I’ve always wondered what the past tense or past participle of the word “back-bite” is. I mean, it’s obviously a verb because there’s “back-biting” but then “back-bit” or “back-bitten” feels a little strange in my mouth.
I don’t like that term because of the immediate negative connotation. So, for purposes of personal preferences, let’s avoid that word, shall we?
I’ve always considered talking about others as my worst habit—just a few places above my compulsive need to correct people and car-narcolepsy. I’m not oblivious to how terrible it is (and doesn’t that just make it even more terrible?). I push back the bad taste in my mouth with a barrage of excuses. I’d comfort myself by thinking it’s the truth said out loud or by constantly reiterating that it’s a “rumor” so gossiping is a given or by reminding myself that other people do it too. The worst excuse? Hiding my insecurities behind them.
I know that right about now you’re thinking I’m the most horrible person in the planet. I’m not even going to go as far as saying that really I’m not because really, everyone does it, really (but if you’re already thinking that, then go ahead, I’m not going to stop you). But please hold that impression, I’m not as awful as you think. I have SOME redeeming values—I make a mean mushroom gravy and I can do the Macarena.
Let me stop for a minute. I need a little time to remind myself that this is not, in any case, a defense paper on the benefits of talking negatively about other people behind their backs. This is, in fact, an apology.
Two days ago I was truly hurt when I learned that someone has been saying not-so-nice things about me. This someone is a person I barely know, who barely knows me, and whom I’ve spoken less than 10 words to in my entire 20-year-life. I don’t contest what that person said. There is some truth there. I admit that I’m not the neatest person—my hair has a life of its own and I have a lot of allergies that inappropriately manifest on my face. However, I take pride in my unkemptness since I always aim for people to look past the physical. Unfortunately, two days ago, I also learned that that was too big to ask in a world that is, again unfortunately, much too busy fumbling over the exterior to even bother checking further. That’s a different, longer thesis all together, though.
My immediate reaction was: how dare that person judge me based on a few encounters and probably Facebook (I actually checked my photos and the most yaya-looking ones were definitely during the Ondoy season. I wish I remembered to check my reflection in the mirror before helping out… nah). After a few moments of being mad and maybe a lot of tears, I stopped myself from cussing my guts out. The fact that I was just like that person hit me like a big red truck slamming into a blinded cat on the highway. It would be hypocritical to pretend to be better, especially since I’m very much aware of my share of judging. So, as much as I want to, I can’t bring myself to box that person based on one nasty comment; I’m sure that person has many redeeming qualities, too—very deep down.
To the almost-stranger who, accidentally, made me a stronger and, hopefully, a better person, thank you. For the nth time, I still can’t do the whole “ayos”-thing but what I got from you was even more valuable. I’m sincerely sorry for the childish emotional display two posts below.
Though, if you reread it, I really didn’t say anything about you so you have nothing to feel bad about. In a bizarre twist, you made me realize that I cannot assert myself through other people no matter what. Like Eleanor Roosevelt said, no one can make us feel inferior without our consent. Groundless or not, we are not given the privilege to bring anyone down just so we could boost our esteem. That’s a personal conflict only we can fix by ourselves.
Okay, so maybe I’m not beautiful (I never pretended to be), but even if I’m not as pretty as you, I’m still surrounded with a lot of good people who care and love me despite my unruly hair. I pray you are too. And I hope that somehow, when you said what you said, you managed to make yourself feel a little better just so the effort wasn’t in vain. 😀
Going back to “back-biting,” I should e-mail the editors of Merriam-Webster (who seem to have nothing better to do than to add new words to the dictionary everyday) that maybe they should reconsider the definition for this wicked term. Maybe it should mean biting back anything negative that comes to mind. Just a suggestion.
To anyone reading this post who’s feeling tired or upset, I find that flowers make things… brighter. Here’s a flower for you just to cheer you out of your sadness. I’m sorry if they’re “digitally cheap” but the thought remains. I was feeling particularly somber earlier but after looking at flowers in Google images, my day is already making a turn for the better. 😀 I hope this small gesture will do the same for you.
BTW, these roses are as ridiculously beautiful as their price. There are amazing roses at SM stores that fare for like P500 for 20. They come in soft shades of pink, purple, yellow, and red. I’ve never seen those colors on roses before (since I’m partial to whites) and they’re simply breathtaking (plus they’re cheap and I’m always for economizing)!