Emotional Blackmail and Sincere Sharing
By Apolinario Villalobos
Ever wonder why some people find it hard to confide their real feeling and situation or what they do? It is alleged that the reason is their fear that others will not understand them anyway, or that, they will just be ridiculed. On the other hand, I thought that these people are just secretive and selfish, until I experienced it myself.
The strange-sounding “emotional blackmail” was blatantly said to me by no less than a person who I thought was with me always. One day, when I told her what transpired when I was with my friends in a depressed area, she told me pointblank that I was blackmailing her emotionally. At first, I did not comprehend what she meant, until I consulted a friend. He told me that the person close to me must be presuming that I was giving her reasons to help me financially in my advocacy. In other words, I was soliciting her financial sympathy. That was how she, perhaps, understood my intention, although, there was nothing to it but just to share for her to know, as I thought she was close to me.
From then on, I became wary about sharing with others, significant incidents every time I visit my friends in slums. It came to a point that despite pressures by some friends on me to divulge what I really do every time I take the road to do my random sharing, not much is shared in my blogs. It is enough to let trusted friends know that I have shared with the less unfortunate whatever excess I have in my pocket and what others contribute.
My intention in sharing my experiences is purely to inspire. I do not want to make viewers think that their emotions are being pinched. Unfortunate people are not only found in the Philippines or Manila for that matter, but anywhere in the world. I just want to let viewers know that all they need to do is open their eyes and look around wherever they are, for fellow men who need help in any way. However, for some select followers of my blogs and who I know to be on the same plane with me, I do not hesitate to expound on my advocacy. As I could feel their sincerity, I allow them to have a glimpse of what I do, as I answer their queries through discreet messages.
I must admit, though, that strangers but considered “fb friends” and “blog followers” are sending tokens of charity or directly involve themselves in what I do. For instance, a Belgian follower in one of my sites sent euro for the sidewalk kids of Avenida; a couple in Cebu sent help for a family in Baseco Compound; an elderly couple adopted a former teen-aged prostitute I met in Avenida, and sent her to school; a Filipina in the States sends books; another Filipina still in the States sent her long-kept peso saved from a previous vacation in the Philippines; a retired couple regularly shares interest earned by their money in the bank to help me with my expenses; and a balikbayan couple spent for the bus fares and allowances of three families who went home to Tacloban. These are just some of the angelic acts that helped many unfortunate souls. Those friends learned about the needs from what I shared through blogs. Unfortunately, some still have the temerity to ridicule my effort knowing that I have limited financial capability which I must honestly admit. Their view is that, I am not supposed to be doing all those things because I cannot do them on my own. What they do not know is that, in the beginning, I only relied on what I had, and that is how I made the ball start to roll…. successfully.
It is interesting to note that some people cannot understand what “random sharing or charity” means…that it is about unplanned, on-the-spot sharing of what is available and affordable, without declaring the identity of the giver, and without the selfie-shots of the cellphone camera, recording all those acts… and, that it is about blending with the people being helped to the extent of partaking of their meals as necessary, or sleeping with them on the sidewalk.
At the end, I just console myself with the thought that I am not alone in this kind of sharing advocacy. I see young evangelists who visit depressed areas to share the Good News from the Bible, and with only a few pesos in their pocket for fare back home. I learned that some of them make do with Skyflakes biscuit to stave off hunger while snaking their way through muddy side streets and alleys.
But, what touched me most was when a scavenger shared with me a partly spoiled pineapple that he painstakingly peeled and delicately sliced to get rid of the spoiled portion. To show my appreciation, I bought four pieces of Skyflakes biscuits – two for each of us to go with the foraged pineapple.
To keep me going, I just keep on telling myself that if others can do it, I can do it, too…share what is affordable. And, that for me is what I call simple but sincere sharing…that we need not be rich to let others feel how we care for them. Most importantly, sharing such experiences with others does not necessarily mean that their help is being solicited, but is just meant to inspire them to do the same for others near or around them, if they have the time and a extra coins in their pocket. What I am doing is letting them know that they need not walk or look far to find people who need help.