Every Quest Begins with a Question: A Talk Show’s Tale
We all love watching a talk show, aren’t we? Anderson Cooper Live (way back 2013), The Talk, 60 Minutes, Boy Abunda’s Bottomline are all included in my favourite list. Perhaps, it is because we love the topic that they are discussing and we want to know more about it. Probably, it is also because the whole program gives us an opportunity to take a glimpse of life (for real) and how this life is manifesting itself to other people. Or maybe – just maybe, the invited guest is someone who we like or who we want to know more or someone who at the back of our minds – seems to represent us or represent what we are also going through.
The Three Major Characters in a Talk Show
The dim-lighted stage opened its doors for the hundreds of audience to come in. The audience from all walks of life were screaming in excitement. The noise was almost defeaning. We can’t blame them, though. They have been waiting too long in line since five in the morning just to be there – present in a live talk show. They started digging out the smart phones from their pockets or fancy bags and yes – as expected, started selfie-ing, uploading all those pictures and placing witty and hilarious hashtags such as #BlessedToBeHere, #IAmOnTV, #WatchMeIfCameraFocusMeLiveOnTV, #PictureMeWhenCameraFocusMeAndSendItToMeASAP, #PictureMeWhenCameraFocusMeAndTagMeOnFacebookASAP – and the list goes on and on. I bet, you all know this drill.
Then, there it was – a cue that the whole program would start in five minutes. And, the countdown began – 5,4,3,2,1. LIGHTS ON! Camera focused on the Host...
“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen all over the world – whether you are watching us at the comfort of your living room or via web livestreaming – welcome to our TALK SHOW. We will have a lot of opening-up-stories happening today so brace yourselves! I know you don’t want to miss anything out. How awesome is that? Without further ado, let me call on our guest. Please join me on stage Ms. Melissa Veritaz from Authentee City”, declared by the Host in his usual advertising tone.
After the exchange of handshakes, the Host threw in the first question, “I’ve just learned what happened. How have you been so far?”
“I cannot deny that I am still hurting. My heart’s bleeding. Maybe because, I miss the person that I thought she was. I felt betrayed. It was a mask after all. You see, she was more than a friend. She was a lot more like a SISTER to me.", Melissa Veritaz daringly answered without batting an eyelash.
Our First Character: The Guest
The guest is the most courageous person on stage who steps forward, dares to rock the boat and confidently makes herself available enough to be seen and to be heard by everyone. She makes it a point to share her story with her WHOLE HEART laid down on the table. She defies the odds and stands up to represent herself so she can own her story – never hiding and not trying to fabricate anything but just to keep the truth in its glorious transparent form. She boldly answers the questions. She speaks in reference to how she really feels and not how the Host wants her to answer. She is brave enough to remove her armor and to get vulnerable in the process. She is risking herself to appear like a fool infront of all the naysayers, put-downs, or non-believers who can gobble up on her weakness like a vulture to its dying prey. With all these, she knows it will all be worth it.
“Wow, that must have been really tough”, blurted by the Host. “For a second, I really don’t know what to say. How are you getting through each day?" The Host keeps on tossing one question after another.
Our Second Character: The Host
He interviews the guest with all the questions that flash on his mind. He pushes the limits of the guest by his unrelenting interrogations that allow the guest to own her personal truth. He barely shares about himself. He is already comfortable to the fact that his role is the one who drives the controls of the scenario by just asking and getting all the answers – plain and simple. He is safe dwelling in the shadow of his guest’s story while he either nods in agreement or pauses for every “aha moment” or life lesson that he can extract from the experience so he can use it for his own. It was safe to facilitate a multitude of questions to his guest. In a precise assessment, it was a semi-enlightening moment for him. A part of him seems to be redeemed with all that he learned but the other half, still yearns for more answers.
“Oh no no no, don’t cry. You’re going to be a huge smudge-make-up-mess later! Argh...”, exclaimed by the Spectator. “Whew, good thing I am not on the spotlight. She is such a fool to offer her story to the world that would later devour her story towards its rapid decay. What a pity”, sighed in relief by the Spectator.
Our Third Character: The Spectator
The Spectator neither asks nor answers questions. Invisibility is his place of comfort. He doesn’t want to take the risk of being seen nor heard. Why would he care, anyway? He just likes to ride along with this whole fiasco. He just wants to go with the current of the program flow. He is comfortable savouring the scene as an outsider. He might have answers, questions or even comments – but he refused to participate – even if there is a possibility that his answer or question might be the missing puzzle of all that they are talking about. He is contented to be just like a bystander or an onlooker at the arena where the guest strips off her armoured clothing until everyone can see all her skin. He prefers to hide, to be unheard and to just – DUCK, COVER & HOLD (yup, just like what you see people do whenever there is an earthquake or whenever a place shakes).
Who do you prefer to be?
If the stage was not really a stage after all but rather a classroom where all of you can jump in and playfully volunteer for the role you like, who do you prefer to be? Would you rather choose to be the Guest, the Host or the Spectator? Unlike any role playing exercises that happen in schools, this one is more of its impromptu version – unrehearsed, spontaneous, no scripts, no portrayal but just simply showing up as you are. Who would you pick?
Who benefits the most from the Talk Show?
What do you think? Is it the guest who puts herself on the spotlight and allowed herself to be seen and to be heard? Is it the host who keeps asking questions, receiving answers and learning from the guest? Or is it the spectator who passively watches everything happens, get all those done and get all those gone on his sight?
The answer... It’s the Guest... But, WHY?
Vulnerability becomes her strength, not a weakness. She embraces all her humanity (with all those imperfections) – that, she can also get hurt, she can hate people who did her wrong, she can accept her own weakness for trusting people’s goodness too much and she can share herself WHOLEHEARTEDLY to people amid all the risks – because at one point, those whom she shed tears for are WORTH IT.
Vulnerability now becomes the most accurate test of courage because in all these dynamics – she pushes forward to dig in and find her own answers no matter how painful they might appear. She learns that she can only get vulnerable to people whom she trusts enough and that she willingly remove all her guards down. Let’s try to think of this. If she is not in pain after those people’s misdeed, it only means she has not trusted nor counted on their goodness because she has expected them to be really evil right at the first encounter. If she is not in pain, it only means that all those moments with those people are all fake because all these time, she is wearing a mask or armor to protect herself – making the whole friendship not genuine, not real, not worth the try, and not worth the risk. But guess what, she DID RISK. She DID TRY. She DID TRUST on their goodness, after all.
Vulnerability allows her to put herself back together. Because she OWNS her story, she CAN TAKE FULL ACTION and grab all the control buttons only to her finger tips (no one – neither the Host nor the Spectator has the power to command her what to do). She empowers herself in time as she pushes forward on how all these are going to continue. She trusts herself even more. She achieved a firm resolve that she can indeed, love and care people genuinely.
Why not the Host?
It is not the Host who discovers a lot about himself in the process, isn’t it? He discovered a lot about the Guest but those are not his own. He sees, hears, breathes and lives in the reflection and journey of other people. He gets blurry on his own life map because he keeps on sneaking a peak to how others do it. THIS delays his footing. He cannot take action on a good speed because he doesn’t own anything. His stories are all left hidden in every question or comment he threw at other people or in every towering expectations he set for his “infallible” image of himself. However, at the end of all these, he has forfeited the path to search for his own answers and not just settle with how other people perceive and do it.
Did you really think, it’s the Spectator? Oh, no.
Definitely, NOT. A Spectator prefers to be invisible and NOT to be vulnerable, isn’t it? When you are not fully engaged into something, you cannot connect with yourself nor you cannot relate with the other person. In effect, you cannot embrace everything that is YOU (strengths and weaknesses, combined). If you cannot relate with the other person, you can NEVER learn the virtue of HUMILITY. You neglect the fact that you were once there before. If you cannot be humble, you will always get drowned into the anonymity of your own weakness. Thus, you cannot change what you do not acknowledge. And because you prefer to be invisible, you cannot commit yourself into FULL ACTION.
This is a FAIRY TALE but the
HAPPY-EVER-AFTER ENDING depends on YOU.
This is a DIY story. Yes, this is a Do-It-Yourself Fairy Tale. In every moment of our lives, we get to capture our own questions. Most of the time, they appear when you are STILL and not busy. They dwell in your QUIET TIME. Those moments when you bathe yourself in the morning (or in the evening before going sleep) are the time when those questions appear. It is that one horrible traffic in the evening going home when they try to knock into your consciousness. It is that one hour jog in the park without drowning yourself to music but rather relishing your silence. Questions such as, “Is this all there is to life?”, “How can I love and serve more?”, “How do I know that I truly care for someone?”, “How can I give a better life for my family?”, "How can I be happier?" etc. – are just a few examples.
Now, I understand the meaning of Socrates’ most popular maxim, “An unexamined life is not worth living”. If you left all those questions unanswered, they would all come knocking again on you. This is the reason why most people get STUCK. They refuse to answer. You can only be empowered into FULL ACTION & ACCOUNTABILITY by digging your own answers. Instead of numbing yourself by just going through the motion of your "busy-ness", why don’t you pause, be still and try accommodating those questions? Start (or continue) your QUEST by CARE-FRONTING (or confronting) your own questions.