Writing is most difficult when you are still on the crest of those emotions that make it necessary for you to do just that --- to write. Put down your thoughts, solidify the sensations with words and hopefully understand what you are feeling --- why you are feeling this way --- what what you can do with these emotional explosions.
In a single week, both heart and mind are shaken.
Two boys --- one a minor and the other a strapping lad representing the best of what is possible that life can offer --- were shown on livestream television exhibiting unusual intimacy and physical contact. All these were captured, frozen in photographs and replayed as videos in social media --- emphasizing the fact that two beautiful boys were huddled together under a blanket, hugging each other and holding hands.
The audience could not help but drink a gallon full of malice.
In the same week, a fifteen year old girl --- the daughter of two of the most talented, intelligent and beautiful actors any man of theater and media would be privileged to work with --- ended her own life on a rainy Tuesday night. She too was a young actress --- starting out her career and proving that the law of genetics really worked. In that crowded universe of wannabe stars, she was an actress who did not depend on physical beauty to warrant her popularity.
She was her parents' daughter --- and she killed herself.
And before the week ended, the internet (again) exploded with the video of yet another young actress. She is only twelve years old (I cannot emphasize that enough! ) and yet the minute and a half or so of material that was posted in social media showed her doing things that a fragile little girl like her should not be doing much less on video.
Why did she do this? What was in her mind when she took that gadget, pressed the record button and started doing all these things to herself? Why did she need to record this for posterity or who did she think was her audience for such incriminating material?
Yes, she was of that age of curiosity and experimentation and whatever. But to see her in that context was, to say the least ---
painful. Painful and humiliating.
It was the same pain as realizing that these two boys holding hands and looking at each other's eyes did not know what the public in that great outside world is now saying about them. Whether these were innocent acts of camaraderie or something that their resident psychologist can explain in so many sentences, the verdict of the public was very clear. Parents watching the show were appalled. Others were alarmed. The less deciphering found this to be a punch line for humiliating the two boys with all sorts of accusations and name-calling.
Of course there was no means of controlling what netizens will record or "screen-capture" from livestream --- but still: the very fact that you put two boys under this situation and left them vulnerable to public judgment is the responsibility of some adult out there. After all ... one of these boys is twelve years old too, for God's sake. Twelve years old!
In media where perception is everything --- and you are made to believe what you see without questioning how you got to view what you are watching --- thoughts are reshaped according to the dictates of what we receive and accept.
Sadly, we are so quick to pre-judge, foist our moral superiority. Then we feel appalled by the reactions from other citizens of the worldwide web who say that there was nothing wrong. There was no sense of violation of showing two boys fondling each other because of the narrowmindedness of the public, the archaic way of thinking and, as a friend said, "Ganyan talaga ang mga bata."
There is that fear that age has completely detached you from reality. Maybe it is true. Ganyan na talaga ang mga bata. Maybe reality shows are meant to disturb and shock --- and that what can be seen in other countries can be far more appalling. Call us conservative. Call us .. well, Filipinos.
Despite all our claims of globalization and opening our minds to the tenets of other cultures, there are still limitations we set to our worldview because we are who we are. And that is what makes us what we have become.
And then we ask ourselves, Ganyan nga ba talaga ang mga bata? At what point in our lives did we lose touch or locked out from their worlds and minds?
Many of us weep for these teen-age suicides.
Just a few months back, a young boy --- also possessing such great promise and unquestionably armed with superior potential --- was scolded and supposedly humiliated by a school authority figure for what was deemed as intellectual dishonesty. The boy could not handle the pressure as well as the degradation --- and killed himself.
It is too easy for others to pass judgment not only on the boy but also the parents. But they --- the all too quick to judge public ---- do not understand the pain. No, they can never understand the pain that parents have to carry when their children kill themselves especially at a very young age.
That was why ... more than shock and sympathy ... there are those of us who feel anger. Great, deep and throbbing anger.
There are those of us who feel violated because there is this generation that seemed to have completely forgotten the value of their lives ... the temporary lease given to human existence to so easily use suicide as a way out.
It is not even about the code of honor to save face or dignity in the Samurai sense --- but simply because it is a way out. And it is cool to do so. The thought is sick --- but what is sicker is why the kids have reached that point to think that jumping off a building or using all their creativity to end their lives --- can be so romantic and ...cool. There are those of us who weep because of the sheer intensity of our anger.
We are even more infuriated by the thought that we did not reach out to them. Was there a chance that we could have prevented an act of self destruction if we only opened our eyes and ears and minds to the signals they were sending us? Or did they even want us to know what was going on in their minds?
We blame ourselves for what they have become because we did not exert enough effort to understand them.
Yes, they are different --- these milennials with their sense of entitlement, their need for instant gratification, their restlessness, their materialism, their need to be ahead, ahead, ahead ...only to realize that they are running on a treadmill, panting with nowhere to go.
We blame ourselves because we think we did not love them enough --- but the question is: in this IPod, smart phone plugged-in texting generation, do they love themselves enough?
We weep at that thought too ... and blame ourselves for not understanding who they are because we have made them that way.
No one of sound mind could stand more than three seconds of that video attributed without substantial proof to a 12 year old TV actress.
We do not understand the perverse mind who spread it --- and why this video even exists in the first place.
We again cry for the kids --- asking ourselves: Why do they do these things to themselves? Do they not know the risks? Do they not realize how one moment of indiscretion ... of a very, very bad decision ... can completely shatter their lives?
Something has to be done.
We cannot be adults enough if we cannot institute some kind of change even from our own personal levels. We simply cannot mope and bemoan the situation then tell the Universe that the End Days are coming and let us all prepare for the self-destruct mode.
We must do something.
We should listen. We should not merely hear but we must listen.
It is useless to scream at kids, castigate them and foist righteousness --- but we must listen. And understand.
Even if we are bleeding for them, we must have the moral fortitude to assure them that in this confused, self-destructive world --- there is still right and wrong.
There is nothing romantic about suicide. There is nothing wrong with love ... but there is everything wrong with being exploited for and by it. And there are people who care ... who still care.
We have to reassure the children that we love them. They can be what they want to be as long as they understand that we are there to tell them what else they can become.
We will always love them in spite, despite and because of the cries we never heard.
Because our tears are also falling ... and the children do not seem to see that either.