Wednesday, February 28

far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife

(title borrowed from thomas gray)
These last few days, I have been in a state that I hardly recognize myself when I look in the mirror. The woman I see is tired of everything, but she seems to deliberately inflict it upon herself, because really, stress is just a state of mind, and it's nothing like a good dose of sex or movies and shopping can't cure----or better yet, drowning in a sea of cuervo, or walking naked in public. Imagine how that would be like, a nanosecond of adrenaline rush, and voila! adios to self-recriminations...

But seriously, I have no inclination to do any of the above, save perhaps for some ocassional carnal remedy, which I am not really prone to gloss over any further in my blog. And so I blame myself solely in the process. I know that people around me think I am a little difficult to deal with, although often mellow and proper. But I am a self-declared loner, and I give no horseshit to anyone, so sometimes it's a feeling of me and me, against the world. That spark of hostility is almost always latent, but I can sometimes sense how they frown upon my being an oddball. But being who I am, I guess that they would not have seen it otherwise.

I mean motherhood and marriage and all, puts you in the mainstream. There are certain mores and expectations you have to flow with. You are doomed to wear that mask all your life, and it's your choice so no one else can be faulted on it. But inside you, deep where your soul is, not as a mother or wife or officemate, or neighbor, just the person you are--you want to be hip or cool or crazy or renegade or wanton---but you can't bring about the audacity to show it to anyone, not at this stage of your life, and in scenarios you create to realize your secret dreams. Suffice it to say that eventhough there are many people outside your circle who claim to empathize, or psychoanalyze your every move, not all of them are wont to understand you or NOT judge you. Society dictates that we fit a certain mold, and try we must if we want to have a quiet, albeit boring semetertian, life. Lest you wish to be called childish or irresponsible. In the face of all these, you just got to have faith in the fact that behind your back, yourself is as true to you as you are to her.

My life in this age, it gravitates me to do what is good and beneficial. But in spite of the unrealistically high and questionable lengths I sometimes go through to become a perfect stepford spouse, I detest being goody two-shoes and proper. What is it that I really want? I think most of us unwittingly go through life trying to ignore our true calling or at least that which will make us happy. We sacrifice our characters, and even kill our souls for what is perceived to be a more noble and meaningful cause. We equate being a docile wife, and having healthy children and comfortable lives with satisfaction. And yet, there's a diminutive lot of us, the madding crowd, who aren't even half as happy, and think we can only find our sense of belonging in the dank compartments of our minds, which are by the way, already festered with our own psychotic maggots.

Why can't we be like the rest of them, outside and more so inside? How does one go back in time when only your selfish ideas mattered? I wish it were that simple, like clicking the Undo button. But hey, whoever said life is bunchful of lollies to loll with....And so, sometimes I am convinced that tagore or gibran are a bunch of liars with a lot of senseless shit to say and it's about time I embrace the pessism of a schopenhauer. At least when you don't expect, you don't get disappointed.

Thursday, February 22

Shadow Child

Oftentimes I feel guilty about not having enough time for Gabriel. Sure I’m physically there, as I have devoted most of my waking time to him and Sophia. Our weekends have been relegated to caring for them, above other things. But after having Sophia, I have almost completely forgotten that Gab is first and foremost the little baby that gave me a profound sense of joy and the reason to explore a wealth of other maternal temperaments I haven’t known. I had many times deliberately lingered on the thought of him, and wrote about him at length in my other journal. Back then, I had all the time in the world for him. We played games, read books, sang songs and did many things together. Gab was everything you could have for a docile and lovable child. I could not have been any happier.

I thought that I could simply jump back into being a cool mother with him after I am done with the nitty-gritty of rearing Sophia in the first few months, but I was much too wrong. Apparently, I was not ready to act my part as best I could, in Scene II of my Motherly Life.

Juggling time with work and raising up two kids was more than I could bargain for. To begin with, there is a conflict of trying to discipline Gab, while being indulged in, on the other hand, by his dad. We have different methods in trying to create an air of authority as parents to him, I being the more unyielding of us, and the dad being a bit of a spoiler. Now that seems to confuse the child, and you could imagine how two little tots competing for notice all at once, made us lose focus. Non-plussed, we thrash about trying to get a grip of it, making the effort to be nice and low-spoken, and yet enormously struggling to otherwise keep our sanity in place.

Gab has begun to be misunderstood and mistrusted by us, and vice versa. At this moment, his point of contention and envy is the little bundle of only 9 months. We could only do so much to protect the baby. In his effort to curb a part of our attention from Sophia, he does everything to make himself felt, physically or in some other ways. He would complain of non-existing pains from cuts, or stomachache, or earache. And if that wasn’t enough, he would “punish” his little sister with surreptitious attempts of tugging at her hair or shoving her from the crib. It’s horrifying, especially that I know he lies in wait to see if we’re watching, and would pounce on her, every chance he gets.

That fleeting feeling of enmity seems to lurk from somewhere like a shadow, and it is his form. You know it's not consciously what he is, but the distress grows in uncontrollable proportion that you forget who you are and who he is, and you lose sense of it all, and the only easy way to fumble out is to be angry at him. Sad that you hate in the way you love.... But I came to think of it, he’s just a child. And he must have a hell of a time trying to cope with this business of new STRANGER in the family, an entirely new landscape where he has been reduced to a bit player. Not being in the center of it all anymore has caught up with his childish ego. He could only cling on to Mommy’s little kisses and embraces, to reassure himself he still reigns supreme. The last thing he needs is all that cooing and indulging on the little stranger.

To make matters worse, I became a bit worried that Gab may be a little slow, not being able to speak in straight sentences at age 3. There are clear words in sporadic flashes, but still, I incongruously try to compare him with other kids, when deep inside me I know that I should not. Gone were the days that he would beckon for book after book, although rather petulantly, if I didn’t come huffing at once. Lately, he’s an android sitting in front of Disney Channel all day long. Hard to admit, but Playhouse has become to him a surrogate parent, as we struggle on to care for the other kid, day in and day out. There’s no one take blame or credit, for anything, except us, his parents. However I am always determined to make it better, If only I could try more, now that many realizations have come to languish in the background for many months and I yank back in sonic speed.

Last night, we congregated inside the bedroom, and even if I was dead tired from all the household uproar of not having a yaya for a fortnight, I asked him to get a book. I was a little apprehensive to find out what (little) he knows. But, reading Robert Louis Stevenson, we browsed through pages and pages of shadows, and rivers, and cathedrals and minarets, and beaches and horse-drawn carriages, and storybook fairylands. He points here and there. He asked me to name things, and he gamely volunteers answers on my made-up ignorance. Just then, I discovered that my little boy has many words to say in his heart. He knew that the wind can blow the leaves off trees, and shadows can grow bigger than we are….

And I could only listen, listen, listen.

written 08.14.06

then it occured to me....

that all we humans have our own transgressions, be it in the mind, the body or the spirit. it is a frailty that equalizes us all, and i'm dead sure that even the holiest of thous have sinned once or twice in their lifetime. it is only in the intensity of abomination where we differ from one another. i have erred in that i allow caffeine to seep in my veins even if i know it's causing me to shiver and act a little loony. i have sinned because i've read far too many blogs that i hardly have the appetite to write my own. my spirit has gone astray because everyday, for the last so and so months, i have believed that there are indeed orbs and ghosts and evil that exist. but most of all, i am guilty, and will never go scot-free- because i have fallen deep, so deep into this fracture. i have gone addicted to you, been captivated, captured, obsessed....may they forgive me, if it went on and on and on....

Tuesday, February 20

Black Girl Assaulted

one of the biggest mood setters in my life is tracy chapman, a remarkable woman with a remarkable voice. no, i have never discounted the fact that she is almighty dykeness, but i have thought of her more as a woman whose emotions are undoubtedly too feminine to not relate to, dreadlocks notwithstanding. back when i was a struggling recluse in the big city of manila, circa 1991, i was walking down the street to the beat of her revolution song, armed with all the angst of an orphan girl, without a home and without warmth to speak of. for my lover brought such crushing appeal to me that i honestly wished i was a dyke or had a bummer for a lover. fast cars was the most overplayed tune around that time, and although it was fated to be so, i had deliberately turned away from the idea of sharing her with a million other souls. i must admit, the literary brilliance and her unqualified talent are way too blinding to ignore. hero worship, a term coined by an erstwhile friend about me gushing over him, or at least his qualities, that's exactly the thing that this singer/writer has caused and done to me. may i just reckon though that over late night mullings (me, cigarettes, and the ocassional mr. sanmig) and her, ms. chapman, singing the black woman sufferer's songs-- it was an undeniably hot union.

written 07.18.06

Monday, February 19

Being In Love

Note to self: I have long made a mental reminder to migrate the entries from my 360 blog to here. In fact, I already did so with a couple of posts. I have decided to "kill" 360, as having two blogs is too much for me. And, at the risk of sounding like a thankless wretch, I have to honestly say I did not enjoy writing there. Henceforth, the succeeding posts are stuff rehashed from my other blog, unless I say otherwise. Just a caveat.

Back to my endless meanderings about the rains, some afternoons I enjoy the cool air brought about by the monsoons. I wish we have this weather all year round. Well, that's about all I can do really, just wish, and imagine wildly.To me, a day like this is close to perfect. It's like being in love....and I swear there are instances that the rain just makes you go woozy and bask in the glowing feeling of loving or being loved....!

One such afternoon, it was just perfect. A little drizzle here and there as though I was on my way out to somewhere infinitely romantic. Really if I had a choice I would toss away my umbrella and take pleasure in the teeny drops of water that seem to purposely caress my face. I wasn't exactly on the verge of singing and trip-tripping like gene kelly on the puddles of the wet cobbled streets of madrigal. Sure I have felt love, and at best it's a happy thought, but in the real adult world, I had to appropriately appear unruffled and in one piece.

And yet, I'd know I feel love. That glorious feeling can't be helped. Like seeing someone you have not been with for a long makes you feel terribly anxious, and a little heady. Do I worry about getting there, no I dont know, but believe me, it's hard to keep one's composure when you feel the bite. Either you stare into space like you're too overcome with a nervous spell, or you run around like a headless chicken because of the unbearable suspense of the coming minutes. Everything seems to teem with...well, exaggeration. Me, I choose to be a cool chick, eventhough I feel a gazillion butterflies swarm and flutter with giant wings in my stomach. But that's when I know I'm in love.

And then say, you see a someone. You notice how old you've grown apart, I mean not apart from each other but individually, yes..something like that. Has it been that long? You see yourself in the person who sees you for the first time again, and it's a little strange. There's a half smile in both your faces because you can't seem to find a word that will at least make ordinary sense. Instead you size each other up secretly....and the discovery is just unspeakable.

Or a person who long ago thought of you as someone you just exchange a few pleasantries with, is actually standing right in front of you--a little nervous like yourself probably--but certainly real in flesh----and some kind of wonderful. Suddenly the past comes rushing back, the years that had gone, when you were younger and confounded with the mysteries of life and the common hurts, watching life from a terribly selfish point of view. Your mind bustled with thoughts about the poor world that owed you everything and nothing. There was once arrogance , but now you're more steadfast, waiting for something to reborn, something which is about to be understood by only both of you and no one else. Highfalutin, but yeah, there will be such love....

At times, there's a torrent of desperation to talk, to want to know more, to ask more....and then it begins to rain down again, and you somehow feel the tranquility in the sound of water trickling down on the roof, on the windows, from the sky, or from your rapt words need be spoken. A just silence painstakingly shuts you out from the world and makes you hear how deafeningly loud it actually is...a crash and boom you can't deny. Now, tell me if that isn't love?

Someone once said,there just won't come soft rains....

Being in love is getting the worst of the monsoon, being hit hard, feeling the icky bite, and finally relishing an afternoon delight in the tropics of your passion....yay! How cheeky can you get? But,true indeedy..

written 7.17.06

Thursday, February 15

A Day in the Life

Today on my way to work, the jeepney I was riding came to a full stop at the intersection of wilcon and vivere. Don’t ask me the streets coz I don’t know. Anyway, I was busy fumbling with the I-pod inside my bag, looking for the track I like. And then there were these grubby-looking kids, aged 9 to 12 probably, who asked to get on the jeepney. The driver tried to shoo them away, but two girls were able to get on when the traffic light turned green. One girl, maybe 10, had this little strap bag on her with lots of par avion envelopes. There were scribblings on it that I didn’t determine to understand. I know they were some kind of solicitation, but I didn’t have the chance to read it.

Commuting to work everyday gives you a good picture of people who are either too indolent to eke out a living from hard work, or are incapacitated to get themselves a decent job. So they resort to faster ways to make money, and this is one of their operandi. All year round in Manila, you encounter different people who would get on public transportations and make all sorts of solicitations ranging from unemployed men who are perennially on strike, quasi-religious people who wear long skirts and neck ties and would read verses from the bible and warn you of perpetual doom while their companion makes the round with a white leather pouch, surreptitiously sucking on your unwitting catholic guilt so that you couldn't stand not dropping in a precious peso for the sake of inner peace.

Then, there are men who would sing Christmas carols with their pathetic little rattles, and street children who ply the streets, come rain or shine, to beg for a ride or for money…I could go on and on, but my point is I don’t trust them. And hardly do I have any sympathy for them. Except perhaps for the children, but not for their morons of parents who leave them be. Which brings me back to my story about the girls....

So, this girl hurriedly placed the envelopes on the passenger’s laps and signaled to her friend, who was seated on the estribo, before my feet. Then this other girl, the friend, started to bass beat on the makeshift bongo drums she was carrying (by makeshift I mean crosscut pvc pipes with the other end of the hollow covered with a cellophane wrapper from a corn snack and stretched tight with cheap rubber bands---so ingenius I swear it could make a steve gadd kit pale in comparison [exagerration really]).

She started to make rhythm for about 30 seconds, and then broke into a chant. I know that I didn’t understand a thing she was singing but, it just blew me away. The girl-woman voice, the unkempt corn yellow hair, the bare feet, the closed eyes and quivering lips, as if she was on a trance, the fact that she was sitting on the estribo without anything to hang on to….it tore me away from my ipod that was playing louis armstrong’s what a wonderful world.The stark contrast of the words from that song, and the little girl’s, whose every inch of body represented dearth and poverty….I could not help but ask what indeed is wonderful with this godawful world.

The strangest thing is, while she was singing, there was a writhing of passion, and a sense of elation in her face—like an ecstatic feeling of being freed from the shackles. I mean she could try to look sad and pitiable right, and hasten the pesos in their envelopes--seeing that she and her companion are strapped for cash, or food, or a home, and everything material…but there was none of it. What a character!

I would have liked to hug her like a long lost sister, or give her something at least, although I’m reminded that today I’m broke and have only a pack of kraft crackers in my bag. Tee hee…. Nonetheless, I would have emptied my meager possessions right in front of her if only to make her know what I feel. But she, well what do you know…she only smiled like everything’s okay with the world. Fuck, I thought. She did not deserve this kind of life, and neither do I— I, with all my hostility and condescension to everything mediocre. She ought to live in a castle, and me in the remote mountains of the himalayas...

Seriously, if I could only be half as strong and content as her, then I could go to the office penniless and barefoot, and she could have my pair of fake suedes to use for wandering the streets, whilst haunting whiners like me with the unforgettable act she just did.

But…she was gone with her girl-companion before I could shake myself off and do what I should have done.

Friday, February 9

The Rains Cometh

Far too often, I have talked about rains and how much I love its presence. It's not actually raining while I write this....but the sky has an ominous color that tells it's going to pour soon, and so I am strategically set into my little inspired artsy mode which seems a bit peculiar because there's absolutely nothing artsy about what I am thinking or doing.....but, whatever.

I like the months leading up to the wet season, in this case July. The suddenly musty smell of the room, watching rainwater drip from the glass windows of my building, stirs me back to memories of the times that rain had made a big mark in my consciousness. Pardon my sounding tawdry, but back then I could always feel the romatic undertones of being huddled in the rain with just about anyone of the opposite sex. Somehow, the quixotic side of you hopes that some nice guy would offer you his coat or his umbrella, watch the rains let up, in a quaint coffee shop over petty and embarassed exchanges. But hey, I was fifteen when I had those thoughts.....

And then it was always very sad, infinitely sad, especially when you see the wet leaves glimmer under a pale moon after a see life's tragedies unfold before you, how you lost a mother, the time you lived apart from your brothers, your first heartbreak, your failures, your unspoken furies, your fears, and your self-loathings.....It always seemed to rain. It was a waterlogged existence that you couldn't even tell when it would stop....

But oh, it stopped actually. The rains stop, but the memories are etched and burned. And that's why today, there's a crazy woman talking about senseless stuff about rains, even if it's too fucking hot and sundrenched outside. ...
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