May 13, 2012

Rising after a fall

LAST week the entire country had a chance to put its best foot forward as Manila played host to over 4,300 delegates attending the 45th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The last time the country organized a similar ADB event was in 2003. I don’t remember it generating as much excitement and activities as this recent ADB meet did.

Similarly, I put my best foot forward as well as I strove to cover the various press events, but promptly fell flat on my face—literally. I don’t know exactly know how it happened. One minute, Torrid (a media colleague) and I were strolling inside the media center, and a split-second later I was splayed on the floor, my entire mouth hitting the floor rather painfully, and my ego bruised as hell.

It happened so fast, and the only thought balloon I could come up with was “WTF?!?!” The second thought balloon was “Shet. Buti na lang walang gwapo.”

A little rewind here. Prior to this rather unforgettable ADB “event” (my own contribution to the entertainment of delegates), I arrived in a rush at the PICC, where the main activities were happening. I was running late for the first press briefing of the day, and I still had to get my delegate ID at the adjacent building.

By the time I was on my way to the first presser, I must’ve already looked like a baggage handler at the Naia. Aside from my regular handbag, which contains half of my house of course, I had an extra bag for my iPad and keyboard. The laptop bag also held a pair of flat sandals for the trip home, as I knew my feet in heels would not survive the long day. Then of course, there was the ADB swag bag as well which contained not only a booklet of event schedules, but little tokens of hospitality from the government as well as sponsors—a photo frame, a coaster made from capiz shell, ballpens, notebooks, a USB flash drive, to name a few.

So you can probably imagine how I had to wrestle with all that and try to look good as well in my business clothes and heels. I managed to survive the press briefing after walking a rather long distance to get to the venue (pant! pant!), then also the media luncheon after where the usual jokes flew among my fellow reporters across the dining table.

Going to the media center was the next challenge. Despite the various notices along the halls, the media center was still beyond our reach. We proceeded to ask a guard who seemed to have a general idea where it was—the third floor, he said—the same floor Torrid and I had been scouring. Duh.

Of course, when we finally found our way after some yellow-shirted ushers pointed us to the right direction, I decided that I wasn’t satisfied with just Torrid’s attention. I was greedy for my colleagues’ as well and promptly dived to the floor, trying to swim without water, and with my clothes on.

I can laugh about it now but seriously, those initial moments shook me up. And it seemed like I was on the floor forever, the people around too shocked as well to know what to do. There was just no way in hell I could do a Miriam Quiambao and immediately stand up flashing a wide Close-Up smile, because I was simply too weighed down by my three ginormous bags.

Then I nervously giggled, amused at my predicament. Next thing I know, Torrid was helping me up, along with a waiter (I think), as the ADB media center folks expressed concern if I was okay. I asked some dude if I was bleeding, and he answered that I still looked like “a million bucks”. (Thank you, nameless ADB media person, for lifting my ego.)

My left arm hurt a little though, as I was assisted to a computer table where I plunked down by bags and sat still a bit shaken but with my wits finally about. With my left arm just hanging by my side, I proceeded to rush a few stories for my publications and my regular column, typing with only my right hand.

Of course, it happens to everyone, as a friend pointed out. It may not be as physical a tumble as what happened to me, but many of us do buckle under the weight of psychological stress, or our emotional baggage.

Problems involving our family, issues at work, or hiccups in our love life can trip us over. For a few, they can easily get up and dust themselves off with nary a dent to their self-esteem. For others, the spill can be more distressing—causing sleepless nights, loss of appetite, even depression.

When the latter happens, we must remember that we don’t have to work through the difficulties alone. I have found that in times of torment, there are quite a few people—close buddies or even family members—who are willing to help and assist us overcome our pain. All we need to do is reach out and accept their helping hand.

Sure, it may take a while to heal after one’s collapse, and the emotional scars will probably linger for a long time, but we have no choice but to get up and move forward. Doing otherwise condemns us to a bitter life full of resentments and grief-stricken misery, the capacity for any sort of happiness ultimately cut down.

No one wants to be around toxic people like that. And if we have any care at all about our mental or psychological health, rising after a terrible fall is the only antidote to any distress.

(Originally published in the BusinessMirror, May 11, 2012. My column Something Like Life, is published every Friday in the Life section in BM, Image from Kid clip art.)

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