R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – Save yourself from Trouble

Photo Courtesy: http://www.myf4youth.com/
I was flying from Manila back to Cebu. Flying especially when seated next to a window at night is my most favourite. 23F was my number, next to the window! I was excited!
When I walked in the plane, a rugged man, probably few years older than me, was already sitting at 23F.

“That’s yours?” I asked.

“Mine is 23E. Can we just exchange seats?” he said.

I bartered my seat with him because I didn’t want to cause any trouble to all the passengers who were behind my back. As I was buckling myself in my seat, he murmured in disgust. He cursed and he complained about everything inside the aircraft.

“Why is it so hot in here?”
“Look at the ground crew,” he looked outside the window. “They are so slow!”

“Cebupac is the worst! Their magazines are old! Hays...”

No matter how I wanted to see the positive side of things, I was beginning to get drowned in the whirling pool of negativity.
“Why is he so annoying!”

“Why is his breathing so loud? It sounded like thunder!”

“I need peace during my travel! Is that too much to ask?”

While these thoughts were running in my head, a woman jumped on seat 23D, on my left. She was round and plump and she looked exhausted.
“Who wouldn’t be exhausted if you were carrying 2 huge hand-bags that looked like they were going to explode?”
Her face was colourful and glittery. Few strands of hair were sticking on her oily dark face. She had a scarf, a travelling pillow and a huge headphone wrapped around her neck. The scarf, the pillow and headphone all have zebra prints on them, matched with her skin-tight pants and shoes.
She must have gone from a themed party! Or a carnival!
“Hayzz!” she groaned as she threw herself on the seat. My seat vibrated with hers.
“Pig!” the man on my right whispered and giggled. I ignored him.
“This is going to be an exciting trip!” I groaned to myself.
It was a gruelling 1-hour travel.
On my right, a man was so contagious in his negative energy and was so loud in his breathing.
On my left, a woman was so loud in her chewing of bubble gum! And in every move she made, every part of her squeaked!
Why Lord! Why!
My brain hurt trying to understand the situation! I just couldn’t understand why they do what they do!
Looking inside myself, I asked myself “and why do I what I do? Why do I feel the way I feel?” And I realized that the questions I had for myself were just as difficult to understand as my question for my fellow passengers.
I was thinking, maybe I have mesophonia. I stumbled upon this term because I was hoping there must an explanation why specific sounds triggered me to punch someone in the face. Misophonia is a discrete and rarely diagnosed neuropsychiatric disorder, in which negative emotions are triggered by specific sounds, like nail picking, tapping on the table, scratching on the board, a person’s loud breathing, swallowing and chewing.

Image Courtesy: www.omgfacts.com
It is common in the US. In fact, some people have killed because of Mesophonia. So, let’s just say I have mesophonia. However, in my country, the Philippines, when you tell people “I have misophonia,” they would tell you back “Hmmm, Arte Lang Yan!” I think somehow that is a good thing. Since we don’t want to be called “Arte lang yan,” we are forced to control ourselves. We save ourselves and the people around us from trouble.
What I’m trying to say is that, for me, a lot of things don’t need understanding. I see that a lot of problems and conflicts occur because we try to understand the things that don’t need understanding.
Human behaviours in general are hard to understand. We can’t understand why Muslims do the things they do. Why Chinese do the things they do. We can’t understand why some religious people, politicians, extremists do the things they do.
I can’t understand why the man on 23F was so negative and why his breathing was so loud. But maybe he had a bad day?
I don’t know why the woman on 23D was so squeaky and why she chewed her bubble gum noisily like a pig. Or maybe she was once a pig? Maybe she’s been bullied by people like the man on 23F and myself, who were easy to judge her.
Fight or flight! These are 2 things you could do when faced with an irritable situation. But sometimes, situations are just inescapable. You’re trapped.
Image Courtesy: ASMR Nightmare: misophonia - YouTube
To fight the stressor is not helpful. And sometimes, to let the stressor be aware of your feelings is not also helpful. When you’re trapped in that situation, instead of fighting against the stressor, it is better to fight our urge to cause a fight.
Each human being is complicated. To understand every complicated being will make you a God. And that is impossible.
For me, more important that to use our head to understand other people is to use our heart to RESPECT them. When we respect others, despite who and what their behaviours are, the same way we also show ourselves some respect that we all deserve.
May I ask, do you think you have mesophonia? Or probably arte lang yan! True or not, Aretha Franklin perfectly put it… R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me. RESPECT.

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