Afterglow

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They always say that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.  In roads that know no end, though, the only thing that remains would be an afterglow.  Or maybe that a pair of glowing headlights will give way to a few more, or a dozen more, until the road becomes a light show of headlamps.

I was crossing the footbridge along EDSA-Estrella last night, catching a few glimpses of the giant Anne Curtis billboard as I made my way up the stairs to the walkway.  Lately I’ve taken to the habit of taking random snapshots of places every now and then for no apparent reason, so I took a picture of the chaotic traffic going northbound.  It’s 10:30 PM, it’s a Friday, and it’s pay-week… if there’s such a word.

It seemed so coherent up ahead, yet as traffic surges ahead, the light turns to headlamps.  The single light turns to movement, realizing that all these lights are separate, that the truth down there is nothing but chaos.  For the next few minutes I stood there, fascinated by traffic and lights and wondering where all these cars came from.  Then I walked   on, took the tricycle, and made my way back home.

There’s always something you see differently if you take the high road.

I respond to challenges, yes, but not when people take things personally.  Granted, it never came easy, and I’ve never been known to always take the high road.  Sometimes people get you riled up too much, make you too emotional, just because they think they’re better than you in more ways.  I figure that every critic and hater out there will claim to see things better than I do, that they have a better perspective than I do, that they’re more important than I am.  That they know more than you do, that they went through more than you do, that they’re more relevant than you are.

These days I’ve learned to empty my cup and forget that I have to prove anything to anyone.  The loudest of challenges are often ones made by bullies, and the brightest of lights and illuminated thoughts are often the most incoherent and dim.  It doesn’t make me a coward at all to respond to chest-thumping and gauntlet-throwing, because I’ve already said what I had to say, wrote what I had to write, and leave the chest-thumping and the gauntlet-throwing to those who take cheap thrills from – and take cheap shots with – them.

I don’t claim to be relevant, that I change the world, or that I’m important.  I’m not a fool; for all my self-destructive acts bordering on the suicidal, I think I have years ahead of me to learn, and to share what I continue to learn.  I can’t do much about things except point them out from where I stand, whether it’s the high road or it’s the low road.  Yet one thing I always keep in mind is to never sink down to the level of those down below, who honk and toot their own horns as if the noise meant something worthwhile or life-changing.

It’s my self-worth, it’s my life, and things will change every now and then.  The only person who can encourage and discourage me in the long run is myself.  I can only be me, and the critics and haters and the lovers and admirers out there can only deal with that reality.  I didn’t have to do any besmirching, nor did I have to step on anyone’s name, to get to a high road.  I paid my dues many times over and had to do things with a stick shorter than anyone else’s, and that’s enough for me to be proud of in a small way.  Relevant or irrelevant, important or negligible, I am.  Greatness, blog statistics, and honor for whatever have nothing to do with who I am.

They’re like lights that break away, that fade.  The only thing I can do is glow my own way.

From the high road, from where I stand, no one can hurt me.  With my heart and my mind, I see – and I know – where I want to go.  It’s not easy, and it’s not certainly something I do all the time.  The only thing that I can do is stick to the high road whenever I can, and see the world in a different light than other people.

Although yeah, I do take the gloves off and get down and dirty every now and then.

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