Note for Thoughts: “Millennials | Part 2”

 

          This is a very long comment posted on the comment section of the same video. To make this easier, let’s hide this dude (let’s just assume he’s a dude) in the name of Brad.

          Brad started by saying: “I am going to explain what is wrong with this video.”

          In that case, I will explain what is wrong with his comment.

 

          Brad had said to be 24 and guessed that he was probably a millennial too, which, according to the definition, he is. He claimed that he wasn’t aggravated because he wasn’t the person Mae was describing. Glue this statement in your head, because the rest of his explanation is going to be a bit sketchy.

 

1st Point: Mae was generalizing a group of people with various statements while not considering kids, adults, and especially old people.

          I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Generalizing is an overall opinion about a large number of people based on small groups of people while knowing exactly how other people do not fit in the criteria. If this was in a formal debate, yes, Mae had committed a fallacy. But this is a video expressing her opinions, which are generally true because a lot of people do those things.

          And there is certainly no way to disprove her statement by saying “I myself do not lack manners.” If you claim yourself to be a good person who will confirm that? And what if you don’t lack manners, does that make everyone else less disrespectful?

 

2nd Point: He refutes her statement “We don’t hold the door open for ladies” by saying “I open the door for anybody.”

          Anyone can open the door for anybody if they want to, the same thing goes when people don’t want to. But again, the criticizer missed the implications.

          You can’t possibly open the door to everyone out of respect because that would be endless. There will always be a point where you should let go of the door and let other ladies open it for themselves because you have your own business to deal with. But if you don’t open the door for ladies because you don’t care if she needed a hand, or you don’t care that the closing door will probably hit her head, even that small hint of apathy is a sign of a selfish generation.

 

3rd Point: It’s Brad’s personal favorite. He criticizes about millennial’s bad or dirty music choices.

          Alright. Your dad likes listening to music like Girls Girls Girls, Drop Dead Legs, songs about drugs, songs about crime. He says it’s fine because they are real stuff happening today. What other real stuff are happening today? Class cutting, parties, sex.

          So, okay. They’re all happening today. They’re real stuff. We can’t ignore them.

          But does that make them not wrong? We certainly aren’t ignoring them, but in what way are we interacting with those things?

          I’ll give you a quote, brought to you by Dawn H.

 

Majority isn’t always right. If anything, it is often wrong.

 

          It’s an unpopular opinion, but this is what this book is all about. I’d say it’s a truth. You cannot decide something to be good just because majority doesn’t look at it as bad anymore. If everyone looks at murder as an art, it doesn’t lose the fact that it’s still a crime. If Brad’s saying that those kinds of songs are okay just because his dad’s been listening to it, there goes his mistake.

 

4th Point: What’s wrong with cussing to prove a point exactly?

          Another unpopular opinion, but there is. There really is. There is a reason why it is called a “foul” or “bad” word. If you don’t believe it’s provocative then Mae’s just proved her point. If you don’t believe it’s disrespectful then she proved another point. And it’s certainly not cool. Why do you think schools don’t allow those words around campus? Why do you think there are still elders who warns you of your “language” when you cuss?

          Moreover, its main point is to provoke. You say “#@<* you!” because someone made you angry and you want to provoke him. It just so happens that it’s been often used that it came to the point where it became a use for emphasis.

          Cussing doesn’t emphasize your point. It emphasize your lack of manners.

 

5th Point: We idolize people like Kim Kardashian. He follows by saying “I have never met a single person in my life that idolizes her.” Then he continues by saying “Tim Tebow is just a celebrity, why should we idolize him?…I don’t understand your logic?”

          Let’s talk about logic then, for Brad’s sake.

          There are people who idolizes Kim Kardashian (because she never would’ve been a celebrity if she didn’t have any fans—whoever she is) and this does not disprove its fact just because our friend Brad hadn’t met anyone who does—unless he knew everyone, but I don’t even know him.

          Now to his big question: “Tim Tebow is just a celebrity, why should we idolize him?”

          Here’s what Mae said: “We idolize people like Kim Kardashian and shame people like Tim Tebow.” Did she literally say that we should idolize Tim Tebow over Kim Kardashian? Can’t you see the overlying message of this statement? We prefer to idolize people that pretty much influences our society to a point of moral destruction and shame people who are contributing to the good of society. I did not mean Kim or Tim because I don’t know who these people are, but that’s pretty much the point. And I’d like to answer Brad’s question with a question:

          Do you have logic?

 

6th Point: Laziness. Brad brags about how he went to California and applied to 70 jobs.

          How does that disprove the millennials’ laziness? If he had used the evolution of technology and provide facts how it actually helps millennials in a way that it’s not lazy, I’d consider his criticism. But saying how he applied to 70 jobs?

          So what if he did?

          You just can’t refute a certain thing by evaluating yourself and use those standards to prove a point. Every person is different. Any 24-year-old may have known that by now.

 

7th Point: We are not entitled—we are human beings.

          Choose a person. Make sure he doesn’t like being called a dork. Now call him a dork. What did he do? Denied. Got mad. Saying it’s not true.

          People see millennials as entitled. We can’t change what they’ve observed. And we cannot disprove that by denying it. Most people prefer to think that they are a certain kind of person despite what everybody sees. That’s not really a bad thing, but if you deny of being a social-climber and pretend to be the typical nerdy sweet girl, there’s your mistake.

          And don’t worry. Titles do not deprive us of being humans. They’re just titles. But if you prove the accuracy of those titles, it’s where we can question our humanity.

 

8th Point: Free education without putting much work. Brad says, “I personally dropped out of college after 2 years. I believe that if a person is willing to put in the work of getting an education, then they should get it for free.”

          I had this personal experience with my classmates. They always complain about homework, projects, and even the expensive school tuitions they don’t pay from their own pockets. And these guys are mostly those who never put on the work.

          There’s this existing behavioral pattern. People who mostly complain are those who aren’t even doing anything. They don’t complain because it’s mainly hard (although it’s one of the reasons why they want to back out), but it’s mostly because they don’t even want to start the work.

          There are many ways to have education—not everything involves a classroom and a board. If they want something free they can leave the school. It was never like the education system forced everyone to take book-based educations.

          Brad brags about being a college dropout. If this was a job interview, those dropouts reveals a lot about a negative behavior. Being a dropout never labels you as someone dumb. Being a dropout is being either intelligent or slow learner who didn’t work up to achieve a passing grade. And you want to brag about being a dropout? Does being a dropout shows how you are willing to put on the work?

          If you live your life thinking you deserve free education because you think you are willing to put on the work, how long do you think can you keep that will?

 

9th Point: What’s wrong with making friends online?

          Let’s move on to technology.

          What is the difference between making friends online and making friends face-to-face with real conversations and real interactions? Something is wrong of keeping online friendships and neglecting face-to-face interactions, in many ways. It’s one of the disadvantages of technology. The thing about virtual friendship is the big advantage of cheating, pretending, and self-revising. Meeting online is never bad as long as the growth of that relationship lasts because of face-to-face interactions. But online, you have the power to change your identity the way you want. After all, no one can see the real you.

          It’s similar to the comparison of your followers online and in real life. The thing about real life followers is the fact that they don’t always see you express in a lot of permanent ways (unlike posting on Facebook), and you can’t always know if they “liked” it or not, certainly not the number of people. Having online followers allows them to see your “framed” identity, and they’ll know every online interaction you made—comments, likes, share, etc.

 

10th Point: We can respect whoever we want, or not if we don’t want to.

          Let’s clear up how respect really works. It doesn’t always work both ways, and it doesn’t mean you have to like the person to let you respect him. It is the understanding you give to a person for a certain behavior, and corrections never have to be revengeful.

          Meaning, if you respect an elder and the elder does not respect you back, it does not mean you have to degrade his whole being—he’s still older than you, and at least you have to respect that. Of course, there would be times when things come to the point where the person you once respected did something very outrageous and “you lost all respect to him.” You know, that statement is not entirely literal. If you actually “lost all respect” to a person, the least respect you can extend is to be quiet stay away to at least avoid all trouble.

 

          Please note. You cannot disprove a point by playing dumb. When Mae stated that “We praise people that are fighting each other” or “Everything that is frowned up is no being celebrated,” there is no way to say she is wrong by saying “Do you mean countries? Wrestlers? Pokemon?” It’s not an excuse that the statement wasn’t very specific.

          We should actually be old enough to know what exactly it means.

          He said that these statements didn’t aggravate him because he knows these things weren’t him (obviously, he’s been bragging himself to the fullest). But he said he got mad when Mae used the word “we”.

          What’s wrong with that?

          It could’ve been worse if she used ‘you’ or ‘they’. I mean, who is she to say that we are all millennials while she excludes herself? It’s actually a good way of putting it, meaning she’s humble enough to know that she’s part of the infamous group of millennials and she is willing not to deny that—unlike the constant bragging of Brad.

          There really is nothing wrong with a bunch of broad statements. If there is truth, broadness or specificity won’t make it less true. People nowadays, along with integrity and morals, just lack common sense.

          And it’s a sad truth.

 

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“Stranger”

“Stranger”

Dawn H. | November 29, 2017

 

          I’ve seen this guy a couple of times.

          I could’ve encountered a lot more people for more than once, or have been encountered by someone many times I wouldn’t even know. In a relatively small city like this, passing by the same person is never really impossible. People wouldn’t know. They wouldn’t even care. No one was going to notice the same face. It shouldn’t really be that surprising.

          Yet it’s never to underestimate the simple act of noticing.

          In this small coffee shop, right across the room was the very same guy with the narrow glasses. His clean and tidy dark hair had grown about an inch longer from the last time I saw him. Strangely there weren’t glints of gel in them, even though they were standing sturdy away from his forehead. He had his eyes half closed at the screen of his laptop, typing down without diverting his eyes. A cup of coffee rested a safe distance away, its steam disappeared from the long exposure of the shop’s air conditioner.

          I’ve seen lots of guys wearing glasses, whatever the size, whatever the shape. With gadgets almost everywhere, it shouldn’t be something uncommon. This guy right across me should’ve passed my eyes like I didn’t even know he existed.

          Yet he didn’t.

          I wasn’t even sure if it was the glasses. He had this overall distinguishable feature that was difficult to label. Words had been on the tip of my tongue for a single word description. Only one thing lingered on top of my head.

          He’s…geeky.

          Very geeky. He looked like he came out from an anime movie. And the fact that he was tall made him more noticeable. Slightly skinny as well. He could very well fit the typical features of nerd guys in silly YA novels. The only gap that made him a “geek” was the dose of confidence in his posture. I was seeing a man, not a loser. His face was painted with responsibilities, not video games.

          And he seemed to have come directly from work.

          Black checkered button-down polo shirt. For more than five times of seeing him in just about three months, that was mostly what I’ve seen of him. Otherwise, he’d be wearing the same thing with a plain color, or a simple polo t-shirt. All of them were probably worn for work.

          He’d be walking on a sidewalk towards the city bank. Sometimes the narrow area behind the church, sometimes in other random places. Yet despite all that, every encounter I had with him were all mere coincidence, no matter how odd the numbers were. Similar routes, that’s all there was to it. No more, no less.

          But I just couldn’t ignore how odd it was for him to be here.

          Especially on a weekday.

          Maybe Last-Day Friday is applicable to everyone—the only least hectic day on working days. I grabbed the opportunity to work somewhere peaceful, and it could very well be the same reason for him to be here too.

          Speaking of work, I decided to ignore his presence. Seeing him engrossed in his work had me remember my own tasks. My eyes landed on the files on my table, then my gaze slipped through the glass wall beside me. The moment I lifted my eyes, my heart sank.

          Before I was dismayed even further, the rain poured, drenching the concrete as quickly as it came. The glass wall ceased from being transparent as the wind sent huge droplets trickling down to the sill. I sank further on my chair. How am I supposed to leave? With the wind so strong, waiting for a cab under an umbrella would still get me wet.

          And I didn’t have an umbrella.

          The sigh came out through my crunched nose and my shoulders sagged. Well then, if I had to stay here long, at least I should buy something to ease the building chill. I turned towards the menu boards behind the counter, and immediately my stomach churned. I didn’t think I could take another coffee. Smoothies didn’t look too warming either.

          My fingers tapped the side of my nose as I considered my choice. I read through the menu written in colorful chalk marks. Although this was a coffee shop, they had a couple of other things to choose from—pastas, sandwiches, frappes, and the like. Yet none had reached my preference, even until I reached the farthest menu board.

          Then I forgot about food. Something caught my peripheral vision, and my attention was drawn right back across the room.

          The guy changed stance. His head was on his hand propped against the surface of his table, staring out through the glass wall to the rainy weather outside. I noticed that his things were now packed, probably ready to leave. And the rain didn’t allow him yet.

          He didn’t seem to mind, though. He actually looked so…melancholic. The way he stared at the rain betrayed how he was so deep in thought. A problem, perhaps? Stress? Or just felt relaxed at the sound of the rain? Whatever it was, he wasn’t letting anything disturb the moment. He didn’t acknowledge the man who bumped against his table. Nothing wavered his gaze even when people passed by.

          Even when his phone vibrated under his hand.

          His gaze eventually faltered, now diverted to his device. I expected him to answer a call, but squinted at it instead. The longer his eyes moved from left to right, the more his squinting eyes turned into a displeased furrow. It was a surprise he didn’t actually drop the phone on the table in annoyance—or wrath. But he set it facing down. Then he leaned against his chair, then sighed.

          Then he looked at me.

          I didn’t know how I missed it before, but his eyes were grey. With the help of the dim afternoon light, they were glowing silver. I never knew there was such an eye color until now. It was fascinating. The color complemented his feature that perhaps held so many things. Just as how his eyes, despite his previous annoyance, didn’t hold it anymore. He was now a bit more…searching. Curious, in fact.

          Curious of what, I wonder?

          Oh. My goodness.

          I heard myself internally gasp. The moment I realized it, everything in my system suddenly shut down and I immediately froze.

          I was never one to acknowledge a complete stranger, much less start a conversation. Yet the moment he caught my gaze, I knew looking away wouldn’t make things better.

          Should I acknowledge him? Look away?

          I wasn’t able to do anything.

          He smiled.

          With that simple gesture, I felt myself starting to relax. Part of me was surprised, yet I was too thankful and was able to smile back. He didn’t seem to bother about it, as to why I was staring. He was just full of…understanding, all of it evident in his glowing silver eyes.

          I eventually looked away, both embarrassment and guilt were slowly eating me the more I stared. It took me a few more time to forget about his presence before I was back at the thought of leaving. No more coffees. I filed my papers in a folder before placing it inside my bag, set it at my lap and stared through the glass wall.

          The rain fortunately calmed down into a moderate pour, yet it still wasn’t light enough for me to walk through without getting soaked. The wind eased down as well, conveniently, just right in time as my jacket gave up its purpose of warming me up.

          I saw a cab parked on the other side of the road, and it quickly got me on my feet. If I could let it turn on my lane, I’d have my ticket home.

          My reaction was too slow. I was on the entrance and got myself out. The cab was zooming away. The screech of its tire and the rain muddled my voice when I called out. It disappeared around the corner, and my hope crashed to the ground.

          My heart sank once again. I hugged myself for warmth, at least thankful for the extended roof of the coffee shop. I wasn’t able to appreciate the small things any further, however, as the heavy clouds didn’t look too promising. There was only a small chance for a cab to go around this route. A cab stop nearby was at least quite relieving, yet the rain wasn’t too friendly to me.

          And it was too cold for me to go back inside.

          Raindrops were the only things echoing in my ears, failing me to notice the glass door opening behind me. My peripheral vision didn’t see the figure standing next to me as well.

          Not until he spoke.

          “Are you waiting for a cab?”

          The softness of his low voice had me look up, and I saw pair of silver eyes staring down at me through his narrow glasses. His proximity allowed me to notice more details about him—slight dark shade under his eyes and his wide lips. The fact without the gel was right, but some of his hair strands weren’t parallel with the rest. Don’t judge a book by its cover, they said, yet his appearance alone already told a lot about him.

          He looked much more likeable up close.

          “Yeah,” I said, smiling. Then my face fell a bit, my gaze landing at the umbrella he shuffled between his hands. Despite how busy they were, his eyes were unpeeled from me. “There aren’t a lot of them around this part, though.”

          I heard something click. Then a shade enveloped me as he hovered the umbrella above us. “There’s a cab stop around the next block. I can take you there.”

          I almost stumbled on nothing from his sudden offer. “N-no, it’s okay. I wouldn’t want to disturb you.”

          “I’m heading the same way, don’t worry. It might get dark before the rain stops.”

          He could very well be right about that, but I was still hesitant. I got squeezed between the chance to get home and the embarrassment of accepting his offer. At the same time, I didn’t want him to wait too long for an answer.

          I didn’t want the chance to slip either.

          I thought I might also be rude—or even stupid—to decline. I nodded.

          I’m not one to start a conversation, and my pride just kicked in at the wrong time and decided I didn’t want this to be awkward. Especially because I was under someone else’s umbrella. The whole trip was taking about one to two minutes on foot. A silence that long would have my pride eat me for the rest of my life.

          Thankfully, the silence only lasted a few seconds.

          “Busy day?” he asked. His voice was full of kindness, yet odd how it came out in a whisper.

          “Yeah.” A bitter smile crept up my face. “Gotta do the work.”

          “No choice, right?” He stole a glance I couldn’t read before turning back to the road. Part of it sounded bitter, yet I couldn’t help but think that, with that inscrutable glance he just did, it was perhaps sympathetic.

          I let out a dry laugh. “Workplaces had always been this way.”

          We made a turn. The cab stop came on sight a few meters away.

          “Wouldn’t hurt to relax a bit.”

          Although he was right, my mind flashed back to the coffee shop several minutes ago. Carefully considering my words, I said, “You seemed pretty busy as well. Back at the coffee shop.”

          He shot me another mysterious smile, smaller than what his wide lips were capable of. I couldn’t figure out what that meant, but it got my chest squeezing at the thought that he might well be referring to me staring at him.

          Yet it was quite unlikely.

          “A lot of things happened,” he whispered. I wasn’t able to speak after that. Maybe it was the feeling of respecting whatever privacy was in that statement, or noticing that slight melancholic expression coming back on his face.

          We got into the shed on the cab stop. The rain lighted down a bit by then, the absence of the wind had me let out a contented sigh.

          He set aside his open umbrella. “I’ll leave you here then.”

          I nodded gratefully. “Thank you. I really appreciate it for taking me here.”

          He surprised me again by reaching out his hand, but I quickly followed and shook it. His grip was firm and gentle, his mysterious well-being radiating and warming me up. I gave him another thank you, and answered me another of his inscrutable smile. His silver eyes blinked, and his face turned soft.

          Then he whispered. “Thank you.”

          I don’t know how his simple words held such deep context. That had been lingering on my nerves by the time he first spoke to me. I wanted to ask, find out more about him, yet the shallowness of our connection created a boundary I know I shouldn’t cross.

          The umbrella was back above him as he let go of my hand. He turned to leave and out the rain. Then he stopped. Turned back to me. And smiled again.

          “I’ll see you soon.”

          I watched him disappear in another corner, my mind lingering at his farewell greeting. Deep contexts and simple words. I was now convinced that our conversation wasn’t out of formality. Simple words, yet weighed more than it sounded.

          He didn’t fail to leave me with so much curiosity.

          I’ll see you soon.

          I didn’t know the meaning underneath those words. But it wasn’t hard to believe that I was going to see him again.

          Soon.

 

Posted on Wattpad | “Quick Streaks”

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Writing. Ha!

Feeling sick and tired. Frustrated young man holding head in hands and looking at laptop while working late at his working place

          There is more to writing that most people just don’t understand. Though we can’t really blame them for not experience what writers (or wanna-be writers) go through, I believe it’s important for them to be aware of the complexity of constructing words to form complex thoughts.

          First of all, writing is not just a simple job of putting words together. Even free-writing can be difficult, and it’s the least difficult form of writing (according to my opinion). It takes a lot of digging deep in one’s thoughts just to effectively deliver a single-sentence idea, otherwise it’s either not comprehensible or not explained enough. And not all people know the frustration writers feel when they can’t find the right words. Even one word can sometimes take a lot of research just to make sure it’s not wrong.

          Moreover, writers value writing style, and they write and write to improve them. One may ask, what do you need to improve in your writing? Aside from grammar, there are tons of them. A single sentence can be reconstructed to still have the same thought, yet it’s where the deliverance is measured. Which ‘sounds’ better? That’s usually the question. There is also struggle in vocabulary. Is this too deep? Too shallow? Do my readers even know what word this is?

          There are word in the writing world you’ll never meet until you actually write. I’ve never known purple prose before, but I’ve probably read some of it somewhere in my life. I never knew criticisms can be constructive, but it actually exist. Angst? What’s that? Lemon? You don’t even want to know. Dialogue tags?

          The funny thing is, one will never learn what these words are until you involve yourself in writing. And if you involve yourself in writing without knowing these words you are considered an amateur. A Noob. Knowing those things are essential to know the unspoken rules or writing. These rules don’t appear in educational books, and it’s mostly learning through discovery.

          It’s also important to know that there are a lot of things writers consider when writing–no matter what kind of writing it is: free-writing, non-fiction, editorial, educational, fiction, etc. While starting a work, their minds can go from the target audience to the prose used to the effective narration to the right dialogue tags. And if none of you are aware, there are these dudes named Procrastination and Writers’ Block that gets in our way. We also consider techniques where we can find the best time for us to write, the best way to avoid writers’ block, and it does not take overnight to find the right way for an individual.

          Writing. Ha! You think it’s easy? At first I thought it was. Until I decided to send my writing to next level. It’s where I realized how I was still at the bottom of the food chain.

          Why don’t you try it?

 

The Art Inside

Written by Dawn H.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved

 

Art is a mix of imagination and skill

Expressing ideas or anything we feel

It is one’s vision put down on paper

A skill that dwells inside you forever

 

Art is never limited to lines and color

It is more than variations of shades and streaks

And more than painting, music, and sculpture

Something that nobody can take or break

 

Art is not everything that is noticed on sight

Some lies behind the beauty of what can be seen

They that are more beautiful without light

The skills we possess, humbled and hidden

 

Talent was never the requirement to do art

Practice and perseverance that comes from the heart

The grit that is practiced right in our part

Is what makes one an artist from the start

 

Art is not merely a product of an artist

It is more than a material done by effort

Art reflects more than talent or basis

It reflects many voices in a work

 

In a world without imagination and art

There is a world of colorlessness and sorrow

A world lack of beauty that drains the heart

A world with no hope and no tomorrow

“Quality”

“Quality”

by Dawn | June 2017

 

          When I was nine, I met a young man.

          He was sitting by a stream, his knees were wide and bent. A clipboard was laid on his lap as he stroked the tip of his pencil across the paper. One streak at a time, they formed a beautiful scenery.

          My young self was easily swayed by the beauty of his work, peering behind a tree and watching closely. I had captured how his head rise and bow from time to time. I noticed his movements, and my eyes darted back and forth from his work to the scenery in front of him: a breezy and peaceful meadow over a silent stream.

          That discovery overwhelmed me, at the same time it was confusing. I didn’t know how he was able to draw things so beautifully without color, and he didn’t seem to have any other mediums other than the pencil he used. Yet, it was something different compared to mine. I brought the paper I’ve been carrying in front of my eyes, and there was the green grass and the blue sky. Three figures were in the middle that represented my small family: me, my mother, and my late father. Everything in my drawing had color, but the young man’s art was far more beautiful.

          I couldn’t understand why I remembered that. The scene suddenly flashed in my mind the moment I stepped into the museum. It felt strangely nostalgic, and I gripped my own clipboard in my arm, along with a worn notebook I kept through the years. The memory made me realize how far I’ve come. Aside from expecting the visit of Lawrence Dillon, a master artist I’ve discovered and looked up to during college, inspiration was my only purpose for coming here. But guilt crept through my chest as I remembered how I focused too much on my achievements…without giving credits to the one that gave me this passion in the first place.

          I walked around the museum, preferring the recent displays of modern artists than that of Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo. Lawrence Dillon was the artist my visual art teachers usually cited, as the art styles and use of mediums were adopted from him. As the renaissance arts were more on paintings, the recent ones were more on pencil streaks and gray shades. Colored pencils were more popular now, the kind of art I grasped after seeing my root of inspiration.

          That time, I was only able to draw circles for faces, curves and spirals for trees and clouds, and a U-shape for a smile. The young man’s artwork slightly discouraged the small amount of confidence in my nine-year-old self, ignorant of the difference of our age gap and experience. Yet curiosity was a big thing for children. Instead of walking away with my head low, I was on my tippy toes with my steps closing the distance between me and the young man.

          My great ignorance allowed me to be easily overwhelmed, and his work was even more fascinating up close. My young mind’s vocabulary was limited to the words “It’s very beautiful” when I actually meant it was “perfectly detailed.” I was able to identify the stream even without color, and that bit of information both confused and fascinated me.

          The beauty of his work blurred my awareness of anything else. It was only then he turned to me that I realized I said that out loud.

          My beating heart froze me exactly like a little girl I was. The words of my mother suddenly echoed through my head. I wasn’t supposed to talk to strangers. Despite the evidence of the young man’s lack of dangerous weapons, the thought of stranger with a hatchet was still scary—even in broad daylight. But instead of standing up and raising his hatchet, he stayed on the ground and flashed a smile. Its gentleness was enough to calm me down at most. It reminded me of my own father’s smile.

          “Hello, little girl,” the young man said. My eyes lingered on his right hand that stopped scribbling to shift his attention to me. I wanted him to continue, but his hand was only twirling the pencil around his fingers. It was another thing to be amazed for.

          “H-hello, mister,” I managed to say. My little conscience believed that I should look at people in the eye when talking, but I averted my eyes to his artwork when I was too shy to look at him. The same words from my teacher rang in my head and I looked back at the stranger, but it went to another direction. My eyes gazed down, but it failed to reach the ground. My own artwork appeared before my eyes, and I quickly hid it behind my back.

          “Are you lost?’ His voice was as gentle as he first spoke, but I didn’t take my eyes away from the ground.

          I shook my head. No words of explanation came out. My attention was easily distracted to the colorless strokes on his paper. Even without the blue of the water and the green of the grass, I was able to see clearly that there was a breezy meadow over a flowy yet motionless stream.

          There was one thing I had never seen from the reality he referred his artwork to, and it was enough to blur everything else outside of my attention. By the stream was a vague sketch of a figure. My inexperienced deduction could only figure out that it was sitting with its feet in the running water.

          A few moments had passed until I realized that Mister was staring at me. I caught him smiling at my ignorance when I looked back at him, and I almost squirmed. It was then I thought I had to say something. “Y-your drawing is beautiful, Mister.”

          His smile widened—a movement that almost eased me from all of my discomfort. “Thank you.” He took a glance at the paper I hid behind my back. “Is that your own drawing?”

          My nod was hesitant. “But I’m not so good like you.”

          “Oh?” One of his bent legs straightened, tilting his clipboard in a way which the artwork was directly facing me. It almost took my attention from him again. “I’m sure it’s not bad. Can I see?”

          He raised his palm at me, inviting to give away my artwork. It was now all crumpled from the constant gripping, but my hand slowly gave in. I gave him the paper, and he smoothed the creases around the edges.

          I watched him, waiting for a reaction. The only thing I received was a smile as his eyes still inspected the drawing. “It’s a nice drawing. Are these your parents?”

          “Mm-hm. But my daddy is not with us anymore.”

          His head jerked to me. The smile on his face disappeared and it gave me a bit of discomfort. “Why? Where did your daddy go?”

          “My mommy said he is in heaven now, but she misses him. I want to draw my family so she can be happy again. But…” My eyes landed on his artwork again, at the faceless figure that looked to be sitting by the stream. It was the part I was amazed the most. He can draw a person without copying anything.

          “What is it, little girl?”

          I pointed meekly at his paper. “I can’t draw like that. Mommy won’t like mine.”

          The discouragement hit me like a brick wall. It was my first time the feeling was very clear to me. My drawing was nothing compared to his, and I easily believed that my mother wouldn’t like it. My eyes fell back to the ground again, and I caught my fingers twirling around each other.

          A hand on my wrist surprised me. His gentle grip was enough to pull me and sit beside him. I cowered at the unfamiliar touch when he wrapped one arm around me. But the discomfort quickly vanished the moment I looked up at him. The same gentle smile flashed back at me.

          “You know what, little girl?” he whispered. His tone was similar to the start of a storytelling. “When I was a little boy, I was also not so good at drawing.” He reached for his clipboard in his lap, placing it at the ground beside him. His attention was fully on me now. “When I saw my father’s drawings, it was too beautiful compared to mine. But do you know what he said?”

          I shook my head.

          “When I showed him all of my drawings, he always said they were wonderful. At first I didn’t believe him, and…” He shrugged for effect. “I told him that I will stop.”

          Panic bubbled up inside me. It was a normal effect of storytelling, a sensation when the listener entered the world of the character and didn’t want him to give something up. But even as a child, the artwork he held now showed me that he didn’t. Still, I asked, “Did you stop?”

          “I almost did.” He ruffled my hair. “But he told me: ‘Your drawing is wonderful, son. It’s not of what it looks like, but of the meaning it held.’”

          I didn’t understand the last part of it, but I glanced at the crumpled drawing in his lap. Maybe it was the gentle tone or the smile, but his words lit a light of hope in me somehow. My little meek self was too shy to ask him what it really meant, but it was enough to convince me that I wasn’t going to stop drawing.

          “In other words,” his fingers playfully shook my nose before placing my drawing in my lap. “It means that your drawing is beautiful for what you want to show, not for what it looks like.”

          He pointed at my drawing. “Why did you draw this, little girl?”

          “I want to show my mommy that we are still family,” I said slowly. “Even if daddy is in heaven, he is still with us.”

          “And that’s more important.” He ruffled my hair again, and I heard myself giggle.

          That was eleven years ago, and I couldn’t remember his face. There was only a blur of a dark shade for his hair and a brown color for the coat he was wearing. He left the day after without giving me a name, but flashes of his smile were very clear. And I remember how I went home skipping on my feet.

          It was after a few years when I understood why he was sitting there. And I followed his example, looking for inspirations everywhere. I would’ve preferred the beauty of nature, but my mother and I just moved in an urban environment for my job invitation. My job interview was still tomorrow, and I decided that the museum was the first place I could probably find inspiration.

          I wanted to thank him. I believe my whole achievement wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t encouraged me. It was impossible to reach him without a memory of his face and left only with Mister as a name. So when I was eleven years old, I took a notebook where I wrote letters to him. I thanked him for the inspiration, I thanked him for the encouragement, and I also believed that he had helped my mom back to her self again. As I grew up it felt quite stupid, but I kept writing on it anyway. It still encouraged me, and I brought it along every time I want to draw.

          I roamed around the portraits, inspecting the details and art styles of every artists. My hand instinctively gripped the notebook, a habit I did while searching for inspiration. I’ve constructed a style on my own, where combination of colors formed different figures and sceneries. But I still admire the man’s style—that colorless artwork of heart and soul poured on to it.

          I stopped on my tracks, my attention immediately caught by a certain portrait on the wall. The sudden feeling of familiarity was like a needle against my skin. I heard my heartbeat, getting louder and louder as I stepped closer. I’ve been admiring it only from memory, but seeing it again after eleven years was like back being nine years old again—it was overwhelming.

          It was exactly the same as before, a simple meadow, a stream…they’re all there. The only difference was the figure. Not only that it was a little girl, but a man was sitting beside her, an arm around her, and they were smiling at each other.

          I moved closer, and my heartbeat swelled up moist in my eyes. The little girl…looked just like me.

          Four words in neat handwriting was at the top-left of the artwork, the same words that I kept with me all these years. Before I left the man in the stream, placing a hand gently on my head, he told me something that my little self didn’t understand. And the moment I read it his voice rang like a gong in my head.

          Quality is inside you.

          I gasp to keep the tears in and looked away. My head jerked around to avoid some pair of eyes at me and pretended I was looking for something. I decided to look for the information. The small signature on the portrait was too small for me to see, but even seeing wouldn’t get me anywhere if I didn’t know even his first name. I proceeded to a stone closest to it, a plastic plate was on top encrypted with printed letters. It said:

          “Quality” is an artwork of Lawrence Dillon drawn by hand at the age of 18. The artwork represents his experience of meeting a little girl who wanted to draw for her mother who lost a husband. This was said to be his prized possession in the memory of the nameless girl who encouraged him to stay strong after the death of his little sister.

          My hand found its way to my mouth, and I felt a tear trickling down my cheek. I had known Lawrence Dillon as a master artist of traditional sketches with no other mediums used but pencils. Lawrence Dillon, a famous modern artist who was said to visit the museum today, was the same young man eleven years ago.

          I stood there, frozen.

          “Hello, little girl.”

          I remembered the gentle voice. The voice that encouraged me to pursue my future. The voice that comforted me of my fragile nine-year-old self and helped my family of our loss.

          I almost believed it was all in my head, but part of me wanted to pretend it wasn’t and it made me jerk my head to the side. I found a man standing directly in front of me, the dark hair now clear to me, straight and neat as it parted on one side. The familiar smile, now very relieving, was what convinced me that it was him.

          I couldn’t speak. He was right there. In front of me. Smiling at me. Lawrence Dillon, the famous master artist of traditional sketches who draw his artworks with quality from inside. I gripped the notebook tighter, wanting to give him all the letters I wrote even when I knew he couldn’t read it. With him right in front of me, he gave all possibilities that he can. It was as if we were back eleven years ago, along with my shy self. Crying in front of him was as embarrassing as being caught staring at his work.

          His hand reached up to my head and playfully ruffled my hair. “You’ve grown.”

          His voice kept overwhelming me. My little self would’ve just jumped at him and gave him a bear hug. I kept my ground, more tears falling and staining my face.

          “H-hello, Mister.”

 

**Lawrence Dillon is a fictional character and does not exist.

 

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Note for Thoughts: “Millennials”

          Before you read the rest of this entry, it would be best if you watch the video: The Problem With Millennials! Through the eyes of a millennial. It’s where I based this whole entry from, and watching it will help you understand more.

 

          As you can see, the girl in the video (let’s call her…Mae) is a millennial bashing fellow millennials about this so-called Generation Y. What have you heard, we’re lazy? Entitled? It sucked? Would you agree with Mae, or would you click on the comments section and go against her point?

          I’d like to repeat that this entry is based on Mae’s video, but will not be mainly talking about the points she evaluated. I found this video in YouTube and read through the top comments. My points will be taken from the reactions of the video as a way of discussing her claims and overall about us—the millennials. (The link of the video will be on the comments section.)

          Before we get to the main point, let’s clarify the definition of what millennials really are. Many people gave different meanings to this word, but are closely similar. Some say 1994 and above, some say from 1980s to 2000s, but let’s stick to one. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, millennials are people born in the 1980s and 1990s. If that’s the case, the youngest millennials as of this year would be at the age of 18 and the eldest would be at 37. Are you a millennial? Have you heard of the usual impressions of our generation?

          Even though we’re mainly talking about millennials, let’s keep in mind that this impressions and accusations are not exclusive for us. We know that people below 18 and above 37 can be manner-less and disrespectful, but let’s face it, we’re generally the most observed doing such things.

          Now let’s get into it.

          There was this comment saying something similar like this (rephrased): “I don’t understand. She’s saying something about people posting their opinions on Facebook and she’s taking a video of herself and posted it on social media. Like, how is that different?”

          While it was not mentioned, it’s easy to say that the commenter (I’ll use ‘he’) is saying that Mae is a hypocrite. He believed that there is no problem about expressing people’s thoughts through social media, as what Mae is obviously doing. What could be the problem? The status on Facebook clearly states “What’s on your mind?” and inviting you to express your thoughts.

          Here’s the thing. There really is nothing wrong about posting a status on Facebook—or any other social media, through status, video, etc.—and expressing what we believe in for the world to hear. Mae’s even doing the same thing, right? Is that a problem? Obviously, no.

          So what is the problem?

          “Our idea of standing up for what we believe in means going up on Facebook and posting in status with your opinion.” This was the statement Mae mentioned that had affected a few people—probably mostly millennials, if not all. Expressing what we believe in is not wrong, the commenter is right about that.

          But, honestly, he’s refuting her wrongly too.

          For one thing, Mae’s video is very generalized, and a lot of people are actually disturbed by that fact and tried refuting her statements that likely does not make sense. Not only that Mae’s statements were generally true, but additionally, people are losing track of common sense and are going against her without looking at different angles. In his point (the commenter), he’s counterattacking her by that statement alone and is ignorant of what she really meant.

          It’s like a spectrum—whatever you say could mean the lighter part of the spectrum or darker part of the spectrum, or anywhere else in between. In other words, Mae certainly didn’t mean that the overall expressing-beliefs-on-Facebook is wrong. Her video is talking about why millennials suck. Not all things expressed on Facebook are free of black marks. There certainly are opinions without clear reasons and are based solely on what they feel is right (and what we feel deceives us often, remember that) and what they want—selfish, narcissistic ones.

          Here’s an example (‘cause I heard you all love them):

          Gosh I hate how they sent me to the office for saying something true. I mean it’s not my fault everyone laughed, she really did have rabbit teeth. Why is giving a carrot an offense? There wouldn’t really have any problems if she went along and laughed with it instead of crying.

          That’s gotta be a post of a big jerk, right? Now tell me if you’ve seen no problem in this kind of expressive post.

          With that being said, it’s still downright obvious that I don’t have evidences to prove that this is what she actually meant. But even Mae is aware that there are people outside of her evaluations. She is generalizing, and it’s a problem that people are misunderstanding that.

          Go ahead and refute me with Merriam-Webster about generalizing. The said dictionary did say that generalizing is to state an opinion about a larger group that is based on a smaller number of people or things within that group. But in my controversial opinion about this word, when we generalize, yes there is an opinion (or two) towards a large group of people based on its subgroups, but it is still common sense that there are others that would not fit the opinion’s attack. It’s nothing different when we say that “children are playful” and knowing that there are rare ones who are clingy to their mother’s legs. That’s how we generalize—we consider a certain group while knowing too well that there are few numbers of exemptions.

 

          Another comment went on something like this (rephrased): “Don’t forget about the previous generation who ruined our current generation. It’s their fault kids today are the way they are.”

          It’s about time I include Simon Sinek, who also said something similar concerning poor parental strategies that made millennials like…that. In a YouTube video (Simon Sinek on Millennial and Internet Addiction), Sinek considered the parents as a factor of this infamous current generation—aside from technologies, impatience, and environment. And he believed that we have no fault at all. Well, it’s true. Raising children wrongly doesn’t make them aware of their wrong behaviors. And as long as these parents don’t know the proper way of parental strategies children will live their lives thinking there’s nothing wrong.

          That would be a disaster.

          But here’s one thing we have: awareness. And by the fact that children are also growing, it’s impossible that there is no one person pointing out their wrong-doings. And if you’re aware of your parent’s poor parental strategies, you’re no longer innocent.

          If we are actually aware that our parents raised us wrong, that the elders influenced us wrong, then we’re obviously aware that there’s something wrong with us. It’s just a first step, but if we’re ignoring that, we have no right to blame others because we’re as guilty as anyone. We’re aware of it, so we should do something about it. And, really, there is nothing wrong of looking for what is right. That could be the best thing you’re looking for, believe me.

          If you scroll down on the video’s comments section, you may observe that people agreeing are mostly—and assumingly—adults. Surely, that implies something. What do you think? Why are adults bound to agree with Mae while millennials are very likely to disagree?

          I believe it’s another millennial problem. Aside from being innocent of their wrong-doings and the narrow-mindedness, teenagers today either believe they’re right or believe that they’re doing nothing wrong (yes, there’s a difference). And aside from Sinek’s four factors, there’s also majority influence. “Everybody is doing it, why shouldn’t I?” Sounds familiar? Sinek stated in his video that teenagers are bound to want the approval of fellow peers than from the immediate family. And it usually comes to the point of disobedience, disrespect, lack of manners, or in worst cases, rebellion.

          We can go ahead and blame the previous generation for what we are today but we can’t break the fact that they lived longer to know better. They’ve seen better. And besides, we’re still generalizing. So it’s not valid for us to say that we shouldn’t follow our elders because it’s their fault we’re like this. They know better. We just think we know better. When an elder scold you for doing something, I suggest you consider it very carefully and contemplate. They don’t shout at us for arriving home so late for no reason. Of course, there really are parents that do not completely care about anything other than alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and abusing. But that’s a different story.

 

          I know it’s quite offensive that we’re seen this way, but can we blame them? We’ve become impatient, lazy, disrespectful and rebellious. It’s what they’ve seen and it’s what we’re showing. The elders may be one of the factors, but if we keep pointing the blame at them and pretend we didn’t do anything wrong, then that’s a big point proven just how immature we are—whether we’re 18 or 37. You are aware. Playing innocent will just prove the impressions of us right.

 

 

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“Undercover Party”

“Undercover Party”

by Dawn | May 14, 2017

 

          “Wait.” He pointed a finger on his chest. “I am obliged to go?”

          Bennet stood a few feet from his father’s table. Inside the office had always been so suffocating, if not from air, then from pressure. His father smiled on the other side of the large desk, his fingers intertwined either from excitement or amusement. Either way, it was making Bennet lose his cool.

          “Why?” he inquired further.

          The word “party” itself didn’t have any fun ring to it. A party in the palace, consisting mostly of unsatisfied political adults, didn’t sound good at all. And a palace full of expensive tuxedos and ties wouldn’t fit to have an eighteen year old stranded in the midst of their shady presence.

          “Is there something wrong of being proud for my son?” his father said, the wrinkles on the corners of his eyes were clearer with his wider grin. “I just want them to meet my successor.”

          “Dad,” Bennet sighed. “We talked about this.”

          Scratching his head allowed him to look down and see the lower part of himself. A pair of sneakers, some partly worn gray cargo pants, an open tan colored button-down over a brandless white t-shirt…a successor, he said? Compared to his father with his coat and tie, he was nothing but a normal guy. Normal looking, at least.

          “Now son, I am aware of it.” His dad stood, both hands flew behind his back. Those movements alone didn’t look so promising. Walking around the table and sitting directly opposite of him almost caught Bennet off guard. “And I still kept my word about respecting your decision. But honestly, for me, I still hope that you’d consider my proposal.”

          Bennet’s hands found its way inside his pockets.

          “This isn’t just about being high up in ranks and being rich, Benedict.” His dad stood again, walking to the back of the room and turning his back on him as he dramatically stared out the window. “It’s about serving the people. Stop corruption. Give citizens good service for a good life.” An expectant smile curved on his face, facing Bennet over his shoulders.

          “I know, dad. And that’s really very noble of you. But I’m still not changing my mind. I just wish your hopes won’t turn into expectations all of a sudden. And with that being said, I don’t think I need to come to that party.” He was honestly thankful that his dad, at least, wasn’t lured in with money like everybody else. And Bennet was still strongly holding on to that belief, despite what everyone else said.

          “Well.” His dad faced himself back to him again. It was unusual his smile didn’t disappear this long. “I still want you to come. Even if it’s not as my successor, but as my son.”

          Trusting his dad being clean was one thing, but believing he wouldn’t twist his words was another. But through the years he proved himself to keep those jokes low for his growing son. Though a feeling on Bennet’s gut told him that he was going to pull something like that. He wasn’t able to reply.

          “You don’t have to wear tuxedo, if that’s what you want.”

          “What? Really?”

          That feeling of doubt suddenly disappeared. Surprised at his dad’s statement, he felt bad for considering to turn it down. It was the first time he saw his dad so eager about something, and for the fact that he was going to show off his son somehow softened Bennet’s chest. He didn’t even try to hide his defeated sigh, and he knew he was going to regret whatever he was going to say.

          “Alright.”

          His father’s eyes gleamed—something very unnatural for him, and not to mention very silly. Even so, his voice never faltered from its calmness. “Thank you, son. Now come here.”

          Bennet couldn’t hold his eyes widening at the sight of his father spreading his arms at him. He was already weird enough to be so unprofessional-like. But treating his son like a ten year old was just too much.

         What?” Bennet’s hands went immediately defensive in front of him. “What the heck is that?”

          “Give daddy a hug. It’s been a long time.”

          “Yeah.” He took a step back. “Like years of a long time.”

          “Exactly. I may have been very busy with my work, but I still love my little boy.”

          “Dad, please…” His ideas suggested to run for it, but his dad’s expectant eyes failed him to do so. His dad’s arms were still open, and the more Bennet stared at him the more he lost his chance of getting away with it.

          There was no way out. He sighed again.

 

~ o ~

 

          Bennet pressed his face on the table, giving no care about the stares he get. There weren’t a lot of people in the café, giving him a nice peaceful place to get back to his senses. He was still weirded out by his father’s sudden actions, but his response was what got into his mind over and over again, the regret getting heavier and heavier as the time passed. He knew this was going to happen, but regret still washed over him like heavy rain on a storm.

          What was he thinking?

          With his head still on the table, he glanced at his watch, realizing that he had been there for quite a long time already. Though the time said otherwise—it was only about twenty minutes since he got there. But that would’ve been enough for his friend to get there. Were they late, or was he just too early?

          His face was back on the table when the bell on the entrance chimed. He thought he should compose himself, lamenting over somewhere public might bring him more attention than carrying the Lacson name. More and more people are filing, but despite those thoughts he made no move, until a finger poked thrice at the top of his head.

          With groggy eyes, he looked up without taking his head from the surface of the table. Two guys stood across him, ones who seemed confused at his current state. “Took you awhile.”

          “What’s wrong with you?” one of them asked, holding his glasses as he moved to fill the empty chair. The other one stayed standing, crossing his arms with an amused grin on his face.

          “Nothing.”

          “I doubt it’s nothing,” inserted the other, finally pulling the chair and made himself comfortable. His smile was still there, sparkling with the knowledge he just claimed he knew.

          “Then what do you know, Mike?”

          “I do know a party will be held in the palace tomorrow night. I bet Lucas here knew that too.”

          Bennet huffed.

          “So it’s got something to do with that?” Another grin crept up on Lucas’ face, similar to Mike’s. Bennet wanted to shrink on his chair.

          He rose from his position and leaned back on his chair. “I don’t even have to tell you, do I?”

          “But if anything,” Lucas said, adjusting his glasses and propping his arm over the chair’s top rail. “I think you aren’t going to be there. Unless there’s something more than what that face of yours implies.”

          “I think so too.” Mike leaned forward. His grin was getting annoying by the minute. “But because you’re being like that, I guess I’ll get a glimpse of you on TV.”

          Lucas snorted. “If the press is going to be there. But I never heard the president ever saying about keeping the party private, so more likely they’re going to be there.”

          Public attention was already being shunned as it was. The thought of the press being there would completely change Bennet’s mind, regardless of what his dad would feel. With a mumble, he prayed wistfully, “I sure hope not.”

          “But this is a chance for you, Bent.”

          It could’ve been just his eyes, but he clearly saw Lucas’ glasses gleaming at his statement. And the way he said that did nothing but take all chances of ditching that party. When Lucas had an idea, it’s always too good to be ignored. He didn’t need that right now.

          “I agree,” said Mike. “If the press is going to be there, you’ll know what everyone is doing and what the media should expose. That way we’ll find out who’s biased and who they’re working for.”

          That was it. He lost all way out.

          “You want to know if that article about your father was real, right? This could be your chance.”

          I know it wasn’t real, or at least he wanted to believe it wasn’t. Bennet was tempted to shout that at Lucas’ face, but no matter how many lies he’d say Lucas would know. Getting to the bottom of that rumor was a goal for him, but pushing away all chances to satisfy himself wouldn’t get him there.

          He already promised his dad anyway. What else could he do?

          Bennet glanced at Mike. “Would there be any team sent from E.E.R. to attend the party?”

          “Not sure, but I’m sure they’re considering to go. They wouldn’t want to miss anything from a big occasion like that.”

          “Are you coming?”

          Mike shook his head. “Nah. But I bet Ciel would. Must’ve also been the reason why he couldn’t come today.”

          At least Ciel’s going to be there, he’s going to have some company. And considering it was Ciel, he most probably have something more to deal with. A guy like him wouldn’t like parties either, but he wasn’t even turning down anything.

          Shouldn’t he do the same?

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