I am Batman

And Batman am I.

So are the random ramblings of my all too wonderful bestfriend Jovanni on a semi-sober state from half a bottle of Korean Soju.

I am the Big Paw. The Big Paw and I are one.

We’re kidding of course. Half a bottle of Soju to share isn’t enough to rattle our mental state, let alone disintegrate our sense of coherence to a mesh of nonsensical propositions. If it were, then I wouldn’t be able to write here, would I?

Cue the story of how I wasted away an otherwise productive day:

Got up fairly early, fussing about my corporate attire for that Personal Effectiveness class I had to attend to. But I had to edit and print my resume, get my picture taken–generally shit I should’ve dealt with beforehand, but I was just too out of it to do so. So I got there late, by around thirty minutes, and I had been rescheduled to the following week.

I came to university, wearing a blazer, slacks, killer stillets for nothing.

Then after chilling at the cybernook, I went home and here we are. Me and my best mate, fooling around as if I didn’t have a scratch etched on to my to-do list, when in fact, it’s as full as any usual work day. (When was I ever task-less?)

I’m feeling unproductive. That’s all I have to say. It’s always like this: I start out strong, responsible, handling everything and being superwoman. Then somewhere along the way, I find my personal slump–the loss of the sense of self-worth, most usually–and start to lose hold on everything else. I guess when I find things pointless, I just don’t do them. When I don’t want to study, I don’t. Why?

Because I don’t want to. Simple as that.

Life is too short to be wasted on the things you don’t want to do, to be caught up and tangled in unnecessary tasks and traditions you don’t want to follow.

The trick to success is always remembering why you want something. Honestly, if you’re just studying to get awards and please people–if that’s how you label ‘success’–you won’t get anywhere. That’s not what you want. It’s what they want. Want those medals in mathematics, because you love math. And want those squeaky clean 4.0’s in your GPA’s because you actually want to study.

Please no one but yourself.

Have no other reason to do things other than because they make you happy.

A critical exception of course would be if what you do will ultimately contribute to the happiness of others, like perhaps not wasting your parents hard-earned moolah on your foolishness and constant failures.

In my case, of course, it’s always the constant pressure of looking into the eyes of my nieces, seeing them grow up so beautifully with so much potential. But my heart crumbles to bits when I do, because I know they don’t have the means to harness those potentials and maximize what they have–because they have nothing. Education, for one. Justine is said to be stopping from her undergraduate studies, and we’re cutting off our financial support for Shaina within a couple of months.

I still remember Camille, when she was still three years old. She used to cry to me and beg me to buy her a new pair of slippers, because hers broke or she outgrew them already and her mother didn’t have enough to replace them. Slippers–something as simple as rubber slippers.

Justine, talented in fashion design, but too smart to not be in med school. Currently taking up MedTech in DLS-Dasma.

Shaina, the witty, talented, smart, beautiful one that everyone loves. She has a voice that can break a heart with its beauty, and the musical skills to accompany it. She’s beaten more experienced speakers beyond her years in speech and declamation competitions. Hell, I’d admit she’s better at me at Chess. And she is one of the truly rare species of people among the younger population–if not the only one–who can beat me at Scrabble.

Camille. Innocent Camille, whose smile used to complete my day, whose laughter was the soundtrack of my very afternoon. I never knew how she grew up. I never saw through it. They took her away, and whenever I’d see her at reunions, I have this horrible feeling that she’s gone through so much pain and abuse. I wouldn’t be the one to judge. But I think, especially on Christmas gatherings, where kids are given Aguinaldo or gift money (much like the Chinese ampao, however it should be spelled) I suspect that her mother uses her to receive the gift money, but surrender everything to her for her personal use. Of course, I’d like to believe that when the child surrenders the gift money, it is used for the benefit of the child herself. I’m hoping. Always.

Here is the part when I’d wish I was Batman. Not superman, because I wouldn’t be able to do much with flying and super strength, unless I put up a fee for a crime fighting service. No, I want to be Batman, just because he was rich from the start and could afford that horrible-looking but admittedly useful car, and everything else he needed.

If I were Batman, and I had that much money, I would save the lives of these beautiful little angels. I would provide them with everything under the sun, and raise them to the extent of the greatness with which they were gifted.

But I can’t.

After the alcohol wears off, after the idealism blows over, I’m just a math student in a university ranking 600th worldwide in a third-world country, with nowhere else to go. I’m not being pessimistic; I’m just acknowledging the weaknesses that I have to face.

I’ve always written about how I have to learn how to accept the fact that I’m not superwoman, how I can’t do a million things at once, and how I have to accept failure and deal with it. I’ve always written how I make mistakes, and not regret them because mistakes are what make us human. I’ve even written about how overworking and sleeplessness acts as an addiction, a sort of stick-it-to-the-man way of life, in a constant attempt to disprove human weakness and live through it. And I’ve always written how I have to learn to slow down and live a little.

The thing is, in a third world country like the Philippines, the moment you slow down, the moment you stop working is the moment you die of starvation.

And these three girls are going to die too, if no one’ll help them out.

But can I? I have my own life to live, and possibly one day, my own kids to raise. Even if I might get out of this University with a million-dollar career–because that was exactly the point of taking up this whole actuarial gig, other than the obsession for the connection between philosophical understanding and pure mathematics as a way of thinking (but that’s beside the point)–I’d have other priorities. I grew up in this world, working so hard and thinking of only one thing: to continue what my parents did for others, helping our family members get through their financial turmoils.

They’re getting old. My father’s suffering from various complications brought on by the decades of diabetes. My mother’s suffering from back pains with that slip disk; she’s overweight and she has hypertension. My step-siblings are still hounding them for money, as well as the rest of my family. No one’s ever done anything but use them like an endless waterfall of cash flow. They’re dying away before my very eyes. It’s getting them nowhere.

I don’t think this martyr mission is what my parents want for me after I graduate. I don’t think I want it upon myself either, anymore. I’m too young to play mother. And I don’t think my parents worked hard for me to waste my future on becoming the next loan center. I don’t want to be brought down by other people’s problems. I want to be able to take myself to places and accomplish many great things for society. I want to make my dreams a reality. And I want to be able to grow up freely, have a family of my own and raise my future kids to be able to do the same thing.

But I don’t want to be a self-centered, hedonistic corporate bitch. I don’t want to close off my eyes from the people who will end up needing me.

It’s just that, I’ve always given myself to help others.

But as my parents have accurately displayed–who will be there to help me, one day? Hm? No one. The usual.

I’m losing that sense of purpose I once had. I’m thinking that I don’t want this anymore.

Before all this, I was already lining up the names of the kids in my family I want to support through their education, the names of the kids I wanted to save from abuse. I’m scared that I actually think that way. What happens to my future then?

I’m too young to be a mother.


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