Politicians and entertainment celebrities couldn’t care less about how they are perceived. Defying the norms of correctness used to merit looks and whispers in the olden times. These days, it garners scathing comments in the Internet. News, comedians and pundits rehash every wrong word, decision or action in YouTube where it will live for eternity. It makes one wonder how the subject of such scrutiny can live with themselves. How do they face their friends and neighbors in the morning after a Saturday Night Live ridicule?
Typical Filipinos go to great lengths to avoid being talked about in a bad light. They’re not even celebrities. This is partially due to cultural and religious standards of morality. I was raised in a family that said “What will people say?!” every time I broke the norm in my youth. And I broke a lot of them. That gave me a feeling of living with an invisible judge hovering over me.
I had my eyelids surgically done to better hold eye makeup. I worked out with leg weights and dumbbells for decades to keep my size and shape swimsuit material. Rich or poor I picked my wardrobe carefully to always reflect a touch of class. All those because I heard “I have a responsibility to my fans.” Celebrity or not, we all have fans, or these days, haters.
I dated too soon and married too young. Our neighborhood in Pasay City gossiped like TMZ, checking out every guy I brought home. My parents secretly cried in shame and disapproval. Despite my family’s effort not to meddle and helped out every step of the way, I failed my first marriage.
To avoid further embarrassment, I hung on to husband No.2 for 25 years. Those 25 years started on the wrong foot but a second failure was not an option. I decided to punish myself with a voluntary incarceration. I worked, raised the kids, and stayed unhappily ever after. In the court of public opinion I was able to redeem myself.
At the tail end of the 25 years, I studied the Bible. I realized there was only one opinion that mattered, Jehovah God’s, as specifically stated in Matthew 5:32 “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
Husband No.1 was not cheating on me. I committed a crime against my first husband, our son and God. I did my time. After 25 years, I gave myself parole.