The Sunbaked King

Twitterless

What is it that compels us to Tweet? What drives us to state, in 140 characters or less, the minute happenings of the day, the smallest thoughts that cross our mind?

The Twitter phenomenon (or Plurk phenomenon, if you insist) can be considered as an interesting development in the realm of interpersonal relationships in particular, and poses as a more astounding leap when looked as a societal movement in general. What was once text messaging between people who know each other has been amplified to a bigger level. With Twitter, you can broadcast yourself to the world (that sounds like a YouTube slogan, but it fits), with almost no limits as to who can receive your updates, and no boundaries as to what your issues are going to be like. It’s like blogging in bite-sized, easy-to-digest pieces.

The wonderful thing about Twitter is that it allows you as much leeway as you want in expressing yourself, but at the same time provides you with enough protection so that you don’t put yourself out there as much. In other words, it’s a public avenue for people who wish to remain private. Consider celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Ryan Seacrest, Ellen DeGeneres, and the American Idol lads. Why has Twitter become so popular with them? It’s because they can maintain their public image (update their fans with their latest gigs, the type of tea they like, or whether they think so-and-so is an ass) without letting the public come too close to them. There’s always that “Block” link, and there’s always the option of reading the Tweets at your own sweet leisurely time.

But of course those are celebrities. They are almost required to be forever present; it’s their job, after all. But what about us? What drives us to Tweet?

Could it be driven by a celebrity complex that we all innately have? With Twitter, you are the star of your own page. The limelight is on you. You can be criticized, but you are shielded by the physical distance and the barrier afforded by a computer screen. As long as the protections are in place, you, yes, you, can update your “fans” with whatever you think is relevant. Because you think you are relevant.

Could it be dictated by a need to reach out to people? As far as societal movements go, “no man is an island” is still pretty much applicable, and this may drive our need to express ourselves to both friends and virtual strangers. Which is probably why the quality of details don’t matter. You can broadcast your lunch, the little incident in the elevator, or what you overheard in a cafe, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that these details exist. There is a sense of security in knowing that there’s a probability that people know that you are out there, somewhere.

DUM DEE DAH. DUM DEE DOOP.

I have been Twitterless for the most part during the past few days because my mobile phone bill each month threatened to swallow me whole. Now, I Tweet nights when I get home, on my laptop. Which sort of defeats the entire purpose of Tweeting, because really, Tweets are meant to be on-the-go, or at the very least, sent on a regular basis.

If there’s one thing I realized with this exercise in Twitter reduction, it’s this: I don’t really miss it. Whatever symptoms of withdrawal I feared I may encounter with my conscious decision to disconnect from the Twitterverse did not happen. There were no misty eyes, no shortage of breath, no tempting pull to whip out my phone and blast the world with my updates.

I guess not all phenomena are intended for everyone. I guess relevancy and security can be taken somewhere else. And I guess there’s really no need to ask myself each time:

What are you doing?

Filed under: Mindlifting, Them

I Am Not Who You Think I Am

I am human.

I am flawed.

You cannot impose an identity on me, because the boy that you think you know, you really don’t know very well. What you have in your mind is an Ideal. That Ideal is not me; I am Imperfection.

Cease to pin traits that I do not have. I am neither as intelligent, nor as responsible, nor as happy, nor as nurturing, nor as good-natured as the person you have envisioned me to be. First impressions, while characteristically positive, do not last and shouldn’t. Facades, while innately appealing, must be ignored.

This is for you who voted me vice-president back in second grade. This is for you who elected me group leader in the fourth. This is for you who persuaded me to join trivia contests. This is for you who coached me in math. This is for you who paid me for calculus tutorials. This is for you who fed me when I was hungry. This is for you who lent me money when I had none. This is for you who gave me gifts to show you care. This is for you who trusted. This is for you who loved.

Do not consider this a pity party. I am not fishing for compliments, I am not looking for sympathy. I am simply stating the truth. And the truth is this: I am not who you think I am. It is unwise to think otherwise.

Expectations can only lead to sadness.

Filed under: Ra, Them, Untamed, Utter Sadness

Another Blast from Another Past

You. Yes, you. Listen to me, and listen to me well. This is perhaps the only time I’m going to address this directly, so listen.

You fucked up my life again and again in the course of a single year. That much is clear. That much you acknowledge. You took away my innocence when you saw that I was weak; you destroyed the fairy tale life I had made for myself. I didn’t even see it coming, not really. The manipulation was too subtle, the mindfuck was too disguised to recognize. But you succeeded in your seduction. You got me. You almost owned me. Except I was never yours.

I stood up to you when I finally got out of the emotional trap you’d set for me. I broke free in the most unthinkable way possible. Confrontation had never been my thing; convenience was. But I did it. I finally saw the people who really mattered, and in the process, realized how much I’ve sacrificed them for you. I was stupid, and I was sorry. For myself and for my actions, for those who I’ve hurt and for those who I left behind.

When the dust settled and the drama was over, I regained my old life back. I didn’t forget about you, because forgetting would make me defenseless should things happen again. But pretty much soon you just became a floating memory, a topic of conversation reserved for intimate moments with special friends.

You came back two years ago, asking me how I was. The tone of your message was almost jovial, like we were already friends. We were not. Was it that too far into the future since the past happened? I didn’t think so, so I ignored you.

A year later, you messaged me again. The message was longer. The message was more sober. You asked me if I was still mad at you. You asked me if I could forgive the past. Was I still mad? Not really. Was I ready to forgive? Maybe I was. But in the end, I thought of my friends, and chose to ignore you.

Two hours ago, I received another message. This was thrice as long as the last one you sent. You still have not forgotten. If it’s possible, this was even more serious than the last one. You acknowledged the fact that you screwed up with my life. You apologized for the hurt. You said you regretted all the wrong that you have done. And after you said all these things, you hoped that we could be friends again, that we could start over.

This is where things become complicated.

I do not wish to ignore you again. I want to believe that you’re sincere. I have changed in the course of how many years, and I am certain you have, too. That is not the entire point. The issues are these: will my acceptance mean that I would have to sacrifice the trust of another? Will this be a betrayal of a decision I made years ago? Will I be opening myself up again for a world of hurt?

As long as these questions remain unanswered, I will simply just have to ignore you once again. Way to transition from Good Friday to Black Saturday, though. Way to go.

Filed under: Them, Untamed

100 Words

heaven + ground + storm + archuleta + happening + rejection + pasok + flapjacks + forgotten + incredible + california + hermit + games + good + journey + taipan + cows + single + knight + kaban + sunday + boob + four + wall + aisle + august + tomb + chris + iphone + entry + history + sassy + wall-e + birthday + way + breakfast + clone + sumosam + study + darkness + competition + poem + jacques + death + coffee + eavesdropping + contented + corollary + catch + atenista + eagle + embers + other + recovery + melancholia + retreat + one + sidebar + thunder + q + hush + coat + waltz + letters + exam + know + family + musical + incomprehensible + leche + minutes + comeback + comeback + universe + blast + joke + brothers + yearend + series + 2008 + 2009 + goodbye + forgotten + sing + united + nations + avenue + honeymoon + american + hopeless + rest + idol + night + honors + honesty + hot + half-empty + hee + hope + 100 =

100 posts in 100 words.

I’ve gone a long way, and there’s no sign of stopping.

I will never tire of writing.

Filed under: ...And Others, Being Blue, Bibliomania, Cinema, Domesticated, Eros, Fiction, Yes?, Gadgetry, Gastronomy, Geekery, Helios, Mindlifting, Ra, Rat Race, Sunshine, Testimonial, The Couch Potato, Them, TV, Untamed, Utter Joy, Utter Sadness, Vanity, Yearend

Honesty

I don’t want to apologize for things that I shouldn’t be apologetic about. Not anymore.

I don’t want to apologize for being able to afford the things that I buy. In the same manner, I don’t want to have to explain my purchases to others, just because they think it’s extravagant of me to buy this, when I could have bought that. Well, I don’t want that. I want this. The only people who are entitled to comment on my spending are those who are directly affected by it, and those who are truly concerned. I worked hard to earn that money, and I am free to do with it as I please.

I don’t want to apologize for not displaying my religious zeal. I don’t want people shoving their religiosity in my face, either. Fine, I get it, you go to church and I don’t. That doesn’t mean you’re immediately going to heaven, and that doesn’t mean I’m immediately going to hell. Was it Daniel or Elijah who prayed in private? If there’s a need for you to parade your good heart and kind soul in order to feel good about yourself, to make the religious thing worth it, then you’re not doing a damn good job yourself.

I don’t want to apologize for talking like I make sense. I don’t want to engage in conversations where I have to stoop down and look dumb so that others can feel good about themselves. I want to discuss things at my level. If you out-talk me, if you have more outstanding ideas than I do, if you explain your points more clearly, then I will positively adore you. I will try my best to drive my points across, but kudos for being brilliant.

I don’t want to apologize for being good at what I do. I don’t want to feel embarrassed at the praises which come my way, especially if I think I deserve them. I’m being an ass if I accept compliments that are not mine to have, but I believe that I’m being more of an ass by blowing off those that are clearly attributable to me. Humility is one thing, and has a rightful place in the overall development of a successful person, but false modesty? That will just get your butt kicked every time.

I don’t want to apologize for wanting to live a life that is mine. Yes, that is vague on so many different levels, and sounds very Memoirs of a Geisha to boot, but that’s the only way I can word it. I don’t want to be trapped by society’s perception on who I should be and how I should behave. I don’t want to be trapped by the preconceived notions of others. I don’t want to be trapped into a place where I could do nothing but act out a role that I did not want to portray in the first place. Let. Me. Be.

If the statements I wrote above rang false, I apologize. If the statements I wrote above grossly exaggerate, I apologize. But you know what? I won’t apologize for actually thinking that they’re not false, that they’re not exaggerated.

This is a trap I have to escape out of. This is a self I need to renew. The time for a new Kerwin is now.

Filed under: Ra, Them, Untamed, Vanity

Hush

You’ve heard of this before, probably in the form of a reprimand from your elders: there are certain things that one should not talk about in a public setting. Especially during lunch. Debatoids like whether you should squat or sit on the toilet seat, factoids like the color of your stool, and newstasoids like the latest scientific developments on the excretory system are indeed best discussed at the proper venue and at the proper time. It’s one thing to be open-minded, and it’s another thing to be uncouth.

But it’s yet another thing to be judgmental.

For the sake of argument, consider these two questions:

1. What is ‘public setting’ in the first place? Is it public when you’re around strangers? Is it public when you’re not in an enclosed space? 
2.  Is the acceptability of a topic contingent on the open-mindedness of its audience? In other words, is any topic an acceptable one when deemed as such by those who hear it?

The lines between taboo and ‘fair talk’ have blurred more rapidly during the last ten years than in the last one hundred. As the world shrunk more and more because of modernity, cultural differences grew more and more familiar. With familiarity came acceptance, and with acceptance came respect. At the very least, the world became more tolerant.

Unfortunately, tolerance is such a flimsy word tossed around by those who really cannot tolerate; abused by those who are filled with irrational hate; and used as a convenient facade by those with double standards. Whoever said that “Familiarity breeds contempt” saw this other side of the social trend. Instead of gaining an appreciation for someone with a different mindset, a localized form of xenophobia comes into play and rejects the person entirely.

Does this sound so freakishly similar to censorship?

You should not feel the need to bend your beliefs, just solely because your mindset is an unpopular one. If you are convinced of the truthfulness of your views, you should find no reason to feel pressured to change them. Others may condemn out of spite; these should be ignored. Others may comment out of the need to enlighten; these should be considered. If, in the process of discerning, your worldview retains its logic, its validity, its appeal, then commit to it. The haters will be banging their drums soundlessly against the fortress that is your mind.

I realize that this is a massive soapbox I’m standing on, but I have to say my piece. Now I’ll step down and hush.

Filed under: Mindlifting, Them, Untamed