BATANG MINDANAW: Riding Toothless

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews/25 August) – It was my last day in Malaybalay before leaving for Iligan City. Finally. And I wouldn’t be travelling alone, after all, which was both a disappointment and a relief. Father was going with me to get his renewed passport in Cagayan de Oro City. I didn’t know though if he’d go with me all the way to Iligan, but no matter.

I took a nap the afternoon before that, or so I thought. I ended up sleeping until ten something PM. I went downstairs, had a very late dinner and went into my social media sites and then watched videos from some of my favorite YouTubers. One of them is JACKSGAP, a young British filmmaker. I discovered his YouTube channel about one or two months ago and immediately fell in love with his work. I aspire to one day produce creative content as great and beautiful as his. I’m going to college to study to become a lawyer eight to ten years from now but my desire to produce creative content has never left me.

I’m not satisfied with all of my works, to be honest, but I’ve been creating since I was little and I don’t want to let it go. I guess it was a childhood passion that didn’t die, and I’m glad that it didn’t. As people get older they tend to let go of their passions and imaginations and fantasies. “It’s time to get serious.” “It won’t pay the bills.” “Don’t pick that course; you won’t earn a lot of money.” Though it still baffles and outrages me every time I hear those kinds of things, I’ve been seeing that what adults tell me kind of makes sense. There’s capitalism and corruption and unemployment. However, I’m not going to let those things get in the way of my creativity. In this society of ruined economy and racism and homophobia, perhaps what we need is a sprinkle of creativity. No, not a sprinkle, a dam.

I think adults should let children be children and not tell them to give up on things they are passionate about. Last year around December (I was in senior high school) after our pictorials, we were told to write down the information needed for our yearbook, and that included our ambition. I wrote “to ride a dragon.” While it may seem like I was fooling around, I wasn’t. I, with all of my heart, really dream of riding a dragon. I mean, shit, bruh! HAVE YOU SEEN “HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON” AND “GAME OF THRONES”? Dragons are f_ing amazing. I would give up our four dogs for a pet dragon like Toothless.

Days after, I, along with some of my classmates who in my opinion had written down pretty rad ambitions, were told to change it. They wanted “realistic” ambitions like to be a doctor, a lawyer, a CPA. We felt violated and invalidated. It was like they were telling us that our ambitions were worthless.

I tried to insist that I genuinely wanted to ride a dragon. And my adviser was like “Are there dragons, Alex?” I could sense the subtle judgment tone. I would have preferred to say something sassy or sarcastic like “Is there world peace, Ma’am?” or “We are experiencing global warming and Greece is in deep shit and our territorial dispute with China is still not settled. My batch mates might as well know that I have a deep regard for dragons.”

But I liked our adviser because she was kind and she taught us Advanced Physics really well, so I settled with a light-hearted “No, but I will invent one,” which she just laughed off. But in the end, I had no choice but change my ambition into a more “sensible” one. I just then comforted myself with the thought that if Stephen Hawking’s theory of an infinite number of parallel universes were true, then in one of those universes I was having the time of my life riding on the back of my dragon, Toothless 2.0. Or Derp. I’m still not sure with the name, but I know Daenerys Targaryen would be very proud of me.

That event made me realize that people will discourage you from doing the things that you’d love to do if it’s something that they don’t understand or are not willing to understand. It didn’t discourage me. It instead fuelled a rage that encouraged me to expand my creative horizons. And one day, I will be able to ride a dragon. (Alexandria M. Mordeno is a freshman at MSU-IIT and a member of the school’s debating varsity.)