Rubber Bands To Keep Your Socks From Sagging Down
At first, this phrase presented such a simple picture, that of an eight- or nine-year-old me in my slightly large school uniform, wearing my older brother’s used, old socks because my mother couldn’t afford to buy me new ones. We would put rubber bands on the top part to prevent it from sagging down, cleverly concealed, of course, so that no one would notice that it was old and big on me, and so that it would stay up and function as a normal pair of socks should on an entire school day. Never mind if it was off-white from years of usage, washing, and bleaching, so long as it fulfilled its role as a part of my uniform and didn’t roll down.
I don’t think my classmates ever caught on the truth about my socks, because they never taunted me about it. They did silently heckle me about my being palahingi ng baon, though. I found out years later that during the afternoon snack breaks, my classmates would purposely hide their baons from me because apparently, I would always unashamedly ask for a piece of their snack. Now I just can’t remember if it’s because my mom didn’t give me baon money or if the money she gave wasn’t enough, or if I was just plain matakaw. I just know that life hit me with my first lesson hard and square in the face - that people can be cruel and two-faced - which is why I never really maintained friendships from elementary or high school. I’ve only really kept and treasured one - that which I share with my best friend.
They probably also talked behind my back in first year high school when I used my older brother’s extremely-large-on-me black shoes because my mother couldn’t afford to get me proper ladies’ ones. And so I walked about in school in my masculine, “barko” shoes for almost an entire school year before my mother or grandparents finally probably took pity and got me my own. I remember it was a dream come true for me then to finally own one of those cute and dainty black semi-platform shoes that Cardam’s in SM Southmall carried. Years later, when I found myself endorsing the brand, I thought to myself, wow, how interesting can life get? How grateful I am.
But this entry is not about poverty or overcoming it. Nor is it about having a pity party or dissing other people. It’s about how when I thought back to that image, of rubber bands holding up a pair of worn, extremely loose socks, did it occur to me how representative it is of life - that we are all a pair of socks walking around, getting dirty and getting cleaned in an endless cycle, getting stretched by events that either make us stronger or make us cower, and how in between all of these, we all need rubber bands of friendships, people we trust and we can rely on, to hold us up.
The next question then is, who are your rubber bands? Do you keep around you people who are lovingly authentic, who don’t shy away from calling you out when you are wrong, who loyally stay no matter how smelly and dirty it can get in there? (Sorry, this post is about rubber bands in socks that do eventually get icky after all, hihi.) Point is, in this life it is extremely vital to choose and maintain the right kinds of friendships. Relationships that would support and urge you to realise your possibilities, relationships that nudge you to be your best, rooted in love and respect for fellow human beings. Relationships that bring you closer to the Lord, relationships where you can safely share your deepest, darkest sins, whose hands you can trustingly hold on to as you both walk the path of continued redemption.
And that these, like most everything else in this life, come to light in the passage of time.
I hope you find your rubber bands. And I do hope you’d get to know and wear them early on.