Saturday, April 5, 2014

Why Study Communication Arts?

(image credit here)

My brain-to-mouth filter is faulty at best. Sometimes, it works too well to a point that I don't speak at all, content with plugging off the rest of the world with songs from Japan to Great Britain to America and back to the Philippines, or defying time-space dimensions with books or movies or TV series. And yet, there are times that I let my words trip over each other in their excitement to get out and be expressed, telling of subjects, people, cultures that I am passionate about, wisecracking (admittedly) corny jokes, and trying to prove my inner swagger by talking like I'm one of the cool kids. I'm more noisy online, the flow of conversation easier for me without the eye-contact and actual people in front of you. Talking to people has and always will be tricky, for there are ticks and bubbles of privacy and personal space that you always consider, whether you do it through a screen or a keyboard or a phone or static space. Too scared to always cross the line, always too uncomfortable to be too close for comfort--that was, and always will be me. Yet I like warm hugs, like that cute animated snowman, and for the past four years I've been contradicting myself that made me want to have an answer. After all those years of education, who was the me created? How do you label and define the person typing these words?

I am a paradox; I came from an institution filled with numbers and equations and chemical formulas and inertia. There was constant questions about the universe and how it was formed, how we became to be as Homo sapiens. Friends have asked me: why enroll into this type of curriculum in high school? Why spend time solving and balancing equations when my head was more suited to floating around with the clouds, or buried into the books I read in class that, er, weren't related to class?

So I enrolled into this degree program. Following my heart, spending my parents' money on an expensive but privileged education, still not being allowed into malls because of the juvenile uniform, the whole nines. I've been careful not to mention my high school--not that I'm embarrassed of it in any way, just that there's a certain expectation and distancing that happens when people think you're smarter than what you really are--but when people do start to know, the same questions were asked. Why enroll into this degree when you come from such a different path? Why not try medicine or engineering with what you know? Why rather not be anywhere but here?

The answers I have only get to blog post and diary entry, but they stay majorly unchanged. This was my way of trying to answer my own questions about the universe, of the importance of the existence at this place and at this time, how we became more than a person, but as a human individual with sets of values and principles and quirks and philosophies. Of questions of why we exist, outside food chains and stupid pyramid hierarchy of needs. Of how we feel outside hormones and chemical reactions, how we became permanent in the only constant facts of change and death. That maybe by this choice I have bound myself would help me articulate everything going through my brain into words and speech.

And yet, here I am. Unable to look in the eye half of the guys in my block, the same people I've been with for the past four years. I'm not the expected communicator this degree would churn out, all booming voice and overflowing confidence. I still prefer to sit tucked into the corner, the left or right of the very end of the second row, depending on the classroom and the professor's preference of alphabetical pseudo-order. I stumble over my words, use the podium or whoever is sitting in front of me as a shield whenever I brave to prove a point. Everything that requires talking in front of the class, stating opinions that may go against theirs, goes against every cell in my body screaming to stay away from conflict. Never good at handling arguments, sitting back from taking any major decisions (with the exception of meal choices, or my friends and I will have end up not eating anywhere in said four years). I rant through tweet, status reports, and creative retelling of events in this corner pocket of the interwebs. My accent is still beautifully native, unable to adopt the most-prized twang of the DJs and TV personalities and lack (or refusal?) of practice. I converse in the vernacular, yet write and think and dream in this language that felt like a second skin of my brain, ally of my ideas and witness to the written words my mouth could not express.

Descriptions of me range from quiet and aloof to overly adrenalin-rushed and exuberant, and I don't know what to believe. There are a million possibilities of conversations running through my head, possible scenarios from this world or other dimensions. Yet rarely do I speak outside the written word. And there is the power of the speech of silence that I have learned to value throughout the years; something about choosing the battles you fight and win and lose.

I never know exactly where to put myself.

I'm not exactly the stereotypical student of the art of communication, the whole base idea weird to begin with. For not all of us want to be in front of the camera, for we understand the utmost importance of the people behind the lens and the lights. We are not always noise and glittering lights, and enjoy the importance of being alone with ourselves. Nor are all of us performers, because there is an understood need for the people behind the curtain to push the right people into the spotlight. We are not all of an attention-hungry race, for we value the silence of coffee shops and libraries. We do not always act out tragedies to get out of responsibilities, for we know the responsibilities we hold with the media that we handle. Not all of us are at parties, for we all had thesis requirements to pass. Films to make. IMC campaigns to flesh out. Advertisements to make believable. Plays and events to plan. So many things to try, so many things to do. We defy the very word of stereotype, for there will never be one type, not one mold to fit us, not one label to contain us.

So I sit here and type and try to answer other questions that started this whole shenanigan, and realize I have the answer.

What am I doing here? What am I trying to do?

More than a ploy to romanticize the already dramatic "great scheme of things", there's a tentative reason why I willingly went through all the readings and papers these past four years. There's also the unstoppable need to prove yourself--to your professors for the grades you want, to your peers for the acceptance into this circle, to your parents for the assurance that their money isn't going to waste, and maybe most of all to yourself, for the assurance that you are not going to waste.

So I sit here and write, and tentatively answer. That I don't know yet. It is hard to assume your purpose in the world when you have yet to map out what that world really means to you. And maybe that for now, it's okay not to know. And eventually, the answers will arrive at my doorstep after constant wrestling with the universe, ready to meet the person that I am. All I can hope is that the universe likes what it gets and choose to stay.

I don't have labels. I don't have a clear definition. But I am a human person, and the beauty of that comes from being able to try on different identities and choosing which is the most comfortable against my skin. I am a human person, and with the constancy of change comes the assurance that nothing will permanently stick. By the time we expire we are to be identified by a few words in our tombstones, but the joy in living comes with the ability to constantly shift outside different words into others.

I am a human person. I may not have the best brain-to-mouth filter, but I try my best to get across the important stuff.

If I may choose any definition to remain, let it be that I am human, and that I have been good at it.