Monday, June 29, 2009
"again!" "one more time!" "again!" he hollered, louder and louder, faster and faster, as i swung my leg unto him, striking him harder as hard as i could... until my hips hurt, until my legs bruised, until my feet and toes became raw... until i could no longer breath.
he would laugh at my blows as i would collapse from exhaustion. i would offer him a faint smile in reciprocation, a forced grimace that i push out of my lips as i gasp for air. i sit myself down on the hard canvass floor, looking at my legs, feeling my shirt clinging tightly onto my body, listening to my heart pounding and waiting, waiting for the bell to ring and ready myself for another round. my mind would momentarily wander, venturing into forbidden territory, but my trainer's gesturing for me to stand would break me from my reverie, and haul my disregarding mind back to focus. concentrate on the now, jamie. it's all about the now.
my arms were heavy. my legs were weak. my knuckles were sore. my shin was tender. my spit tasted like metal. he extended the pads toward me and bowed in honor of the sport. i bowed back. "head kick!" he commanded, as i aimed my right leg and threw it towards his arm shielding his crown.
pain is a sensation is am learning to master and befriend. might as well, i reckon.
Friday, June 26, 2009
the strong current eventually came and the blow throws you off your feet. you get dragged for a moment, the sheer force attempting to tear you away from your binds. the cords chaff on your thin skin. they bite and begin to dig deep into your flesh as you get pulled and thrashed about. you wind your arms tighter around them, securing your painful hold. blood crawled up your arms, oozing from the cuts, wrung out by the strangle of your binds as you get pulled harder and harder away. "let go. it's so easy. just let go" but you banish the thought. you scream into the eternal void in your agony, hoping to be relieved but it served you nothing, only a brief distraction to allow you to hope that all this would eventually cease.
the waves of change are strong. the hold of memory is weak. we all desire to make our marks for indeed, we all want to be relevant.
There had been times when I would catch myself and wonder, what would my life be if things were different? I often pondered on this question whenever I would find myself doubting, fatigued by the passing days, fuel by nostalgia (elicited by a cartoon, perhaps) and when a feeling of loneliness would suddenly descend on me. I ask this hoping maybe, that by doing so, I could answer myself that an alternative scenario was not what I needed, that I would be convinced that all I need to be happy and content and fulfilled and loved are already here… but then, I still find myself wondering, wondering what things could be, if my life was less difficult and not as tricky.
Sometimes I would think what if I was born a girl instead, just like how my mom had always wanted. She had mentioned it once before that she had hoped for a daughter when she was pregnant with me. My elder brother was already born three years prior, and I guess the pressures of bearing a male had already been relieved of her, not that there was any pressure on her in the first place. I guess she also wanted companionship at home, someone she could relate to since she came from a brood of sisters herself. By having a daughter, she might have thought, it would be the answer to all of her needs. So what would I be then, if I were really born a girl? How would my childhood be? Who would have been my friends? I wonder how I would have reacted when I first bleed, or have my first crush at school. I wonder how my relationship would be with my elder brother, or my mother of even my dad. I wonder how it would be like to be courted by a boy, to have my first boyfriend, my first kiss. I wonder how it would be like to have my first heartbreak, or to find the man of my dreams? I wonder how it would be like to marry him, to get pregnant, to give birth and be a mother as well. I wonder, what would life be if that was my alternate scenario?
What would life be then, as well, if I were actually straight? What would my life be if I were just like one of the boys and grew up, just like one of the boys? Like those kids who played sipa in grade school, who enjoyed their G.I. Joes and their trading cards and their comic books. Like those boys who saw every piece of paper, or even garbage at that, and imagined it to be a basketball and slam dunked it to whatever hoop or trash can they could find. Like those boys who talk about cars like it was a person, more so, like those who could beat you up into a pulp if you even dare put a scratch at their prized beauties. Like those boys, who were so savvy with the girls, who would eventually court them, woe them, marry them and have a family with them. Like those boys, whose lives feel so much simpler than mine.
But these are all just alternate scenarios, many of the dozens of “what ifs” that I have concocted and will concoct still in the future. Scenarios I should stop entertaining since I really can’t do anything about them. Scenarios that distract me from thinking that maybe, my life isn’t really all that bad, that my life can actually be simple too and not just think that “simple” is only exclusive to alternate scenarios.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
in addressing honor, my family enrolled me in a chinese school, spoke to me in chinese, raised me how their parents raised them, conforming as much as they can to the values of their forefathers, in a sincere hope that by immersing me in such an environment, that i can still be chinese, in every sense of the word, and yet be nowhere near china. in addressing practicality on the other hand, the chinese school i was sent to was established by american missionaries, where english was the specialty. my family desired the best education for me, the best to equip me in tools that would give me the edge i needed to survive in this foreign land, far from the backward ways of china then, to survive in this land that's so very un-chinese. foreign ways of thinking and modern skills, and yet my upbringing was still anchored onto customs that are at least 5000 years old. it doesn't take a genius to know that something was bound to give. one of the two would eventually submit to the other.
14 years of chinese instruction and 30 years of being a hwa-kiao later and, i cannot read a chinese newspaper even if my life depended on it; i cannot haggle at 168 mall in the dialect i grew up with and would constantly revert back to english, the language i am most comfortable in using; i have difficultly communicating with my elderly grandmother, even with the most simple of topics like, what's on TV; i find the discreetness and meek demeonor we were raised up with contrived and hypocritical; and the only custom i know how to celebrate is the chinese new year... even if i have no idea when it happens in the year and would have to rely on local vendors who sell fruits along the temples near my place to give me a hint.
it truly is sad that so much of my rich culture have been lost to me. besides the occasional appreciation during old chinatown walks and contemplations i would have while slurping away a hot bowl of noodles while along the eateries by the estero, i cannot say that the history of my people offer me any more significance. the past is but the past, just a hodge podge of archaic practices and irrelevant trivia for the knowledge curious, and i cannot see how they can play a role anymore in the life i have to lead. that was, fortunately, then. that was, fortunately, the day before yesterday to be exact.
mr. silva came in wearing a black collared shirt, khaki short and loafers, very casual clothing for who was to be the oracle of this very unassuming saturday morn. the day was a day of low expectations for me, really. i had to play hokey from work that day and was feeling guilty that i did. i also have been to the museum countless times before and have seen the exhibits on display already. having taken up design as a course in college, i was already satisfied with the bits i know about the art and artifacts there and would not have considered joining the tour anymore if it weren't just for the company of friends who were going as well.
the tour lasted three hours, starting exactly at 10am. we were led by senior consultant to the national museum, mr. john silva, on a guided walk through the corridors of the Museum of the Filipino People and the National Art Gallery, shedding much deserving light on the museum's countless collections, demystifying many of the philippine's most prized treasures. now this i have to say, i have been to many tours in the past and have been to museums both here and abroad as well. but in all those trips i have had, never did i experience being moved, almost close to tears, than with this one.
jars were not jars anymore, neither were the plates just plates. seals, sculpture, beads, baskets, fabric, and bulols were now more than what they were as well. the artifacts became carriers of a story told over centuries, about a people, about a culture, about a nation, about an identity. then the paintings... my Lord, the paintings...
in the past, my visits to the national museum were only with the purpose of seeing a very old friend, the spoliarium. i have seen it many times before and have always had the same response to it whenever i am in its presence, a feeling of nostalgia and awe. the painting has been linked to many good experiences in my past and i come to see it on occasions, when my schedule permits, to bask in the memories it elicits and feel that smile crawl up my face again. having gone to design school also gave me a deeper appreciation for this work of art, on its technique and style, the signatures of a true master. seeing it again that saturday morning however, i could not help but hold myself tight for i swear, i though i heard O Fortuna playing in my head (sorry, i am weird that way). mr. silva then began his story on how this huge piece of canvas that depicted roman lust for blood and gore became the precursor, the catalyst that eventually gave us a hero, to the who would be martyred in a park not too far away and thereby fuel a resistance that eventually gave birth to a nation... a nation that, sadly, forgets too quickly. a nation who is, even sadder, mostly ignorant of this very important story.
the tour rekindled a desire to rediscover myself again. this is the role of the past, this is the reason why my parents and their parents, even if they had left their country, still anchored themselves to their origins. though we may live in the present and strive towards the future, we never should belittle or forget the past. the anchor is not there to be of frustration to our forward move but rather, it serves as a safety measure, a reminder of who we are, lest we loose ourselves in the disorienting currents of change and realize one day that we have all this time just been drifting aimlessly.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
my mind is picking up the broken pieces now. i think i had a mental tantrum not too long ago, just throwing things around, smashing them inside this room i have made for myself, where i hid everything about you, where i have kept you safe all this time, away from prying eyes, away from the elements that i felt would corrupt what we had and eventually, take you away. i loved this room. it had all that i could give, all that i was willing to give, and they all belonged to you. but. there is no need for this room anymore, and since last sunday, i guess, i have been wielding the full intensity of my mental sledge hammer on it and its interiors. it's irrational i know but really... fuck it!
this is, i am hoping, not too much of an emotional post (who am i kidding) as it is just me clearing my thoughts that have been swirling madly in my head since that last moment you logged off from YM when you said goodbye. it was a brief conversation but like how i am with things about you, i knew. i knew it would be the last time even if you said nothing, which i guess by far, is something that had bugged me the most about you. you say nothing... nothing at all. even when you talk. nothing. i would listen intently to what you would say but all i hear is a faint buzz, like static on those uninhabited radio frequencies. i never really understood why it was so for certainly, words were coming out of your mouth, but they felt empty, irrelevant. i only learned much later, on our succeeding conversation, that your heart and your mind were disconnected and the only way for me to make sense of you was to listen to you with my heart. good thing that i did. it prepared me for all that was about to come.
ever since then, i knew how to listen. past round-about words and nonsensical babble and listened closely to what your heart was saying. it said a lot actually and your actions, despite contrived rationalizations, betrayed you. you would say one thing and yet, you do the other. you say you would draw away but your embraces became tighter and longer everytime. you promised that the end was near and yet you became more and more affectionate as time went by. it was truly confusing and even fatiguing to an extent for everytime i was with you, i had to bridge the gaping chasm between your words and your ways. you have no idea how difficult it was for me, but indeed i still had to try. i had to. i was bound by a promise, one that now, in hindsight, i should have never made.
how does it feel to want something you cannot have? how does it feel to be in a position where you cannot demand nor ask for anything? how does it feel to be undeserving? how does it feel to be dispensable, to be in a state of weathering, fading away slowly? how does it feel to be the one, who can never be the one, but is still forced to linger? how does it feel to be left high and dry and feeling that i was left with nothing? here's an idea... it's not pleasant. emotions, a misguided hope and foolishness are really to blame, and most, if not all are mine. i would be lying if i said i never cared. i would be lying if i said i never hoped things could go my way. i would be lying if i said that i was ok with this, to be an accomplice to your broken vow. but this is my reality, and my actions, sincere as they may have been, did not correspond to it. this would probably be why i feel i have no right to complain. i really should not complain. i deserve my comeuppance, whatever THIS may be. i entered into this in full knowledge of the euphoric madness of the game and now that i am being disciplined, i should take things like how any man should, head on. i will not hide behind either comforting words or well wishes or hopes of a brighter tomorrow for i really need to learn this, however raw, unforgiving or painful it may be. if ever there is something i can take away from all of this, it's to learn a lesson that i should have learned a long time ago.
you keep reiterating that i was strong. i must correct you to say that i was not. if i were as strong as you say i was, then i would have never allowed this affair to drag on this long. i would have never given in to your plea. love made me weak, and you were the unfortunate subject of the best of what i could give.
goodbye to you as well. i, too, will end this here.
i feel so stupid right now, far more overwhelming than the feeling of being broken.
i am left with nothing, i realized, and my world feels like the rug got snatched under my feet. what's weird about it all is that i already knew it was going to be happen and yet, could not prepare for it.
i can't say the pleasure is all mine in response to your dutiful gratitude for i don't feel anything right now to be honest. i do hope that i will and will genuinely wish you the best when the time comes and all is right.
for now however, pardon me for keeping my wishes. i think i have given you more than enough.
the Lord is kind. even if it means beating the hell out of you for being foolish and stubborn.
Monday, June 15, 2009
There's a fine, fine line between a lover and a friend;
There's a fine, fine line between reality and pretend;
And you never know 'til you reach the top if it was worth the uphill climb.
There's a fine, fine line between love
And a waste of time.
There's a fine, fine line between a fairy tale and a lie;
And there's a fine, fine line between "You're wonderful" and "Goodbye."
I guess if someone doesn't love you back it isn't such a crime,
But there's a fine, fine line between love
And a waste of your time.
And I don't have the time to waste on you anymore.
I don't think that you even know what you're looking for.
For my own sanity, I've got to close the door
And walk away...
There's a fine, fine line between together and not
And there's a fine, fine line between what you wanted and what you got.
You gotta go after the things you want while you're still in your prime...
There's a fine, fine line between love
And a waste of time.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
she replied to me with a face, a look i knew too well. i waved at her, smiled, grabbed the car keys from the key ring and said a small prayer for both of us before driving off to ortigas.
i have been asked, once too many, how i reconcile my identity with my faith. it is truly quite a feat, actually, and i never really considered how much at peace i am with how i see myself being a christian until i again was asked last night, and heard me give my answer. hearing my reply gave me a sense of joy again as i remembered how long and how hard it was for me to reach that point, ironically that i had to go through turmoil to reach this stage. hearing my reply also made me realize how much farther i still need to go, to experience, as far as my relationship with God is concerned. my sense of peace was just the tip of the iceberg, a foretaste, and there is still so much more ground to cover besides it. i realized, to a degree, that this must be my unique purpose, God's special intent for me, to discover Him in my own way and to truly know Him more subjectively.
the answer felt so simple. it didn't feel forced, convoluted, or overly rationalized. it was fluid, genuine, sincere, and it fit in perfectly, like how all answers should. saying it, hearing it, experiencing it should also bring about a sense of satisfaction as well as gratitude for, i believe, such nuggets of wisdom can only be God-given.
things are starting to fall into place, i feel. my path is starting to become clear. finally, the long wait is paying off and i can only feel but excited for what is about to come. God is indeed LURV!!!!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Since I am floating right now and experiencing some degree of disinhibition, as how I am often after a night of severe insomnia, I might as well give in to the narrative, as well as the unfiltered insights I have drawn thereof, of these things that are swimming in my head, mostly concerning yesterday’s activities.
I was invited to attend an art exhibit along pasong tamo yesterday. Its been a long time since I have been to one, my last being back still when I was in dubai. I would love to say that I enjoy going to these exhibits since I just love appreciating art. It is just, however, that I get extremely conscious whenever I am at these events due to the type of people they attract, i.e., the uber rich and cultured people. Not that I am saying that I find the company of these people disagreeable, just that it brings out an insecurity I have in me of being, well, not up to par, as far as these people’s level of appreciation is concerned. It’s very irrational I know but such is still the case. I recall I had the same feeling back when I was in dubai. My good friend and equally art-enthusiastic best bud, leni, would make me come along to these exhibits and as she gets more comfortable hob-nobbing, I, in contrast get more detached and reclusive. Despite all efforts to relax, my body language unfortunately betrays my true state. This gets worse especially if I cannot seem to relate to the art I am viewing, thereby, having nothing to distract me from my growing uneasiness.
I have tried to understand why I get these bouts of self consciousness sometimes and have tried to convince myself that there is no harm looking stupid or utterly ignorant during these events, since, more often than not, art aficionados are eccentrics and would really not give a damn about you, unless, well, you trump their eccentricity! Ok, I’m deviating now. HAY BASTA, yesterday, as I drove up the venue’s driveway and parked beside chauffeured sedans with consulate plates, all I could think about is that I felt so under dressed and that I thank my lucky stars I was driving the “prettier” car. I know, I really should learn how not to give a damn as well. Anyway, to my new found friend, salamat sa invite. Hoping for future art viewing and also hoping, I’ll be more focused on the art rather than the people there next time :)
On a totally different note, may I just say, I truly dislike tactless people. Also social climbers. Also those who get themselves caught in their own delusion and convince themselves that they are more than what they are. In this age of self-empowerment and unabashed, unmerited encouragement, I guess, some people just feel that the world is up for their taking and that it would eventually succumb to their drive and sense of entitlement. You build yourself up to be something, just to be more “palatable” to the people you want to infiltrate, convinced that by doing so, you will be accepted and thereby, share in their also borrowed glory. Tsk, tsk, tsk, immature and naïve child, is all I am going to say. You will soon see how the world works. the game of natural selection is a cruel and unforgiving one, and unless you are built with materials of true substance and not that of imaginary and vain fluff, then I am afraid, you will not survive the test of fire. I would invest in cultivating a more secure and well-grounded person now, if I were you. It should definitely be worth more your while then this needless pursuit for popularity. Be aware that at such a tender age, because of your misguided efforts, you are already gathering more enemies that even a grown man would have difficulty in handling.
In like light, may I just say that, grown men need not be so mindful of petty quips that should only elicit a reaction from children. There are more important issues to be concerned about really, more important than reacting to differences in opinion.
I have learned a few bits of wisdom these past few days, from the recent occurrences that have transpired in this so-so life of mine. There are people with malicious intent that walk in our midst; it helps to develop a keen sense for these people, to be wary of them, lest you give them fuel to feed upon and opportunity for them to sow their unfavorable seeds. In the moments wherein encounters with these people are unavoidable, however, a dutiful person would set them right and expose the errors of their ways. Then again, maybe I should just lay quiet and still and just learn not to give a damn.
Friday, June 12, 2009
the waters grew agitated with the disturbance. it began to thrash against the fountain well, spilling over its stone confines, bleeding onto the unsuspecting night field. i quickly got up from my seat and stood out of its way as, it seemed, the liquid was moving with an urgent purpose. it overflowed onto the cobble stone ground and quickly stretched outwards, far into the deep undergrowth. i was soon surrounded by a glistening black sea, engulfed in a torrent that robbed your garden of its vivid vibrancy, covering it in an opulent blanket of midnight hues, of deep blues and purples and ultramarine. its voracious appetite was limitless as all that stood defiant in its way was consumed, drowning them in this indiscriminate surge.
it was truly a fearful and terrible sight. your beautiful garden, lost now, it's life so abruptly and senselessly snuffed out, destroyed by such a violence. i trembled on my feet as i watched the dark waters began to climb up trees and walls, covering them in impenetrable shadows. even highly perched leaves could not escape you, i said. the sound of the surge was all i could hear. it filled the garden with a deafening echo of rampage and force, like a choir of tortured souls that even hell would not accept. it shook the ground that i stood upon, challenging my stance, testing me, mocking my feeble courage as i stood still in my place, praying desperately that this terror would finally cease.
but the surge only grow louder. scratching, tearing, ripping sounds, like a vicious beast undressing muscle from bone. i covered my ears and closed my eyes in hopes of taming the fear, but my efforts proved foolishly useless. my heart began to sink, drowning in the deluge, my hope and joy slowly fading from me. i began to cry, exasperated from all the forces at play, the ones assaulting without, as well as the ones buffeting within. sensing that all is lost, i finally let down my hands, uncovered my ears and opened my terrified eyes to behold again the sight at hand. the dark waters have now gathered itself into a vertical pool, a stormy figure swirling in front of me. i am now waist deep in the sea and am in its full mercy.
"if no death, no life." the figure suddenly said. "if no death, no life." it repeated again to me. it did so again and again until it was all i could hear, until it was all that i knew, that in my mind and in my soul, that i eventually understood and accept what it had to do. in my utter surrender, i raised my head up one last time and fixed my gaze at the cloudless night sky. i saw the dazzling moon burning brightly amidst her legion of stars, and i said a prayer for her and bid her adieu, may she be well, may she be safe forever. i kept my head up as long as i could, and took my longest breath as the dark waters rose and like my strange companion, also ate me up.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
"sir... upper na tayo", he mentioned it again, this time extending his right hand towards me.
my eyes widened. i screamed.... internally, of course. "APIR!!!!!!" "susmariosep!!!!" "APIR!!!!!"
i then realized my trainer was bisaya and tried my best to distract myself from the surging laughter about to burst from my gut by immersing in the pain of the modified push-up he had wanted me to do from the very start.
but i tell you.... for that moment, the pain was so worth it!
Thursday, June 4, 2009
i remember your rough monochromatic attire: a grey pageboy twill cap; your cotton grey, v-neck; your grey, stone wash jeans that you decided to wear without a belt; your black socks and your black leather sneaks. i remember your stubbled jaw, your lips as you talked or how you would pout and swallow in silence when pondering a difficult question. i remember how you sat, straight; perpendicular; guarded; severe. your hands remained clasped most of the time, only to break away to move awkwardly as you struggled to put words to your thoughts. i remember you said you were fine and that how come i always ask the questions. i remember then telling you that i do so since you never fully answer them, unlike how i do when you in turn are the one to ask. you then asked me and i answered you truthfully. i then asked you again and this time, i took notice of the one part of you that cannot lie. what they said were louder than all the noise the open grounds could muster.
the rain fell on us like blessings from heaven. as people scrambled for cover, i in turn took my time and enjoyed basking under its merciful pour.
it was a good night. it truly was a very good night.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
i got home near midnight already and it didn't matter to me too much that i was supposed to sleep early that night either since i had to wake up really early the next day. i had decided to accompany my kuya on his marathon and since he wanted to leave by 4am, i basically only had a few hours of sleep left. i set my alarm to 33oam and proceeded to make as much use of the time i have left. my kickboxing earlier that day had left me exhausted so, needless to say, sleeping was not a problem. i lost consciousnesses the moment my head came into contact with my pillow.
3am. head pounding still, i slowly got up to get ready. rain was pouring hard outside but despite that, it never occurred to me that races get cancelled. i texted my friend whom i knew were running, wishing them luck, as i proceeded to change. kuya was up and about already. by 430, we were out and driving steadily towards mckinley hill, to earth run.
this would be my first ever experience to be a spectator of a race. my long standing leg injury had left me unable to stand compressive forces on my leg, thereby putting my hopes for running on hold. i have to admit, i felt envious of the runners as the gathered on the starting point. i knew feeling of anxiety, mixed with excitement, charged with building adrenaline in anticipation of the race. i recall getting into such a high the moment fatigue sets in as you near your mark distance, the exhilaration of running with thousands of other people, the perfect feeling the moment you cross the finish line, irregardless of your time. all of that, i can now only force myself to recall as i stand now in the sidelines and keep an eye out for kuya for, i thought to myself, it is now his turn to experience the joy of running.
the starting gun went off and a flock of about a thousand charged forth into the awaiting trail, shimmering in the days rain, bracing itself of the onslaught of runners out to prove something, to the world and to themselves. the sight of the initial drove of people was beautiful. all those bodies, all that force working towards a similar goal was such a powerful sight to behold, it made me want to be a part of it more, but, alas, my fate had been determined.
in about a few minutes, the first of the finishers began to trickle in. the 3k runners started to come in first, then the 5k, and eventually the 16km. at about 30 mins to the race, the familiar sight to kuya and his friends finallybegan to emerged...
and man... were THEY tired! :) congrats again to all you guys! next time, i hope i can join you guys na!
Monday, June 1, 2009
the awesome rain
under its all cleansing
p o w e r
as it purgeD me
of my indifference:
of the numbness
of knowing; of the vague feeling
of wanting; of that strange need
to have profound insight
it had left me
cold down to my wet wet naked skin
the waters crawling deep into my inward parts
seeping through cracks and creases,
weaving through sinew and bone until they finally
ultimately find my being's deepest vacant hollow
and forms the pool in my soul where
it drowns out now the deafening silence of my lifeless