Remember Diamonds

I've been hooked on preparing for the photo project of SNS Challenger. Studying 19th century photographs have really captivated me. I remember my younger days sitting in my grandmother's living room looking at her old photo albums of black and white snapshots treasured for posterity. I remember the dusty covers and how I would sneeze when I'd try to get them out the shelf all cramped with volumes of albums stored every year. I remember feeling like I want to go inside the photo like Mary Poppins did on the sidewalk with those paintings and find myself walking around surrounded with the scenery and the people from the photograph. I wonder why I always have the penchant for melancholy and nostalgia.

While preparing for the photo trip on Saturday, I browse through Adi's old albums of our trip to Intramuros 2 years ago. My bestfriend has never been to Intramuros and I thought it odd but then recalled she didn't spend her grade school years in the country. So void of all those grade school field trips, I take her there one day and what an adventure it was. For me, it felt like seeing the place again for the first time. Exploring the cracks and crevices on the wall that has stood longer than I am standing on this earth. The echoes of the past and stories of those who walked the streets of Old Manila sort of reverberated around me as I breathed in their presence.

It showed me so much of Filipino identity even if these walls depicted 300 years of Spanish colonization. I walked through the walls slowly and thinking about my country's history and where I fit in all of it. The photo below was taken by Adi and I was really happy to have seen it when she finally posted it on her album. I was surprised that someone would take a photo of me because I was usually the one taking photos of people. This image has been symbolic of my journey and I keep looking at it to remind me that despite the darkness of the tunnel I am walking towards the light.

This morning aside from all these thoughts I am thinking about my day and the people I will be talking to today. Yesterday I had to listen to a man weep about his sins and admit his shortcomings with remorse. He would clear his throat and hold back his sob but the big fat tears escaped his frantically pained red eyes. His face contorted and the ache flowed into the room and knocked at my heart.

The word compassion is hard especially in the workplace. I am probably too young to handle such situations because I am not callused with experience. I didn't know what else to say except that I'll pray for him and told him that he might want to look into his faith again and pray for answers he has long been looking for.

I shook his hand and left the room. I had to hold my own emotions back because I had to do more work for the day.

This moment I remember one of the members of my staff told me about how the led of a pencil and diamonds are made of the same chemical -- carbon. Diamonds evolve from carbon because of high pressured and intense heat. After dressing up for work today I was looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself, "Diamonds. Remember diamonds."


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