Thursday, August 5, 2010
What Did You Say?
(pic c/o this site)
What Did You Say?
Lj T. Salceda
Name it and I’ve probably been called by it- pangit (ugly), Agta (comparing me to the native people with darker complexion), Britney Spears with a frog in her throat (describing my singing voice), snake (when someone saw the patches and scales on my legs) and just recently immodest (because I was wearing an off-shoulder t-shirt). The rest will get a PG-13 or PG-18 rating from MTRCB so I wouldn't even include them here.
It’s not new to me. Being called names, criticized, bullied, being the butt of jokes have all been part of my childhood and even my adult life. I used to hide and cry to deal with them, but I’ve learned to laugh them off or sometimes I “join ‘em” since it’s futile to beat them.
It hurts me. Who wouldn’t be? I would be a hypocrite not to admit that. There are times when I still want to lash out or to get back to whoever is saying mean things about me no matter how true they are. I am after all every inch a human. It’s only been lately that I’ve learned to stand up and toughen up. Not violently though. When I say toughen up, I try to explain to people "you might mean well, but the way you said things was painful to me. I wish you’d do it in a nice way next time especially if we’re not close or since you don’t know much about me." Or if I’m close I make “bara” (colloquial: answer back jokingly.)
No excuses, I am as guilty as everyone else. A year ago, while a friend and I were fixing ourselves inside the ladies room in preparation for our hosting job, I told her there’s something different with the way one of the back-up singers look. My friend told me, that’s because she had something done on her face. And I without much thinking blurted out, “Oh that’s why she looks like a gay!” Uh oh... Too late. My intention was not to bash gays (I have the highest respect for them) or to even derogatorily compare her to gays. What I meant was the cosmetic procedure highlighted her masculine features and made her look altered and not in an aesthetically pleasing way. That wasn’t even the worst part. Before I could explain what I said, an old lady came out from one of the cubicles and gave me an “I’ve-heard-what-you-just-said-missy-look.” I didn’t need to put much blush on on my cheeks because I was red all over. So I learned the hard and embarrassing way that night.
As an announcer and a writer words are part of my day and my life. Sans them I couldn’t even think what life would be like. This page will be blank. Airwaves will just be airwaves without radios or TV’s. No magazines, no songs, no SMS, no prayers, no phone calls, no movies and no Pinoy Henyo. We could draw and paint pictures to communicate but that would take a long time. We could dance with just beats and no lyrics but that would be too taxing. We could mime, point with our lips, use facial expressions or even whistle to communicate but would you really do those everyday, your entire life?
Words – the ability to form and use them, the gift of expression, the extension of one’s self – these are all blessings. You don’t need to have my job to know how important and powerful words are. Let’s use them wisely and responsibly.
(I also wrote a short devotional article about handling criticisms in the Recharge book published by ICI and APMM. Available at NBS branches and Christian bookstores.)