Five Reasons Why I Want to Write (and One Reason Why I Don’t)

Writing, for me, is like painting a picture, only that I use a keyboard instead of a brush, and a monitor instead of a canvas on an easel. Most of the time I use my phone too, when I’m outdoors or when I just feel lazy to get up from bed. I get to create a masterpiece, but instead of using colors and imagery, I use words. I can paint an abstract too, if I would please, by using such power held by letters and language.

I am not new to blogging. Well, the oldest post I have here was almost two years ago. Even when I did not have my WordPress account yet, I had been writing my heart out through Facebook notes. But then I thought maybe it would be nicer to create my very first blog account; I felt writing via social media wasn’t enough. And I thought it was time to take my blogging mania to another level.

Because of this, I devised five reasons why I love writing. Adversely, there is but one reason why I don’t. And because five is technically greater than one, I have made it to two years here in WordPress. *claps for myself*

Here are the “love reasons”:

  1. To express. It would be the first and most obvious reason. I heard once that writers write to express, not to impress- and my hats off to that. Everyone wants to express themselves, even once in a while, and I would love to express myself in my whole life! I mean, communication is not so much of a complicated thing to do, only if we know how to communicate well. Personally, I find writing a very therapeutic means of “unloading” myself. And the freedom of expression, for me, means the freedom to live.
  2. To know thyself. Do you know yourself? I know that’s a stupid question to ask. But knowing ourselves means knowing more than just our name and all the other personal things, secrets, and crazy conspiracies that we hide within. Knowing yourself means having the clear idea of your own identity, strengths, assets, flaws, weaknesses, and fears, even at the most critical and compelling situation. Knowing yourself should also tell you what you want in life. It should make a clear path for you to tread on. As for me, I get to know and recognize myself more and more when I write. I discover my irks and quirks, my uniqueness (my weirdness), my desires, dreams, and my ultimate goal. I get a clear reflection of who I am deep inside. I write because I want to see a picture of my life, from a kind of perspective that I am both the observer and the person herself.
  3. To learn. Yes, I gain more knowledge when I write. While I get to know myself deeper, I also learn the things that I would not be able to know should I not explore and express. When I write, I discover things that were unknown to me once. It compels me to read, read, and read. I get a grasp of what other people are thinking and exploring. I welcome other intellectual ideas, artistic ideals, and humane thinking. I drink from the cup of wisdom of the wise, and eat the words of the genius. Because I believe in what I once overheard, “It is only by listening that we truly gain a deeper understanding.” Touché.
  4. To document. Who would not love to sit on a rocking chair, enjoy the warm breeze of the countryside overlooking the serene landscape of the meadows and admire the flying larks, whilst reading the past journals of herself? That, for me, is a lovely reminiscence of my youth, a beautiful remembering of my memoirs when I was young and free. Personally, I would adore to record my own blogs and savor the moment of just flipping through (printed copies) of my written thoughts and musings ages ago.
  5. To make a difference. Final but vital reason. Words have power. Words are doubled-edged swords; they have the power to change another person’s perspective and at the same time the ability to change mine. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone- I get to alter people’s thoughts (even just a bit, so be it), and alter my own viewpoints for the better. I would like to make a change in the world I am living in, and this change can only be possible if I would do something, even in my own little ways. I would like to envision a world that is receptive to transformations and revival, a world that is appreciative of the good things, and a world that is able to perceive more than what they see. A world with depth, substance, and sense.

That was all for the beauty and goodness of blogging. But if there’s beauty then there’s madness. For this, I have the single reason why I would not want to write (counts as my “hate reason”, after all):

Plagiarism. Okay, you may think that’s a sign of paranoia. But it is not! I have heard stories (painful ones) of their works, technically their intellectual properties, being stolen or used without proper citation. And I would never want that to happen to me. I have to admit that I am really, really annoyed at people who have no originality (and even a sense of sensitivity too) and just get the heck of your ideas, and worse, your exact words and personal inklings. I do write to express, yes, but that does not leave out the fact that the world is full of thieves and malevolent people.

Even then, my passion to write surpasses my fears and doubts alike. Writing does have risks, too. Giving away my ideals, thoughts, and lessons learned in life poses judgments, misinterpretations, and misrepresentations. Thus, writing displays courage. A courageous writer is not afraid of what other people might think and say about their written expressions. Their “love reasons” are far more important and sensible than all their “hate reasons”. Writing also serves as my training ground for a higher purpose. I choose to conceal what it is. I believe success only comes when you silently work for it.

Despite this plagiarism danger, I know that in the end, writing could be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. It is like something that has been entwined with me since birth, and I would never want to be apart from that something that is wound around every strand of my being.

Writing is life!

© Camille de Pano, 2016

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A Spill of Truth

Okay, so, how am I supposed to feel now? Acting like I don’t have emotions at all, and what gives? Sometimes I don’t know myself, or at least, I don’t hear my voice. Maybe I am oblivious to the truth, the painful truth, that I am supposed to hear. To listen to. To believe in. But what is pain when the truth is flailing right in front of you, to change you, to correct you, to save you from greater pain? What is pain when it can give you new beginnings?

A beginning of peacefulness, calmness, or understanding. A beginning of acceptance and fulfillment. A beginning of the real you. When all you have are wonders and you have more questions than you have answers, when you have more fears and doubts than grasp of reality, when you are thrown into confusion and the serenity of your mind has been clouded with inanity, when you do not know how to listen at all, when you realise the truth that the world is a mystical illusion and that yourself is your realm… Only then you will comprehend that life can only be understood when you truly and fully know your true self. That is the truth, for the truth is written on the slate of your heart.

Maybe, that’s how I was supposed to feel. Surely, that is.

The Whispers of the Wind

The rustling of the winds is rattling against the windows. The servile movements of the curtains, the incessant chattering of the trees, and the inexplicable silence of the clouds seem to coalesce with my body, with my rhythm. They all have something to say, yes, even the mute skies, and I seem to understand every gust of the winds.

Where should I stay? Is it here inside this room? Is it beside the windows, where within an inch or two, I can embrace the breeze, the hum of air, the deafening silence of the blue sky? Where is my peace?

As I comprehend the mumbling of the trees, I can also recognise the direction the winds are heading to.  We’re going to places where we have gone before. Only this time, in a different way.

Ahh… That’s where you’re going! Can you bring me with you?

No, we can’t. First, you are not a leaf from a tree, a speck of dust, or a feather. We cannot carry you, we can only talk to you.

I was not surprised at all. The winds are selfish, brutally insensitive. They only let the things they love to be with to go with them- And I’m not one of those things. But how come they make the trees talk, the birds soar, the curtains dance, the windows shut, the doors ramble, and my mind fly? How do they do that? They are selfish and yet they lead.

They are free. They can go to places as they please. They do not invite others, however, but they bring them unknowingly.

They are selfish, yet they are loving. They go beneath a fledgeling’s wings. They never leave them until they are old, until they die. As they die, their inexistence is blown again by the wind; they whisper that once, they loved a bird.

And no, they are not selfish at all. Sometimes they are mistakenly labeled too.

And so I asked them again, But why wouldn’t you want to bring me where you’re going? Don’t you love me to be your companion?

We just can’t. We’re not commanded to take you. We’re not even strong enough to carry you. And you might get hurt if we force it.

They are not just loving, after all. They are also caring. They have a lot of sense, too.

Don’t the trees get tired of talking? Don’t their leaves give up from holding on as the winds drag them? Don’t the birds feel insecure as they lift them beneath their wings? Don’t the skies feel compelled to talk, as they watch what the winds are doing?

Behold, they are all happy and contented!

Finally, I asked the winds again, Why don’t you tell those who command you to let you carry me?

And they told me, We can never dictate. We also never know where we should come from and where we should go. We just… follow. We move from a secret place and we are gone in the unknown.

You see, you are the wind, too. You are the trees, the leaves, the bird, the skies. You are the hum of the air, and you are the silence of the clouds. You are a secret place in a beautiful unknown. You are the love, the loving selfishness, the care, the happiness, and the freedom. You are everything. And you do not know it.

At that, I was quieted.

The winds never left. The curtains beside me are still dancing, only with different tempos. The trees, still singing. A bird, somewhere, is still flying, gracefully, uncaringly. Even the waters from afar are calling out the names of infinite waves rushing to the grains of sand. And I, blown away and sensing the peace within, whispered,

I will go. I will go with you. 


© Camille de Pano, 2016

Why Do We Smile in Photographs?

We do it a lot of times. When a camera sets in, we have the automatic response of showing our pearly whites, sometimes preceded with a “Say cheese.” Well it can also be “Say pizza,” donuts, sweets or maybe even bacon. Err.. Whatever word you prefer and is classified under the food category that’ll surely make you grin with excitement is acceptable.

But what is really in smiling that we do it whenever our picture is taken? Why do we smile in front of the camera? And what is in your smile that makes you think it’s picture-worthy? Oh, forgive me. Sheez.

I have been wondering why medieval people were unsmiling or stern-looking in their portraits. Perhaps they weren’t happy about their outfit? But recently I learned that photography at those times required a very long exposure in capturing their subjects. It would take at least eight hours for a single photo to be captured by the very first camera invented (some historians say it would have actually taken days), which must be the probable reason why people couldn’t stand to smile. History also tells us that there were even head rests to support them as they did their poses. Talk about being already stressed out before the camera clicks- hence the plausible cause of Victorian people’s almost angry demeanor. Certainly no cheese moments for them.

Technology back in the 1800s was still underdeveloped. Until years later, another inventor came up with a more improved camera, the Daguerreotype camera, which only required 60-90 seconds to keep the subject motionless. And, at least hold a smile.

Another reason why people in the Middle Ages couldn’t manage to smile for portraits and photographs is that, they didn’t have proper dental hygiene. Unlike today, anyone who dreams of having perfect white teeth can wear dentures and voilà, can flaunt their captivating smiles!

Years passed and there came the inexpensive and efficient photography that had shorter exposure time. Not only the nobles were able to afford to have their pictures taken, but also the middle class and peasants at the time. Children were also a lovely subject for photographers too, and there are old photos showing smiling children during the Middle Ages.

Media and Hollywood are also a reason why we believe a smile and a happy countenance looks attractive when we are being photographed. Actors and actresses on TV were always being candidly captured smiling, laughing, or with their mouth open. Hence, the start of photos with smiling people!

So, that was the history of smiling in pictures. On a personal level, there linger questions such as: Why do we really smile for it? Is it because it’s the norm? Or, do we see ourselves beautiful when we actually smile? Is it because we’re commanded to say cheese, or we’re being told of a funny joke by the photographer perhaps? Does smiling in photographs make us appear happy? And I mean truthfully happy?

We can always have the choice to just frown, pout, or make a poker face or show an unforgiving look. Or even make a duck face if you please! (Ughhh.)

When I was five, I held a Kodak camera in my hand. I took pictures of just about everything at the mall. Only to find out afterwards that I won the competition of some sort of young photographers. I mean, I was just so little and didn’t know anything about photography and the only scenario that I can remember is when my dad and mom were smiling for the camera that I was playing with using. Now I don’t know if they were grinning at my smallness (because I was so tiny as a child) and like, “Aww look at her! She’s so cute and little and she’s acting like a real photographer,” or something like that. Or maybe they were beaming ’cause I actually joined that contest, the timid and tiny me. Whatever their reason was, their wide smile at the photograph was clearly evident. And hey, that particular shot was my winning entry!

I reckoned that putting a smile on my face would make me look jovial and look like I’m enjoying my life! But dear fellas, I also realised years ago that smiling doesn’t mean being happy. Sometimes there’s no connection at all! Smiling doesn’t equate to the person’s real life disposition.

We can always smile in front of people but we can never fake our smile to ourselves.

We know the truth. A smile does not mask out our despair, sorrow, and sadness. It can never masquerade true happiness. Some say, “Fake it ’til you make it.” But I believe it doesn’t apply to a person’s expression of his/her own happiness. We can never fake a smile. Yes, we can smile to a friend, to a stranger, to our loved ones but we can never smile at the fact that we are hurting or unhappy deep inside.

We can’t fake happiness, for the truth is written all over our faces.

Truth is, it’s not only our smile that’s the basis of our true spirit. It’s our eyes that give us away. Our eyes hold the truth that can never be defied and denied, for

Our eyes are the windows to our soul.

The eyes also know how to smile, likewise. When we’re happy and we smile, that smile radiates brightness to our countenance; it gives sparkle to our eyes. It shows. And it impacts the people who come close to us.

Smiling in photographs has become a tradition. It has become the norm. Nonetheless, who could say that the medieval people who looked sullen in their portraits weren’t happy and fulfilled in their lives? That was their norm. And it’s the same with us today. Who could say that we can’t smile even if we feel the otherwise? Or we can’t cry when we’re happy? Crying when one is actually overjoyed is called gratitude or thankfulness. Tears of joy, as what they say.

Painting a smile on our face entails different meanings. Whatever our reasons for smiling might be, the expression that we bear says a lot about who we are.

So, the next time you prep up for the camera, you have the options of expressions that you can make. Seriously, who cares?! If you want to look somber or unfriendly or rather frivolous or merry, go ahead! Breaking the norms is fun. And the next time a camera clicks and you’re not ready for the shot, you can say “Hey!” unsolicitedly. You’ll be surprised afterwards to see yourself almost smiling in the photo, with mouth open, though unintentionally. But at least it’s close to smiling. Though not that pretty. But then again, who cares?

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Daguerrotype of author Henry David Thoreau
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Dutch painting of a smiling woman
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from “The Smiling Victorian”
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from “The Smiling Victorian”
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Ambrotype of a smiling man, 1860s
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from “The Smiling Victorian”
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Photo credits: All photos are grabbed from the internet.

Author’s note:

This article was shared 26 times on Facebook with its old domain name. Too bad for the author, those “appreciation badges” were gone with the old blog name. BLNT.

 

© Camille de Pano, 2016

The skies are dismal and seem to conspire

the farewell of sun and return of dusk

Heavy-laden clouds are caught in fire

And all things under their feet become dust

© Camille de Pano, 2016

I didn’t have my New Year’s Resolution, though.

I have to be blunt: New Year’s Resolution stuffs are too mainstream. That’s much of a fad for the scumbags and phonies (allow me to introduce my mean side). But aye, these so-called I-have-to-change-cos-it’s-new-year and new-year-new-life are meant to all go down the drain. Often, if not always.

So because I deem resolutions as “the thing of the crowd”, I don’t want that. I want to simply talk about what changed before the new year was out of the corner of our eyes. With no filters of pretention and hypocrisy, I want to talk about my personal transformation. After all, we, humans, mostly believe in something that has already transpired, rather than things that are yet envisioned. 

People. They’ve always wanted something realistic, something tangible in realm. So no matter how you try to suffuse them with your honest to goodness approach, they would just not succumb to that. Well, except for the genuine and the pure in heart. Oh, and the brave-hearted too.

In lieu of that reality, I have changed my ways of becoming obsequious to the shenanigans of untrue people. And I say that with conviction. From being thin-skinned who was innocent and servile to almost everyone who doesn’t even deserve an ounce of my respect, I became aware that the world is not for the soft-hearted. With all the selfishness, judgment, pride, and unforgiving nature of people, one should be brave and confident enough to stand their ground. It is the survival of the fittest, ultimately.

I have also learned how to be skeptical of people- that is, not to trust anyone so easily. In this generation where competition, envy, and misdemeanor are rampant, one should not be all-out in giving confidence and trust especially if the people around you are jealous of your own disposition, status, and ideals. 

Experience has taught me to not let anyone look down on me, or trample me down. It is true that we have to be humble. But I believe being meek is different from being stupid and ignorant.

I have also known how to have a self-effacing attitude, that I don’t have to brag about what I have, but let my triumph tell others of my perseverance and courage. I have learned when to be silent and when to talk. I have known how to be happy, and sad, and angry, without the risk of jeopardizing my own happiness.

Objectivity is also my new language. I don’t let my emotions get hold of me; I choose when to be affectionate and sympathetic, and when to be authoritative and assertive. It all depends. When the situation goads me to act, I respond according to what I know is the best thing to do. Not according to what is easy to do. Those are two different things.

Mind over matter.

A byword as it may seem, but I have known how to live without the goal of pleasing other people. I say what I need to say, I do what I need to do. If it takes pain to portray love, then so be it. Rather than omitting pain but just showing a masquerade of affection.

I live and let live. I do not meddle with other people’s lives. We’re all grown-ups. We’re supposed to know what are permissible and what are actually beneficial in life. But I still care. Especially if it’s my family, my loved one, and others that I love whom we’re talking about.

Finally and most importantly, I have discovered more of the omnipotence and might of God. Throughout all these years and amidst all of these changes, God remained faithful to me. His grace for me is overflowing, that even if I am not deserving of His love, He still chose to love me. “His kindness has led me to repentance.”

In the process of these changes in me and my life, there’s also one person who has taught me of the things that I now live out. This person is one of the many blessings that I received in the year that went by. This man, who is a man of value, courage, wisdom, and faith, has turned my loneliness into gladness and my incompleteness to fulfillment. He is the man whom God appointed to be my soon-to-be lifetime partner, confidant, brother, and best friend. Without him, I would not realise the things that have now enlightened me. You know it’s you, the love of my life, who has changed me for the better. Thank you for a year of a lifetime. 

All these changes would not be possible because of God, because of Jesus. Change is a painstaking and tedious process, but God assured me that it would all be for the better. I know this transformation will help me view the world as only my temporary home, for my eternal residence is in heaven with the Lord. And yes, everything shall come to pass but the enduring love of the Lord will never end.

Now I have the right to say that I didn’t have a New Year’s Resolution. These resolves were accomplished without my intentions beforehand. Change is spontaneous. Sometimes almost unexpected. Withal, I am grateful and now braver.

Cheers to 2016 and all the years ahead!
© Camille de Pano, 2016