Yesterday my sister, Bong, and I were having a conversation about people who are naturally good and naturally bad. Is there such a thing? Are some people born good while others already have that bad and schemy genes in their bones even before they get out of their mother’s womb?
We talked about some people that are known to us. And people who are even close to us. Yeah, one started as a snooty bitch and after 20 years mabait na sya ngayon. Is it because she lives with good people and she has no choice but to be good too by association?
I am beginning to think if I am like that too. Am I a naturally bad person who’s trying her damn best to be good? Was I born with negative qualities and fortunately after more than half a century I now know the difference between good and evil?
When I was in my early 40s, during one of the many business meetings and events I attended, there was a very successful banker who asked me “Annie, how do you want to be remembered by people around you? Do you want them to compliment you as a pretty woman? I still remember my answer “Mabait”.
I wanted people to know me as mabait. Come to think of it, I think it is easier to make oneself pretty than to become mabait. Mag-ayos ka lang, maganda ang suot, mag-make up, maglagay ng kilay at pilikmata, put on lipstick, blush-on, kung bata ka pa at walang pileges and mukha, pihado, magandang-maganda ka sa paningin ng ibang tao. Pero para makita nila ang kagandahan ng kalooban mo, tila mas mahirap iyon. They have to feel and believe in your goodness and not just see it. A person’s true goodness is felt by the soul and not seen by the eyes. My premise is debatable. Many pretend to be good in the eyes of people they want to fool.
I know many people who are nice, nice nice because I don’t see them in difficult situations that could bring out the worst in them. When you are in a business and social gathering, people are at their best. Sobrang bihis na bihis, bagong ligo, mababango, lahat naka ngiti, lahat courteous. But take them out of that zone, when they are in extreme stress and frustration, would they still be nice? I doubt it. But it doesn’t make them bad if they lose their temper or they get mad.
Lately I’ve been having bouts of bad mood and I feel like a raging bull ready to charge at anyone who would dare cross my path. There’s this feeling of frustration that makes me want to drop a dozen plates on the cemented floor so they splatter into pieces. I might do that tonight, but I just need to choose which among my beloved plates deserve to morph into my mosaic project.
I’ve yelled at the maids three times in the past three days. Normally months would pass without me getting mad at them. I get inis but not mad. I screamed at them when I discovered what they did to the marble floor. I noticed a one square meter dullness and after looking closely, I was horrified. I called all of the maids to ask what happened to the floor. They told me “Si mam Oyen tinapunan ng juice…” Malakas daw ang kapit nung juice they couldn’t remove it so the two house cleaners thought of a bright idea, they poured boiling water on the marble floor. Boiling water? Marble is porous, it absorbed the boiling water. The more it stained. Antonia contributed her smart intelligence after she noticed the marble sheen had disappeared. To make it shiny again, she got candlesticks and vigorously rubbed the floor technically scratching them. Instead of making the floor shiny again she created hundreds of deep scratches. Para daw kumintab. Ano yun floor wax? Sana nga nilagyan na lang nya ng floor wax, pero ang ginawa nya, kinayod nya ng kinayod. I was so mad and in disbelief. I went up to my bathroom and got a soft sponge brush and a mild liquid soap. I started brushing the floor myself for about half hour. I was able to remove some of the candle wax on the surface but the scratches remained. Scrubbing the floor was a good exercise and I calmed down. I was still mad, I am still mad but I can’t do anything anymore. One day I will just call a professional company to remove the stain or maybe buy a whole marble slab to replace that eye sore thing. Since that morning, I am the least patient with two of the maids including Aling Tinola. She noticed the change in my attitude towards her. Well, this morning I still tried to be nice to them by giving all the household staff a slice of delicious mango sponge cake each from Caramia.
Last night I began to question myself. Am I in reality a bad person? Am I naturally bad? Was I born with those salbahe genes but since I am level headed, I try my best to be good?
I think there’s nothing wrong about being born a bad person. We have no control of that. It’s not our call to choose what genes go into our system and being.
What matters the most is to be able to recognize what is good and what is bad. Knowing our individual frailties and fighting to turn our frailty into something good and powerful to change ourselves.
If you’ve done something bad in the past and cannot reverse it anymore, then start today doing good. Only good. But what do you mean by good? What is good to me might be bad to others. A good intention could be taken as a bad intention. Every person thinks differently. Goodness to others might be offensive to some. I will just trust that every human being is equipped with a natural alarm system that cautions them when they are about to do something bad or have done something bad. So that they would know the difference and try their damn best to be good. Only good.