The past two weeks have been a whirlwind to my junior life in college. And when I say whirlwind, I mean it literally. (I won’t go on naming all the parties involved, although I have no intention or whatsoever of campaigning. But just to be safe, I’ll just prolly mention the colors and all, and just edit this after the election.)
I was supposed to run. Two or three weeks ago, I already decided to join the BLUE team. But because my parents didn’t permit me to run because of issues, I decided not to run anymore. But that didn’t stop me in trying to make a difference in this year’s election. I decided to volunteer myself as a campaign manager although my friend, Pete, was still searching for another. And that started my two-week rollercoaster.
I wasn’t so sure what a campaign manager was supposed to say on convocations. I just thought that five minutes was enough to introduce the candidates and that was it. I crammed the night before the first convocation. I had no idea. I tried to remember what the campaign managers last year said about their parties, but I couldn’t. So this was all up to me. I drafted a three-page campaign speech. A campaign speech which I wasn’t sure of. I didn’t have the time to practice but I let the candidates read it just so I could know what their opinion was. But time was not really enough. The funny thing about the first convo was, that I was the first campaign manager to talk, and I wasn’t sure if what I was saying was okay or too harsh. But after my first speech, the candidates told me “Whoah. Ang galing mo, Rej, grabe!” And those compliments, they ignited a fire within me.
Six convocations after, I was the villain. I was amazed. Beyond words. To my party mates, and to the elders, I was doing a great job, one that can be compared to Ms. Venus Raj, the first campaign manager of our party. But her attack was different, mine was too, but it was great all the same. To others, I was the bad-mouthed campaign manager the Blue team has. For them, I spoke too harshly, and that I was too evil. It was the first time in my life I got hated for doing something good. My party mates told me to never get my hopes down, to not let them affect my drive to be good at every convocation. I tried really hard to be strong not only for myself but also for the whole team. Every convocation, I spoke before them. It was the same speech since Day 1, only that I added a few lines to counter their statements and accusations. I had the most time compared to the chairpersons. I had ten minutes of the convocation. So if I perform badly, my party mates will be affected. I tried to really be strong until the Harapan. But there were already issues. They were saying that we were playing dirty. And the day after that, broke me.
It was a Thursday. I could not forget that day, that feeling I felt when the person from the other team emphasized, and countered every statement I said during the Harapan. Kuya Edward told us that it was already expected for us to be down because the atmosphere in their college is really pro-Green. But to the point that my close friend, who I made it clear even before running that I wouldn’t want to quarrel with, even stared at me when he countered what I said. That was it. I was on the verge of a breakdown. I immediately texted Kuya Dward that I needed to talk to him. The moment the USC slate finished talking, I rushed to the NSTP office and told Kuya Dward what happened. I couldn’t contain myself. I cried. I cried not because what they said were true, but because I’ve been trying so hard to put up a strong front to my party mates, just so I wouldn’t pull them down but I failed. Then that night, he talked to another member of the Green team. He told me the same night that I should revert to my old speech. I was in shock. What’s DIRTY with my speech? Is it my fault that they got hit with things that I emphasized in GENERAL? Why should I follow them, they are not partymates anyway. It did hurt for a bit knowing I had to take orders. I was down that night that I was trying hard not to break down and cry in front of them. I contained myself until I reached home. Then I cried my eyes out.
The next day, I didn’t want to go to the convocation. I wanted to keep quiet. I wanted to pretend I was sick so that I would have a reason why I didn’t go to school. But I prayed for courage. My phone had 10 text messages. Eight of which were from my partymates asking me where I was that time. So I hurriedly went there and the environment, it made me feel better. I shooed away the thought of keeping quiet for the day and enjoyed it instead. No matter how much I tried to make my speech clean, still, the issue was there. But I didn’t care. I knew what I was talking about. February 15 was the last day of the campaign period and another issue came out.
I admit writing a letter of inquiry to our college registrar regarding an issue. But the other team made it a big deal immediately. For heaven’s sake, it was just a letter of inquiry and not a letter of protest. How dare they say it was a desperate move when we were sticking by the rules? And when has sticking by the rules become a sign of playing dirty? In the first place, why were they threatened if they were not guilty? I could never forget how their looks pierced me. I was the enemy, the villain, the rebel of this election. I was accused of doing the opposite of what I say in my campaign speech. But nevertheless, I still stood by my principles. I wasn’t wrong, I was doing the right thing. Later that day, the candidates were enjoying and all, but I was carrying a very heavy burden. I decided to tell them what happened ever since the Harapan, and what I was feeling that day. I finally cried infront of them. Confessing I had hesitations if I should because I don’t want them to see me cry. But I just had enough of the others. I was judged wrongly. And how dare they say and badmouth me to a lot of people when they don’t even know my side of the story. How dare they look at me with piercing eyes and ostracize me when they don’t know me well. And how dare they ruin the genuine concern, friendship and kindness I’ve shown them just to show that they are still unbeatable and they are still on top. My partymates told me that what they say won’t matter anymore. The campaign period is done. And they said I am the campaign manager of the year and they are very thankful of what I’ve done in this year’s campaign period. I was touched beyond words. We are truly a family.
What happened the past 15 days made me realize one thing: I will never regret the day I said “Yes” to my Blue Family. We may have been accused of playing dirty, of a lot of things, of violations and others of that sort, we know that we never committed something that will put us in grounds for disqualification. WE PLAYED FAIR AND SQUARE. WE KNEW HOW TO STICK BY THE RULES. WE STOOD BY OUR PRINCIPLES AND VALUES. I just don’t care anymore, you know, being hated, talked about and scrutinized. It feels sad though, possibly losing a friendship just because he took it too seriously. We had a lot to complain about, evidences showing others have violated the guidelines, but what did we do? We chose to keep quiet because we knew how much issue it will be again, knowing the other one. And that there might be a greater possibility that we won’t be heard again. The funny part here is that, I wasn’t even a candidate, and to think they threw most of the issues at me. Is it my fault my speech was straight to the point? They won’t even react in the first place if what I was saying was wrong. Stimuli. Queen told me last Wednesday that, people are hating me because what I’m doing is right. I realized that she was right. Daniel was thrown to the lion’s den because of his public praying to God, when the King commanded they only worship him. Stephen in the new testament was persecuted just because he was vocal about his love for Christ. I was doing right. I know I am still doing right.
I know myself better than them. I may not be a perfect person, I know deep within me how much fair I played this campaign and election. I know better than what they want me to believe in, and what they want others to believe in about me. I’ve been stressing out a very vital point in my life to others for a long time now: don’t speak up unless you have weighed all that there is to weigh. If your side is one-sided, better keep quiet. They don’t know me. They don’t know my story.
Just because I keep quiet, doesn’t mean I don’t stand by my statements. And just because I don’t fight back, doesn’t mean I’m a coward. There’s more to me than that. I won’t even dare stoop down to their levels. It’s the art of warfare. 🙂
Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face. – Psalm 5:8