This is all about me, myself and I, on the journey of being a humanist.
I was brought up by a very devout catholic maternal grandmother who is part Spanish/Japanese. I grew up listening to her bible stories and the usual Latin prayers on Angelus hours but she was never the traditional catholic. She was open to everything and even introduced to me to the idea that everything natural breathes and lives. She was the one that taught me all about hell. That it is a state of mind by a choice to be in it.
She said that because of Adam and Eve or a variation thereof like Malakas at Maganda, we are given the freewill to choose our paths. Having been influenced by her in so many ways made me who I am, Mama (grandmother) told me once that there are situations in life that restricts us to move as we want because our society frowns upon it, and this is when my Mami (mother) was called to Mother superior office for my bedevilled behaviour. When we went home, my Mama wanted to find out why Mami was called again ( you can say I was the naughtiest in class), I said well I saw father and sister in the act of fornication ( remember my Mama was open to discussion anything inside the bible), she was shocked so she asked me exactly what I saw, (hold your horses it is not porn style), I said father was embracing sister and kissed her on her forehead and hand, my Mama then explained that maybe it was an introduction to mating but not in the act of fornication but because I was the one who asked the priest if he was the husband I got to be called in the office hahaha, so as you can see at an early age I knew that there was things or situations that is not accepted as norm in the society but was actually happening.
So when I had to be transferred to a non-sectarian school, both my Mama and Mami never restricted me when I asked if I can attend Baptist, Methodist, Adventist, Jehovahs, INC, Latter Day Saints and I forgot the other bible study class. However, what they always say is “your heart will tell you if you are in the right path as you are the one that shall choose your life”, this was introduction to INSTINCT “and you should not be dictated by what others feel” my introduction to GROUP DYNAMICs. I knew then that I am being reared by the liberated women in my family that others think evil hahaha as Mama would say, “ang mahalaga ay magpaka-tao ka sa lahat ng iyong gagawin”,(what is most important is that you know how to be human). See, my so called Christian neighbours would gossip their brethren and the others would not have acted humanely towards lunatic or lepers.
In my primary years , my mama would always cook rice balls on Sundays so that after mass she could share our blessings to the leper begging near the church or we would give our outgrown clothes in the family under a bridge, I think it was Jones Bridge. We would do that every time we get her check from Veterans Office. Mama knew hardship, she was afterall a wife of a guerrilla. I grew up knowing that being human is having the compassion to see beyond the person. Mama would say,”hindi porke meron siyang ketong hindi na siya tao”, (just because she has festering wound does not mean she is not human) to that I would say, “I heard people say we should not touch her but I would always get a reply if you take a bath and healthy leprosy will not infect you.”
In my intermediate years, scouting days brought me to the 7 methods of being a scout, I had a very good mentor. We would do a lot of community service and she would woke me up the to the plight of the Dumagats in Rizal provinces and the Aetas of Central Luzon. I promised myself I shall take active participation when I am already able. I do not have to belong to any charity group to be human, I just have to be one.
In my junior years, this kind of practices were furthered because of the teachers I had were mostly liberal minded. When I was in highschool, I had to defend myself why I needed to drop my religion class, so I can focus on Anak Bayan Project every Wednesday in San Andres,Bukid. I felt why do I need to attend religion class discussing about Christ work when I can do the work. Sister P said she will fail me and I will not be included in the honor roll, fine with me because I knew that there was great honor in what I do. I do not need any medal to show off for it. I am happy knowing I am teaching the less fortunate to read and basic hygiene practices. I was glad my science club adviser backed me up.
The drug era was consuming my friends, this was the time drug watch in Makati was getting teenagers to be involved in the fight against drugs, but I realized it was not the drugs that were the problem, it was the absentee role models at home. Some of these users have either been in broken homes or molested kids trying to break free from the hurt. I was a counselor , but I had to ditch it,, it was not working for me. It was something I regretted, but, at that time I was not equipped to handle and understand mental health issues, after all, I do crazy stuff that is not even drug induced (don’t worry it is not criminal in nature, mostly street propaganda.)
From then on, I have practiced to be a compassionate human being, freethinking so that I shall not be boxed into one idea just so that I can fit the norm of others, I am practicing what I have learned from my mentors, that, it is better to respect what the ideals of others and not impose mine to theirs. For me this is the meaning of being a humanist . We differ in thoughts, deeds, size and color but we are from the same gnome. WE ARE ALL HUMAN.