That dig I took at Senator Bam Aquino wasn’t supposed to be mean spirited. I really do think those thoughts.
What’s it like to live your life under the shadow of a giant of a man? What’s it like to try to have, as one of your strategies for success, be someone you’re not and to be a comical duplicate of him—right down to hairstyle, eyeglasses, wardrobe—and I hear, even the kalumbaba pose?
And what are the consequences to you, in fact, attaining this seeming “success”, on the coattails of someone else? What damage is wrought on your psyche when your strategy for success is to be someone else –and then you were proven right—that, indeed, you do need to be someone else –not yourself!—to reach your goals?
What does the world lose because you didn’t give the contribution only you could give?
And I wonder about these things because like Carl Jung, I do believe that the privilege of a lifetime is to be yourself. Your imperfect, messy, glorious human self.
But first you would need to go through the gauntlet, the fire, the pain of knowing who you truly are. For me—and for those who do not shirk at it—a most difficult task because it will require putting yourself OUT THERE to be hanged and dried—by your own hands. But it is all good because in the end, there you will be—in all your magnificent, imperfect self.
It is as Carl Jung says it is– “The attainment of wholeness requires one to stake one’s whole being. Nothing less will do; there can be no easier conditions, no substitutes, no compromises.”
You would need to question all that you’ve been taught—and that will include what your mother, father, priest, uncle, teachers, lovers, friends said about you to you.
Harder than hard because some things are too deeply embedded, they just whisper their lies to you. “You’re not good enough.” “Not smart enough.” “You need a man to take care of you.” “Nice girls don’t say THAT.” “A woman has to be virtuous. And if you aren’t, here’s some shame. Smack it in the center of your soul and live with shame for all time.” ‘“Shame, shame, shame.” “Your measure as a man is that number in your bank account.” “Lie about your desires.” “The appearance of respectability is of utmost importance in life and has to be maintained at all times.” “Sin, sin, sin.”
You would need to grow up and not look to others to save you. You will need to save yourself. You will need to have a life you crafted on your own—and it will have your peculiar mark on it. It will require reading what the best minds have to say about Self and Life. It will require some therapy –if you can afford it and if you find a good enough therapist.
It will require questioning your mother, your father, your religion, your idea of God, and all other deities in your life.
It will require a lot of solitude so you hear yourself. It will require meditation. Getting out of Facebook and creating—painting, writing, singing etc. It will require feeling your pain and sitting with it and befriending it. It will require surgical precision in naming your pain, your hungers, your grief.
Real hard work.
No wonder the overwhelming majority of us would rather say no to it. And would rather sleep walk through life and live their lives through others—celebrities, their children, whoever sorry little bastard they choose to project their hopes and dreams on -because living your own life is just too much work. And they drown themselves on TV shows, online porn, Facebook, work, video games, a secret second life. Lives of quiet desperation.
“Simple lang ako. I don’t like to overthink things.”, etc. No, sorry. Human beings are not simple. We are highly complicated motherfuckers.
The sooner we understand that, the better we are for it. Inside us are not just dualities but multiplicities, not just one sunny room but a whole castle filled with rooms we have yet to visit and a dank, dark dungeon awaiting your descent into it.
We may look like adults on the outside but inside us that little child who got sexually molested still walks the dark corridors waiting for you to find her and then comfort her.
Inside us still lives that child who was taught he wasn’t good enough, not smart enough, not fast enough, not talented enough. And they visit us in our dreams—only we don’t remember our dreams because we’re so exhausted with our online lives. And they visit us in the people we fall madly in love with –for no good reason—the internal realities we deny in ourselves becoming external manifestations.
So this got me thinking about Bam Aquino. And quite a lot of people, in fact. And then of course, me because central to all these is my own journey to healing and wholeness.
I hear from friends that Senator Bam Aquino is a good man. I have no reason to doubt this. (Unlike, say, Sonny Trillanes haha) I feel for him though. And I wish him well. I wish he finds the courage to break free and go on that journey that, I have no doubt, calls to him as it calls to all of us—to be who it is he truly is and to craft a life faithful to the man in the mirror.
Also, I think politicians who do this – dumb down an already dumbed down electorate –by being a duplicate of the late Senator Ninoy Aquino—richly deserves our ridicule. And yes, I prefer we laugh at this cynical display of power rather than hate on him. Laughter unclenches our fists and provides the relief we all need at these buffoons who think too lowly of us, the Filipino people.
And then, at some point, we would need to redirect our attention back to ourselves.
Have we undertaken the journey that must be undertaken—lest we bear the pain of our unlived lives?
I think this is the central question of our existence that we must answer.