for not saving your allowance because food always tempts you to eat all day. It’s okay to fail because by failing, you will learn, and when you’re down, there is no other way to go but up.
I understand how hard it is to be embittered by experience because it is always hard to regain the love that was lost, the confidence that was mislaid, the hard work that did not pay off. It’s hard to love the person who knows you exist but doesn’t care. It’s hard to go back to school after an embarrassing prom night where you lost a front tooth and the heel of a shoe. It’s hard to do good in school after a lacking point discouraged you.
What we find easy is to be embittered by these experiences. We have been soaking ourselves in bitterness that we have forgotten that there is more to life than the worst that we have experienced. What happened to us? We have forgotten that happiness is also a feeling. We have been so hugot with ourselves that we didn’t notice how tight the belt has become.
It’s also okay to be happy, to have fun and enjoy. It’s always okay to smile and to let it burst into a laugh. The world will be very glad to hear your laugh resonate around its sphere. Someone somewhere may be glancing at you sideways, so you may as well give your best smile. You may even save someone from loneliness with just one smile. It’s also okay to have help—a word of advice from your family, the listening ear of a friend, or an act of kindness by a stranger. It’s always okay to start afresh, leaving the haunted memories behind and bringing the lessons onward.
It’s okay to love again. It’s okay to love yourself again—the flaws you carry behind a confident face on campus, the imperfections you try to get rid of in your workplace, the blemishes you cover before you set out. You are all you have, and before you can love others fully, you have to learn to love yourself. It’s all right to love someone again even if you’ve been broken by past experiences. This time you’ll know if it’s real, because experience has taught you well through pain. This time let God do the matching.
This hugot thing isn’t bad, after all. My hopes are up that there are people like me who try their best to understand that sometimes life makes us bitter, that sometimes being kind to other people doesn’t mean they’ll be kind to you, that sometimes the only reason for sadness is to teach you how to be happy.
We need to be hurt to know that healing is real. We need to break down to know that we’re not meant to be strong all the time. I am human. I mispronounce words accidentally. I walk alone in hallways. I get sick most of the time. I get happy and hurt, but it’s okay because everything that’s happening in our lives is not new to the eyes of God.
All our hugot moments do not surprise God. He has tightened the belt of our lives so we can strengthen our faith in Him.
I understand how long it would take you to let go of the hugot in your life. No one said it would be easy, but it would be worth it. There is more to playing computer games all day, cutting your skin, or sulking alone just to forget your problems. I know and understand that our feelings always teach us something. We have to listen to what our feelings are saying, but we don’t have to let them drive our life forever.
We share the same story because we’ve had our face smashed; we’ve cried our heart out over something we knew all along but refused to learn. I’ve had my hugot moments, too, and I’d be a liar if I say they’re not as deep as the Marianas Trench. I badly needed an anchor. Feelings that turned into words have kept me living until now, because if it weren’t for the pen I’m holding, I would have been holding something else that would have ended my life.
Lately I have been feeling people, and I know we share the same story somewhere on the pages we haven’t yet read. And it’s okay because our stories are yet to be written.
No matter how deep your hugot in life, I believe there is something deeper, something greater, than what you imagine, patiently waiting for you. I believe that. Why not believe it, too?
Carlisle Naudyn Caroro, 17, is a political science freshman at Silliman University.
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