Over and over again, I encounter my lesson of setting boundaries and asserting myself.
It had become even so much more pronounced when I returned to the Philippines, my country of origin, in 2010. It was after a four-year sojourn in Northern California where I had the best years of my life thus far.
One of the reasons — one of the many reasons — was I was so much free to be myself without anyone giving any malice to my behavior, especially my friendliness and being such a free spirit.
Yes, I am living now in the seaside, a ‘secret’ dream I’ve had since I was a young teenager.
Yes, I am living a dream life, a life of my dreams — a life that many could only dream of living but not quite actually living it.
So, yes, I am not forgetting or overlooking that I have so much to be thankful for.
But I continue to face one of the most difficult — and annoying I will admit — challenges in living in this country.
A couple of years ago, I wrote about this topic lengthily.
I have already said then that the gift, the growth opportunity for me is to be a master in self-assertion.
I would keep quiet when my boundaries are violated. It has been my pattern that is rooted in childhood abuse.
And so, interacting with my countrymen who are clueless about boundaries is an opportunity for me to strengthen my muscle of enforcing my boundaries.
Sometimes though, it can get really so frustrating — especially when it happens repeatedly.
Yes, I know that’s how lessons manifest until we truly master and embody them…. Whew! At times, I wonder, could there be any other ‘easier’ or ‘faster’ route? Will I ever get used to it? Will it get to the point that it will no longer affect me? Will there be an end to encountering such energies — as what’s been said about mastering our life lessons and soul growth opportunities?
Will it ever get to that point?
I don’t know. I sure hope it does, but who’s to tell? And I wish I can say that for sure. I wish I know that for sure.
But I don’t. I don’t know that for sure.
This post may sound like I’m ranting and complaining and whining. I’m not going to attempt to make a disclaimer. In fact, I’m giving myself permission to do precisely just that.
Rant. Complain. Whine.
Times like now, I go back to when I was having the time of my life living in the Bay Area (San Francisco, Northern California). I experienced much freedom and joy in simply being who I am. No quizzical looks. No judgments. No nosiness.
No one thought I was hitting on them — because I wasn’t.
No one assumed it was an invitation to ‘come closer’ — because it wasn’t.
No one responded thinking or believing that we’re suddenly, instantly, best friends — because we weren’t.
No one misinterpreted my friendliness and openness.
No one found any of my choices and my ways ‘strange’ or ‘weird.’
No one gave any other meaning — especially malicious ones — to my actions.
So not my situation in the Philippines right now — especially as I said, in the rural areas and specifically with the average Filipino, the ‘less educated’ ones.
I may sound and come across as discriminatory or feeling superior with that statement, but I am simply stating the obvious and the culture in this country. A fact. A truth.
If you’re a Filipino (and if you’re not the average one), you know exactly what I’m talking about. You’d be nodding your head in total agreement and compassionate understanding for my dilemma — just as what I have received, thankfully, from those who know and have also experienced such a challenge. And if you’re not a Filipino, please just trust me on this one.
“Have you ever considered going back [to the US]?”, the other half of the couple who owns the resort where I’m staying and living in joy, responded with much compassion and a genuine understanding for my dilemma. She’s one loving soul who is helping me maintain my sanity about matters such as what I’m now going through, particularly in my immediate surrounding. What a gift — bless her heart — for being in my midst!
And I certainly have thought about it — often. I’ve dreamed about it. Fantasized. At times, maybe even obsessed about it — about being back in California, especially during such frustrating moments like now.
Why am I not going back? Why have I not gone back to the US, especially to reside there again?
Two reasons. The same reasons why I left and returned to the Philippines.
I am not a US citizen.
And I cannot afford it — not anymore, particularly the Bay Area. Especially without having the need to go back to work and have a regular job — which I don’t see myself doing — just in order to pay the bills!
I’ve been consistent with my response — if citizenship and affordability were not an issue, I most certainly would be out of here and back in Northern California! Of course, the beach is what I’d be most missing. It was the only thing that I missed in the Philippines when I was living in joy in the Bay Area.
So, what do I make of all these?
Nothing for now, at least. Nothing for now, I hope.
Perhaps someday, all these would make sense. One day…maybe. Hopefully.
But just for today, I will not attempt for any of these to make sense. I don’t want to.
Just for today, I will allow myself to be in distress.
I will not aim to be the bigger person or the Wise One who sees the bigger picture.
I will simply be a frustrated and disgruntled resident of this country, constantly setting boundaries.
And Ranting. Complaining. Whining.
Even just for today.
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