Me and my big mouth

I knew that sooner or later this blog and this mouth of mine will get me into trouble. I just wasn’t expecting it be this soon and with this friend. Anyway, I have no way to repair the damage. I am being punished for a sin I know not. He doesn’t want to talk to me anymore. And he has been avoiding me like I’m the bubonic plague. That hurts. And what hurts more was I didn’t even know what I said or did that made him hate me so. I’ve been replaying our conversations in my head. I knew we disagreed about something and I made a post that might have upset him is some way. I don’t know exactly how or why but he’s upset or miffed or furious about it. If I had known, if I had any inkling … (deep sigh). I thought he knew me enough to understand me. Or maybe he just doesn’t want to know me at all.

To be misunderstood. To be critiqued and labeled as “bad” without having the chance to defend self. It’s like someone hitting me hard but had my hands tied together. I can’t hit back. Because I don’t even know who the enemy is.

And I feel really bad about this because I never meant to hurt anyone. But apparently I did. I can’t even apologize because I don’t know what I am sorry for.

So that is that.

I’m sorry. I thought we were good friends. But I guess I assumed too much.


Box Labels

Funny how you discover things about friends that quite shock you just when you start to think you have already figured them out. And funny how they too have just discovered these same things about themselves that they didn’t know about till it was brought into the conversation.

Somehow, I feel saddened by this particular discovery – and it’s not because I discovered that part of him, but more because I discovered a different part of me. I have always prided myself about being open-minded; of seeing things in different shades of gray rather than limit them to black and white. I just discovered that my shades of gray are limited to the few pixels I have allowed myself to see.

And I always try to approach life with a sense of wonder, in the eyes of a child … where everything is new and fresh. But now I’ve started to doubt if this was such a good idea. There are certain harsh truths that you just can’t block from your mind; Not everything is fresh or new. Sometimes the world out there is not just made of beauty and art and freedom and idealism, but of burdens and nasty realism and restrictions and a hunger for something that’s not there. I certain veracity that makes you cringe when you uncover its genuineness.

I have been thinking of changing my eyeglasses, mainly because it affects the way I adjust the focus of the lens in my camera. This gives new meaning to my presbyopia … far-sightedness, meaning I can see objects clearly when they are far from me, but I get blurry images with objects nearer me. (Near-sightedness means you can see near clearly, far blurry - I know, I get them confused, too.) Have I become superficial and would rather view things from a distance? Have I failed to become more personal and see the grit and grime of the things closer to me?

The Gestalt Psychology states (and I had to research this because it won’t let me sleep) that the whole is different from the sum of all its parts (yeah, you heard that before, didn’t you?). It describes how people tend to see just a pattern, an organization, a generalization; yet makes a clear oversight that such pattern is made up of tiny shapes; that such an organization is made up of different individuals; that such a generalization is made up of varied consequences.

Funny how we tend to put people in a boxes and label them Christians, Muslims, Prudes, Queers, Righteous, Criminals. Yet that’s just the whole of it. In that same box would be fathers, daughters, friends, foe, lovers … real people.

In this world of discoveries, how can I limit myself to just what I see and not unearth its true authenticity? I should try to honor the courage of truth – even if it’s way beyond the pixels of my imagination. I should be glad that he was honest enough to explore those possibilities with me. I am still quite shaken although I might be actually considering it out of curiosity. Maybe I am glad to know that truth about him after all. Even if it has somewhat disturbed me.

Geez! There I go again. My gift is over-analyzing things. It is also my curse. I have started thinking again. Deep, waaaaaay too deep. If I think like this all the time, it won’t be long that I’d find myself in a mental institution. But maybe this is my truth. And I am just being authentic.

They can’t lock me in a box and call me INSANE, can they?


Words don't come easy

I have been accused of being brutally frank; and sometimes, my words are ... quite tactless. It can be quite disconcerting to talk aloud because I can no longer edit it once it’s out of my mouth. I wish I wore boots; so I can shove it in my mouth when I say something extremely stupid.

What can I do? I speak whatever is in my mind. And occasionally, it just doesn’t go out the way its suppose to. My parents encouraged it. Blame it on them! I don’t like it that I have to explain myself, especially to people who know me quite well. Because one of the ugliest things to experience in the world is to be misunderstood. So most of the time, I feel I need to explain. But still there are a lot of things that words cannot express.

Stephen King explains this more succinctly in his book of short stories called Different Seasons. One of the shorts in there is The Body (later made into the movie, Stand By Me). And I quote:

“The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them – words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they are brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within, not for want of teller but for want of an understanding ear.”

End quote. My sentiments exactly. That’s why we have journals and blogs. That’s why we write. We just want to be understood. And in the process, understand ourselves.

Why all these sudden introspection? Why the conscience attack, you ask? I’m not quite sure. Maybe it has something to do with my mission statement. Maybe because it’s Holy Week – the whole reflect-on-self, penitential rite thing. Or maybe I’m just guilty of not going to church more.

I need to speak to my God. Despite of all this, I know He still loves me … and understands me ... knows all the whys and the whats … without the complication of words.


Human meanness

Have been breaking my sleeping patterns lately. I sleep early evening and wake up a little bit too early in the morning. Today I was up by 4am. I could have read a book but me thinks I have to rest my mind from all my hard-core bedtime readings. I finished “The Book of Ruth” by Jane Hamilton a week ago. T’was pretty funny … not hilarious funny … but troubled funny, ironic funny … poignant even. It deals with our human nature for meanness. Some have it more than others. Some have it in small doses. Some don’t have it at all … till something explodes.

I sort of have this meanness in me. I could be chillingly cold at times; and I can be disturbingly practical, or upsettingly neglectful, or overly emotional. But I am seldom furious … or fuming. I have a certain fondness of translating all my anger to tears. So it is safe to say that I cry a lot. That is if I can’t express my outrage through some form of exercise (i.e. dancing, walking, shouting at something that would not shout back, or punching something that would not punch back). I pretty beat myself up by crying - the best therapy for me. I don’t like hurting people; because hurting people would most probably only hurt me more.

There are exceptions to this rule however. Sometimes it just feels damn good to bust somebody’s chops (I meant figuratively) – but only if they deserve it. I have slapped someone hard ... twice ... without remorse ... then kissed him furiously after – hahahaha. Daw sa gaga! What can I do? I loved him (long ago). Hahaha. Ok, ok … I’m pathetic! My human meanness is REALLY LAME! I wonder what I’ll be like if I finally do explode.


True Blue Miracle

Bless me Father for I have sinned. It's been several months since my last confession. I did not go to church again today. For the past few months, I've been having a love-hate relationship with my God. I've been neglecting all types of spiritual connection lately because I've been choosing to be selfish a lot. There just too many things going on in my life right now. Sometimes I wonder if I am the person other people think I am. An identity crisis perhaps? Or maybe I'm just taking a lot of things too seriously. Remind me to stop thinking please.

I did try to make it to mass today. Heard the church bells ringing but found it really difficult to get up until the last minute. Since the chapel is just a walk away, I scrambled and gambled that I still can make it with a quick bath and a mad rush. I finished shower, dressing, drying hair in 30 minutes tops. But I didn't go. I reasoned I was late again. Was too shy to go to church because it was 7:30 and mass starts at 7am. I've been coming in late a lot. Sometimes I can't even catch the gospel and I know by heart that mass is not like a movie that you can catch any which part and continue in the next hour. You must be there at the beginning. I can't understand why I didn't. I refuse to understand why. I'm just going through something. I just want to be stubborn ... because I want to be.

I told myself I could still attend mass in the afternoon in another church, but I knew as soon as I said it that it was not going to happen. So all fresh and dressed, I parked my butt in front of the TV and ate breakfast. Mass ended an hour later. And one by one, my family returned from church. First, My sisters. Then my nephew. And then ... my dad. My Dad? MY DAD! All dressed up, so pleased with himself, from CHURCH! MY DAD! Ever since I can remember he has never attended Sunday mass. Not unless he was forced to because there's a KBL occasion - kasal, bunyag, lubong (a wedding, a baptism, a funeral); or his son was getting ordained to priesthood. The guy who never went to confession at all. The guy who never dresses up on a Sunday for service. The guy who would rather till soil and get dirty than listen to a priest. On his own. No force. No invitation. My dad. From church. Go figure.

My sisters and I had our foreheads furrowed. Of course, we didn't get any answer from the Riddler himself. He just shrugged and smiled and went on eating breakfast. Maybe he has made his peace with God. Hmmmmmmm .... In an Ali McBeal-ish sort of way, I suddenly heard this Barry Manilow song in my head. I'm not a fan but there it is: "It's a miracle! A true blue spectacle! A miracle come true!"

Kapish! If my Dad can go to church, why can't I? I am more guilty than ever. But still I didn't go. Might need a true blue spectacle, miracle myself. Give me my penance. It's Holy Week after all. So be it. Amen.


A Jerry Mcguire Moment

I slept too early. So now I’m up at 3 am with nothing to do and unhappy with my life. Is this what they call the mid-life crisis?

Anyway, realizing that I can’t go back to sleep, I decided that I needed a direction, a way to go. So here I am researching about mission statements. I don’t want to rush into it so I thought I’d read about it first. It’s not new to me. I was tempted to write one when I first saw Jerry Mcguire. I love that movie, except for the part where Renee Zellweger said, “you had me at hello” – eeeyuck! Avoid the corny part. To each his own.

I wrote a mission statement once when I first joined my church group – a life purpose they called it, but I’ve since realized that my statements were much too vague and I’m the girl who’s into the specifics. Then I tried to make one while reading Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life. Made it to Chapter 12 then stopped all together. I know what I feel about self-help books. I don’t disregard the possibility though that if I do finish a self-help book, I might be able to quite literally ... to help myself. But I just can’t do it by the book. Life, I feel, is so much bigger than that.

I do have this hazy idea of what I want in my life. I recognize that I haven’t done much to making it possible. And I also realized that the things I really want are those in my Mondo Beyondo list- the improbable list because they may never happen. But that’s just it. I do want those things ... and I want them bad. I have made steps to achieve them. But I haven’t really put my heart and soul into them.

Am I too old to make mission-statements? I don’t think so. If you never get too old to learn, to love, to have sex (hehehe – ok, let’s leave that for further chat discussions) then you will never be too old to make a mission in your life. Besides, missions evolve as you fulfill them. So why not now?

So I did. I wrote up the whole she-bang and didn’t stop till the sun went up. It was like a whole Jerry Mcguire moment.

Now, for the difficult part … working towards it … actually living it. IT MUST NOT STAY ON PAPER! Jerry was lucky enough to lose his job. He was forced to fulfill his mission because he had nothing else more to do. I can't afford to lose my job, much more to quit it. There are vultures ready to pounce on it at any given time. There has to be other ways to fulfilling your dreams without spreading yourself too thin. How do people do it? Answer: They just do it I guess. They don't waste their time thinking on how and why and what. They just do it (like the Nike ad). Because they want to. Because it is THE purpose. Don't you hate it when you answer your own question?

Ok. (Deep breath) So help me God.


Testosterone Talk

I just spent my evening with my all male IT group in one of the prescribed two-story family houses they build inside Filipino-imitations of American suburbia. Occasion: House Blessing, my boss'es home sweet home. Since I’m the only girl (again) in the group, the boss indulged me by buying me a 1.5 liter bottle of red wine. That’s the problem of not being married. I don’t have any sick-husband or nursing-child to use as an excuse not to go.

Not that I mind the company of my male colleagues. Sometimes the conversations are quite enlightening. For instance, my male boss explained that the way to make baby boys would be a deeper thrust, while baby girls would require a slightly outer tickle. It has something to do with the life expectancy and mileage of the male sperm. You learn something new everyday.

And did you know that you shouldn’t feed your young boys with chicken? Chicken, especially 45-day old grown hatchlings have been injected by estrogen so they could grow faster. So it goes without saying that feeding boys with estrogen-filled chicken would make baby boy gay.

They were kidding, of course. But the theories of my 2 older married bosses about baby making as well as the comparisons of my 2 younger single colleagues about past and present girlfriends - were unbelievably unbiased and clinical. These guys respect their women. And it was not all locker room humor and stories. It was an uncensored peek into how these men deal with the responsibility of taking care of their ‘girl’.

I couldn’t hide from inquiries about my ex, but I took it all in stride. It was old news and I no longer cared about it. They all tried to be helpful by giving me hints on how to bag myself a new man and get over the old one. Most of their advices were hilarious and outrageous, some of them I wouldn’t even think of trying. There was this strong testosterone assumption that I wouldn’t be complete without a man. I was outnumbered so I didn’t waste my energy arguing. But in the end, I still had no clue as to what makes a man tick other than their love for boobs and sex.

I did wish my one and only female officemate was there. But she, being married with one child, must put family first before getting drunk with too much red wine.

I got home safe, unfazed with all the testosterone talk; and with me, the empty wine bottle. I didn’t drink one drop of it. I enjoyed a nice ice cold Mellow-Yellow the whole time. My male colleagues finished off Carlo Rossi to it’s last drop. Because part of pleasing their ‘girl’, was going home without the smell of beer on their breaths.


Trellis in the Bahay Kubo Garden

Originally uploaded by ilongga70.

I'm getting the hang of photography. I just need to remember that all details: light, speed, apperture, distance, are important - hehehe. I tend to forget that I don't have a digital camera with me. I get excited for a nice shot and forget to adjust one thing and it totally ruins the whole picture. So I'm going back and reshoot this again ... and maybe break it to pieces if it doesn't turn out well.

This pic describes my future in this third-world country - blurry, off-focus, unfruitful and dry. :) So I just try to just get through the here and now. I love it here. This is home; but there is no future here. It's sad but true. I hope that things will improve, but if I need to, have to ... and the opportunity presents itself, I will not hesitate to leave. I'll just bring my camera with me.


Caviar Dreams

While researcher-friend charms the Japanese with his English and the complexities of metal steel bars somewhere in the land of the Rising Sun, writer-friend dreams of Iran as he lays out plans for his return after 10 years of exile. Me, I have visions of Boracay because trip will be during Holy Week pa and I’m still not sure if I can go (sad sigh). Wish I could say I was going to another world but I can't; I haven't. The farthest I’ve been North would be Manila, farthest South would be Davao, farthest East would be Samar and farthest West would be Antique. Yes! I haven't left the shores of this third world country! Grrrr ....

I dream caviar dreams. To be able to walk the length of the Great Wall; to hide out in the streets of New York; to go see the Eiffel Tower and take a picture of it’s base – because nobody ever thought of it, except one crazy doctor (hehehe); to push the leaning Tower of Pisa back to its rightful place; to visit the Louvre and see the structure Dan Brown describes in his book; to set my watch by Big Ben while riding the Eye and while at it go visit the bridge on my header. I’d like to be able to pet a koala, waddle with penguins, ride a camel or lift the trunk of an African elephant; then pick cherry blossoms in Tokyo and meet a Geisha; and enjoy autumn in Canada where I will pretend I’m Anne of Green Gables.

I don’t have a passport. I can’t even afford a plane ticket to Manila. But I can go to Boracay (Please! Please! pretty please God!) … and I can read books, and I can lose myself in movies, and I can learn different languages with people I meet in the net. Ni hao ma? Sa’lam. Aya Sho’ma Mi’da’rid? Konnichiwa? Toire wa doko desu ka? – hahaha. Tedanhi Kamsahamnida.

For now I will be content with having had the chance to pray with monks in Bukidnon, to mingle with the locals of South Cotabato, to see McArthur in Cebu, to marvel at Imelda Marcos’ bathroom in Leyte, go bowling in Negros, go clubbing in Makati and get lost, dance through Capiz, be able to move Antiquenos, see the caves of Ajuy, go snorkeling in San Joaquin, swim in Estancia and return and never get tired of the sands of Boracay.

Next trip … Bohol. Halina Biyahe tayo! Inshallah. Kabay pa.

P.S. What ever happened to the Tagboard website? Is it on vacation, too?


Weekend Kids

I wonder if one’s reaction to nephews and nieces would be evidence on how one would treat one’s own kids?

My 4-year old niece hated me at first glance. No matter what I do to cajole her for a kiss or for even just a smile, she would pinch her eyebrows together and look at me menacingly. Every time I talk to her, she shouts “FINE!” and storms out of the room. She even declared me “not allowed”. I don’t even know what I did to deserve such hostility but she does this only to me. While everybody would laugh at this, I did not find it amusing. After all I never get this kind of behavior from my other older nieces and nephews. It bugged me big time. She finally saw me having a serious discussion with another nephew about Sponge Bob Squarepants. While my nephew and I were both laughing hysterically at SBS’s antics, the little princess suddenly decided I was ok and came over and started a conversation, saying my name sooo nicely as if we weren’t bitter enemies for the last two days. I asked her, “Are we friends now?” She nodded her head and gave me a cute wink. Was tempted to shout “FINE!” but opted to convey my bitterness to strangling the stuffed dog.

Now that’s not all. I also was witness to teenage crying – one because of a sad anime story, another was because of the ‘bad” ending to the series One-Tree Hill. Now both teenage girls have been my confidant to silly crushes and girlfriend-clashes. We also had long conversations about TV series and the various characters that influence their daily lives. But for girls, who were only allowed to watch TV on non-school night, I didn’t realize that such TV tragedies will resort them to running to the bathroom, eyes all red. To be fair, I have to admit that I do cry in movies, bawl at sad TV series, but I do get over it before the credits roll up. This was new to me. O- kaaay … so shit happens.

I was also hit on the head by a tennis ball – maybe because it looked hard enough to bounce on. I had to hide behind posts with cousins to bite into crispy chips because it was not allowed before lunch. I had to surrender myself to a couple of wet slobbering kisses and life-threatening hugs. And had to endure Sponge Bob Squarepants rewinded and played over and over and over again while Keanu Reeves and Johnny Depp await in the sidelines.

Lastly, I had the opportunity to carry my cousin’s baby - a tiny delicate creature that seldom cries and allows everyone to hold him. So I carried him around till my arms got tired, which was not very long. I wonder how super moms manage that much weight. We had talks that nobody could ever understand. It was also so easy to amuse him. Just talk gibberish and make a fool of yourself and you’ll be rewarded with a wide gurgling laugh. I think that was the high-light of my day - gurgling laughs and toothless smiles.

Kafka's nightmares

I finally finished Franz Kafka’s short stories. I’m so relieved. Reading his stories was like waking up from one nightmare and falling asleep into another. He is dark, inexplicable, even sick. It was pure torment but I can’t stop reading him, as if I need to punish myself for starting from page 1 in the first place. So he’s very good - in a difficult, grotesque, unbearable kind of way. Metamorphosis was still his best story, maybe because it was the longest. It reminded me of what it was like to have a cancer patient in the family. The comparison is brutal but realistic enough. Strange things to write for a German speaking Jew living in the 18th century. I wonder if he knew Hitler? Sigh. I'm glad that’s over with. Must move on to lighter books.



After blogging too many down moments for the past month, it's time to put rainbows on this blog. So for much awaited good news:

[RED] The electric bill for this month is less by Php 1500.00 compared to last month because of not using certain appliances as ordered by presidential decree signed by me. Not everyone is happy about this but I guess they got tired of my whinning so everyone cooperated. Nice to see results for a change.

[ORANGE] Sister has finished her Visa interview and needs one more document for approval. I have my hopes up and my fingers crossed. When she gets home from Manila, she's bringing me books. (hehehe happy).

[YELLOW] Youngest brother did his thesis defense this morning. Which means he will be graduating this April. At Last! No more tuition fees to pay (except maybe mine - grin ... see green)

[GREEN] They haven't closed applications for scholarship for undergrads to finish college. Which means I might still be able to make it. I'm taking steps for application. Who knows I might get lucky and stop hearing this song at the back of my mind: "Kung natapos ko ang aking pag-aaral, di ba sana mayroon na akong dangal, naihaharap sa yo at ipag-yayabang ..." (If I had finished school, I would have the honor to show you and boast about ... pangit pala pag-english.)

[BLUE] I'm not the kind of person who dreams or remembers dreams but I've been having nightmares about this ghost that only I could see - a young man I've never met before in some old wooden house I've never been to. He scares me but the good news is I always wake up - hahaha.

[INDIGO] Brother #3 and his daughter will be coming down to visit tomorrow. Will be able to see my cute newspaper ad fashion-model niece again (smile)

[VIOLET] I have a future date with a guy na di ko ma-reach! - hahaha.

Thank God for rainbows.