The Trouble with Paranoia

23-March 2010

I can’t sleep.

I’ve got two jobs. An apartment to maintain, laundry, ironing, cleaning up… I should be exhausted. I should be able to sleep the moment I lay down on bed. And yet since I transferred here less than 3 weeks ago, I’ve never had one peaceful slumber. I toss and turn most of the night. I’d wake up if I hear a slight noise. I feel like a total wreck at night.

I get these varying morbid fantasies about people breaking in and then killing me. It almost feels like it’s going to happen.

I’m in the middle of a very strange and remote place, where most people would stare at me and watch me walk out of the apartment in the morning and then come back in the afternoon. Most of them probably knows that I live all alone by now.

I wish I have a better option. I wish I have someone right now who’d tell me that everything’s going to be fine.

Job Interview

9-February 2010

Job Interviewer: “Are you married?”
Me: “Separated now, for almost 7 years…”
Interviewer: “Oh, what happened?”
Me: “Er, same ol’ story I guess…”
Interviewer: “ Another woman?”
Me: “Uh, well, sort of. I suppose.”
Interviewer: Where is he now?”
Me: “Uhm, we haven’t really communicated since then…”
Interviewer: “Ahh… When did you got married again?”
Me: (F***! Can’t even remember the exact date and when will she start asking relevant friggin’ questions anyway?!?) “Er, 2003?”
Interviewer: “And do you have a boyfriend now?”

Sheesh!

I got up at 3:30 AM and traveled for six friggin’ hours for this??? If I wasn’t so desperate, I’d walk out!

Unfortunately, that’s really not an option right now.

Gossip People

12-November 2009

In this little town called Pagbilao, nosiness and gossipmongering are acceptable. The townspeople engage in it unabashedly. If you happen to be the unfortunate subject of their repartee, they would talk about you even if you’re within hearing distance. Some of them would even have the audacity to point at you, especially if their mate is having a little trouble identifying you in the crowd. I know this seems like a scene from a movie, but for once, they’re not exaggerating!

This morning, after I’ve taken my daughter to school, I thought I’d enjoy a few minutes of peace and quiet whilst I enjoy my first cup of coffee for the day when I suddenly heard a commotion outside. Somebody was running amok! Curiosity got the better of me so I peek outside my window to see what the ruckus is all about.

I didn’t see the man who’s just been cussing and hurling threats. However, I noticed that practically all my neighbors were standing outside, apparently enjoying the drama. Some of them were gathered in small groups, probably already analyzing the psychological makeup and assessing the family background of this emotionally disturbed bloke… I smiled at myself because I’m really not that different. I am, after all, also looking outside – except that I am probably more curious about my neighbors than about this man.

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In recent years researchers have turned to the study of gossip — our predilection for talking about people who are not present. As it turns out, gossip serves a useful social function in bonding group members together. In the distant past, when humans lived in small bands and meeting strangers was a rare occurrence, gossip helped us survive and thrive.

Only in the past decade or so have psychologists turned their attention toward the study of gossip, partially because it is difficult to define exactly what gossip is. Most researchers agree that the practice involves talk about people who are not present and that this talk is relaxed, informal and entertaining. Typically the topic of conversation also concerns information that we can make moral judgments about. Gossip appears to be pretty much the same wherever it takes place; gossip among co-workers is not qualitatively different from that among friends outside of work. Although everyone seems to detest a person who is known as a “gossip” and few people would use that label to describe themselves, it is an exceedingly unusual individual who can walk away from a juicy story about one of his or her acquaintances, and all of us have firsthand experience with the difficulty of keeping spectacular news about someone else a secret.

In his book Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language (Harvard University Press, 1996), Psychologist Robin Dunbar of the University of Liverpool in England suggested that gossip is a mechanism for bonding social groups together, analogous to the grooming that is found in primate groups. Sarah R. Wert, now at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Peter Salovey of Yale University have proposed that gossip is one of the best tools that we have for comparing ourselves socially with others.

Source: The Science of Gossip: Why We Can’t Stop Ourselves

Juvenile and Restless

9-November 2009

Back in the days when girls were supposed to be all sugar and spice and everything nice, we were the clueless angst-ridden rebels who thought it’s more fun to defy the norms. Some of us were merely getting back at overly stringent parents, others were just into the identity crisis bandwagon and a few more were just hungry for a sense of belongingness. As for me, I was simply curious.

I wasn’t blaming my parents, teachers, the Catholic church, the school system or the government for my actions. I just really wanted to see what it’s like and how it feels. I just wanted to have a bit of fun.

Unfortunately, like most 14-year old kids, we weren’t very careful. We were impulsive and even boastful… We should have kept our mouth shut and just waited until we were past that juvenile delinquency phase.

Amazingly, it seems that the stigma has persisted amongst our peers even after a decade and a half later. During high school reunions, old classmates would still refer to us as the unruly bunch or the “detention girls” (batang guidance office). They would still look at us like we’re still the same “disturbed” kids. Never mind that some of us have become successful in our chosen careers, have turned out to be good parents or are now leading a much more “peaceful” existence.

But I reckon, I couldn’t really blame them. After all, everyone at some level are guilty of judging others based on impressions, little knowledge and a few bits of memories of their “wonder” years. We were sort of infamous then for our recklessness — that’s how we are remembered.

I have no regrets though. I had a blast and it was good 🙂

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Children often test the limits and boundaries set by their parents and other authority figures. Among adolescents, some rebelliousness and experimentation is common. However, a few children consistently participate in problematic behaviors that negatively affect their family, academic, social, and personal functioning.

About Juvenile Delinquents

Some studies holds that stigmatizing labels generally feed a self-fulfilling prophecy to juveniles, supporting social labeling theory. On the other hand, there are a number of studies and research evidence that says that stigmatizing labels have no effect on juveniles’ behavior; some, although very few, even hold that stigmatizing labels actually reduce delinquent acts. It is a “right and wrong” theory. Social labeling theory really deals with how “society reacts to individuals” and how “individuals react to society.”

Evaluating Labeling Theory of Juvenile Delinquency