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.

27 December 2013


I don't normally wait for the year to end before taking stock of my life. The OCD in me requires me to do this every week during the weekly review of my custom-designed planner. But the OCD in me also requires that I do something conclusive towards the end of every year, just to give finality to the year that is ending.

However, this year I will not do the requisite New Year's resolution, which always drove me crazy towards the end of January -- because apparently, having OCD is not an assurance that one will actually get things done as scheduled, and at the same time having OCD is an assurance that one will have frazzled nerves over things committed to and not done. Instead, I have decided just to close one door and open a new one.

Here are few things I have closed the door to as I leave 2013 behind: Overeating, overspending, psychiatric medication, negative thoughts, psychic vampires, high-maintenance relationships, direction-less relationships, direction-less people, hustlers and liars, credit cards, succumbing to depression, interest rates, painful shoes, cellulite, superficial gatherings, lousy music, bad lighting, bad lipstick, bad typography, bad adaptations, derivative art, senseless superstitions, too many bags, too much drama.

I have opened my door to: Regular exercise, drinking more water, travel, sincere and chivalrous suitors, elegant date nights, strong and honest men, sleeping alone, sleeping enough, zero debt, taking a leisurely walk at sunset, more time reading the classics, more time writing, proper skin care, laughter, fluffy bedroom slippers, Stevie Nicks, star gazing, ghosts, gardens, eating fruits, windy days, rainy days, patience, freedom.

What shall remain constant: family, true friends, America the band, solitude, literature, shiraz, and love.

[Image credit]

20 December 2013


When one has OCD, everything is connected, and remembered, and big, and important, and relevant. What is trivial and inconsequential to normal folks is monumental and epic to a person with OCD, such as myself.

Most of the time, it's overwhelming.

That's why I break things down into smaller pieces that make it easier for me to live my life from day to day to painstaking day. Among the tools critical for my survival are detailed lists, planners, tracking calendars, organizers, file folders, pre-set formulas, rulers, tabs, labelers, multi-pens, color-coding pens, straight lines, very clear sentences, boxes of a certain dimension, pre-programmed and recurring alarms, parameters, delineations, math, date-and-time stamps, and the solid laws of logic.

If you think me strange, perhaps that's because I am. But I have never let that stop me from reaching for my dreams. In that manner, I am perhaps more normal than the most normal person on earth.

[Image credits: 12]

13 December 2013


Because I am inordinately superstitious, this day fills me with trepidation. But at the same time I anticipate it with a giggly, feverish exhilaration. This Friday the Thirteenth will be like no other.

It will be the first Friday the Thirteenth in eleven years in which I shall be without a man in my life.

That realization came crashing through my senses a couple of days ago, from out of the blue, jolting me from my office paperwork, and I sat bolt upright in my chair. I frantically tried to remember how I dealt with the last Friday the Thirteenth that I had to spend alone, and could not remember anything recent. I was always with a man, and judging from my fear of days such as this, I’m sure they all bent backwards to appease me, keep me from feeling anxious and jittery and hyper-observant of all other superstitious details that would bring bad luck to our already unlucky day: a black cat crossing our path and I would completely change or dinner plans; two people saying the same word at the same time and not knocking on wood right after would cause me to panic; and a myriad of other little un-connected things that I would obsess and fixate over until dreadful, dreadful Friday the Thirteenth was over. My, the things I made my men go through, and the things they endured for me!

But they are no longer here. I am alone, vulnerable to all the cruel vagaries of this upcoming dark day. Some higher power must be telling me something. Last night I rolled my eyes at the heavens (or, more accurately, the ceiling), and said a little prayer before I went to sleep.

And then, right before dawn today, I woke up to a text message that said, “Good morning, beautiful.” It’s from someone I know and he loves me. How could I not jump out of bed happily after that, Friday the Thirteenth all forgotten, superstitions all forgotten, recent heartbreak all forgotten? Like a squeaky schoolgirl I smiled at the heavens (or, more accurately, the ceiling) and said a little prayer before starting my day.

It’s amazing how a simple, short sentence can make the difference in our day. Because all words come from somewhere, and from where his words came, I know it beats for me. His words gave me strength to brave the day today.

Superstition is just one of the many ways of dealing with a natural human fear of the unknown, and I can always choose another way. I’m still a little afraid, but in a good way. It's okay not to know what will happen in the future. All life is risk. All love is risk. I sally on. Love, here we go.

[Image credits: 12]

06 December 2013

Dear 38 Year-Old Maryanne,

Thank you so much for writing me. I have taken your words to heart, and I really appreciate the time and effort you took in writing me that letter, and finding a way to reach me through time. I took an ample amount of time to process everything you told me, and realized that it’s all up to me to decide how your life is going to be.

You were writing me out of fear and sadness then, although it was a credit to you that you were still able to make your letter sound happy. But I could see your fear and sadness through all that. Now please forgive me, but I have to be honest with you. I cannot proceed with my life eternally concerned about what you will feel, even if I know that at the lowest moments of your life, you will blame me. There are things that I have to do, and things that I have to go through, so that you will become who you are now.

Because young as I am, and with no other frame of reference than my limited view of life, I know no other way to learn but to surrender to the chaos, the uncertainty, and the lost feeling I get when I look out into the future and see nothing. But let me deal with all that. Let me bear the brunt of the pain. Let me be the one to make the mistakes, be with the wrong men, do the wrong things, be in the wrong places, be hurt over and over. Being my age is for all that, anyway. Let me be the one to fight. Let me be the one to be angry. Let me have all the bad hairstyles and wear all the awful clothes. Let me be the silly stupid, asinine one. Let me be the one to hurry when I should slow down and slow down when I should hurry. Let me have the sunburn, the scraped knees, the concussions, the bruises, the colds, the fevers, the disorders, the depression. Let me do all the crying and declare all the regrets. Let me face the darkness for you. Let me be the caterpillar so you can be the butterfly.

And what an amazing butterfly you are now. Your life is much simpler. You know clearly what you want, what are important to you, and what you want to fight for. You have let go of what you cannot control and what is not good for you. You no longer fear new things so much. You sleep better at night. More significantly, you can now keep secrets. You can now discern when to take action and when to wait for events to fall into place. You now know how to deal with the darkness that comes every once in a while. You now walk taller, you speak with more confidence, smile with more sincerity, and laugh more heartily. You can now face fear and pain with silence and imperturbable composure. You have learned how to cry in secret. You have learned how to be the guardian of your own dignity. You now have faith, and hope has never been stronger in you. You are fearless.  

Of course I did not see all these when I got your letter. I could not see the future, although your letter gave me a clue. But a very small voice inside me told me not to listen to fear, and I proceeded with that. I have decided to live my life the way I wanted to, and not in the way you wanted me to. This is my way of teaching you all the things that you asked me in the letter to teach you.

I make no apologies for your dark days. I make no apologies for anything in your life. But little by little, you will understand why I decided to live life the way I did. And the end result of all that is you, now, at this moment, suspended momentarily for the time that you are taking to read this letter from me. In the convergence of you and me, across 23 years of pain and love and magic, you will see what I mean. I think you are starting to see it now. You are on the verge. Give in to it. Close your eyes and fly.

With love,
15 year-old Maryanne
[Image credits: 1, 23]