"Why are you so forceful?"
The words hit me like a brick.
I was talking to a friend earlier, trying to motivate him to start on his fitness routine. He had reached out to me a couple of weeks ago, saying that he had wanted to begin finally.
The thought excited me. I had always been dropping hints to my friend that his lifestyle was really messing him up--physically, mentally, and emotionally. He had been complaining of being stressed all the time. Secretly, I was hoping that he would somewhat take my advice to heart and sort of change his ways.
Finally, he said that he was going to the gym with me to inquire about the membership rates. On the way, I was planning everything in my head, and voicing it out to him. I was thinking that all he needed was an extra push to finally make that change.
That was when he called me out.
The thing is, forceful is an adjective which I don't readily associate myself with. But I guess that is somewhat a form of self-delusion.
The truth is, I've been called various permutations of that word, in a lot of occasions, by different people.
Granted, I understand I can be very passionate about things. Sometimes it is exhausting. It takes a lot of effort to curb my enthusiasm just so I come across as friendly or fun or, in millennial parlance, chill.
Perhaps, there is a more graceful way of doing things.
But the thing is, I am very absorbed with the things I care about. And sometimes, it does get personal. Of course, I do catch myself at times when I feel that a criticism is really just that--a way to help me improve myself, and not an attack on my character.
I am intense because I care. Because I'd like to believe that I have done everything in my power to make things happen. I can rest well knowing that I have exhausted all means to solve the problem I'm facing.
At times, it does spill over to people close to me. And I feel guilty knowing that I have a tendency to put pressure on my loved ones to become better. Maybe it's also because I have experienced that very same pressure growing up, and that to let myself buckle under it is a terrible sign of defeat.
As a song goes: "When there is nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire."
I have to learn how to master this fire and make it last for a very long time, without burning the ones I care for the most.
HELLO, MY NAME IS EVAN TAN.
I'm a writer and communications professional based in Manila, Philippines. Outside of my regular job, I like to travel, work out, volunteer, watch movies and plays, go to art galleries/ fairs and museums, read books, and eat vegetarian food.
More about me here.