By Cynia Mirasol with assistance from lordcloudx
Growing up, I was not exactly brimming over with self-esteem. If anything, you could probably consider my outer façade of bravado as nothing more than a simple psychological defense mechanism. Certainly, I am not the most pragmatic of individuals – being an ENFP who is driven more by emotions and social links rather than cold, unfeeling logic. Still, I was never oblivious to the fact that I had very little to actually be confident about.
After all, who was Cynia? – An absolute nobody who happened to be the 2nd youngest child of a destitute family consisting of six children (at least the ones who survived infancy). I was smart – but nowhere near valedictorian level, and any of the skills that I had honed through the years (declamation, dance, oration) paled in comparison to my overachieving elder sister, Cynthia.
The irony of my half-baked existence is viscerally obvious even in how my name was hewn from my sister’s. I was Cynia – a Cynthia lite – less graceful, less talented, and much less brilliant than the original. This was me back then – but with that aside, I was never bitter about being less blessed than my sister, rather, I was genuinely proud of her.
There are two things that I have always held great pride in. For one, I was always headstrong to the point of possessing an indomitable will; and secondly, I was quite confident in the beauty of my face. These two go hand-in-hand – as all my siblings can soundly attest to. Whenever our Father would hit us for some form of perceived mischief (corporal punishment was common back then), I would be the only one to open my mouth and speak up against it – but this wasn’t the end of it. I would beg my father to let me speak in my defense and then cover up my face while loudly declaring: “Sakita lang ko pero indi lang ya pag igo a akon guya ya kay amo lang ni ang manggad ko.” (Hurt me, but don’t hit my face, because it’s my only treasure.) A bold statement that earned a chuckle coupled with a more severe beating from my father – although he always did honor my request to spare my face.
I wasn’t delusional of course, I was well-aware that I was only half-decent looking, not even really pretty. After all, I spent a good hour ogling my own reflection and grooming myself as meticulously as a cat every day – however, as experience has taught me, it’s not about the looks you were born with, but rather, it’s all about PROJECTION – and in this aspect at least, I would say that I never paled next to my naturally superior sister.
But this is a story that takes place a bit later than my
childhood days. In fact, I was already in University when this incident
To begin with, I was never on good terms with my older brother, Toto Bordee – especially because I felt that he was quite an irresponsible parent leaving his three children to fend for themselves here in Iloilo while his daughter was left behind with his estranged wife, Flor in Cebu.
Therefore, it didn’t help that he continued to live under
the same roof as me. You see, despite the fact that our house was not very
lavish, it was subdivided into different partitions for our parents, the four
girls, our brother Nonoy, and another partition for Bordee and his three boys.
We were definitely not the best of friends since he comes home drunk every night and we’d often exchange some heated words because he just depended on Mama and Daddy to take care of his own children (all suffering from respiratory problems) for him.
One fateful night, Bordee came home particularly drunk and then suddenly, without warning, he just started punching me… not on my face, but on the shoulders. So I started flailing around wildly trying to defend myself. Even though he was drunk, he was still a man, much bigger and much stronger than me.
I started hurling all kinds of expletives at him, which just served to fuel his apparent rage against me as he kept hitting me harder and harder. At some point, he stopped caring about where he was hitting me and started going for me face – which I promptly covered up. Like I said before, my face is my only treasure after all.
Naturally, our rather one-sided altercation attracted the attention of everyone in the house – and unfortunately, only my sisters Inday Cynthia, Ging-ging, and Baby were around – not counting Bordee’s own sons aged no more than 5-10 years old.
When they saw what was happening, my sisters began pleading with him to stop -- and well, you know what happens when you plead with drunkards to stop – they keep hitting even harder.
The beatdown had already lasted for several minutes and Bordee clearly had no intention of stopping anytime soon – not until he somehow managed to shut me up, which I had no intention of doing.
I was on the verge of passing out, so instinctively, I rushed forward to clinch him up and prevent him from doing any further damage to me. Then, I somehow fell on my knees, probably from exhaustion, but I managed to retain my grip around his body. He started pounding the back of my head with hammer fists.
At this point, I’d had enough and whatever form of revenge I
could take, I decided that I would TAKE IT. And so, I did. I summoned whatever strength
I had left in my body and then mercilessly, viciously, voraciously, I sank my
teeth down into his right thigh. I dug down so deep that a rabid dog would be
envious of me.
Naturally, this made Bordee even more furious. He upped the ante and started pounding on my back even harder than he had before – all while my sisters stood by helplessly while begging him to stop before he killed me.
Then, something unusual happened. His blows began to hurt less. The longer I clung onto his thigh with my teeth, the weaker his punches became. After a while, it felt like all the strength had drained away from Bordee as he vainly kept hitting me with the force of a baby.
Amusingly, while I hadn’t noticed, my sisters’ pleas had changed from “To, tama na na” (That’s enough, Bordee) to “Ne, buy-i na siya” (Cynia, let him go already).
But of course, I had no plans of letting go – not until I’ve had my fill of the sweet taste of REVENGE… I wanted to draw BLOOD!
I don’t know how long it was before I finally let go of him, but all I know is that I never stopped until he couldn’t fight back anymore. When I finally stopped, my sisters dragged me away from him while he stood there, pale-faced, drained, but still shouting, “Deputa, patyon ko na sa! Patyon ko na sa!” (Son of a bitch! I’m going to kill her! I’m going to kill her!). His thigh was swollen purple from where I had bitten him.
That night, I slept peacefully – knowing that I had gotten the better of my tormentor. Of course, for many nights afterwards, Daddy actually had to watch over me because Bordee attempted several times to get revenge on me by beating me up in my sleep. Fortunately, his plans for revenge never came through. He managed to get a punch in or two every now and then, but Daddy was always around to prevent him from doing further damage.
By the way, he hobbled all the way to the doctor by himself the day after. Also, he had to get 50 shots of vaccine after that incident.
It took a very long time for me to finally make peace with my brother Bordee, my eldest sibling. There was no actual act of reconciliation between us. Eventually, the hate just started to fade away into understanding and before we knew it, age had already taken out the fight in both of us.
But please do not misunderstand. I am not proud of having successfully exacted revenge or of the violence that I managed to inflict upon my brother, nor am I attempting to condemn him for his actions. What I do take pride in however; is the fact that I stood up for myself in the face of overwhelming adversity – and somehow, found a way to survive.
Nowadays, it is quite ironic that with all the modern technological marvels we enjoy, people have reverted to a pure, black and white mentality; you’re either with us or against us – no in-betweens because neutrality is implied consent towards the tormentors. Yes, I do believe that “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,” but more than that, I believe that the wisdom of this quotation is often misused by miscreants who would utilize it to herd in drone armies of sheeple (sheep-minded people) to fight for their right to lord over and force their ideals upon others.
I think… that we, as human beings, are a little bit more complex than that. In our quest to classify and quantify everything, we have become so quick to label those who disagree with our adopted ideologies as evil, uncaring, unkind, bigots, misogynists, racists, and other derogatory terms, but stop and think about it for a second. Is the world really that black and white? Do we really need to “eat the rich” to attain the justice that we seek? Are the ideologies from the fanfiction of a dead man really the answer to the complex, multi-faceted problems of society?
I do not believe the answer is that simple – and that is why we should always keep searching and questioning – even the very ideals that we have sworn to live by. While we may never arrive at a definite conclusion in our lifetimes, at least we would not become blind advocates of glorified genocide.
Think and think again before you condemn others with your acts. I THINK – and it is always a better option.