Finding light in the darkness.

There are only so many times you can play the Prince of Egypt theme song ‘When You Believe,’ before you wonder if it was truly written for a different time, wherein hope was in deed only frail, and not yet impossible to kill. We live in a modern world, which is still haunted with backwards thinking. And no, it is not limited to the last of the living Silent Generation-ers and Baby Boomers. Many still walk amongst us.

I am not innocent.

Consider this a ‘self-check’ piece – an exercise in letting go of the “perfectionist” inside.

To say that 2021 was horrific doesn’t quite cut it. So why dwell on the past? Outside of good memories, the only things I can bring with me from the year that was are the lessons learned.

There is still no real satisfactory end in sight to this global pandemic, which is quickly proving to be an endemic with the vast spread of the Omicron variant. It truly makes me sad to see many people I care about terribly ill. But also, I am gutted by how divided we have become. We talk about body shaming, bigotry and other social norms, which our generation is trying so hard to eradicate – But have we really gotten rid of these concepts? Or have we just chosen to shame those with different beliefs and opinions?

I have been seeing a lot of posts about COVID SHAMING – It made me delve into what seems to be a common element with regard to opinions on this virus.

What started out as being judgmental towards lifestyle choices on how to avoid the virus has evolved into the big pro-vax or antivax movement. When did respect go out the window?

This hits quite close to home for me because it took me a while to decide what the best option was for me when it came to getting vaccinated. I definitely wasn’t first in line at the LGU, or faking comorbidities to get ahead. And no, not because I think I have any educated form of medical knowledge – quite the opposite actually, so I talked to my doctors. I also spoke to trusted individuals who take a more holistic approach to medicine, and discussed alternatives to the vaccine.

I eventually opted to go ahead and get vaccinated. Preparing to return to Manila from an extended stay in the province, I knew deep down I had to armor myself with some form of protection, living in a congested city whose hospitals were overworked and tired. 

That being said, I have felt ire from both sides of the coin.

Before my decision to vaccinate, I was labeled as many things – an antivaxxer, a bad mom, an idiot, and I was sent memes all day long about my “stupid” choice. Mind you I was minding my own business, living outside of the city, and being up front about my status with anyone who chose to see me.

When I did make the decision to vaccinate – I was still called an idiot, weak, and a mere follower who caved to the norms of society. I wasn’t “woke.”

Aren’t we all about ‘My body, my choice,’ nowadays? Does that only apply to certain issues?

Though I can understand the frustration on both ends, what became increasingly clear to me is that a lot of this boils down to EGO. I felt my ego get triggered when I started to feel defensive about my choices. Everyone just wants to feel like they are right in such uncertain times. Too much is at stake. Arguably, someone vaccinated might think that the unvaccinated are the cause of the pandemic not ending, but the unvaccinated think the exact same thing about the counterpart. In the last week I have heard and read this line over a dozen times:

Only the vaccinated are GETTING Omicron!

Only the unvaccinated are HOSPITALIZED for Omicron!

How did we get here?

And whether or not we have been vocal about our stance, we have all engaged in some form of discrimination. Over the holidays the trending topic ‘Poblacion Girl,’ went viral. I saw so much hate towards this young woman. Don’t get me wrong, I do not support what she did in the least – carrying the virus or not – skipping quarantine is truly selfish and entitled. But the hate that was directed at her by everyone was ugly. I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion because her stupid and self-centered act affected essentially hundreds of lives. Even if I do think she has to take accountability, I think we too, could’ve done better. I found the vileness online ended up speaking more of us as a society rather than her and her bad actions.  

Perhaps moving forward, we should RESPECTFULLY stay in our own lanes with no judgment. Staying in my own lane has always been easy for me – it’s the silent judgment that has always been my problem (as I have shared before). But this truly affects me more than anyone else. It darkens my energy in a time wherein everyone could use a little bit more light.

If you have chosen to vaccinate – Great! But don’t discriminate! And also, if you have any symptoms, don’t think you are invincible – you are not.

If you have opted not to vaccinate, I respect your choice, but also, follow the rules. We live in a society that has safety laws in place to protect ALL. And please, don’t carry around a fake vaccination card. It’s tacky. And just as bad as skipping quarantine.

Vaccinated or not, we should all mask up in public and be kinder to each other. Leaving you with a quote I read over and over, over the last few months. This helped me along when I was making big decisions, but more importantly, it truly allowed me see things from the perspective of others to be able to better respect them. Growth is truly underrated.