A Letter of Apology to People Who Have Seen My Selfies

Dear Selfie-Loather,

I hope this letter finds you well. I am sorry for any spelling mistakes I may commit as I am typing in a dark room, with only the monitor of my laptop to serve as my light. I fight the urge to turn on the camera and take a photo of myself as it would defeat the purpose of this note. Let me begin by saying I am sorry. I am sorry for flooding your timeline with self portraits that not even my mother likes to view on a regular basis.

It started out innocently, as a way to have a profile photo on the now-defunct Friendster. What started out as a need to be identified among the bazillion site users turned into an obsession on finding out which angle is more flattering. The advent of camphones and faster internet access only exacerbated the situation. I was just one of the many college students who updated her social media profile more than she was poring over her readings of Habermas and Marcuse. Around the same time that I registered for my sophomore classes, I also registered for Multiply and quickly filled my profile with albums of about twenty photos each dedicated to me, myself, and I. Other friends labeled their albums “Vanity” while I stuck to the more chic-sounding “C’est Moi”. As sophisticated as the album was named, there was nothing cosmopolitan about the so-called random shots taken in the bathroom, on the soccer field, and in front of the clothesline. Yet I did not think I was offending anybody since nearly everyone I knew (or at least everyone on my friends list) was doing it too. It is with this mindset that our selfie obsession survived the shutting down of both Friendster and Multiply (may the rest in peace) and trickled to Facebook and Instagram. Then again, trickle is too mild a term to describe the onslaught of photos on social networking sites. Suddenly, everyone’s face is online and there is no shortage of captions/excuses that accompany it. Breakfast? Flight out of town? Manic Monday at the office? If it happened, then there’s a selfie to document it. I am guilty of doing all these, I just draw the line at posting photos of my new haircut. Does that mean I’m better than anyone else? Not at all.

See, selfie-hater, the tendency to take photos of ourselves is a habit that we have inculcated in the past seven years or so. Oxford Dictionaries crowned selfie as word of the year and it’s only a matter of time before the National Mental Health Association classifies it as a compulsion. We have angled our heads just so and pursed our lips ever so slightly many times already that we can do it with our eyes closed and without a front-facing camera. This does not mean that we do not understand your angst against cam-whoring. Believe me, I have hovered the mouse pointer over the unfriend button as many times as you have scoffed at my duck face poses (and while we’re at it, I’m calling out guys on their scrunch face or “sungit looks”. Ikinagwapo niyo yan?). I just did not know how irritating selfies were until I signed up for Instagram. I guess seeing it in a different platform just made me realize that everyone has a saturation point, even when it comes to pictures of pretty people. I promptly deleted the lone selfie on my IG after that.

So please, accept my sincerest apologies for all the times you were treated to an unfiltered photo of my BB-creamed face. I know how you feel and if I can only turn back time to shield you from my self-promoting photos, I would.

Sincerely,

Pamby

P.S.

This does not mean I will never ever post a selfie again, though. The minute I get rock-hard abs, you can be certain that it’s going on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and my mother’s planner so please consider yourself warned.

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Yes Joshua, There Is A Santa Claus

We were at the mall and he was asking me to buy him something. I told him I will check if the budget will allow it. He then said it does not matter, he will just ask Santa to give it to him this Christmas.

I lightly chuckled and told him Santa does not exist, that he was a character made popular by people to so that they would have a cute symbolism for consumerism. My son stomped his foot and told me that Santa did exist and that he would get him the toy he wanted for Christmas. I was just about to issue a retort when Aaron reminded me that I was arguing with a preschooler and that he was probably too young for my lessons on reality. I told Aaron if they are old enough to ask or make assumptions, then they are old enough to know.

Turns out my tyke did not just get my eyes, he also got my stubbornness. In no uncertain terms he told me that whatever words I use, he still chooses to believe in Santa. I was fuming on the ride back home. My dislike for Santa comes from my belief in the principle of giving credit where credit is due. It just did not seem fair to me that a fictional figure gets all the gratitude when in fact it was the parents’ hard-earned money that bought the gift. But then I look at my son and his furrowed eyebrows and I see we were seeing Santa Claus from two very different perspectives. Me as the mother whose wallet would be opening up for his gift of choice and he as the kid who wanted to believe in something, anything. I could not believe how petty I was being. I guess I was not as tolerant of other’s people beliefs as I thought I was. Briefly, I had a flashback of my five year old self insisting to my mother that my lesbian aunt was indeed a man. Exasperated as she was, my mother kept explaining that biologically my Aunt Bobot was born a woman but had the “heart” of a man. I was too young to comprehend it and at that time, the simplest explanation appealed to me. Mama had all the time in the world to argue with me but she told me “Fine, if that is what you want to believe right now.”

I asked Josh one last time, “Gusto mo talagang maniwala kay Santa?” (“Do you really want to believe in Santa?”) and he nodded. I kissed the top of his head and decided to let the argument go. Maybe when he is a little bit older, I might open the topic for discussion again – that is, if he has not figured out the truth for himself. For now though, I will give him this. After all, this is just a preview of the things to come when he becomes a teenager and begins to form his own set of beliefs. There will be times I would have to step back and let him think for himself. So long as he does not choose to run off with a cult or harbor hatred for those who believe in other things, I should be at peace with his decisions.

Yes Joshua, there is a Santa Claus. A tooth fairy even. They can be married to each other if you want to. And somewhere in between the lair of the Sandman and the land of Oz lives a wizard who just cast a spell on your rigid mother so that she would be more tolerant and patient with her little prince.