MANILA, Philippines -- When I was a child and I made a wish, I wished only for myself. Other people did not concern me. I had the whole world for my playground and I could always play somewhere else.
As I grew up, I learned about selfishness and egocentrism. I junked my childish wishes, dismissing them as selfish wishes.
When I was young and I made promises, I did so even if I was not sure that I could keep them. Broken promises wouldn't do me any harm, I thought. But as I grew up, I learned about honor. I made promises that I could keep since then, and I have kept the promises I made.
When I was a child, I thought I was good. I grew up and realized that I was working simply on Freud's id.
I realize that I was not really that bad as a child, though I was not perfect either. But one thing I'm sure of is that I was better as a child than what I am today. And I could have been better if I had only outgrown the things that made a child immature but kept the things that made him innocent.
So I resolved to relearn some of the skills inherent in a child, some of the things I learned as a child, and some of the things I gave up as I grew up.
I want to learn to say no again, and say it firmly. I wish to say no again without explanations.
While growing up, I learned that there are some things to which we cannot say no. My mistake was to think that we had to say yes to everything we do not say no to. Luckily, before everybody came asking me for favors, I had Ella Enchanted's epiphany and I started to question the gift of obedience.
I wish to know how it feels to tell the spontaneous truth again, and not lie for once. I remember the old joke where a child was asked, "Where is your mother?" His answer was: "Sabi po niya wala daw siya (She wants me to tell you that she's not here)." Sometimes, I feel that adults are so careful about everything they say and they make a conscious effort to say only the things that the world wants to hear.
I would love to be a child again and say all the things I feel like saying, whenever I feel like saying it and wherever I feel like saying it, without ever having to think about how it sounds, how it would be accepted, or if it would ever be accepted.
I wish to regain my simple understanding of the world. I want to forget that I am part of this problematic world, that it is problematic and that it is my obligation to do something about it. I imagine believing yet again that what I see is the correct order of things, that what I see is normal.
Every time I see bullets being fired or bombs being dropped, I wish to look at the scene through the eyes of a child and comfort myself with the thought that those who are dead were bad people, that God punishes bad people, and that they deserved to die.
I wish to cry again without ever explaining why. Actually, I still cry without explanation sometimes. It doesn't look good, but it feels good. I want to cry without people asking me why. I want to cry without seeing the kind of look on other people's faces that says it's odd for me to be crying at my age or I'm too old to do such a stupid thing.
I wish to do stupid things again. Sometimes I want to live without reason. In the adult world we live in, everything is governed by reason and in effect, by questions. Why live? Why love? Why kill? Why be killed? Why die? Why be happy?
The world is constricted by reason. Instead of living in a vast world of choices--stupid, happy choices--what we see is a road which we are all expected to follow. I try as much as I can to stray from that direction. I do not wish to find myself in a fork in the road where I have to choose which path to take. I have always thought it best to lose direction. Then I would be breaking a new path instead of choosing from two diverging roads. The latter, I believe is the true definition of being lost.
I wish to go back to the time when I could go anywhere in the spirit of adventure, believing that I can always go back when I find that my anywhere leads to woe or nowhere at all. I hate living for some known purposes sometimes. I hate reaching for already-envisioned goals.
Oftentimes, I close my eyes and grieve over the fact that the world has become dysfunctional on account of the concept of rewards and punishments. People do something for other people only because they will benefit from it. People do not do things to other people only because they think they will be punished if they do. I also hate the fact that the only thing I am capable of doing is to close my eyes and grieve over a much lamented fact, and wishing things would change when I open my eyes again.
I want to be a child again so that I can make-believe that I am superman, that I am invincible and that I can change the world. Yes, I wish to believe that I can change the world.
I admit that the world has filled me with cynicism. I am cynical, and I survive because of it. I find it odd that other people claim to have survived because of hope and faith, because I believe I live because I have ceased hoping and believing.
I gave up my hopes because if I still hoped today, I would die of frustration tomorrow.
But I wish that I were a child again so that I would have enough hope in me so that if today I died of frustration, tomorrow I would simply hope to live again--and perhaps hope again tomorrow.
Kim Arveen M. Patria, 17, is a BS Chemical Engineering student at the University of the Philippines in Diliman.
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