Saturday, July 23, 2011

PAKIKISAMA: A Good Filipino Trait Or A Hindrance To One's Success?

People always say that it's always better to get along with everyone else and that it's always good to be liked by everyone. At least, that's what most people believe. I read a blog entry the other day about the same topic I am writing about now but to him, he saw pakikisama as something else. He thinks pakikisama means pakikipagplastikan or in other terms, not being true to yourself and to other people. I somehow feel the same thing at some degree. But before we delve into the world of this word, let's learn more about its origin first. Personally, I think this has been a part of our culture for a long time now. Most people care more about what others would say and think than by doing what they want to do or saying what they think is the truth. In a way, pakikisama is like telling a white lie to other people so that they won't get hurt but in the process, sometimes you put yourself in harm's way. What's to gain in that? Honestly, I can't answer that.

Through the years I have learned that by being too kind, you often put yourself out there only to be exploited and taken advantage of. Don't get me wrong. There is nothing bad about being a nice person. All I am saying is that nice people should know when to be nice and when to be tough as nails too. For if they always stay nice, then people might abuse you for it. Through pakikisama, this is possible. I have learned this lesson the hard way many times and I never want it to happen to me again. Pakikisama is one concept that we, Filipinos have. It means a way of showing what it is to be united with a group by trying to get along with everyone even if sometimes we don't want to. Often times, we get stuck in awkward situations that we don't want to be in and then end up with just sucking it up and doing it. Nobody knows really where it originated which is why most people say it is solely the brain child of us, Filipinos.

I can't say I am proud of having pakikisama as a part of my culture and my upbringing as it restricts us in many things. I don't mind trying to get along with people but I do not want to be forced to do it just because it is rude to not bother in the first place. Sometimes I am called apathetic, cold and uncaring. Why? Is it because sometimes I would rather not say anything, stay neutral but still try to have a good relationship with others with sacrificing less of what I want? I am a person too. I am an individual who has a mind that can think for itself and I have opinions as well so to restrict me of thinking those and expressing those is rather odd in my sense. I guess if you're going to think of it differently, you can consider pakikisama as one of the rules that binds us in our daily lives. Filipinos cannot escape this part of our culture to the extent that sometimes people go overboard. To be honest, most people believe that pakikisama should always be followed no matter what.

What happens when we try to break away from tradition and culture? I know most old people would not approve of it but we live in modern times. I do not want to disrespect our heritage or our beliefs but I believe it is time to make a change. I think it is always better to say the truth than to lie about it and in terms of pakikisama, it is always better to tell others that you have feelings and thoughts too that should be considered which is why you shouldn't always just do whatever they please. Pakikisama can make people miserable and I have experienced that first hand but did I do anything about it? The answer is no. Why? Because of many conflicting reasons. Maybe in the long run, I will be able to do something about it that will not cost me so much. Maybe its this innate need inside me that I should please others no matter what that makes me continue with what I am doing now. I know I do not like it but how can one break away from something that has been there forever? 

The only thing I know is that pakikisama is perceived in more ways than one. Some like it, some hate it while others don't care at all. To be honest, I used to be in the haters corner but now it looks like I am becoming a part of the apathetic corner. I don't want to be here but hating it for the most part won't do me good and I don't feel like liking it either so I guess that's why I'm just keeping quiet whenever a situation that needs pakikisama happens to me. Yes, I still do it but to some extent. I rarely socialize now because of this and I also do not act like my normal self anymore when I am around people I don't know very well yet. I just wish more people would know that pakikisama is alright at some level but then again, at some point, it can really get you fed up. Looks like we Filipinos have so many traditions that we can no longer change no matter how hard we try. Too bad some of the good traditions are dying. I wish pakikisama would just die along with them including all the other bad ones. I love my country and my tradition but sometimes some are just too much. 
 Trying to please others at the expense of your happiness is just not right. If you can please them then maybe they can understand it why you can't please them too.
 Amen to this one!
 I never want to be stuck in this cycle ever.
In the end, all I can ever do is this. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Men Of Fiction VS. Men From The Real World

Most women if not all still believe that one day they will meet their Prince Charming who will treat them like a princess and sweep them off their feet or one day they will bump into their soulmate who in the end will become their Mr. Right. These fictional men exist only in either our dreams or in the movies we watch or even in the stories that we read. I am a hopeless romantic too but come to think of it, the men from the real world pales into comparison from the men from our fictional world. Nobody is perfect, they say and we cannot expect our partners to be everything we've ever wanted or wished for. For if we do think that way, we shall only end up being disappointed in the end. I can't remember my dream man. Perhaps I never really had one to begin with. Sure, I have read many fairy tales and read countless of romance novels. At the same time, I have seen so many romantic movies and romantic shows. I am not a skeptic when in comes to true love. Let's just say that I am a realist.

I am a grown woman who has made up my mind about things that shouldn't exist and fictional men are included in that list. It's not that I never want them to exist to begin with. It's just that in my heart, I know they don't for if they did then how come there are so many women out there who are broken hearted, all because their fictional men never came to their rescue, never wooed them or never changed their lives forever so that they can live their own version of a happily ever after? Let's face it. Real men do not do such things. We can dream about it, fantasize about it and even think about it but we can never live it. I am not saying that men are not capable of being romantic. I know they are. They just have a different idea in their heads when it comes to these things. Let's just say men are not experts in this field. They can be sweet at times but do not expect them to be like that 24/7 if you don't want to end up weeping every night just because he never made love to you that night or never even bothered to massage your feet after such a hectic day at work.

Fictional men can come in many forms. There's the knight in shining armor, the prince charming, the bad boy who will change for you, the martyr who will die for you, Mr. Right, Mr. Perfect and everything that a woman's mind can come up with. Real men come in different forms as well but their unpredictability can cause problems in who and what they are. Unlike fictional men, men from the real world are rather more complicated and have a mind of their own. They can love you now and hate you later. No one knows really and yet they say that we, women, are so hard to read. As if we don't have that kind of difficulty as well when it comes to reading them. Some women are fortunate though to have met men who are somehow similar to their fictional counterparts. They may not be 100 percent like them but at least they try to be better like some of the men I know. Unfortunately, not all women are that fortunate. Some women end up living with men who are far worse than anyone could ever imagine. Come on, no woman would like to be battered, abused, harassed and unloved. I pity women who settle for that less when we all should strive for someone or something better in this life. We may not all have them in the end but it wouldn't hurt to try at least.

For sensitive women like me, men who watch pornography or look at other women's photos or even ogle them in person is a big NO NO! But do our partners care to be more careful with what they do and change their ways? NO! Men from the real world care but sometimes their primitive side takes over and it lets their erection direct them to what they should be doing instead. It is said that men do not think with their brains or decide with their hearts but rather let their lust and their genitalia do most of everything for them. Personally, I think that's gross and that's just lame. Why would you be given a brain and a heart when you don't even use it? Seriously! Too bad that I cannot shake off this feeling inside me as I have seen way too many men who are like this. Sadly, I think I am married to someone who is like this as well at times but what can I do? What's done is done and besides, people can still change if they put their efforts into it, right? But honestly, I think it's just the way it goes and no matter how hard we try as women to correct their wrongs by deleting their porno stash from the computer or burn their DVDs, CDs, their posters and their magazines or even castigate them every now and then for seeing them ogling other women, Nothing can ever change the fact that some men are just pigs and will stay the way they are forever. We just gotta live with it and try not to hurt either ourselves or anyone in the process.

There are however some men who try to appeal to their soft side and try to have a different approach on women. They tell us, women, that they are not like the other men we've met, dated, slept with, married, divorced, etc. They put themselves up in a pedestal thinking that by doing so, it would elevate the way we, women, perceive them. Too bad that not all women are that dumb anymore these days. Sure, some men can be genuine good guys but be careful not be deceived by their oh so clean facade because you will never know what lies within not unless you've known the person long enough. Some men are just genuine assholes. Some are even proud of it so if you are a man who is different from the rest, why bother elevating yourself when all the other men who flock this world are just low lifes who aren't really competition to you? Think about it. Men from the real world are too busy trying to be someone they are not when all women want sometimes is them being just themselves even to the dirty bits. Not all women though are like that. Some just want the good parts which is why I don't blame some guys who pretend that they are perfect just to get the girl. It's a vicious cycle and we all have to live in this world along with it.

Women are to blame for coming up with perfect men in their dreams, their fantasies and even in the things that they write. Maybe men just want to please us, women, in the end in their own little way and yet, we pay them no attention. Why? All because we still keep on hanging to these fictional men who we think will come for us one day but what happens when they don't? Would you like to end up being old and alone without anyone to share your life with? The thought scares me. Dying alone is just a horrible way to die. They say it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. If that's the case then maybe that's why some women just settle for someone who isn't like the fictional men that she encountered before. Maybe at the end of the day, women realize that real men can make us happy and be with us every single day while fictional men will just stay in our heads forever. We all make tough choices in our lives and sometimes finding the love of your life is one of those tough choices. You can either continue waiting for nothing or just settle for someone who you will know will not be as great as what you think your partner should be but at least he can try to be with your guidance and support. Maybe real men can be molded in more ways than one. It's just up to their partners on how they are going to do it.

So as a woman, heed my advice. Fictional men are nice to watch, read about and even think about but at the end of the day, you will realize that they can never be with you. Remember that men from the real world can hurt you, make you lose your patience or even make you go crazy but at the same time, they can make you happy, do things for you that will make you love them more and even give you a family. We live in the real world so wake up and smell the coffee. It's time to stop dreaming and go on living. My husband may not be the handsomest man in the world. He may not be the best dresser there is out there or the best kisser that would make my knees weaken whenever he'd give me a passionate kiss. He may not have a job that would him a millionaire or have cars that would take us anywhere. He may not be romantic or understanding but I love him and even if he makes me hate him so much at times and make me feel bad about myself or even regret why I married him, I am still here for him because in my heart, I know that I can never find anyone like him. He may be rough around the edges but he will be him without the flaws in him so I would not love him any less. Life is not perfect and so are we so why ask for something that superficial when you can always go for something real. But then again, I never said you should stop dreaming...

Life is not just about happy endings but rather about happy beginnings and happy endings. I may not have the man of my dreams right now but somehow I am happy. At least I have found someone who has made me feel special despite his short comings. Hopefully, all women out there will find men who would do the same for them as well and hopefully, they will realize that waiting sucks. What if the person you are waiting for is never coming for you? What will happen next after that? Only you can answer that question.