Saturday, December 26, 2009

changing

In a few days, the whole world will say goodbye to 2009. I don’t know about you but whenever the year ends, I drown in feelings of helplessness- especially if it’s been a good year like this one. 2008 was a pretty boring year for me, full of unfulfilled plans and failed attempts at flight. I knew I had to start 2009 with a different approach. This time last year, I sat down to write my New Year’s Resolutions. They had to be big, yes, but they also had to be manageable.

What is it about New Year’s Day that gives such hope to folks like us? It’s like with a pen and paper, you can wash away all the errors of the past 365 days. There is a massive hope for change for everyone. Problem is, change doesn’t really come easy for me. I’m quite the creature of habit, you see. In restaurants, I favor tried and tested dishes over the exciting and new. My hair has been revolving around two or three styles ever since high school and I still dress the same way I did two years ago.

It usually takes something huge for me to change and with 2008, it was a huge lot of nothing. It’s like my whole life stagnated that year and so I knew I had to shake things up for 2009. Last year, I set out to do a couple of things: expand my horizons, improve in my career, be stronger in faith and fall in love.

I met a ton of bloggers this year. If that’s not expanding my horizons, I don’t know what is. I’m usually very picky about who I let into my life but I must say everyone’s been really nice. I met people who made me feel like I was part of something. I met people who inspired me to take my writing to different heights. I met people who taught me valuable life lessons. Some people challenged me to use my head. Others challenged me to use my heart. This online universe we live in and the bloggers that I’ve met will always hold a special place in my heart.

Career wise, I’m still where I was a year ago. The only difference is I feel like the experiences I’ve had this year have made me stronger and wiser. As a facilitator, I am much more confident in what I do and say. I no longer let small things like office gossip or disagreements get in the way of my work. I’ve learned to develop a special bond with the people I train, some I’ve even come to call my closest friends. They too have carved a special place in my heart.

Of all the lessons and epiphanies I’ve had this year (and if you read this blog regularly, you would know that I am a sucker for lessons and epiphanies), I find my year-ender to be the most important- he who stops changing has stopped learning. All in all, this year has been very good to me. I feel very blessed that for once, everything is in its rightful place. There were many tears this year but there were also many, many laughs. And while change doesn’t really come easy for me, I know that I must go through it. It shows that I am still human. It shows that I am capable of learning.

I almost feel a little sad that the year’s about to end but there’s also a huge part of me that is very excited for 2010. I have many more things to accomplish next year and because of the lessons I picked up along the way, I know that whatever comes my way, I’ll be just fine.

As I am writing this, dawn is breaking and the sun is starting to warm the metropolis and its residents. I almost forgot one of the biggest changes I’ve made this year. I open the door and the room is freezing. I undress and crawl back into bed. Suddenly, your warmth is all I feel. I snuggle into a hole within your being. Thank you for crashing my walls. Thank you for sticking around. I know that the little victories I had this year would mean nothing if you weren’t there for me at the end of each day. You once asked me how much I love you and I told you I couldn’t give you an answer. All I know is more than anything and anyone, you have the biggest place in my heart.


Jennifer Hudson
I Am Changing
Dreamgirls: Music From The Motion Picture


Thursday, December 17, 2009

interlude: between the sheets



there is nothing
but the sound of your voice
the scent of your skin
the warmth of your body
calling me home

i ball up like a cat
and pull up the sheets
wishing i could hold
those seconds in my hand

that's the thing about borrowing time*
you never know when you need to give it back


Original Photo Credit: Champ Inside


Glee Cast
Alone ft. Kristin Chenoweth
Glee: The Music, Volume 1


Monday, December 7, 2009

on borrowed memories and expectations


I woke up and I didn’t know what time it was. My first impulse was to reach for my phone under my pillow but it wasn’t there. That was when I realized I was in a different bed. I got up and looked around. Everything was bathed in light. The windows were open as the wind played hide and seek with the curtains. It was so beautiful. There weren’t any shadows where secrets or doubts could hide.

The bed shook a little and I realized I wasn’t alone. I turned around and the sight of you took my breath away. The sun shone on your face and your bare chest. Although you were asleep, I could’ve sworn you were smiling. I sat beside you and I kissed your cheek. Good morning.

Good things never last. Like an overexposed photograph, the room started to fade away. Everything was engulfed in a sea of white. I tried to hold on to you, to us and to everything we had in that room but I couldn’t. Suddenly, I was awake in my own bed in my own room. I became aware- a little too aware of my consciousness. In comparison, I felt like I had just lost everything. It pained me to know that you were not beside me.

The dream was a moment borrowed from a future memory- one that holds no certainty, I know. I closed my eyes again hoping that the dream would come back but it didn’t. And though I tried to keep them at bay, just like that an expectation is born.


Plain White T's
Hey There Delilah
All That We Needed


Sunday, November 29, 2009

trial and error

Once upon a time, I was pretty good in Math. I studied in a Chinese school and my Math teacher taught us so many tricks. By the time I transitioned to a new school, I was way ahead of my classmates. I loved how you could solve any problem with a little bit of common sense and just a pinch of elbow grease. It felt good to know that all problems have a clear solution. For the first few years, I got pretty high marks in Math.

And then came the concept of factoring. Hate is such a strong word and I don’t really use it that often but I can honestly say with the utmost conviction that I hate factoring. I still remember that day we first discussed it. My teacher gave us rules and examples but at the end of the day, it all boiled down to a concept that I could not grasp- trial and error. Math is all about logic. If you willingly risk making a mistake to find an answer, that’s not being logical at all. There should be no room for errors, I remarked and this new concept was shaking my very ideals to the core.

I flunked many a test in factoring and that year spelled the end of my love story with Math. In high school, I cheated my way through Algebra and Calculus. In college, I had to retake Trigonometry in a different college just to pass. I no longer wanted to study Math knowing that there are some problems that could only be solved by trial and error. They say all the failures in your life happen for a purpose. Last night, I realized why I flunked factoring.

I was out with friends two hours after my new love* ended. I needed the distraction. I was quiet the whole time and they kept asking me about it but I didn’t say anything. I didn’t really feel like talking about it. Being the youngest, my friends are a little over-protective of me and I didn’t want to think about anything at that time except recuperating from my loss. When alcohol had lent us its strength a few hours later, they pushed me into talking and I managed to finish the story without a single tear. I was pretty proud of myself.

But then they started discussing it and one of my closest friends said that I “allowed the situation to happen.” She meant well. She always does but at that exact moment, all my fake strength evaporated. In a moment worthy of Maalala Mo Kaya cameras, I delivered my first emotional line of the night.

“So are you saying that it’s my fault I’m in this shit? Honestly, I just gave this whole thing a chance. You wouldn’t understand because you’ve never allowed yourself to fall in love,” I said (with matching tears). It was part defense, part offense. She pushed my buttons and I knew just which ones to push if I wanted to cross her. By then, our voices were raised and the people in the other tables were starting to stare. Our other friends, split by the conflicting points, could not do anything but try to calm us both down. I stood up and went to the restroom. People can be so irrational when they’re emotional.

She was quiet after that. When I came back from the restroom, I noticed she was stifling tears. Damn, I felt so guilty when I saw that. I cannot stand seeing women crying and knowing that I made a really good friend cry made me feel like such an asshole. I knew that words would not be enough so instead of going back to my seat, I went over to hers and gave her a really big hug.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered in between sobs. “I’m just very emotional right now.” She flinched. It was one of our most awkward hugs.

“I just don’t understand why you allow things like that to happen to you. You saw it coming. You told me all about it. I’m not the type of friend who would hold your hand and tell you everything’s gonna be alright. I’m sorry, I’m just not. You saw it coming but you didn’t do anything to stop it.”

“No, I didn’t but you can’t blame me for that. That’s what you do when you love someone. You exhaust all options because it’s worth it. But I have my limits too. Would it help if I told you I ended it?”

She looked at me and said nothing but in her eyes, I could hear what she wanted to say. You’re stronger now. I’m glad you used your head this time*.

“Everyone says I’m jaded. Everyone says I don’t allow myself to love but how can I knowing that it could really get hurt?” she explained. “You’re one of the smartest people I know and yet you’re so stupid when it comes to love. You keep allowing these things to happen to you. I just don’t understand.”

I told her my factoring story. At first, she looked at me like I was crazy to bring up such an inane topic in a moment of high emotional stress but when I got to my point, I felt like for the first time that night, we finally saw eye to eye.

“In math and life, the hardest problems can only be solved by trial and error. You think I was being stupid for allowing my heart to get stepped on again and again and again. What you’re not seeing is I learned so many things along the way. Yes, I’ve made a lot of stupid mistakes but they will all be worth it once I find that person- the one who loves me to death and never fails to let me know every single day. The one who can be proud of me and would never hide me behind walls of secrets*. Don’t you think that’s worth it?”

“I just don’t like seeing you get hurt,” she explained. “I know I have a weird way of showing it but you know I love you, right?”

“I know. I know. That’s why you should probably know this: I have a lot of mistakes to make before I find that person. There will be times when I will feel down and I need to know I can count on friends like you to be there for me.” We hugged and that was that. Good lovers are easy to find but I would trade a shitload of them for one really good friend.

Trial and error: an abomination to logic but if you think about it, when has love ever become logical?

Photo Credit: BCMath


Alicia Keys
Doesn't Mean Anything
The Element of Freedom


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

secrets

Do you know why secrets itch? It’s because it stings to be kept in the dark. They struggle in the darkness like a drunken man sneaking in at 4AM- fumbling through furniture for the light switch while trying to keep silent.

One of my earliest memories of secrets was with my father. Growing up, I saw him as a very mysterious and strict man. He had many rules for us. We could only play from 4 to 6. By 7, we should be bathed and ready for supper. We could never leave a speck of food on our plates. If we broke any of these rules, we would surely get the bitter end of his black leather belt.

Of all my father’s rules, the strictest was bedtime at 9 o’clock. This story is about the time I broke that particular rule. It was the night that I had a little too much soda and the caffeine just wouldn’t let me sleep. I snuck out of my bedroom and went to the living room to play video games. At around midnight, my father opened the door and found me on the couch wide-awake. He totally wigged out. I got the beating of my life and was sent to bed wounded and in tears.

You’d think that that would keep me from staying up but I was a pretty curious kid. I wanted to know why my father was awake. I could see from the little space beneath my bedroom door that the dining room light was still on. I opened the door a little and I could see my dad. I wondered what he was doing.

Upon closer inspection, I saw that he was swinging his hips. Was he dancing? What was he dancing? I had questions. So many questions. Why was he dancing? Was he joining a contest? Was my father a good dancer? I wanted to know. Dammit, I really wanted to know. When the curiosity was so intense I felt it would overflow, I mustered up enough courage to open the door.

It was then that I discovered my father’s secret. He wasn’t dancing the flamenco or the tango. He was practicing his golf swing.

There are some things you should know about my father. He grew up in a farm; the youngest of a large, primarily male family. Although the land was theirs, it seems there was never enough of anything for his entire family. Like most parents, he wanted his children to have the life he never had. He left the province to work in the big city and swore he would never return. He found a woman with a similar view to raise a family with. Together, they worked hard to raise my sisters and me. They’ve kept their promises. Growing up, we always had enough of the basics: food, clothing, shelter and love. (A little too much love if you ask me. We were a little socially retarded from the lack of interaction with people outside the family.)

Now because my father had spent most of his life making semi-riches out of rags, he did not have the same interests or skill sets as the men his age. To put it simply, he couldn’t afford any hobbies. I suddenly recalled a conversation he had with my mother when we were driving to church. A friend had invited my father to play golf in some posh country club. He tried to play it down, adding a scoff here and a few off-topic remarks there but I could still tell that he wanted to go. My mom told him to turn the offer down. We were barely getting by and a sport like golf would cost a lot of money. “Stick to what you know,” she told him and that was the end of that- or so we thought.

Suddenly, it all made sense- the weekend “meetings”, the late night practices. No wonder he was so cross when he caught me playing Mario! I interrupted his private tee time. He was trying to catch up with men who grew up affluently- who were able to master golf at an early age. My father didn’t have that same privilege and if he wanted to play with them, he had a lot of catching up to do.

I carried my father’s secret. I understood his reasons. That night, I saw my father’s human side- the one he hides from the family he kills himself for. Who was I to deny him of this outlet? Undetected, I went back to my room and never told a soul.

What would my father do if he learned my secrets? Sometimes, I imagine life would be better if nothing was kept in the dark. Although I keep most of them for our mutual protection, there are moments (like right now) where I wonder if he would accept me, his only son, for who I really am. I suppose some secrets are darker than others. The only similarity is that they are all in the dark. I understood you, father. Will you understand me? I saw your reasons and I loved you for them. Do you think you could find it in your heart to accept mine?

In saner moments, I realize that such questions are pointless. Some riddles don’t have answers. I have learned to never question. There are things you just accept.

 Photo Credit: MHA


Jewel
Daddy
Pieces of You


Saturday, November 21, 2009

memory

I grew up in a house full of music. Both my parents were such lovers of music, it was impossible to live a day without it. My mom loves Nat King Cole, The Platters and Matt Monroe. My dad loves ABBA, Simon & Garfunkel and of course, The Beatles. Growing up, there was no such thing as ‘good music’ or ‘bad music.’ Everything was just ‘music’ and it was so effing fantastic, I couldn’t get enough.

I remember this one time, I was about 5 or 6 years old and I had recently discovered my dad’s Peter, Paul & Mary tapes. I was listening to Reunion and there was a track there called The Unicorn Song. At that age, I spent most of my time alone with my imaginary friends so I could really relate. The man was singing about a unicorn who was his imaginary friend. Together, they would sing, dance and gallop or whatever it is children do with unicorns. I could totally relate to the song. I mastered the lyrics and the melody by listening to it again and again and again. I would play it and when the song was done, I would press rewind and play it again. I must’ve been listening to it for a good two hours when my sister (who was studying in the next room) decided to intervene.

She was very cross. Apparently, greatness is relative. She did not share the same view on the song. She took the tape out of the multiplex and stepped on it with her large Keroppi slipper. It took several stomps from her big, stubby foot before she was able to smash the cassette into pieces. By then I was wailing and screaming and begging her to stop but she continued anyway. After a few more seconds, she declared the intervention a success and went back to her algebra book.

I was as shattered as the cassette. If I were to send a letter to Maalaala Mo Kaya, that moment would probably be in the first 15 minutes. I felt like together with the record, my sister had ruined my dreams of finding my unicorn and in turn, my happiness.

I sort of got over it. I moved on as children often do but for the rest of my waking life, I had a yearning to hear that song one more time. During the hey day of Napster, it was one of my first searches. Alas! I couldn’t find a copy. I tried to find it in YouTube but all I could find were covers. I didn’t want to settle for a remake. I needed the same version I fell in love with. I tried searching for it in torrents but it seems my dear unicorn was not popular enough to be immortalized in seeds.

Years later (or a few weeks ago), I came across a forum about the Reunion album. There, someone posted a link to The Unicorn Song. I felt like a huge cloud had been lifted. It seems my unicorn and I were to be reunited after all! I clicked the link post-haste but to my dismay, it was no longer available.

After tracking, borderline stalking the poster, I finally found her email address. I politely told her my story and asked for the link again. She replied in a nice email with the song attached. I felt like I had just won the lottery.

So a few days ago, I finally got to listen to The Unicorn Song again. I uploaded it to my iPod and after updating the album art and lyrics, I prepared myself for the journey of rediscovery. I locked the door, put on my earphones and pressed play.

As the opening chords played, I felt I was six again. I smiled and let the music fill the room.

♫ When I was growing up my best friend was a unicorn. The others smiled at me and called me “crazy.” ♫

“Hmmm… this song is… different.”

♫ But I was not upset by knowing I did not conform. I always thought their seeing must be hazy. ♫

“It’s very… err… strange.”

♫ The unicorn and I would while away the hours. Playing, dancing and romancing in the wild flowers… ♫

“It’s not how I remember it.”

♫ …and we'd sing ‘Seeing is believing in the things you see. Loving is believing in the ones you love.’” ♫

“Fuck. These people were totally high when they wrote this song.”

I stopped the song and tried to process the situation. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I felt like all those years of searching and waiting were in vain. Why wasn’t it as good as the song I had in my memory?

Memories are funny things. With them, every strength is magnified and every flaw is forgotten. The song was not as good because I was young when I first heard it. It was before I had any grasp of good and bad. The song was indeed terrible and my sister had good reason to smash the cassette tape but back then, I didn’t really know what ‘terrible’ was. All those years of searching led up to that moment when I would be reunited with my precious song. It was the build-up of the decade. If you think about it, it almost seems like I was setting the song up for failure. It was then that I learned this simple truth: things are almost always perfect in our memory.

Memory is like the lover who leaves too soon- the one who got away. We always remember the good times. We always blame ourselves for not being able to hold on to them. But given a chance to reconnect with them, the situation is often lackluster and embarrassing. You start to remember more bad times than good. You remember more pain than pleasure. The things you argued about suddenly come to mind. You recall the strange memories that managed to keep itself hidden.

Memory is a traitor. To paraphrase (500) Days of Summer, next time you look back, you should look again. Time keeps moving, with or without you and there’s a special place in hell for people who look behind them as they speed through life.

Or maybe I’m just drunk. Haha

Photo Credit: Diana Peterfreund


Peter, Paul & Mary
The Unicorn Song
Reunion




Layout#6. A few nights ago, I was playing with my template when I accidentally ruined it. I had to create a new one and I’m kinda glad I did. Although I miss my orange template, I believe it served its purpose well. I hope you guys like it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Banner Photo Credit: pbo31
True Type Font: gnuolane

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

interlude: love



It is clear that I must find my other half. But is it a he or a she? What does this person look like? Identical to me or somehow complementary? Does my other half have what I don't? Did he get the looks? The luck? The love? Were we really separated forcibly or did he just run off with the good stuff? Or did I? Will this person embarrass me? What about sex? Is that how we put ourselves back together again? Or can two people actually become one again?

[Hedwig, Hedwig and the Angry Inch]


John Cameron Mitchell
The Origin of Love
Hedwig and the Angry Inch: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Monday, November 9, 2009

mamatay ka na epes

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Nag-lakad akong gume-gewang gewang pauwi. Siguro kung nakita mo ko nun, iisipin mong lasing ako o di kaya eh inaantok. Pero gising na gising ako nun. Sa totoo lang, daig ko pa nag-tatlong Venti na Americano sa Starbucks. Bakit kamo ako gising na gising? At bakit ako gume-gewang gewang? Namimilipit ang lolo mo sa sakit. Sa edad kong ito, akalain mong nakuha ko pang madapa? Pakiramdam ko, bata ako ulit. Gusto ko sanang tumakbo pauwi pero nahiya naman ako. Gusto ko rin sanang umiyak sa nanay ko pero tulog na siya. At oo nga pala, bente-tres na ako.

Takot ako sa ipis. Ay wait, mali yan. Takot na takot as in p*tang ina takot ako sa ipis. Sabihin mo nang duwag ako o di kaya eh lalampa-lampa pero basta ipis na ang pinag-uusapan, kinikilabutan talaga ako. Dito magsisimula ang aking kwento. May oras ka ba? Kwento ko ha.

Pauwi na ako sana. Bumili lang ako ng maiinom sa 7-11. Habang naglalakad pauwi, napansin kong may lumilipad-lipad sa kalsada. Akala ko nung una eh paru-paro lang pero nang talasan ko ang mata ko, flying ipis pala. Eeeggh… Kinikilabutan parin ako ngayon pag naaalala ko.

Tumingin ako sa paligid ko. Walang ibang tao. Takbuhin ko na kaya? Pwede ko rin naman siyang iwasan kaso ang layo ng iikutan ko. Yung bang tipong iikot ako mula MOA hanggang Trinoma para lang makaiwas sa bwakananginang ipis na yan. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, Sige. Kaya natin to. Ipis lang yan. Ang laki-laki mo kumpara diyan. So ‘yun. Nagpaka-brave ako. Nung una, mabagal lang lakad ko. Naisip ko kasi na kung tumakbo ako, baka ma-excite si Kuya Ipis at maki-fun run sa akin. Kaso nung nakita ko na siya ng malapitan, napansin kong kumikinang-kinang yung pakpak niya sa ilaw ng buwan. Para akong binuhusan ng malamig na tubig bago nagbabad sa aircon. Binilisan ko na ang lakad ko.

Kaso, may surprise guest pa pala. May kapatid ang Kuya Ipis mo. Sa peripheral vision ko, nakita ko lumilipad si ipis #2 a.k.a. Ate Ipis papunta sakin. Tumakbo na ako! Medyo mababa nga takbo ko kasi feeling ko may malaking bulls eye lang yung ulo ko at dun trip lumanding ni ate. Si kuya naman, andun lang sa baba. Steady lang, parang inaantay na ako pa lumapit sa kanya. Di na ako nag-dalawang isip. Aaaaahhh!!! Takbo!!!

5’8” ako. Nasa 140 lbs narin siguro ang timbang ko. In short, di ako magaan. Sa baba at bilis ng takbo ko, di kinaya ng katawan ko. Umiral ang gravity. Ayun, sumemplang ako. Lumipad yung iced tea ko sa kahabaan ng Buendia. Pakiramdam ko, slow-mo lang lahat ng nangyayari. Si ate di-dive sakin. Si kuya nakangiti, nag-aantay. Ako naman parang dine-demolish na building. Kahit yung audio naka slow-mo. Noooooooooo!!! Pang-pelikula!

Sumalampak ako sa semento. Huli na ang lahat nang ma-realize kong ang dami kong sugat. Ang laki-laki ng galos ko sa kaliwang braso! Dahan-dahan akong bumangon, sabay sigaw ng fuuuuuck!!! (para maangas at sosyal parin!)

‘Yun na nga yung point na gusto kong magtata-takbo pauwi kay mama. Layo pa ng bahay nun pero tiniis ko. Pinagtitinginan ako ng mga tao kasi una, ang dumi ko. Pangalawa, duguan ako. Pangatlo, nangingilid yung luha ko. Siguro kung nakita mo ko nun, naawa ka sakin sabay bigay ng isang magabagdamdaming hug.

Pag-uwi ko, diretso ako sa banyo at nag-bonding kami nina Kuya Safeguard at Ate Betadine. Ang hapdi parin niya. Nagtutubig-tubig nga yung pinakamalaking galos ko eh. Aguuuuuy lagiiiii!!!

Sabi mo siguro, ano naman ngayon kung nadapa ka? Ikagaganda ko ba yan? Ikaliligaya ba yan ng madlang people? Wait lang. May point ‘to.

Na-realize ko ang stupid lang nung nangyari. Oo, nakaiwas nga ako sa ipis pero mukha naman akong inupakan. Buti kamo naiwas ko mukha ko. At least yung mga sugat ko ngayon, matatago ko naman sa damit ko. Eh kung may malaking galos ako sa mukha? Ang hirap nun ipaliwanag na di ako nagmu-mukhang engeng.

Minsan kasi, sa kagustuhan nating umiwas sa maliliit na problema, lumalaki sila lalo. Sana nung bata ako, sinanay ko na sarili ko sa ipis. Ngayon tuloy, ang tanda tanda ko na, takot parin ako sa kanila. Kung di mo malusutan yung problema mo (tulad ng di ko ma-get over ang fear ko sa ipis) edi humanap ka ng ibang paraan. Kahit mas mahirap. Kahit mas nakakapagod. Kung nag-long cut nalang sana ako edi sana di ako sugatan ngayon. Ang problema naman, di nawawala eh. Kung di mo kaya maging matapang, edi subukan mo nalang maging listo.

Ayun lang. Yun lang naman ang gusto ko sabihin. O sige na, tama na ‘to. Magbo-bonding pa kami ni Ate Betadine. Tandaan, mga bata! Pag may problema, wag umiwas! Wag din mag-shortcut! Sige ka, baka madapa ka.


Fergie
Clumsy
The Dutchess


Saturday, November 7, 2009

change of address

or: of moving out and moving on

I got the shock of my life last Saturday. It was a little past 2PM when I finally decided to get out of bed. When I went downstairs to look for food, I saw that our entire first floor was missing. My first impulse was to shout MAGNANAKAAAAAW!!! at the top of my lungs but then I remembered that Saturday was moving day and there was no reason to cause a scene.

By 4 o’clock, I was well involved in the moving process. My first task: to ensure that my old room looked just like my new room. Problem is, while the two rooms had some similarities, there were a lot of differences you couldn’t ignore. One side of the wall was bigger. I tried to fit in my dresser, bed and a set of drawers in one side of the room. It wouldn’t fit. Hmmm… It fit so perfectly in the old room. With just a little stretch, I could get whatever I needed. I tried physics, brute force and whatnot but they wouldn’t fit. I didn’t know what to do. Something had to be done but I didn’t want to let go of the layout I had in my mind either- the layout from my last room.

First step was to accept that things had to change. I whipped out a pen and paper and started to sketch. It was hard at first (I did it Sims style) but after a few more moments of trial and error, I was able to find a suitable location for everything. Tired from moving furniture, I sat down on the floor and admired my work. Not bad. It actually looks better than my last room. With that, I breathed a sigh of relief and updated the score: New house – 1; Old house – 0.

New love. It’s funny how it feels just like moving. We may try to recreate moments we had with out past lovers. We want our moments with them to be just as happy as the moments with our exes (at least the ones that didn't involve violence, betrayal or tears). We ignore the fact that apart from loving us, these people often have nothing in common. No one loves the same way twice and once I accepted that, I was able to find a way for everything to fit.

By 10 o’clock, we were almost finished. The last of the boxes had been unpacked and we were slowly trying to piece the house together. I decided to take a little break and wash up. The new bathroom looked pretty harmless until I realized the sink was a little too small. When I sat down on the toilet, my hips (which don’t lie*) barely fit. Ang liit naman ng mga lintik na ‘to! Ano ba ‘to? Banyo ng duwende?! I was, of course, talking to myself. Sa kabila, sakto lang lahat. The sink was big enough. The toilet was wide enough. Because I spend a lot of time in the bathroom, it was the room I missed the most.

But then I got to thinking. The old house had pests and clogged sinks. The old house did not have as much closet space. The natural lighting in the new house was really, really nice. This house isn’t just different- it’s better. Sure, it isn’t perfect- we may need to change the toilet seat- but the good stuff definitely outweigh the bad stuff. New house – 2; Old house – 0.

No one will admit to it but there’s always that part of your mind that compares your current love with your exes. It’s human nature. We were born to distinguish, classify and categorize. My ex used to do this. Will my current love do that? Coming from a horrible relationship, I realized that the comparisons were not only pointless- they were downright unfair. My new love is sweet, understanding and is a lover of the arts. Of course, I traded up! I wouldn’t have it any other way.

At midnight, almost everyone retired to bed. I was still up trying to organize my clothes. I went down for a glass of water and stared at the living room in the darkness. It was a little disconcerting. The furniture was the same. The sofa was still white. The computer table leg was still broken. I don’t know what it was but even though everything screamed home, it didn’t feel like it. This new apartment was a house and not a home- at least not yet.

It starts with the little things. I looked through several boxes and found some paintings and a wall clock. I started hanging them around the house. After a few minutes of hooking and arranging, I stood back and admired my work. Suddenly, this little piece of wall began to look like home. Not the last home but specifically, my home. New house – 3; Old house – 0.

From the darkness, I heard my phone beep. I miss you :-*, said the message. It starts with the little things. Suddenly, the nights become a little warmer and who was once just a friend becomes so much more. New love – 1; old love – 0.

Hello world. I am not homeless anymore.


Jewel
Absence of Fear
Spirit


Saturday, October 24, 2009

spit

“Why is it that you seem so miserable when you’re in love?” a friend asked in a blunt, monotonous tone. Her straightforwardness caught me off guard. I almost spit out the coffee I had in my mouth.

“What makes you think that?” I asked, ignoring the fact that it’s rude to answer a question with another question.

“It’s just… I don’t know how to say it. It seems like…”

“Just say it. There’s no point in beating around the bush.” I interrupted.

“Okay. Before this mess, you were so sane. And then this person comes and all of a sudden you’re forgetful and quiet and always distracted. I don’t know what to make of it. You say you’re serious this time; that you aren’t playing anymore. It seems to me like you’re playing a lot of games and neither of you really know the rules.”

“I don’t know. I’m not in love,” I said. “I, uh, I don’t believe in love anymore.” She raised an eyebrow as I struggled to explain.

I wanted to sound as witty as possible but I’m pretty sure it didn’t seem that way to her. I took another sip of my Americano and thought of a way to change the topic.

“As a generation, we have lost the capacity to love. We are all just mounds of flesh filled to the brim with lust, need and friskiness.”

“Don’t do that.”

“Do what?”

“Deny something’s existence because you failed at it. Of course, love exists. We’ve talked about that so many times before.”

“I’m sure decades ago, it still existed but nowadays, no one takes the time to fall in love anymore. We’ve become so honest and so comfortable with each other that it kills any chance for romance to bloom.”

“You’re twenty-three. How would you know how things were back then?”

“It’s clearly depicted in movies. Back then, scriptwriters and directors took the time to show how love begins and blossoms. These days, a man meets a woman, they do it and boom! They’re in love.”

“Okay but that doesn’t really tell me anything about love and honesty. How can you say that being honest and comfortable kills romance? Isn’t it good that people in this decade are more open to sex and intimacy?”

“There is no intimacy. Like I said, there is only lust…”

“Need and friskiness. Yes, I got that the first time.”

“We’re too honest. No one takes the time to pretend they’re okay anymore. All we ever do is whine and complain. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that a boyfriend is someone who will listen when you’re having a bad day at work or whenever things don’t go your way. How can we ever fall in love when we spend most of the time complaining?”

“So are you saying that to fall in love, we need to pretend? I thought the whole point of falling in love was to share your life with someone, not censor it. How do you truly love when you’re not really being yourself?

Suddenly, a man walked by our table and let out a huge glob of spit. The afternoon sun reflected on the bubbles that formed on the surface.

“Think of it this way: no one spits on the street. It’s gross, it’s tactless and very rude. Think of love as a street and we are people with spit in our mouths. The polite thing to do would be to quietly suffer with spit in our mouths or swallow. Instead, because we have been too comfortable with each other, we spit on the street. He spits on the street. She spits on the street. You and I spit on the street. Sooner or later, that spit collects and now we’re drowning in a massive sea of saliva and phlegm and no one wants to take the blame.”

“That’s gross and doesn’t really stand to reason. Plus I don’t think you know too much about love to form a valid opinion,” she retorted.

“I don’t know everything about love but I think I know enough.”

“So where does that leave you? Are you going to pretend everything’s peachy for the rest of your life? Is that why you pull away the minute you feel like it’s starting to get serious? Does that mean you’re just going to spend the rest of your life playing with other people? Swallowing your spit while they drown you with theirs? That’s not very nice.”

“No, it isn’t.” We were quiet after that. Too many things said and unsaid, I guess.

“Can’t we talk about something else?” I asked, breaking the silence. “I swear, that man’s spit looks like it’s got a life of its own.”

“I know, right? So gross.” We carried on the rest of the afternoon talking about other things. A true friend knows when to stop prying.

I couldn’t sleep that night. I was still thinking about her question. Was I really miserable? After spending close to an hour twisting and turning in bed, I gave up and decided to spend the remaining hours of my night doing something else.

I sat in bed practically motionless. Questions. So many questions. What did my friend see in me that I couldn’t? Why do I pull away the moment things get serious? Did I mean the things I said or was I just feeding her bull to numb the ache of failure?

There, in the comfort of my solitude, I let down my walls and tried to be honest. If I can’t be honest with myself, who can I be honest with?

I went to the bathroom. The fluorescent light was harsh and it took my eyes some time to adjust. I inspected my face. The days have not been kind. I need a haircut. My face seemed rough and coffins of pimples laid to rest glared at me like some haunted audience. I turned on the tap and let it run for a few moments. I cupped the water in my hands and splashed it on my face.

In the mirror, I looked the enemy straight in the eye. I’m sorry I wasn’t honest. I know I said I don’t believe in love anymore. Truth is, I just stopped believing it could happen to me.


The Killers
Smile Like You Mean It
Hot Fuss


Friday, October 16, 2009

molar support

Sometimes, I wonder if I said goodbye to you too easily. Maybe there was a way for us to be together. Maybe I gave up on you too quickly. But I shouldn’t be thinking about that now. I should focus on healing, on making sure that after all is said and done I can be the person I was before I knew you existed.

It’s funny. When you’re hurting, you feel like your pain is so unique- as if you’re the only person in the whole world who could feel that way. I learned that it isn’t so. A lot of my friends have gone though the same thing. They met their own versions of you. Some of them suffered through the storm. Others (like me) bailed at the first sign of pain.

There was one friend in particular who told me she tried her best to live with the pain. She said it took years before she finally wised up and got rid of the problem. After the heartache and the healing, she wondered why she didn't get rid of it earlier. She said I was lucky that we parted ways before you had a chance to cause serious damage. I wondered if I was truly lucky. If it was for my own good, why does it hurt so much? Maybe I needed the years of pain. Maybe I needed to be hurt by you to know that I couldn’t be with you.

Maybe I should've thought twice before I made any rash decisions. Maybe I hit the brakes too soon.

Ice cream. You know how much I hate ice cream. Sometimes, you felt the pain I would feel whenever I eat this sweet, cold torture device disguised as dessert. Call it masochism. Call it obedience. Call it stupidity but after all this, this whatever-this-is, it’s the only thing that's kept me sane. I’ve eaten nothing but ice cream since you left. Chocolate, mango, ube, vanilla- it didn't matter. I couldn’t get enough of the sweet, icy pleasure it brought. Perhaps I’ve gone mad. Perhaps I was numbing the pain of being without you. All I know is it made the pain go away and for that I am forever grateful for this saccharine gift of God.

After you left, the pain was almost immediate. I couldn’t walk. I felt like I was going to die. Even breathing felt like such a chore. My daily routine felt like a death sentence. I just wanted to stay in bed all day, hiding from the sunlight and other things I imagined would hurt. I didn’t think I would find the strength to move on and live but I did.



Saying goodbye is never easy. As I wrap you in a small plastic bag and throw you in a box marked PERSONAL, I know that I'll be okay again soon. One day, we’ll meet again and hopefully when that time comes, it won’t hurt as much. Take care, dear impakto impacted molar. I’ll never forget you.


Michelle Branch
Goodbye To You
The Spirit Room



BUDDUMP-BUMP TSSHHHH. So the Philippine Blog Awards in Luzon was held last week and in all the excitement, I completely forgot that my blog turned five years old! Even though I so wanted to go, I couldn’t because I had work and stuff. Good thing my friend YJ was there and he sent me these super cool pictures.



The collage idea was super cool. I must admit, seeing my screenshot on the wall made me tear up a little. I was a little sad at first when he called me to say that I lost but when I found out who won, I knew the judges totally knew what they were doing.

Congratulations to Writing on Air! Jim Paredes is an excellent writer. The inner paparazzo in me has been stalking his page ever since. To all the other finalists, congratulations too! It was a great honor to be in your company. Blog on!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

interlude



so for those of you falling in love
keep it kind, keep it good, keep it right
throw yourself in the midst of danger
but keep one eye open at night


Rachael Yamagata
Elephants (A cappella)
Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart


Thursday, October 8, 2009

city

BLEEP BLEEP BLOP. It seems that blog-wise, I have become constipated. It’s not that I can’t write. It’s just I can never seem to finish a thought. I have paragraphs to begin, a couple of middles and a few ones to end. Problem is they’re all about different things. So for this week’s post, I decided to call in a guest writer. I sent her everything and told her to go crazy. I really like how she was able to put my thoughts and her experiences together while maintaining the general way that my posts are written. Without further ado, here’s this weeks post.

Can we start over? It's a simple question but the inferred meaning opens up a world of opportunities. It's a barometer of hope- hope that within the ash and debris, an ember still exists.

Six weeks after I last saw L, he decided it was finally time for us to talk. Our friends, perhaps with the purest of intentions, figured we both needed this time to talk. I was acting so brave the whole time. I didn’t even look at him from across the table.

“I was hoping we could be friends,” he offered.

I took my time to respond. I needed to choose my words carefully. Up until that moment, I had acted so coolly. (I even surprised myself!) This despite the fact that emotionally, this evening had sent me back at least a month of recovery.

“I can’t give you that.” I began. “I’m not the same person I was. That person would’ve accepted. I can’t.” You don’t jump the same cliff twice. With pain comes experience and I was not really in the mood for masochism.

For weeks, I hoped for closure and when I realized he was not going to give that to me, I learned to move on alone. I sought answers to questions I couldn’t ask him. I learned how to walk without turning around every few seconds to see if he finally came back. I was breathing again. Living again. Why was he doing this now? Whatever happened to letting sleeping dogs lie?

“I’m not rushing you. I know it’s going to take some time. I just think that it’s time for us to be friends again.”

“You’re so unfair!” I snapped. So much for acting cool.You decided when we started seeing each other. You decided that we were exclusively dating. You decided that we shouldn’t see each other again. And now, now you’re telling me you finally decided it’s ‘time for us to be friends again’? Sorry but I have no use for your friendship.”

“I’m sorry,” he said. It would’ve made a world of difference six weeks ago but now that the fire’s out, this cup of water seemed more like a cruel joke. We managed to end the night without too much drama. We settled the bill and carpool plans were made. I thought we both understood that we didn’t have anything left to rebuild a friendship. I was wrong.

“Can I hold you?” L asked. We were standing right at the corner of Makati Avenue and Pasay Road waiting for a cab.

“No.” I answered.

“Please? I missed you. Can I hug you?”

“Why are you doing this? Haven’t you hurt me enough?” I looked him straight in the eye just so he could see how angry I was.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” he said over and over again. He threw his arms around me and started to cry. I tensed up. I could feel his warm tears on my shoulder. Suddenly, everything- from the time we met, the time we fell in love, to the time we fell apart came rushing in. It felt like a massive wind suddenly entered and left my body in such a rush that if I did not hold on to something, I would fly away. I hugged him back and he sobbed louder.

“I’m sorry, okay? I missed you. You say you’re not the same person because of what happened to us. I’m not the same person either. I’m sorry I hurt you but you hurt me too.” It was then that I realized this was not the same L I met nor was this the L I was arguing with mere minutes before. This was an honest L, a wounded L and I couldn’t help but feel guilty that I had somehow caused this change.

I once heard of a strange animal (whose name escapes me now) who poisons himself right after he is captured. Funny how I should conjure this memory right at that exact moment. Like poison running its course through my body, I killed myself with four simple words.

“Can we start over?”

I pulled away from our embrace and saw the indecision in his eyes. Despite all my best efforts, he still managed to do the one thing I swore I would never let him do again- deny me. I looked away, hailed a cab and swore I would never look back.

Can we start over? It's a stupid question. It disguises itself as a simple solution- the universal do-over. But once you peel away all the layers of things we keep and things we show, it exposes its ugly head.

Photo Credit: The Hungry Cyclist


Sara Bareilles
City
Little Voice


Sunday, September 27, 2009

shipwreck / unsent


“Everybody needs a shipwreck once in a while.”
Temptation Island (1981)

Walking around Makati after the storm that shook us all to the core, I couldn’t help but feel so powerless. I ran into people who had lost everything in the flood, cashing in on the mercy of their wounded brethren, wielding bags of clothes previously rotting in the backs of closets. I saw snails clinging to the northern part of seven foot walls. I wondered what kept them hanging on and if they intended to come back to the earth any time soon.

I wondered how you were. I wondered if you were safe. I whipped out my phone and started drafting a message.

I hope you’re dry. I pray the flood didn’t cause your family any damage. I hope you’re taking care of yourself. I’m no longer there to do that. Don’t worry about me. I coped, as I always do. Just take care of yourself and don’t waste the chances that you’re given. No one wants to live a life full of regrets.

I looked around. A woman was sweeping leaves and a dead rat off her front porch. A man in skimpy, borrowed shorts walked by. Just like that, I knew I couldn’t send this message to you. What we had was so furious*, so self-consuming that when it ended, there was nothing left to rebuild.

There’s nothing like mass devastation to remind us that we are all so powerless despite our greatest efforts. Try as we might, we still abide by three basic truths: Life is precious but fleeting. Love, by default, hurts and at the end of a great storm, there is a peace that numbs us all into submission.

I join the nation in mourning for all our brothers lost in the flood. What a terrible, terrible waste of human life.


Alanis Morissette
Unsent
Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie


Saturday, September 26, 2009

pba



A few weeks ago, I ran into an old trainee. She looked alarmed and asked me if I was okay.

“Oo naman!” I defensively replied, my voice seventeen decibels higher than normal.

“Wala lang. Mukha ka kasing sad. Or na-tipus.”

I dismissed that last comment and went on my way. I suppose the transition from being on leave to working nights again was not as easy as I had hoped. I overdosed on ascorbic acid, focused on getting a lot of sleep and apparently it paid off.

I was speaking to a friend earlier today and she said my aura looked a little different. I don’t really believe in auras and whatnot but it’s nice to receive a compliment every now and then. She said I looked healthier and I didn’t seem as emo as before. I thought the day couldn’t get any better when…

I was looking at some of my blog statistics when I noticed that I got a lot of hits last Wednesday and Thursday. Being slightly vain and curious, I wanted to know what caused it. I totally freaked out when I saw that I got a lot of traffic from a particular website- The Philippine Blog Awards.

Two years ago, I learned that I was nominated for a PBA*. I didn’t know who nominated me or how I even made it to that list but truly, I was ecstatic. It didn’t matter that I found out about it four months after the contest ended. The mere fact that I was nominated was enough. I’ve always seen this page as my own fortress of solitude and the fact that someone thought I had a shot at an award made me feel really nice.

Hemingways… Back in July, I submitted my blog for this year’s awards. To be honest, I just wanted to display the nice shiny badge. They sent me an email early this month to confirm that I was an official nominee and today (drum roll please) I learned that they’ve chosen this page as a finalist for the Best Personal Blog category. So happy! :D I didn’t think that lighting could strike the same place twice but apparently, it can and it has.



Back in ’07, I wasn’t very sociable in the blogging world so I didn’t know any of my co-nominees. This year, I’m proud to say I know, err read a couple of these blogs. Koji from Excuse My French and RZ from Room For Squares are also finalists for Best Personal Blog. My favorite movie reviewer Francis from Lessons From The School of Inattention is a finalist for Best Entertainment Blog.

Whatever happens, I’m just glad to be a part of all this. Everyone is so talented. I’m in such awe. Looking through the entire list of finalists (see it here!), all I can say is the judges are soooo going to have their hands full. Best of luck to everyone!


Black Eyed Peas
I Gotta Feeling
The E.N.D.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

bicycles

When I was a kid, I would bug my parents to get me a bicycle. I really don’t know why I wanted a bike. All I know is it seemed like the right thing to want. All the kids in the neighborhood had a bike. All the kids on TV had a bike. I wanted one too.

My dad was excited. You see, I wasn’t a very athletic kid. I could stand about twenty minutes of Cops and Robbers but that’s basically it. I would retreat back to my room, gasping for air and sweating like a pig.

He bought me a really nice bike for my birthday. It had a red seat, a horn and multi-colored wheels. For weeks, I rode tirelessly. I liked the freedom I got from riding around the village. I couldn’t really go that fast because I still had my training wheels on but back then, I felt I was Evel Knievel. I would perform tricks in front of an imaginary audience. I would fearlessly evade big rocks and pieces of dog shit. I would ride downhill with my eyes closed. Look Pa! No hands!

Then one day, my dad said it was time to take the training wheels off. I was so scared. I didn’t want him to do that. I started crying and in between sobs, I told him to leave my bike alone. He sat me down and told me he would teach me how to ride a bike properly. I watched as he took his toolbox from the garage. He told me that while the training wheels made the bike safe, it also held me back. He asked if I wanted anything to hold me back. Knowing it was more of a rhetorical question, I bit my tongue. I wanted to tell him that I didn’t mind my slow bike. I just didn’t want to get hurt.

When he finished removing the training wheels, he called for me to begin our first lesson. He was at the garage with my (suddenly scary) bike and told me to sit down. Reluctantly, I did and he told me to ride slow. I could feel his hand on my shoulder so I wasn’t that scared. After a few times, I finally let him let me go. I was riding without my training wheels and without my father’s hand. I felt so free when suddenly, BLAGAG!!!

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!! Araaaaaayyyyyyyyy!!!” I cried. My father came running. I had a big wound on my right knee. I was almost certain that I broke my leg. The bike was too heavy. The weight pressed down on me like a mother-effing bitch. I was crying and howling.

“Why did you let go?” I accused. My dad scooped me off the floor. He told me to be a man and try again.

Knowing how much pain it caused me the first time, I swore I would never ride my bike again. I didn’t want to risk getting hurt again. I stormed into the house and went straight to my mom. A couple of times, my dad tried to convince me to try again but even back then, I was pretty hard-headed. I didn’t want to try again and so I never learned.

Now, whenever people ask me why I never learned how to ride a bike, I would give different reasons. Sometimes I would tell them it was because I was very sickly as a child. Sometimes I would say my parents never bought me one. I didn’t want to tell them that it was fear that prevented me from learning.

My beautiful bicycle, abandoned, started to rust. When we moved out of the house I grew up in, I saw it in the backyard looking sad and old. Poor thing, I thought to myself. It’s not its fault it went to a wimpy kid like me.

I realize now that my fear, although not completely unfounded, was very irrational. Yes, my fall really hurt but I shouldn’t have let it stop me. If I really persisted, I’m sure I would’ve gotten the hang of it eventually. Now, I’m twenty-three and I cannot ride a bicycle. Don’t you think that’s a little depressing? Although riding a bike isn’t something you would normally put in your résumé, it would’ve been nice to know that if a bicycle-related emergency should ever present itself, I would know what to do.

Sometimes I wonder how different my life would be if I had learned how to ride a bike properly. It’s too late now so all I can get from this situation are lessons. What I learned is we should never let fear stand in the way of anything. Everything worth pursuing has a possibility to hurt you. Why else would you want it, right? If you fall and get hurt, just dust off the rubble and try again.

Tonight, as I finish writing this post, I wonder if I still have any bicycles left in my life. If so, I want to ride them sans training wheels and with the enthusiasm of an eight year old who just discovered the simple joys of riding a bike.

♫ It’s up to us to choose whether we win or lose and I choose to win. ♫


Mary J. Blige
No More Drama
No More Drama


Monday, September 14, 2009

hello anger

Hello Anger. It’s been a while. I know I said I would never come to you again but right now, just for this moment, allow me to break my promises. I don’t know who to trust anymore. I don’t know who I am anymore.

Hello Anger. I’ve been a good boy. Never stepped on anyone to get to where I am or nothing. I tried to stay out of trouble but it seems trouble always finds me. Just when I thought I was okay, that little monster took my last piece of hope and all the change in my pocket.

Hello Anger. Did you miss me? All the others couldn’t take me. I've tried Pride, Sorrow, Misery, even Intoxication. They all just let me down. I saw them ripping at the seams, cursing my name. They weren’t strong enough for me. They couldn’t hold me the way you held me. I'm sorry Anger. Will you take me back?

Hello Anger. Do you think I’m ugly too? Do you want me to be thinner? Taller? Smarter? More eloquent? Didn’t think so. You always take me for what I am, not what I can or should be. Thank you anger. You’re my new best friend.

Hello Anger. I tried Forgiveness. I tried everything to get the old me back and for a while, I was doing okay. I was laughing again. Life didn’t seem like such a chore. But I suppose they just had different plans for me.

Hello Anger. It's good to be in your arms again. Just when I thought I couldn’t hurt any more, I did. Just when I thought I had sunk to the deepest depths and there was nowhere else to go but up, the floor I was standing on crashed. I died a thousand deaths that day and just when I thought it was over, I realized it was only the beginning.

Hello Anger. Will you be my friend? I don’t know what that means anymore. Some friends have become my allies. Others have become my adversaries. I got tired of fighting this war. I got tired of asking for loyalty. I didn’t want to make them choose. So I shed my skin and came to you.

Hello Anger. I still remember the things that you said. Trust no one but yourself. Love no one but yourself. I’m sorry Anger. I should’ve listened.

Hello Anger. It’s been a while. After all these years, you’re still the cloak that fits me best.

The Killers
Mr. Brightside
Hot Fuss

Thursday, September 10, 2009

top ten things i learned from my two-week leave


My work shirts are starting to smell like my closet. My leather shoes have been untouched for almost half a month. I’m starting to doubt if I can still teach English (Don’t English me very deep. I did not study very high!) I’ve been on vacation leave since the end of August- the first vacation leave I’ve taken, uhm ever. I have a few more days left until I have to go back to work. So far, it’s been a blast. I learned so many things and I’m sharing a few of them with you.


1. When going on leave, have a plan but be prepared to break it. I was supposed to go to the beach. I originally took this leave of absence to clear my thoughts and find myself yaddah yaddah yaddah. My ten precious days off work was supposed to invigorate me and all that. However…


2. Do not spend all your money within the first five days partying. While it may seem like a good idea at first, remember to pace yourself. My first week on leave was a sick cycle of sleeping, drinking and being hung over. Pa-ulit ulit lang. Your body can only take so much abuse and you wouldn’t want to be stuck broke and sick for the remainder of your leave. Oo, ako yun.


3. The strangest things resurface when you clean your room. Sometimes, it’s the timeliest of reminders. I found an old journal from right after my last, err… car crash. In between movie tickets, pictures and haphazard movie reviews, I found this:

02.23.08
I once said that one day, you too will lose your power over me. I no longer walk in pain. The stars no longer remind me of you. Even your face, the one I longed to see for the longest time, begins to fade in my mind’s eye. The arch of your nose, the squint in your eyes, even the taste of your lips- all these are slipping from ‘memories’ to ‘lessons learned’.

And as I walk away from the car crash that was my private heaven and hell, I pick up the pieces of my sanity which I scattered like confetti when I was yours. A piece to restore my mind, returning self-awareness and self sufficiency. Another for my heart, so that when the time comes, I could love again.

I survived then. That was ten times more powerful. I will survive this. Especially because…


4. Lose a lover, gain a few friends. It all works out in the end. You may think the world is ending but the age-old adage is true. When God closes a door, He opens a window. (Cue Joseph the Dreamer) I may have had my heart broken but the Big Guy upstairs didn’t want me to be alone. So He sent in a few friends- really good friends. People I didn’t expect na madadala ako. Seriously, thank you so much for putting up with me during my darkest hours. You guys taught me that…


5. Emo-ness subsides. Skeeter Davis is a liar. The sun goes on shining, yes but it’s not the end of the world. Kasi nga the world doesn’t stop turning. It only feels that way when love ends but every morning that you wake up is another opportunity to prove your worth to the world. Sulking doesn’t get you anywhere. The sooner you shake it off, the sooner you’ll be fine. Also…


6. There’s no such thing as an easy break-up. You may think you’re fine but then a single text message can totally throw you off*. Relapse is a bitch* but that’s not your only problem. After you’ve given everything to ensure a sane and mature break-up, magugulat ka nalang, may mag-rereply sa isang post na naka-all caps. Hamuna. Ganun lang talaga yun. Hindi naman yun aalisin ni God if makakabuti siya sakin, diba?


7. There’s nothing that a long walk cannot fix. Aside from my really good friends, these long walks in Salcedo really kept me sane. Umulan man o umaraw, it felt good to have a routine. When your mind’s heavy and your heart knows no reprieve, just take a long walk. No phones, no Twitter, no connection to the outside world. Just you, your iPod and the pavement. You’ll be surprised at how therapeutic it is.


8. Eating fifty butter and cheese sandwiches* with non-fat milk will give you diarrhea. Seriously. It may seem like a good idea to eat and eat and eat pero I learned that my body has limits pala. Haha Another lesson (although it didn’t make the top ten) is if you have diarrhea, don’t leave home. Otherwise, you may find yourself in the middle of Ayala fleeing a cab and running for the nearest toilet. Err, no. Di ako ‘yun. Uhm, friend ko yun. Haha


9. Sleep. While it seems like a good idea to spend all night bloghopping or watching Sex and the City reruns, sleeping at 6AM with the sun in your face is hardly relaxing. Ooh, naps are also the bomb. It’s like a mini vacation within a vacation! I used to sleep 10 hours a day. These past few months, I could survive on just four. I’ve forgotten how good it feels to wake up after a really, really long nap.


10. When all else fails, there’s always Facebook. My goodness. After years of avoiding Facebook, I finally gave in*. If you’re bored, there’s sooooo much to do. I haven’t given in to the whole farming and mob-building craze but I am having tons of fun reading status updates and links and whatnot. It’s like having a window into everyone’s lives. When you want to tune out of the world, escape is just a few clicks away. Plus, when there’s no one around, it’s the only one that will ask you ‘What’s on your mind?’

Katy Perry
Waking Up In Vegas
One of the Boys

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

relapsus

“You’ll never guess who’s downstairs.”

“Who?” asked my friend.

I looked at her with one eyebrow raised. “You know who I’m talking about.”

I watched as her expression changed. It was very subtle but I saw it. “He’s downstairs. Wants to see me. That okay with you?”

“Of course,” she said, sounding winded. “Why wouldn’t it be?”

A few minutes later, my phone beeped.

“SOS,” the message read.

“What’s wrong?” I replied.

“Can you come back? I need you.”

I said goodbye to the unwanted visitor. In the two minutes we spent together, we barely spoke. I’m still not altogether sure what he wanted or why he was there. At that time, all I could think of was my friend and how this whole thing left her wounded yet again.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“Yeah, it’s just… wow… I didn’t expect that.”

“I thought you were fine. You’ve been going on and on about how you’re over him and all that. What’s this?”

“I thought I was. I don’t know. I really don’t know. I was perfectly fine up until a few minutes ago. My mind’s okay. My heart’s okay. It’s just my damn stomach.”

“Butterflies?” I offered.

“No. Not butterflies. More like wasps. What did he want?”

“I don’t know. I got here as soon as I could.”

“Did he ask about me?”

“No. Not really.”

“Did you say anything about me?”

“No. I’m not stupid, okay?” We were quiet for a little bit. She started to cry.

“Look, I’m sorry. I wouldn’t have said anything if I knew you were still…”

“How is he?” she asked, cutting me off.

“Fine. He says he found a job. He starts in a few days.”

“Finally.”

“Yeah. And uh…” I trailed off. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to say anything. At times like this, I wish friends came with a manual.

“And what?”

“He’s seeing someone. Wants me to meet her next week”

“What?!” she shouted. Fighting back more tears, she let out a series of whimpers and other sounds.. “Whu.. How.. How is that even possible? It’s only been a week.”

“I don’t know. I didn’t want to ask too many questions. I’m not going, just so you know.”

“How could he have moved on so quickly? I mean, it’s only been a week. For Pete’s sake, the movies we saw together are still in theaters. How is that even possible?”

“I guess people move on at different paces.”

“Is it really that easy for him?” she asked, cutting me off once again. “Like fucking changing socks? One foot then the other? Dammit!”

“Don’t think of it that way. Just try to move on. He has. You should, too.”

“I wish it were that easy. It’s not fair!” she yelled, sounding like a four year old.

“Sulking’s not gonna help, you know. What happened? I thought you said you were fine. Didn’t you break up with him?” She was quiet. From the tears and all that hair, I could barely see her face.

“Just try not to think about him,” I added. I came a little closer to give her a hug. We both fell to the ground and she started weeping openly.

“How can I? How can I forget about him when he’s in the rain, in my morning coffee, in the paper? He’s everywhere. It’s like he’s haunting me or something. Everywhere I look, I see something that reminds me of him. And it’s not fair. It’s not fair.”

Relapse is a bitch. One minute you’re fine, the next minute you’re on the floor with wasps in your stomach.

Alanis Morissette
Flinch
Under Rug Swept