The Graduating Class Of 2020: doracrybaby
2020 has introduced us to the worst of times, including real-life scenes straight from a dystopian universe. It’s so monumentally dreadful that the creators of Black Mirror are actually making a Netflix mockumentary about it to give this indescribable year the sendoff it deserves.
In this safe space, we’re all for leaving things behind—those which no longer serve us. We’re shaking (some) things off, yes, but we’re also acknowledging that this year has refined us and, during the most tumultuous of times, given us the opportunity to recalibrate and see things from a whole new perspective.
Next up on Wonder’s Graduating Class of 2020 is Jose Lulab Dorado III AKA doracrybaby, who we’ve come to learn has a multidisciplinary approach in life, just like most members of his young generation. He’s this roster’s self-appointed “rock star” but IRL, he’s a newly-minted radio DJ, an award-winning hip-hop dancer, a fashion designer and a digital creative—who *refuses* to be labeled as an “influencer.”
We’ve shed tears and thrown tantrums trying to make sense of the incomprehensible losses and grief that have come with this trainwreck of a year. Dora can definitely relate; he fully embraces his online persona, even permanently tattooing the phrase “crybaby” on his arm. He shares, “My friends and even my family [know] na mabilis ako umiyak (I cry easily). It just [resonates] with me—and it’s a cute name, right?”
In 2020, even the strongest of us have shamelessly surrendered to a whirlwind of emotions—fear, anguish, anxiety—that resulted from one defining incident after another. It’s no different for the toughest of us. Dora explains, “We are weaker than what we post on socials and how we present ourselves. We’re all softies inside, honestly. I’ve met a lot of tough guys that are just really soft, you know. And we feel the same emotions as everyone.”
This year has completely been unexpected for the University of the Philippines graduate. Amid the pandemic, he’s managed to grow his social following and land a coveted radio job. What could have been a difficult year, he has managed to turn to his favor. He shares, “Dumaan na ‘yan sa isip ko (It went through my mind), parang [how did I] turn [trash into treasure]? Pero I’m gonna be unfair to myself if I didn’t give myself credit for what happened. It wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t masipag (diligent) on creating content every day; it wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t put myself out there.”
He adds, “The least I can do is acknowledge my privilege. [When I create content], I make sure I talk to people [and] educate myself before I post, and parang this is a fruition of that.”
Aside from Dora’s daily TikTok videos, he does a weekly video series on YouTube called Sunday Palengke, where he highlights important conversations on politics, pop culture and entertainment. He explains, “Sa TikTok talaga ako nag-thrive at first (I thrived on Tiktok first). [Because the videos are] a minute lang, there are things I can’t discuss [in length] like sensitive topics like sexual harassment, abortion. If I do that in a minute, I will be misconstrued ‘cause I will be leaving details out.”
He goes on to share that he patterned it from his comedic idol Joel McHale’s The Soup. He explains, “It’s comedic, and it does a social roundup of everything that’s happening. So parang ako, ano ba ‘yung Filipino counterpart ng The Soup? It can’t be sabaw because ang daming connotations…so, I was like, where do we all meet each other on Sundays? ‘Di ba the palengke, the marketplace—and that’s where you chismis. (What is the Filipino counterpart of The Soup? It can’t be ‘sabaw’ because there are a lot of connotations…so, I was like, where do we all meet each other on Sundays? In the marketplace, and that’s where you gossip.)”
It goes without saying that most of what we post on social media is crafted to elicit a response. As a very opinionated creator with information as his currency, Dora’s learned a thing or two about being misinterpreted—and embracing accountability when needed. Dora’s takeaway: “It has to be a two-way conversation lagi (always). Whatever happens, you always have to listen to feedback even if you don’t like it. But it’s also very important to listen to people you trust. If I just scroll on my mentions and take in everything, it would [be] social suicide.” The end goal, after all, is fostering open-ended communication. We need to be open to the possibility of not changing someone else’s mind and, at the same time, be open to changing our own.
With a clean slate to look forward to, many of us are still left jaded and paralyzed by 2020. For his generation, Dora imparts, “If surviving is the least [we] can do in quarantine, then we have to be grateful for that.”
For Dora, we’re always moving toward an uncertain future. This year may have offered us the strangest—and most difficult—of circumstances, but it’s not exactly unfamiliar terrain. He declares, “Take everything as it comes to you. Cross bridges when there’s a bridge to even cross kasi every future, even if anong timeline sinusundan natin (whatever timeline we’re following), it’s always uncertain.” He adds, “You can have that five or 10-year plan but you never know if a meteor’s gonna strike next week. Just take everything as it is—and boss the fuck up.”
No matter how prepared we were at the beginning of the year, like students in class frantically jotting down notes, to-do lists and goals, we were catapulted to the unknown, and limited by circumstances. Tomorrow is not promised, as the dreadful year that 2020 is has proven. The odds may or may not be against us for the year ahead, but we’re hoping, nonetheless, for better days to come. We do, after all, have a lot more experience now.