An attempt to make sense of things in a random universe, one Friday at a time.

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Location: Philippines

Leaving my footsteps for you to find and follow, my love.

30 December 2011

Life is beautiful

Not just because it’s the Yuletide season, but also because all year round there’s friends and family and love and good books and happy stories, and underneath it all, sustaining everything, is the faith that the future is going to be bright.

And also, this blog has just turned six. Everything is okay. Happy New Year!

[Image credit]

23 December 2011


Three weeks in, and we are doing fine. He brings solidity and consistency into this relationship, and his patience seems quite deep, perhaps borne out of being a father to three sons who are now well into their teenage years, and after having dealt with his own share of bad relationships. And now, there is me in his life, the little old girl-princess with a clinical case of bipolar disorder and OCD. Amazingly, despite that, we are doing fine, and I write this clause a second time with a sense of awe.

Who would have known we’d hit it off so well? Even our friends are amazed. Even our officemates are amazed. Even his family is amazed. And I’m sure my own family will be amazed. But I suppose that’s just one more proof that there is no formula for loving. No matter where he’s from, no matter where I’m from, if the constellation of events leads us to meeting, then that’s that. After all, men do come from another planet, and he is one bona-fide Martian to the core: guns, war games, actual wars, simulation exercises with various special forces, a smoker who doesn't drink alcohol and who almost never gets sick, a fan of rock music, steeped in tactics and logic, a pillar of sense, integrity, loyalty, and security.

He has made me more stable, too. Now I am off some of my psychiatric meds, which have been replaced with laughter -- thanks to his hilarious stories about his cuckoo friends and their war games bloopers -- and my mood swings are not so bad anymore. I am hardly ever angry these days, and if something at work annoys me, I just call him or meet him for break time coffee and rant for a while, and then he says something to make me laugh, and then I can go back to my office and pick up where I left off, cool as wind, smiling through the initial drudgery/setback/nuisance, and come up with better solutions. I can also write again, and it is a credit to my clients, bosses, professors, and editors that they have acknowledged my dark phase as only a phase, and they have patiently waited it out, and now I can finally give them some of the best work that I have ever done.

I sincerely hope that I also give him something good, too. I hope I inspire him to become more creative and productive. I sincerely wish to make him happy, to make him feel free to do the things that he loves, to make him see that the right relationship with the right person can be a very liberating thing. I hope he feels that his world is now larger because of me, and that he now has an abundance of wide open spaces in which he can be himself, without any judgement from me, and that it is possible to be completely honest and transparent in a relationship without the partnership crumbling into pieces. We have taken all the lessons that we have learned from relationships past, and together, we have changed the game of our lives.

So there. Almost immediately after my "single again" post, in which I said that I still believe I deserve love and I still expect to get it someday, I did get it, faster than I expected -- and believe me, this dude is fast. But I suppose it's the right way to deal with this, because once you've found the person that you want to spend the rest of your life with, then you'd want the rest of your life to begin right away. Three weeks in, he has made so many changes in his life in order to accommodate me, has walked the extra mile to make me feel wanted and accepted and loved, and his family and friends are simply darlings to accept me that quickly. Our journey together won't be completely smooth and perfect; there are bound to be some stumbles along the way, but I sincerely hope we can make it. He is my lullaby, my security blanket, my safe haven. Because he's here now, I know that everything is okay.

[Image credits: 1, 2, 3]

16 December 2011

Blank page

Because I am a writer, the image of a blank page always incites so many mixed emotions in me. Most of the time I feel such awe that I am being given the privilege of filling up with my own words something so profound. Sometimes I feel guilt for not writing more often, an indication that I’m not appreciating that writer’s privilege the way I should. At times it’s frustration I feel, because that blank page remains blank for days on end, and I feel quite useless, not very much like a writer. The rest of the time it’s a strange combination of wonderment, annoyance, fondness, craving, and slight panic.

I’ve always felt that a blank page to writers is like a mountain to mountaineers (who climb a mountain just because it’s there), but some days I’m like a mountaineer on steroids. I write words on a blank page not only because the blank page is there. Sometimes, even where there is no more blank page, I create new ones to write in, pulling out sheet after sheet of paper from my stash, typewriting prose in duplicate, triplicate, quadruplicate, just to end up with something thick, and which I can edit in two, three, four different versions. Sometimes I spend hours -- and use up a lot of pencils, one after the other in quick succession -- writing about anything that comes to mind: memories of old conversations, old rooms, old voices, colors that have no name but which I can envision in my mind, a line to a song that leads to a line in a story that leads to a line in a movie that leads to a line I heard when I was a child that leads to a line from someone’s blog.

Once I remember staying up all night just trying to describe the voice of someone I heard talking in a dream I had years before. Recently, I woke up in the middle of the night and remembered vividly the dream I just had, and wrote it down, in full detail, until the sun came up and my alarm went off.

I found writing this way helpful, cathartic, therapeutic. At times it’s difficult to start writing, but once the first few words are laid down on the page, the rest flows easily afterwards. And so most of my life is filled with the frenzy of taking things down, making notes, journaling, grasping at the last remaining details of a dream and writing them down, and even debating with myself on certain difficult life decisions that I had to make, seeing my possible future in the lines of fountain pen ink that are absorbed slowly by the paper, like an acceptance, a form of consent, an assurance that what I write down is most likely what will be.

All these notes have since been collected and bound, and are now at 36 volumes (with the first 12 composed of 12 inch thick stacks of onion skin paper, the more recent ones in large Moleskines), dating back from when I was 15 years old. I used to go back to them from time to time, to read through some entries from a time in my life when I was feeling particularly happy, or particularly sad, or particularly confused. But just last year, I sealed them all up in boxes, and had them stored in a fireproof and waterproof safe. I have decided not to go through them again within the next twenty years or so, and just keep on writing and writing my life down as I go, without looking back.

Because I don’t need to. I have the most important memories stored in my heart, and now, in some ways, I am a blank page. I am starting life again. I can be anyone I want to be.

09 December 2011

There's a smoker in the house

And he loves me.

02 December 2011

Great expectations

When I was seventeen, I received my very first marriage proposal from a guy who was about three years older than I was, and who, I believe, worshipped the ground I walked on. We were sitting together at the bleachers of the Ateneo de Naga gymnasium, watching an inter-department basketball game, so the marriage proposal felt a bit jarring.

Of course I didn’t know how to handle it, being seventeen and sitting right in the middle of a roaring crowd of college students. I think I asked him, “Do you know how old I am?” He said, “Seventeen.” And then the rest has become just a very faint memory.

But I do remember that even after that moment, we stayed friends, and he must have stayed in love with me for a little bit more until his eventual maturity allowed that love to naturally peter out. I, too, went and moved on, to focus on my own academic duties, scrambling to finish my Bachelor’s Degree in three years, and making new friends along the way. At some point he handed me a cassette tape of Dan Siegel, and asked me to listen to one of the songs in it, which I loved, and listened to several times, until I returned the tape to him.

We both moved on to other people after that, of course. That’s what one does when one is a teenager. I don’t know who he turned to after me, but I myself turned to someone who I ended up marrying and then subsequently annulling from, and then came a series of serious and semi-serious relationships with other men. I thought I was progressing with each relationship; I thought I was choosing better and better men each time. And maybe I was. But even though some of them lasted years, and even though most of them were happy relationships that were quite easy to deal with -- and some weren’t -- they all ended up being terminated at some point or another, and there were many times in which I doubted myself and the choices I made with them. How come none of them ever truly worked out? How come the search never seemed to end? How come none of them felt I was worth marrying? Where is that man who would walk to the ends of the earth for me? Where is that man who would be willing to disrupt his entire world in the blink of an eye just to accommodate me, instead of just fitting me into some small spaces he could find here and there? Does he even exist? Should I stop looking? Should I lower my standards? I never really found the answers for those.

Now, finding myself free once more (after a four-year relationship to which I really gave all that I had, with someone who I believe also gave me more than what he bargained for), I remember this guy, from almost two decades before, the very first one who ever wanted me enough to propose marriage to me, the very first one who wanted to accommodate me into his life, the very first one who actually believed I was worth sacrificing his youth for. I remember the cassette tape, but not the title of the song, although I could still hear it in my mind. The sound was happy, celebratory, expectant. Recently -- since we are friends on Facebook -- I asked him what the name of the song was, and he remembered the sound of it, just like that. And then after a few hours, he found the title of the song, and I listened to it once more, and then I am seventeen again, and the world is once more big and bright and full of color.

At the end of yet another failed relationship, what else is left except to believe that something more beautiful lies waiting for me in the horizon? And that’s a question to which I know the answer, at least. If someone who didn’t know much about me could believe that I was worth taking the plunge with when I was seventeen, then there would still be someone would still believe I am worth it at 36, because even after everything that had happened in between, I am still the same person at my very core. And if that guy who proposed to me when I was seventeen could eventually find love and happiness with someone else, then so can I. The man for me may still be out there, or he may not. But no matter what the outcome might be, I’ll be fine. I still believe I deserve love, and I still expect to get it someday.

Image credits: [1, 2, 3]