The Global Partnership to End Violence against Children


Violence against children is as real as it gets now. Higher awareness means higher findings of occurrences. Many are living in situations that may not seem to harm them physically when truth is they’re constantly living a waking nightmare. Physical abuses leave visible wounds, but it is more worrying when you can’t see the wounds. Not because there’s not any, but because some wounds consume their victims inside out. These types of wounds mess up with your brain, destroy your self-esteem and confidence, tamper with your emotions, render you unable to trust anyone, and alienates you from connecting with anyone or anything.

Image result for violence against childrenImage Source: Seeds Theatre Group

Say a 16-year old girl is about to be wedded to a man twice her age. The family defends the decision they made for her by saying that their village is unsafe and having a husband gives the young girl a protection and a perceived sense of security.

More often than not, when encountering a problem, people tend to go for the quick easy fix. It works sometimes, but many problems are more sophisticated than it appears to be. When you don’t dig deep, the whole thing may actually make sense to your ears—even if just a little bit—and before you know it you may just start telling yourself that child marriage may be a good idea after all. But that doesn’t solve the problem. That’s basically storing a dead body under your bed. You don’t see the problem, but the smell lingers and it gets worse everyday you choose to ignore and fail to acknowledge that there’s a problem.

Image result for end child marriageImage Source: The Pixel Project

Then what is the problem? Is it… complicated? Well, that’s putting it rather lightly. First, there’s the fact that Indonesian law actually approves of underage marriage (for girls as young as 16 with parental consent) and attempts to address this have fallen short a few times. And then there’s the unfortunate status quo in many local communities still barring women, young and old, from authorities over their own body and independence. Isn’t it strange as well that the young girl’s parents marry her off to a 32-year old man for protection? Why aren’t they protecting her? Or if you think going over the structural approach sounds like too much work, cut short and be honest: if the village isn’t safe for young women, why are we not aspiring to advocate and do something for the village to be safe and secure for its inhabitants? How is marrying young girls off solve the problem? At all?

Hume would agree that it takes reason to see things clearly, but it only takes courage and empathy to speak up against injustice—may it be masked as a tradition, faith, custom, norm, belief, law, anything.

Knowledge and information can be very liberating. Share them. Shift perspectives.

Image result for global partnership to end violence against childrenImage Source: Defence for Children

Something you can do to help is by supporting individuals, organizations, initiativesanything, anyone that is doing something to change the status quo. Look up the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children (GPtEVAC), an initiative spearheaded by multiple nations and organizations to end violence everywhere.

Depth over Distance


Misunderstood and mistaken.

You’ve probably been told that love is when you have somebody to take care of you when you’re old and frail. You’ve probably also been told that love is mostly sweet but it can be dangerous too at times. Hence you can’t completely submit yourself to anyone because no one will love you as you love yourself. That you’ve got to take precautions. But don’t these sound more like a political means to survival rather than love?

You’ve probably been told as well that unless it’s certified on paper and your finger’s got ring on it, your love isn’t real. Who cares if that ring comes from someone your parents forced you to pretend loving? Or from someone you settle with simply because the social constructs decided that your love is somehow unnatural and diabolical even if there are no apparent reasons for it to be so?

Before you know it, you might start succumbing to the whispers; start believing that you’re unloved because you don’t deserve love or that you missed your chance; that somewhere, sometime, somehow, you met your love but walked right past it. You were probably too doubtful, too shy, too proud, or just too dumb to have a clue of it. And as much as you wish time wasn’t linear so that you can go back and revisit the past, you just can’t. Regrets aren’t fun. So take your shots. So what? So what if it cost you some dozens heartbreaks and disappointments? You always recover.

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Because believe me for I have traveled in time and discovered that no matter how much you despise your past and wish for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to be more than just a masterful science fiction work, having someone you love who loves you back in all the right ways can’t quite compare with all the wrongs that could’ve possibly gone down or the burned bridges or steep slippery steps.

Because I know from experience. I’m living what I’m describing. And if my chest explodes one day from its inability to contain the feelings I harbor, know that the explosion is worth all the screw-ups and do-overs.

And I’d do it again in my next lives. And again. And again. And again.

And again.

Hey, my love. Happy Valentine’s Day. Our first of a lifetime together.

 

Whichever Lasts Forever


I have a demure side. I brood a lot. But not when I’m with someone whose rhythm makes my whimsical recklessness appears to be a series of deliberate affectionate gestures.

And you’re a pastiche. A beautiful work of art too breathtaking for me to tamper with. A lagniappe—the most special kind; one that doesn’t patronize.

And we could’ve gone wrong at so many turns. Had that conversation never taken place, we could’ve ended up an erstwhile fling. Had those promises never come to live, we could’ve ended up an ephemeral story that is sweet only in imagination but not in reality. And had we chosen to give in to our forbearance, we could’ve ended up as another set of evanescent broken promises.

But no. None of this is the reality. The reality is we sort out our imbroglio because what we have is too precious to be momentary—a conclusion obviously too mediocre for our figures. Calling you my serendipity would be inaccurate, because I didn’t just stumble upon you while looking for something else. I was looking for you. I just wasn’t aware of it until that night dawned on us.

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It really is an epiphany—one without a conclusion. Because it would be a shame if all beautiful things had to come to an end. Or probably we should be bad instead.

Whichever lasts forever, I’d choose that.

I Want No Alternate Universe


Ain’t it just funny—how perfectly unaware I was of your existence and—abracadabra—overnight, you became the one thing that makes sense of everything.

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I used to think that we were nothing more than an accidental occurrence; not knowing that we are the calculated consequence of a series of elaborate decisions instead; that as much as I’d prefer to call us a natural design, we’re just not. If alternate universes are valid, then in one of those, we’re still and probably will always be oblivious of one another.

Damn. I don’t think I fancy the idea of these alternate universes so much anymore. Not if we don’t happen.

You know; these days my stars are blinding. It only became apparent to me recently as well that—despite my reservations over human nature—we and everything in between now and then and later are parts of a larger conscience; one that ceases taking place if we are no longer an us.

And I’m in debt to all the fictional gods and powerless divine inventions for just exactly that; for defying the improbable odds of an us. My aching soul is healed and I’ve stopped setting fire to my insides.

How to Excel at Being Basic


Imagine a working situation in which you are expected to deliver results and you employ everything at your disposal to achieve those results. Regardless of how well you manage, however, there’s always going to be that one person who seems to have nothing but criticism against you. Not that ‘constructive criticism’ myth, but the ill-intended ones. And you can’t help it that it ends up leaving a bad taste in your mouth.

I’ve been working on a thing with several other people on something rather specific. I didn’t find the bunch to be a set of people I thought I was going to get along with—but I did eventually. I even stepped up to assume a leadership role which gives me certain responsibilities to oversee everything.

And I like to think that I’ve been doing it rather well. Obviously there are aspects I wish I could’ve done better, but given the circumstances, I don’t think anybody else in the group could’ve done a better job than I did. And I really have been trying to evaluate myself in a very honest, raw, and sometimes harsh way. I hold a high bar to myself.

But some people are just so blind to their own shortcomings.

I don’t appreciate being taken for granted and so it applies to my work as well. I despise anyone who takes anything for granted—especially a work. The way I see it, if you don’t appreciate a work or you think that it’s pointless, then don’t do it. Let other people who do appreciate and commit to it do it.

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My head is a time bomb.

But that’s where it gets tricky. Some people mistake commitment with mere ambition. How can you call yourself committed to anything when you can’t even seem to make any time to tend to it? That goes for work too. You can’t claim to be committed to something and not make time to attend a meeting about it all the time. Of course nobody expects you to be 100% available all the time, but the point is that if you give a damn about it, act like you give a damn about it. Say you have a boyfriend and everytime you arrange a date, your boyfriend bails out or simply is never available. Would you say that he’s committed to your relationship?

I don’t think so. And so it really tips me to the edge that every damn time I point out how it’s not okay that some people are never present for anything, I receive defensive responses. Ones that constantly sound like a series of justification to tolerate people who commit, perform, and contribute less than even minimal. That somehow I’m the one who’s wrong because I expect people to be committed to something they voluntarily committed themselves to, to expect people to deliver what they’re responsible to deliver in the first place, and to contribute in a fair manner as everybody else.

If expecting these things make me wrong, then you bet I’m damn wrong.

And then there’s this other thing that frustrates me to a tipping point. I’m simply writing about this as a therapeutic means for me to let out the frustration I’m harboring, not to smear or offend anyone, so I’m just going to keep making up suggestive hypothetical instances.

Say you’re supposed to plan a program as a group of 10 people. You set up a meeting to prepare for the program and out of these 10 people, only 4 were actually present in the meeting. Knowing you are responsible to organize the program regardless of the disadvantages and that you don’t have the luxury to postpone your preparation because you’re responsible to the people funding your program, you and the other 3 people decided to start preparation without waiting for the missing six.

Is it ideal? No. But do you have other options? Well, we can argue that there are multiple ways I could’ve dealt with the situation better, but trust me I wouldn’t have just resorted to an executive decision to decide things on a whoever-present-gets-to-decide basis if I had any other option that was viable and wouldn’t jeopardize the delivery of the program.

Now fast forward to when the program is underway, imagine my frustration at the fact that the 6 other people who were mostly absent throughout the preparation process—if not entirely—had the audacity to play the blame game. Halfway they start shifting blames to me—saying that I did things wrong.

“You overwhelm people, you bring a bad vibe, the words you’re using are too sophisticated they can’t follow you, you this, you that.” And these are legit criticisms. I genuinely appreciate it, but I do find it problematic when the criticism goes in a direction that somehow puts me in a position of receiving all the blame. They weren’t present during preparation and now they’re saying how they would’ve done things differently. I’m not saying that I definitely did all things right—I definitely did not, that’s not something I’m shy to admit—but, you know what, in a life that can’t be farther from ideal, your excellent ideas don’t mean shit if you’re never present to deliver and manifest them into actions.

Get back to me when you’ve earned the rights to say anything. Until then, probably just shut the fuck up.

To Love on Your Own Terms


Modern dating is exhausting. There are so many rules you somehow are supposed to just obey, no questions asked, even if you don’t really see why you should. Basically, it’s just a series of stereotypes and shallow conventions that the general population seem to have established based on repetitive movie cliché and some pretentious minds.

  1. Let them read your mind. Don’t be the first to express your feelings, even if you feel strongly about a person. Why would you? If they like you back, they would come around anyway. Because, obviously, that’s how things work. People read minds. You don’t have to say “Hey, I like you. Would you like to go out on a date with me?” Instead just let them read your mind and wait. Wait until they ask you first. Yeah. That always works.
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    I Will Love You Forever (Image Source)
  2. Always wait a few minutes before responding to their text messages. Even if your multitasking skill is off the chart and therefore it simply isn’t as hard as everybody seems to think it is for you to be working a full time job, multiple side projects, while still being 24/7 available for your partner, hold yourself back. Don’t let them see through your abundant love and affection for them. Of course you can live without them. Nobody says we should be one of those folks who choose to be miserable because of someone they can’t have. It’s just that if you have someone in your life that makes you appreciate life multiple times better, why not let them know that? Wouldn’t you want to know how much your lover appreciates you? No?
  3. Never trust any words that come out of their mouth. When they tell you that they cannot talk at the moment because they’re in a meeting, don’t trust them. They must be cheating with someone else. When they ask you to rain check on a date, go crazy on them. They must have a date planned with someone else. Because that’s what you do when you love someone. You have to be suspicious all the time. After all, you’re only with them in the first place so that their world revolves around you, right? But not your world. You deserve privacy, tranquility, and your personal space.
  4. Don’t change a thing about yourself for them. Yeah, because you should always put yourself first. Even if something about you really makes your partner uncomfortable and you actually agree with them, you should stay just the way you are. Because you are perfect. There’s nothing wrong with your messy room. Also not with your irregular diet. Of course not with your stinky leftover pizza that has been in your fridge for almost a month now. That’s healthy. If they can’t deal with your bad attributes, they don’t deserve you. Is that how it is now, huh? Who needs a lover who is always genuinely concerned about your well-being? Nobody, I guess.

Well, I’m tired. I have someone now and I love this someone in a way I never thought I was capable of before. Now tell me: what is the big deal of being so sure about love after a month? Who died and made you Einstein so that you get to decide someone should only say “I love you” to their partner after a few months or a few years? If I love someone and I want to tell them I love them after a week of dating, it’s my business. So what if I’m naïve? So what if I’m gullible? You don’t have to pity me. I am not in need of anyone’s pity. I am perfectly capable of taking care and looking out for myself.

This is what I mean when I said modern dating is exhausting. Exhausting because you are constantly berated by these comments and ignorant ideas of how you’re supposed to date and love. Let us young lovers be. And me―I think I’ve had my fair share of love frenzies and heartbreaks. I know sometimes we get ahead of ourselves and dream of all these wonderful things inside our heads about what we will do with our lovers when, in fact, more often than not, feelings change and flowers stopped blooming as the autumn replaces the spring.

But just because these things happen in our heads, why does it have to mean that they were not real? The happiness is real. I can at least testify to that.

And be honest with yourselves: if you get into a relationship worrying about how you’ll recover when it all ends, you most likely aren’t with someone you genuinely love. So leave. Like I did. And when you’re certain you’ve found the person that makes you feel in ways nobody else has ever made you feel, stay and give your all for them. Like I am doing.

So screw all of these conventions.

I love you and I want to make you happy for the rest of your life. I refuse to believe that I somehow have to be ashamed of loving someone as much as I love you.

The Improbable Mastery of Life


“Everyone’s afraid of the future,” you claimed once. But that’s just too presumptuous of you.

You see, it’s just like that time when that girl didn’t want to go to the top of the Eiffel. She wasn’t afraid of the heights; she was afraid of the possibility of falling into solid ground because she’s not known for keeping her calm under pressure—and because nobody’s offering hands to catch if she actually lost ground. If she was really afraid of heights, she wouldn’t feel safe living in skyscrapers. But she does; all because in skyscrapers she’s disillusioned by the concrete floors she steps on.

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Falling from or Staying atop the Eiffel? (Image Source)

And that one time, too, when the boy cried to his dad, “I can’t come home because there’s a dog in front of our house and dogs scare me.” Just like the girl—whose fear of falling was misunderstood as fear of heights, the boy isn’t really afraid of dogs. He’s projecting this incident he remembered from when he was only a toddler; of a frantic dog who started barking and bit him for some unknown reasons—unprovoked. He cried for hours that day. He actually loves dogs but can’t shake past the fear of being attacked.

So… No. Everyone isn’t afraid of the future. Everyone is afraid of uncertainty—the thought of not knowing what will happen in life and, hence, making it impossible to expect the unexpected—for better or for worse.

Every once in a while, someone attempts to master the wheel of life, and somehow you’re the only one who’s still not getting the point: life simply isn’t for anyone to master.

Life is,

The master.