stupefied

This is the story of a girl, who cried a river and drowned the whole world, and while she looked so sad in photographs, I absolutely love her, when she smiles... -Nine Days

Friday, March 31, 2006

First Move

Picture this:

There’s this guy in your office. Single, available, good-looking, smart, the perfect gentleman. He’s 21 and you’re 26. But even if they call you a cradle snatcher, you still like him anyway. You’ve been walking in the same office for quite some time already; teased a couple of times, but all you could share were awkward silences. A little nod, maybe, a little smile, but your tongue just chickens out. You like him darn much it aches already, but you’re powerless. You think that by being the girl, all you could really do is wait and call on your saints and hope that by some miracle, your existence will be acknowledged one day. You think about making the first move. But how do you do that? What if he calls you Ate? You fear the pain of rejection or the plain embarrassment of it. So you just brush under the carpet. You just give up.

End of story, you hope it’s gonna die a natural death. But you missed the point that something like this can actually haunt you for the rest of your life, like one of your many what if’s. What if you took the chance?

My female colleague seems to be in the same boat. She asks, “Should I make the first move?”

I’ve no expert advice to give away this time, though I remember having done this a couple of times already. In one I was lucky, in another I was mortified, in another, I was pathetic. Once I told a guy friend how I felt and he got more embarrassed than I was. He said he was flattered. Another said he was sorry. The immature one ended up not speaking with me for good. Some could actually appreciate honesty, but others are turned off by such straightforwardness. Some would acknowledge your boldness, but others would think it's an act of desperation. But frankly, I’d rather get it over with and put up with whatever the guy has to say than second-guess forever. You’ll need a tough heart though.

You’re lucky if he feels the same way, or he thinks you’re a potential. Otherwise, you’ll only be sorry. I think this calls for some “testing the waters”. Somehow you need to gauge your position before you make the move, if only to protect yourself from possibly losing your self-esteem. But that's the tricky part. How you do assess what he feels about you? Can you really tell it from his actions? Some men can be showy, but others like the mysterious effect. I can’t be certain. His silence can probably mean many things. He could probably be testing the waters too. Or maybe he doesn’t even know your name. Or he’s just not into you coz you’re guava and he wants peach. Or could he be that torpe? Can the fact that he’s younger than you actually make the situation any different?

To the girls, how do you make the first move?

To the guys, what do you do when a girl does?

Anyone?



Thursday, March 30, 2006

troubled...

Heavy-eyed today, probably from troubled sleep last night. I find myself in a dilemma which to me felt more like a déjà vu. Been there before…Been there so many times actually. I may have asked myself over a hundred times already. What do I really want? Of course it would have to be something that would make me happy and that’s the bigger question.

My dad worries about my perpetual discontent. He thinks eyeing too many stars would only leave me empty-handed at the end of the race. Too much ambition can drive you insane, he says, at which I’d often raise an eyebrow. I wouldn’t normally argue, if not there’s no telling when the debate would end with him. But mentally I’ll tell myself what Robert Browning once said "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"

I don’t consider myself ambitious. I don’t really aim to be president or famous or have a fridge stuffed with a lifetime supply of chocolates. I only hope to be able to achieve as much as I can handle, and what I can handle would be something that would make my life a little comfortable. I just think that when opportunities knock at our doors, then we should let them in. I don’t want to go to bed at night and blame myself for things that I should have done but was just too scared to try.

Contentment is defined as a state of mind in which one’s desires are confined to his lot whatever it may be—my dad’s definition too. To be satisfied with what I have and take comfort in the knowledge that I’m actually more fortunate than others. He did not favor my decision to leave my previous company in my chase for bigger opportunities in a multi-national firm. He thought my old company was okay, it pays well, takes care of my health, we have beer every Christmas (actually everything na pang-Noche Buena) and if I have to think long-term, then it would be the perfect company where I could lose my hair and teeth eventually.

Comfort zone, yes. I guess that was what scared me really. Being in that company has been very convenient to me and I’ve gotten so immune to pressure to the point that nothing challenges me anymore. I was happy; it felt like my second home, but I knew somewhere outside my zone, was a sky of opportunities waiting for me. I didn’t want to deprive myself of that.

Six months after having relished a totally new culture and here I am, with a void somewhere in me. When I told my dad I wanted to quit my job for an even higher-paying job, he gave me that I-told-you-so look as though I was hearing him say it again. Perpetual discontent.

When do you start getting contented? When do you stop wanting more? Are contentment and happiness two different words?

The thing is, I couldn’t be certain about how I feel with my present job. I’m neither happy nor sad, neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. I just feel a little blank. I need some fresh air. Is this bad?

I’m torn between staying where I am right now and living bigger dreams, probably abroad. This is my dilemma. Somehow I’m being cynical about the current state of our country, with politicking and all. My vision of a better future in this job, or in this country is getting blurred each day. But what assurance do I have that working in a foreign country would put an end to my discontent? The thing I fear most is that once I start earning in dollars and amassing enough money to buy my own pleasures, I’d be unstoppable. The time I’ll stop I’ll probably have lost the time to be happy. It maybe too late for me to realize that happiness can’t be bought.

I’m being so wary about all these. I know it’s called taking risks. And I know ultimately everything would depend on me. I guess that’s what’s really disturbing me. I’ve a feeling my dad knows me too well.








Monday, March 27, 2006

Getaway


What can I say, it was the perfect getaway. Last weekend, my girl friends and I decided it was time for our much deserved hiatus and so off we sailed to Puerto Galera. It was just unforgivable that neither of us was able to bring a sunblock and if you look at me now, I’m suddenly Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer and the girl in Parokya ni Edgar’s Silvertoes who had “kutis na kulay champorado”. Anyway, it was one of the best times I had in years, so maybe the burns were at least worth it.

I’ve been single for quite some time now, and so were my girl friends. Thinking of this used to make fountains out of my eyes, but having them around makes me feel less bad these days.

Saturday night we went moonbathing--laid down on the sand and watched for shooting stars. I did see one; I had a wish prepared in my mind. There was something soothing about the sound of the waves, and the way they touched the shore. I thought how nice it was to have good friends beside me. They were like the waves washing the muddled sand…to make it fine again and good again. I was the sand.

And I’m thankful.

Hospitals...Part II

My X-ray says:

The cranial vault is intact. The sella turcica is normal in size and configuration. The clinoids are not eroded. No abnormal intracranial calcifications. The orbits are well-formed and symmetrical. The rest of the visualized bones are unremarkable.

“In English, you have a normal skull”, says the doctor, who’s probably seen me scratch my head a bit.

“What are these cysts then doc?” I asked, to which he was dumbfounded for a minute. Then he feels my forehead again and looks up, as though mentally he was browsing via Google although it looked like the search generated zero results.

He goes “It’s not in the skull, so perhaps it’s in the skin. I don’t think it’s malignant. To be safe, just have it operated. Yung nga lang magiging peklat yan.”

Perhaps. The doctor couldn’t be sure even with an X-ray and this worries me. I used to be comfortable with maybe’s rather than a straight answer coz it gives me something to hope for at least, but this time I felt it was much easier to handle the truth than prolong the agony of waiting. So I asked him “Is this cancerous?”

“I don’t think so hija. Kinakabahan ka ba?”

Obviously. What do you do when the person whom you’ve been counting on to give you an answer can’t give you the answer? Or maybe the answer you want to hear? I’ve been dying to hear that I should be fine. But I wanted to hear it from somebody who wouldn’t say perhaps. It’s my health at stake here, my life.

Well, he was just a doctor, I told myself. He couldn’t possibly know everything. What he could provide was an opinion, and that’s just based from previous studies or experiences.
Only God can really tell.

The afternoon ended with the doctor finally telling me to get another opinion, which I think was the brightest thing he could come up with the whole afternoon.

So now I’m skimming through a list of neuro-surgeons. I’m off for a second---err---fourth opinion.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Hospitals...

Yesterday I found my steps in the hospital and as always, I had goose bumps all over my body. I had a 9 am appointment with a neurologist, to get an expert’s opinion on the whereabouts of my skull. I’ve this sort of cyst in my forehead, plus a frequent case of headaches, and after seeing two doctors who couldn’t be sure about what it was growing in my skull, I kind of gotten a little paranoid. My first bad news was that the neurologist was abroad and his secretary was unable to cancel immediately, so I had to wait for the next specialist who would be coming in at 3pm.

I never liked waiting, but when you’re waiting for an answer to an uncertainty such as this one, you wouldn’t mind counting the hours. In my case though, idle time is stressful to the mind. It makes me think a lot.

Like why I never liked hospitals. There’s something pungent, like the smell of death in the hallway. I know they should be given credit for saving--- or at least prolonging lives, but to me hospitals remind me of pain and suffering and death. They bring me a heavy feeling, being told in the face that we are living on borrowed time, the twist being not knowing the limits of that ‘time’. Twice I’ve been in the hospital and watched two people dear to me die in their bed. One was my lola who kept saying “dagat! dagat!” (as though she was seeing the beach in her final hours), the other one was my younger ‘brod” in the fraternity who died of colon cancer at the tender age of 18. Holding him on my last visit, he kept whispering, “sis, gusto ko ng magpahinga”. He passed away a few days later.

Hospitals scare me, as I fear for my life. Walking to the long white hallway was like walking towards the ‘unknown’. Everywhere I look I see people of different age, and different health conditions, in wheelchairs or stretchers or in their feet. Some appear physically strong but their eyes couldn’t lie anyhow. Some were physically faint but their eyes were those of a fighter. Some were just waiting, just as uncertain as I was.

Then I see doctors, and I’m reminded of my secret wish to become one. It’s like a very noble thing to be doing, making people feel better, giving answers to their questions and giving them a ray of hope. Sometimes even false hopes can make a difference. Why I didn’t end up in that white gown wasn’t for lack of trying or dreaming. I have an excellent memory and a particular interest in Science, especially Chemistry and Physics. But the thought of dissecting a cat already makes me want to throw up. I can’t be rational at the sight of pain, and blood and death. I probably wasn’t cut to become a doctor.

Anyway my name was called. A neurologist, a specialist in his field can’t give me answers as well. He needed a skull Xray to be sure, much to my panic. After the Xray I waited for the results. After what seemed like forever, the Xray was ready, but the doctor was gone. I’ve to be back today for the interpretation of the results, and hopefully some answers.

I never liked the hospitals, but somehow I have no choice. After this I’m headed there. Wish me luck.




Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Close to you

Sunday night, end of my parents’ two-day visit, I found myself in Megamall, Cinema 12, in the seat probably nearest to the exit. I took this precaution as I was watching alone this time, you know, just in case somebody shouts fire or something, I’d be the first to run for my life. I figured it was kind of humiliating to die in a stampede over John Lloyd & Bea Alonzo’s Close to You. Para ka na ring nabangga ng isang Kia Pride na kinakalawang na (which would bring confusion as to whether you died of the impact or the infection).

I’ve never liked the Megamall cinemas but it just happened to be the only one still playing the movie. I’ve also never been a huge fan of the John Lloyd-Bea loveteam, though I raise my hat to John Lloyd for being a real good actor. I think Bea is a little too big for John Lloyd. I only like Sam Milby when he sings. Having said these, you might wonder if it’s any worth going out of my way to watch the movie by myself. I don’t know, there was just something about the plot that drew me. You know, the classic tale of best friends treading the line between friendship and love. Something like Julia Roberts’ My Bestfriend’s Wedding or Kung Ako na lang Sana (Aga & Mega) or Dawson’s Creek. Hmmm.. my story too…

Except that it was half-baked. Hilaw. Bitin. Ended before it even began. Or maybe I have only been imagining it in my head, that there could be a slight possibility of a love story coming out of a very close friendship I once had with my Dawson. Any feelings we both might have had that time, we had to restrain, for we both wanted things simple. Crossing the line would be much of a complication; especially we were both in our own relationships. I’m not sure how he really felt, but to me he became like my measuring cup that everyone else that came to my life later had to be gauged based on him.

Iba kase pag bestfriend mo. It felt so certain, and so easy; you can love like you’ll never get hurt. With him it was like riding on the waves, sometimes at the crest, sometimes, under; things and times that strengthened us, and tightened us together. I remember him: late night to 6am conversations about our disappointments in school, hopes for change and dreams for the future, exchange of impromptu poems, cutting classes together, sharing a hotel room (on one of the conventions we had) and he ending up playing the guitar until I fell asleep, getting terminated from the school paper together, fighting back together, winning the case together, getting our diploma together, board review together, failing together, finding our own roads separately, but still together in thoughts…

One day he told me he has fallen for one of our sisters in the fraternity, I broke down. It felt like I was going to lose him soon and without pride I asked him to choose me instead. He said I was like his shadow, his twin sister and he can never see me as someone more than that. I felt shamed. But later I gave him credit for his honesty. And myself, for taking the chance at least, and not ending up with the what if’s.

He decided not to pursue her, for my peace he said. I wasn’t sure if it helped that time, but after four years now, it didn’t really matter. Sometimes all you can really do is just be friends with the one you love.

Anyway, four years passed and I’ve forgotten about the romantic feelings I once had for him. Although once in a while thoughts play in my head, what if he chose me? Would it have ended happily ever after? What if he comes back now, what if… Silly thoughts…I have and will always be his shadow.

In the movie, Bea & John Lloyd made it together. Bea was torn between a habit (John Lloyd) and a dream (Sam Milby) and they say habits are hard to break. She chose her best friend over the man of his dreams. It was kind of a tough decision since Sam was near-perfect. Sam tickled her fancies, but it was John Lloyd who tickled her heart. Though it was a happy ending, I found myself fighting some grain of tears. I realize that’s the bad thing about watching a movie alone. You can’t empathize much with the scenes coz you’d look weird. It was a funny movie, but I had to control my laughter coz it felt awkward laughing alone.

It’s ok. Sometimes it feels good being single, but not really alone. Or maybe alone, but not really lonely.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Bye bye cobwebs...

My parents were here Saturday & Sunday, finally after my 5 years of striving in this urban jungle. I requested for their visit. I was becoming pretty homesick these past few weeks, to the point of being literally sick. Sometimes these ill feelings somehow turn my mind into a spider that endlessly weaves cobwebs of worries, and fears and manic depression about my past, my present and my future; mostly about my future though. My friend calls it quarter-life crisis. The point where you ask yourself what you really want to do with your life and you haven’t got a single clue. Then after some thought, you tell yourself that all you want to do is be happy, but happiness seems like a very expensive pen that even after working for almost four years already, you still haven’t saved enough to be able to afford it. I don’t know what to call it, but I think my friend and I are pretty much on the same boat right now.

Anyway, those sad thoughts were temporarily brushed aside by my parents’ visit, which was a good thing, to save my sanity at least. I’ve been wanting to quit my job here and just go back to the province and live a simple dream. I missed my parents. But being with them for two days made me miss them much, much more than when they were in Bicol. My Mama’s white hair appeared to have tripled, my Papa seemed to have lost some weight, and some esteem too, as he had given into early retirement from his job due to internal pressures. I saw signs of aging, signs of time, signs of volatility, signs that we shouldn’t hold on too tight, but we should take all chances to show our love and be someone else’s happiness. When we hugged, I realized how long I’ve been out of our home. And how I couldn’t be there to be their responsible first-born and personally take care of them. How I couldn’t anymore pluck gray hair, or cut Papa’s nails. God I missed them.

Papa asked about my love life, all I could do was laugh and convince him it’s the least of my concerns right now, as I’ve been too busy with career and dreams and all. I couldn’t tell him I was sad, and still picking up the pieces of a shattered faith. I didn’t want to make him sad as well. I told him I wanted to go abroad and be filthy rich. Marriage? Bahala na. I don’t even have that much savings. He said I shouldn’t save too much for my wedding. He said it’s strengthening to experience struggling through life with the one you love. Ang importante, kasama mo siya. He wondered kung wala daw ba man lang nanliligaw. There were some of course, pero walang spark. He laughed at my answer, but I could tell there was a tinge of worry.

Then it was already time to go. Ang bilis ng oras. When I kissed them before the bus took off, I felt a tear was about to fall again. I stopped myself; I wanted to save them from worrying about me. I’m 25; I’m a big, tough girl now. I think I have been for the last 5 years, having survived the metro alone, and single most of the times. At least I’ve earned their trust in those 5 years. I’ve been a good girl too.

About my quarter-life crisis, I’d save that for another discussion. Meanwhile, my parents’ visit last weekend was like a broom that swept the cobwebs away. (sigh of relief)

Hmmm.. they should come here more often.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Part II

So is it really over?

I feel like I still ought to ask myself this question, though I would like to think that it already is. It was, for a long time already. Until I heard about him again and waves came crashing into my once peaceful sea.

My friend says if he still has even the tiniest effect on you, then you aren’t over yet. I think that’s too much of a test. I mean, I have had four other relationships in the past, but even if I did feel bad when I learned about their weddings or how they looked good together with their current partners (better than we once did), I can swear I am completely over them. I’m even friends with most of them, all I mean (except with one I might have hurt pretty badly). Anyway, hearing them talk about how content they were with their present lives didn’t actually leave me feeling bitter. Maybe a little “what ifs” but that’s about it. No crying spree. No Joe d Mango moments.

But it felt weird with this other one. I made all sort of adjustments hopefully for a speedy recovery—moved to a new company and a new house, locked up things that bring back mem’ries of him – photos, mp3s, other things--but it seemed like the pill isn’t good enough. Or could it be that my predicament is incurable. Is there a cure for a badly broken heart?
They say time heals all wounds. My greatest fear is to end up having used up all my time to heal. The time I’d have recovered, I would have probably lost my time already.

I’m also thinking, maybe all my efforts to forget him would have been futile if I still haven’t found it in my heart to accept things as they happened. Up to recent days I would think of what I lack, or what I overdid, or what I did wrong that made him change his mind about me. I sometimes forget that it couldn’t have been just me. If he says he fell out of love, there’s no way you can force a man to stay.

I realize the reason I can‘t be friends with this one while I can still be chummy with the rest of my exes is the manner we have parted ways. As with the others, it was more or less a mutual decision. We thought it was for our own sake. We both agreed about it. As with this one, he had to close the door on me, I had to be Ms Pathetic to knock again. He fell out of it. I fell into it. It was a timing difference. The time I learned how he has grown on me, it was a little too late. I felt dumped, and nothing can be more painful. It’s the kind of pain that can make you remember for a long time. It’s the kind of pain that even time can’t remedy.

So how do you know it’s over?

I guess it’s not being able to talk about him and not feel a thing. It’s not being able to look him up in Friendster & not budge when you see “In a relationship”. It’s not about seeing him with another girl and shed not a single tear.

I guess it’s over when you’ve finally accepted the fact that his happiness lies with another person and not with you. That it isn’t because you were shorter, or weighed a little less, or that you needed a rebond to let your hair down or Likas papaya to get that elusive ‘kutis-artista’, or braces to be able to smile or that you weren’t his idea of a ‘girlfriend” that made him not choose you. The important thing is you did your part. You loved to the end, you loved to the best that you can. Then there shouldn’t be any regrets. Only hopes, that someday, the right one will knock at your door.

Love happens and when it happens to you, you just have to love all you can and be happy. If time takes it away, then let go. Don’t hold on too tight coz they say maybe something bigger will come and you'll need both hands to grasp it.

So is it really over?

I pray.

Monday, March 13, 2006

How can ‘over’ be really ‘over’?

I had to rethink about this over the weekend, after one of my girlfriends somehow validated one of my fears— that after more or less eight months and relentless efforts to make myself forget, the anesthesia would soon wear off and the pain would still reach my heart. I have been doing okay for a while, okay as to be able to look him up in Friendster and not break down upon seeing the phrase next to his age, “In a relationship”, or okay that I’ve been able to go out on a few dates and not imagine his face when I look across my date, but as I’ve always feared of my own weakness, there I was, thinking again.

I can compare it to a wound that has scarred in the skin, but still bleeding inside.

I’m not sure why a simple story about my ex jumping from one relationship to another is making me write these things. It’s not as if it happened only now. It’s been like a repeated story told over and over again. What worries me is my reaction when it was brought up last Friday night. I only said that I’m saddened by the fact that all of my friends were right about him. He’d change girlfriends as though he were tearing off a page of a calendar. I was sad coz after he broke up with me to be reunited with his long-time ex, I did hope he’d finally settle, and that our breakup, and the many tears I poured would somehow be worth it. I was thinking maybe he just hasn’t found the one yet. But at the back of my mind I can hear myself, how is it that he could go on searching for the right one, and end up hurting people in the process?

One friend goes, ‘if you’re reacting that way, maybe you’re still not over him”. I shook my head. Of course I was over him. But you know what scared me suddenly; I was hearing voices in my head. When I got home early Saturday morning, I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t cry, like I used to, but I couldn’t sleep,

I swear I no longer love him. Neither do I hate him. But why, I’m hurting for him. Do you think I have moved on?

Tell me, how do you know “over” is really “over”?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

To love with worlds apart

Remember Lhiza, the one I was writing about some time ago? She was to leave for Canada to be with his hubby after more than two years of waiting. Well she left, a week ago. And today she sent some lovely photos of herself, his husband and the snow. Seems freezing cold in the picture, but you know the saccharine part of it, that despite the frosty backdrop, their smiles seem to me like the sun on a summer at the beach. Hmmm…happiness. Perhaps more like two years of longing and missing and loving bottled up and now the cork’s been popped out. It was definitely worth the wait.

This brings me to thinking about long distance relationships once again. I’ve been in one and sadly I was more a casualty than a survivor of it. But it’s worth mentioning that why it didn’t work out was entirely my own doing. I was the one who started having second thoughts. I was the one, who began asking, doubting, feeling insecure, helpless, hopeless, impatient, alone, uncared for. I was the one who got fed up with phone calls and emails and love letters because I longed too much to be able to touch his face. I was the one who thought that we were growing apart each day, and every waking hour I was loving a stranger. I was the one who lost faith in him, in me, in us together and our dreams. I was the liar who broke my promise to wait. I was the weakling who gave up. I don’t really know if anyone could relate to my reasons, but it wasn’t really easy for me.

Lhiza’s story was the exact opposite. They carried on for two years on just phone calls, emails, & YMs and their faith in each other’s word. When Gino’s family migrated to Canada after graduation, he left a promise to her that if she could wait, he would marry her after two years. He came home last year to marry her and we were there. We were teary-eyed. Gino left again after the wedding and after six months, they were back in each other’s arms and this time, for good.

I once happened to eavesdrop on Private Conversations with Boy Abunda, with guests Jolina and her boyfriend Bebong Muñoz who works in the States. They too have been on a long-distance relationship for years now but it seemed like they were never apart. Boy asked how they were able to manage loving while living on separate worlds (figuratively & literally) and Bebong was quick to answer, something to this effect, “It’s really simple, if you truly love someone and you believe you’ve already found the “one”, would you still look for somebody else?”

Long distance relationships could be high-maintenance. It could cost a great deal. But more than the phone cards, and the internet fees, the pain of wanting and needing someone who sits on the other end of the world, and waiting for the day you could finally be together is such a high price to pay. But this kind of relationship is all about sacrifice. It’s about putting up with cold nights, and letting the thought that someday you would feel his arms around you be your fire. If there is love, no amount of pain can make you turn back. If there is faith, no amount of loneliness can make you give up.














Monday, March 06, 2006

Pabili ng spark

Bear with me.

First time ko kasi na mag-blog sa Tagalog at para bagang awkward pa sa simula. Hindi naman ako balikbayan, o masasabing nag-fifeeling lamang, mas komportable lang ako mag-express sa Ingles. Sa totoo lang, mas madami naman kasing adjectives sa Ingles ang nababagay sa mga emosyon na naglalaro sa aking isipan sa araw-araw. Mas madami din ang metaphors. Halimbawa gusto ko isulat “I feel like he left a big hole in my heart.” Sa Tagalog “Pakiramdam ko nag-iwan siya ng malaking butas sa aking puso”. Parang matatawa ka sa halip na mag-symphatize.

Mahirap talagang maglarawan sa Tagalog, lalo na’t hindi ko naman ganon ka-kabisado yung wika. Sa Bicol kasi ako lumaki at nag-aral, at tanging sa asignaturang (subject) Filipino lang namin ito ginagamit. Ingles kasi yung medium of teaching sa amin, at Bicol naman yung dialect. Kaya nga nung lumuwas ako ng Maynila para sa CPA Board Exams Review ay talagang nahirapan ako mag-Tagalog. Di ko maikakaila na ako’y isang promdi kasi may kakaibang punto at pagbigkas. Halimbawa ung mga salitang “kasi”, “hindi” at “bakit” na kapag binigkas ko ay may diin sa huli ay binibigkas pala dito ng mas malambot na “kase” , “hinde” at “baket”.

Anyway, sa halos limang taon ko na pamamalagi dito sa Maynila ay masasabi kong nakapag-adapt nako at halos di mo na din maiisip na isa akong probinsyana.

Pansin ko masyado yatang napahaba ang aking kwento. Sasabihin ko lang naman talaga na etong pagsululat ko sa Tagalog ngayon ay trip lang. Try lang. Wala lang. For a change.

Hayaan mo na akong magkuwento. Kahapon kasi, nagkita kami ng mga high school friends ko, nanood kami ng Pride & Prejudice at kahit medyo nahirapan kami intindihin yung English accent nila ay kinilig pa din kami kay Mr. Darcy. Palibhasa sa edad na 25 ay mga single pa din, maliban sa isa, na may masasabing love life. Pati sa kainan ay love pa din ang topic. Hindi naman masasabi na “undesirable” kasi kahit papano ay may mga nanliligaw din. Kaso, bakit kaya kahit maayos naman ang mga ito (physically, mentally & financially) ay hindi pa din makuhang tumibok ang puso? Para bagang may kulang pa din.

Spark yata ang tawag dun. Yung parang fireworks. Yung parang may paru-paro lagi sa puso mo, yung eyeball mo tila heart-shaped na din, sasakit na labi mo sa kakangiti habang iniisip mo siya. Parang nababaliw ka, nabubulag at yung mundo mo lumiliit.

Tingin ko naman sa spark, e chemistry. Parehong wavelength, tila may common ground, nagkakaunawaan kahit walang salita. Yung kahit magkaiba kayo, di nawawala yung tulay sa pagitan nyo. Di kailangang parehong-pareho yung hilig, o yung ugali o yung opinyon o paniniwala pero nag-cocomplement kayo sa isa’t-isa. Yung weakness niya, strength mo. Natututo kayo sa isa’t-isa. Parang ikaw yung paa, siya yung sapatos. The shoe fits.

Sa pagkakalarawan ko sa spark, parang tumataas kilay ko. Para naman kasing superhero yung hinahanap ko. Parang di mo naman agad yun malalaman sa isang tao hangga’t di mo binibigyan ng panahon na makilala. Kaso naman pag binigyan mo ng panahon, parang binigyan mo na rin ng pag-asa. Minsan mapapasubo ka, lalo na kung mabait naman. Kukumbinsihin mo na lang sarili mo, ang imporatante mahal ka, matututunan mo din siyang mahalin.

Di kaya mas unfair yun? Para sakin ang pinakaimportante yung honesty. Pero depende yun sa tao. Madami din naman dyan ang nagpapakasal sa mga iba’t-ibang kadahilanan maliban sa love pero over time tsaka mga pagsubok na din na napag-dadaanan na magkasama ay natuturuan din ang puso. Meron din naman na tila new year yung relationship sa dami ng fireworks at spark pero katulad ng fireworks, panandalian lang. Namamatay din. Nagkakasawaan din.

Gayunpaman, gusto ko pa din sana maramdaman yung mga paru-paru. Isa akong hopeless romantic at kahit 25 na ako ay umaasa pa din sa magic. Naniniwala kasi ako na pag may gusto ka at ipinagdasal mo ng nakapikit ang mata at taimtim sa puso ay ibibigay yun sayo. Naniniwala din ako na somewhere out there, may maliligaw at mahahanap yung sarili nya sa akin. Yung tipong kahit di ko man alam ang pangalan nya, alam ko kung ano magpapasaya sa kanya.

Kaya ko yatang tumandang dalaga na lang kesa mag-settle sa isang “pwede na” o “just for the sake of”. Nakakatakot mawalan ng ngipin at buhok mag-isa, pero mas nakakatakot yatang mabuhay sa pagpapanggap. Kung magpapakasal ako, kailangan mahal ko talaga. Kailangan may spark.

Kaso masyadong mailap at tila out-of-stock. Nakakatakot din pala mag-isa.

San ba kase pwede makabili ng spark?





Friday, March 03, 2006

Laid-back

I think the problem with me is I easily get involved in things. And when I do, I cling to it with closed fists without me noticing that I’m slowly losing it. It’s probably got to do with my incalculable proverbial “losses” that the idea of having to go through it again petrifies me. I could also be overly conscious about the truth that everything in this world is transient, like nobody would have known that another earthquake is to happen tonight, tomorrow or when I one day decide to go watch a movie alone.

I feel like everything in this world is like a candle on a stormy night. And so maybe I’m desperate at making every moment last.

It’s not that bad. At least it has taught me the value of time and life in general. I used to be very prospective, I’ve always lived my present with my future at the back of my mind. Something like, if I screw up today, there’s always tomorrow to make up for things I didn’t do so right.

I had this long-range plan in my organizer with specific timeframes. Like I should be married at age 25 and a CPA-Lawyer at age 28. I’m 25 and I’m constantly teased about being a member of T.I.I.S (Tang-i_a I’m single!). I’m a CPA alright, but becoming a lawyer to me now seems like fighting windmills. But you know what, I don’t really feel bad.

Now it’s more about enjoying life’s simple pleasures and spending as much time with friends and family. I like the laid back feeling--- no plans, no worries, no excess mental baggage… Just going through life as it comes, without expectations.

At the end of the day, all I want is to be able to wear a smile before I close my eyes.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Unready

I was on the 9th floor when the earth shook last night. It was scary, pretty much the kind that would make you call all the saints and wish for one more day to do your shoulda’s and make peace with the world. I thought, I was only in the first quarter of my life (if I ever live to be a hundred), and the sky’s the limit to the things I still hope to accomplish. I knew I was never ready yet.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I think...

This is to recompense for my lack of position in what I have written last Friday in the heat of the national emergency. Let me use my being short of information on the ongoing political upheaval as my excuse. I claimed to have been following the current affairs in our country, but perhaps not as much as I have been watching Pinoy Big Brother without fail. I have not really been aware of the facts about what is pushing the people to the streets until this weekend when much debate has been going around as an offshoot of PGMA’s “timely” issuance of Proclamation 1017 on the very anniversary of the 1986 People Power.

Many call it a betrayal of EDSA. On the day we vowed never to let anyone seize our hard-won sovereignty, we find ourselves once again living the old days, the kind that strikes a chord of fear in our hearts. We saw the cancellation of all permits to rally, warrantless arrests of “suspected” conspirators to the supposed “coup plots”, Daily Tribune raided for “seditious” commentaries, media bullied to adhere to “government standards” in reporting. On the very day a dictator was vanquished, a potential dictator looms anew.

We saw the president invoking emergency powers to “protect” the state, which to me seems more like a desperate act to protect herself instead; perhaps to secure the “seat” that’s been the very cause of this continuing political warfare. As questions about the legitimacy of her presidency appear too strong as to hold water and shove people to the streets, she finds herself in panic, and at the end of her tether to make her do the unreasonable.

My favourite columnist Conrado de Quiroz recently wrote (I can’t remember the exact words but perhaps to this effect) “they have stolen pretty much everything from us, must they steal our freedom too?” Yes, our right to peaceful assembly, our right to free speech. I’m thinking, she seemed to have taken a lot of things from us, including our votes (which to me is the most valuable of all).

She made a public apology for her lapse of judgement in the Hello Garci scandal that secured her victory in the 2004 elections. But after the dramatic “sorry”, it was like “forgive & forget” for most of us. The impeachment proved to be a futile effort against somebody who had stronger allies in the house. She got away with it, and most of us didn’t even budge. We seemed to have lost all alternatives to only settle for somebody who has just admitted her dishonestly and compromised her integrity. Either we are content or we have grown tired to fight.

I believe, somehow we also have a share in the responsibility for our ailing country.

If not for the people gathering in Ayala last Friday, I would not have seen the magnitude of this political crisis clouding our country. For this I am shamed. It’s bad enough that I do not know. I’ve made it worse by my apathy. Count me among the statistics of millions of this kind. People like me who last Friday cared more about work getting suspended so that we could all go home early than assert my right to be heard and my liberties to be safeguarded.

But who can blame people like me, who have grown tired of going around this vicious cycle of corruption, destabilization, deception? We saw EDSA 1 & 2 & 3 and nothing has really changed. How many people power must we still stage to ever learn the lessons of history? Can we be questioned for having lost our faith in our people and in the government? If we have given up any hope, if we’ve become so content. If the only feasible option is to flee to pastures where the currency is strong and crooks are behind bars, instead of being congressmen, senators, or even presidents.

There are a millions of us all wanting to escape. This I think is one of the reasons we will never achieve democracy in the most possible sense of the word.

What we need to achieve is a sense of nationalism. Nationalism is the way to true democracy.

To love one’s country the way we love ourselves; to aim the best for our country the way we aim the best for ourselves. I feel sad when I hear good doctors in our country studying to become nurses to sponge down American asses. When can there be better opportunities for our countrymen so as not to see our skilled workers doing better in foreign lands? We must help our country, the way we help ourselves. This I believe is mightier, than going to the streets and creating noises and scaring investors and making the situation worse than it already is.

This sense of nationalism is the very cost of our many freedoms won, from the Spaniards, the Americans, the Japanese’s, the Marcoses. How could it be any different from the present government? We have seen the examples of Rizal, Bonifacio, Aguinaldo, and Aquino --- heroes who have put the country’s interest above anything else. People who believed that our country is worth dying, and living for.

If the president, and all our government leaders and all of us Filipinos think this way, there is still hope for our country.

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