Mind

Perception vs Submission

When you look at a person, what gets your attention? Do you notice their mismatched outfits and unbranded clothing? Their crooked teeth and ungodly skin? Their outdated gadgets and flawed speech?

When you see someone, do you ever think about their story?

Earlier today, as I was still half-asleep and barely in work-mode, I decided to treat myself to a movie, just perfectly positioned at the bottom left of my computer screen. I scrolled through the long list of films over the network and was ultimately drawn to one titled Perfect Sisters. If, like me, you haven’t had a chance to see the movie, then you would’ve had the same presumptions and would’ve imagined it to either  be a rom-com or a feel good film. It started with a chuckle-some scene about two giddy teenagers exchanging strangely accurate lines full of teenage angst. But as the story progressed, I found myself a witness to the reenactment of a true story of how two teenage girls murdered their own mother in their own bathtub — heavy.

This is where the story ends. This is where people dub them as the disturbed sisters who killed their own mother. It’s what people would always remember about them. But, do people even really know what they had to endure to commit such a heinous crime?

I’m not saying that their actions are justified. What they did was wrong — completely. But, what captured me in the story is how tough these two girls behaved despite the circumstances that they were in. They were repeatedly exposed to violence and sexual abuse. On top of that, they had to take care of an alcoholic mother who couldn’t get her act together. Their situation demanded them to grow up way earlier than expected. But, they went to school and had outstanding academic records and had friends and relationships just like normal teenagers. People were not aware of what was going on after school hours. Instead of choosing to be rebellious and succumbing to the pathetic flawed situation they were in, they were good daughters and decent human beings. This was especially tough because they were in the stage of finding their identity and choosing the kind of people they were going to be. Weren’t our teenage years the most difficult phase in our lives? It’s proof of how easy and possible it is for one to be in complete control of his/her life. Although it’s completely out of question for them to resort to murder in the end, these girls fought to the best of their ability.

If you were in that same situation, what would you have done?

When we face problems and inconveniences in life, how do we respond to them? Do we absorb them and calculate the steps in trying to solve them? Or do we take the easy way out by succumbing to them and letting them dictate our actions and our future? Do we blame our circumstances and let them limit our capabilities?

People who smile and crack jokes may not always have perfect lives. Sometimes, they’re the ones who show how they can be okay despite what they are going through. They don’t allow themselves to be victims of their circumstances, they rise above. They’re great actors. They’re amazing story tellers — they have the experience and the imagination. They’re mathematicians — they know the possibility of having infinite answers. And most of all, they’re scientists — for when they have a problem, they sit down and formulate a solution. They’re twisted but most of the time, they are the strongest.

About the Contributor

Russel Villena, Brew Your Best Year Contributing Artist, Ilocos-based art enthusiast and self-taught photographer. He gives life to everyday things, things that people often neglect. For a collection of his works, visit his Instagram.

This contributor is a customer of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®.

See all of Kai Ochosa's posts →

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