Saturday, October 31, 2009

the catalyst

it started with a change of plans, rather minor if you really think about it, and very manageable. simply shift this day to that, move this schedule to there, inform some people here that you can't make the appointment anymore and inform others there that your day suddenly had a vacancy. see... minor. but no. it did not feel simple to me at all. in fact, this rather small matter left me ruined. don't let me even bother mentioning what it did to my day. blame it on the indiscriminate hatred that suddenly found itself surging up out of me, triggered by what may have seemed to be a very benign act, but then, so is pulling the pin off a grenade.

a few very heavy messages to someone vacationing in another country later and several pounds worth of sweat in the gym, i find myself so-so sane again. i was ok enough to look at the people involved in the eye and not want to have all ties with them severed. but then, that lingering feeling, those ugly residue of unresolved emotion still sends a bitter aftertaste to my tongue.

"how inconsiderate!" "how presumptuous!" i wanted to unshackle myself already of this lot, of all this and yet, i find myself tightly bound to my predicament. there felt no way to get myself out of it, which i guess added more to the frustration. i felt cornered and every intrusion to what little sacred, personal space i had left felt like a violent invasion, to be met by an equally violent counter attack.

i did this to myself, or to a lesser degree, allowed it to happen to myself for no one treats you a certain way unless you let them. all it takes then to remedy this was to train them to treat me differently. easier said than done i'm afraid. when one's obligation becomes one's sole purpose, and other people's value becomes more than one's own, how do you change without destroying what has been your entire life, more so, the lives of others?

* * * * *

an unassuming apple dropped into a still pond. the ripples it caused spreads out evenly across the silvery pool, kissing the awaiting banks. it dropped slowly through the murky depths, sinking slowly pass visions and dreams and wants and wills, pass thoughts and fears and piercing eyes and sharpened ears. pass it all until it finally found itself on the silted floor, disturbing the peace and, beholding the deafening silence within.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

abnormally normal

"why do you find my life so interesting?" i asked a friend last night.

"kasi iba kang magisip." he replied.


i recall one conversation i had with a friend, back when i was in high school, about how i should conduct myself in the world. i know, it's quite a strange question posed at such a young age but considering my background and my upbringing, presentation, rather, testimony, is something we are made conscious of very early on. my friend then told me, be normal among the abnormal. of course back then, i had no idea what "normal" was, more so, what was "abnormal". it wasn't really as simple as good or bad, tact versus rude, proper versus improper. i think my friend knew i too didn't know what to do with what he said but expected that i would eventually learn and discern along the way.

* * * * *

"but you're nothing like the normal PLU", mcvie once told me, while having casual chitchat over coffee one weekend evening. this was his conclusion i guess about how i didn't conform to the typical gay lifestyle that a lot of my friends have. though it is true that i don't really share delight in the same activities my friends have, i don't feel necessarily any different from them. i simply have a variation of preference, something all normal people have technically, gay or straight. i'm pretty sure there are those who share the same inclinations as i. however, if i were to consider what mcvie said and really do acknowledge my atypicalness... would that then make me abnormally gay, i.e., that i'm even possibly straight after all (OUCH. brain spasm...)

* * * * *

"did i change? i mean, after i came out, did i change?" i asked kuya one time. he said i did but not too much. he said i'm much louder, a bit more flamboyant than usual, and he blames that on the fact that maybe i find the behavior acceptable since i see this with the friends i keep. though my folks don't really object against the people i hang out with since i have assured them and have reassured them that i keep descent company, still on certain, very rare occasions, when i would decide to just let my hair down and allow circumstances to take me where ever, it would be the company that i keep that would be the first to get attacked. the "equally yoked" subject would then be brought up. trust is always a constant balancing act, always teetering on an unstable fulcrum. one minute things are fine, the next minute, you find yourself picking up shattered pieces and try to start from scratch again.

" i told myself i would not change". i told my friend.

"being gay should not be all that defines me."

being gay, now that i think of it, never did.

Monday, October 26, 2009

adidas: king of the road 2009, 21km

it felt like it was my first race all over again. almost exactly a year ago, i joined my first marathon, running a 5km course. the race was Run for Life. they had it again this year but was set the day before the adidas marathon. despite wanting to have joined it, i could not since i had work that day. i recall back then, i could not sleep the entire night owing to nerves. i was awake as early as 3am and was already pacing around the house, half eager, half dreading the race that was about to come.

now, it was like deja vu as i found myself awake, yet again, at 3am for the adidas king of the road 2009, my first 21km run. i had never thought that i would reach this point this quick since my venture into long distance running, considering that not too many months ago, i found myself injured and limping in pain. i had developed sheer shins due to improper running as i trained and thought it was the end for this hobby. thankfully so, stubbornness and muay thai (yes... muay thai and all the kicking and bruises that came with it) helped me in my recovery. after a few months hiatus, i started running 5kms again, and then 10kms. i had also, by now, convinced my brother to take up running as well. now we join races together. the adidas race is his first 10km run.

to say that i was anxious is an understatement. i could not keep myself still the entire night prior, up until the start of the race. the dread of running a course that was more than double the course i last ran (10km eco-dash) kept lingering in my head. studying the race map, i could not imagine i would have enough stamina to finish such a long route considering i would most often than not be already exhausted at around the 9th km. thankfully so, i had a boost of support from a great friend and running bud, outednarnian (ON). this would be ON's 3rd 21km so i could not have found a better running bud. pacing was key and considering i have a propensity to speed up unconsciously, i really needed an "anchor" of some sort just to keep me from going roadrunner! it was also a great comfort to know that you are enduring something with a friend and feed off each other's support.

the countdown began and i gave myself a quiet prayer. i was really worried of getting injured since i really didn't feel i had trained enough. ON was also recovering from an injury himself, so i was concerned for him as well. one minute to go. this is it, there was no turning back. quitters never win. rio dela cruz (marathoner extraordinaire with an afro) turned around and gave both of us a nod. what an ego-boost that was, i thought, considering that i would be DYING in just a few hours from now. last 10 seconds. the runners were now bouncing as you could palpate the euphoria building up. BANG! the gun shot heralded hundreds of runners bolting forward like bunnies towards infinity!

i was running beside ON and tried to run according to his pace. he has ridiculously long legs so it was rather difficult to synchronize to his rhythm. my brontosaurus thighs were complaining that they could not keep up. i later then decided to just run slower than my pace and just keep visual track of him. the advice of this australian runner i met on my last race then came to mind. he said "running should be effortless and automatic, like walking". and so, i "walked". runners soon started zooming past me, young and old, male and female. the spaces between us started to increase and i could feel myself have the urge to run after them, but i did not. we were barely on the first few kilometers, i told myself, there will be more chances to catch up. i could not risk tiring this early. there was still a long way to go. a very LONG way.

a chunk of the course was familiar to me, around the fort, the kalayaan flyover, buendia. i have never ran past reposo though and as i crossed that intersection and found myself inching towards ayala avenue, i could not help but feel ecstatic. i have never RAN this far before. the lead runners were now coming back, headed by this kenyan (who won the QC marathon the week before). he was amazingly fast!!! i soon saw rio run by. again, he gave me a nod as he zoomed past me. ahead, i could see the first u-turn at buendia-osmena intersection. HOLY CRAP was i tired, 1/4 of the race down, and more to go. ON was 3 runners behind me, keeping his pace. i had not realized that i was running ahead of him already since i was looking at the road most of the time. i noticed i would accelerate when i focused on the runners so i had to stop doing that. running back to the fort felt shorter this time and surprisingly, after the U-turn, the fatigue went away. the endorphins kicked in i guess. as i approached the kalayaan flyover, i was greeted by the SEA of oncoming 10km runners. there were soooo many of them! so many, they took up almost the entire width of the course, leaving just a sliver for the 21k runners to course through.

entering back at the fort, we started heading towards the second part of the race, running towards mckinley. i recall ON mentioning how terrible this leg of the race was so i was bracing myself for the worst. he was not mistaken, the mckinley-bayani road leg was hard!!! long flat stretches, uneven roads, and long inclines soon took it's toll on my legs. i started feeling my knees hurt and my ankles began to feel sore. i began to get nervous. i was very much tired by this point as the climb back up the flyover exhausted me. i soon stopped and began to walk. i fought the urge to run after the people running past me again as i did not want to risk having fatigue set in. i knew i still had some juice left, i just needed to find it. i began running again, keeping my rests to my 10-20 second time frames. jog, don't run. don't speed. stay focused, i kept telling myself again and again. ON was no where in sight and i didn't really know where i was already. all my brain was telling me was "forward". soon, i found the lead runners running back. i anticipated the U-turn to come soon but didn't realize how much farther it was still. reaching this U-turn at the end of bayani road was the hardest for me. by this time, my body was on an uproar! my knees buckled a few times and my shoulders were starting to spasm. my ankles felt like i had lead weights strapped around them and my chest felt like it was going to explode. 15kms down.... 6 more to go.... 6 EFFING MORE!!!! ON soon appeared beside me, looking just as exhausted. he urged me not to stop since (apparently) we were doing great time. he exclaimed we could finish the race under 2 hours!!! with that idea in mind, despite the pain, i started picking up my pace again. this was the communal mantra, it seems, as the runners who would see ON and me slow down would urge us forward to finish under 2 hours! blame it on my sense of humor and maybe the endorphins, i kidded back at one of them that i had change with me to take the jeep back. my joke was received with some chuckling, the laughter helping distract me from the pain.

the fort soon appeared on the horizon again and ON and i were now running side by side. a few minutes later, the sound of the cheering crowd at the finish line could be heard. the group of 21km runners soon joined the stream of 5km runners as we all inched towards the finish line. ON and i decided to walk for a bit to gather energy for the final mad dash. we turned the corner at serendra and gave the race all the energy we had left. all the energy i had. all the emotion, all the thoughts, all the frustration, everything i had, i focus to one singular burst. it truly was a mad dash as i felt like a crazed driver running after someone who just clipped my car. the pain i had been feeling disappeared. the fatigue i had carried for almost 2 hours, gone. all i had was the vision of the ticking clock and seeing that i was going to run under it before the hour turns 2!

and i did. my unofficial time, 1 hour and 54 mins.

stopping after i crossed the finish line, i felt my entire body burn. i immediately went under the shower the race provided and cooled myself down. as i felt the cold water run down my clothes and soak into my shoes, i could not help but feel relieved and glad. i had overcome another hurdle. i did what i thought i could never do, and all the bad things i thought would happen didn't happen. getting out under the water spray, i started looking for ON. he crossed a fraction of a second after, his fastest time YET! i found him and we congratulated each other for a fantastic race. what happened after that is a bit blurry now since i think my brain walked out on me, hahahaha. all i can recall clearly was me congratulating him and then turn away to look for my kuya! (sorry ON if i came across as rude!!!! SORRY!!!).

i found my kuya by the stage. he had a great 10km run and was beaming with pride for how good his run went. he asked me how mine was and without batting an eyelash, i said "painful!" :) my dramatic self was on apparently and now needed to be validated. hahahahaha!

thank you LORD!!!! till the next 21km on november 15 for the timex run!!!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

3 micro posts

"i'm a rather hard person to convince but, i think i just got sold by what you said right now." that's what one of the owners of the company i was applying for said when i told them i was not confident on my salesmanship. they asked me if the ridiculously expensive furniture pieces i was to sell (if they hired me) was worth the price they were charging. i bluntly said no, much to their amazement i guess. i later explained that for some articles, it's not really just the pieces that you pay for but also the process that went behind it, as well as the image it projects. you actually buy the image more than the piece itself. it was an honest answer. it was an answer i never thought i would give since i had always had this idea that being blunt during a job interview was practically commiting suicide. i guess, there will always be instances like this that will prove that not all you believe may turn out to be the only way things can be done.

dad's word of wisdom suddenly came into mind. "if you can't get in thru the front door. try the back." somehow... i cannot help but think of a double meaning for this.

* * * * *

"good morning andrew!" andrew is my favorite server at my favorite resto. i sincerely doubt he knows my name but i'm sure he, and maybe the rest of the staff at that restaurant, already know my face. ever since coming back from dubai and having worked in the service industry, i had started calling people who serve others by their names. not only does it get their attention faster, but for me, it's a way of offering respect for the job that they do. though i am pretty sure there's nothing derogatory with using "boss" or "kuya" or "miss", i just feel that the extra level of familiarity, coupled with a smile is so much better. it diffuses that barrier. frankly, i'm actually more comfortable knowing my server is comfortable with me. i certainly would not mind receiving smiles and being called by my name myself. so far, i have not received any untoward reaction to my new habit. on the contrary, i get a lot more perks by doing it i think.

* * * * *

when i was younger, back in school, when you'd ask ppl who i was, they'd most probably say "ah, jamie? he's the artistic one. he loves to draw." indeed, until today, those people still know me in that sense. if you would bump into the people i went to college with though, they'd most probaly say "si jamie? yun nerd. pwedeng maging teacher!". again, those people till today see me still in that light. they're probably wondering now why i am not in med school or in the states earning in dollars (and spending in pesos, cheap that i am). then there are the people i went to design school with. artistic skill wasn't just the measure we were gauged upon, but rather, innovation as well as O.C.-ness. i was called "bibo" by a good friend back then, a term until now i still do not understand. then comes the people i met after design school. i wonder what impression i have on them?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

the month of X

since coming out, i think i have had three "almost" relationships, all of which obviously did not materialize for one reason or another; too young; too much in love; too self-centered; too many issues; may girlfriend... yada yada. my foray into the dating scene was my willful attempt into testing the waters of this identity that i am embracing. i thought to myself then, this is what i needed to be complete (very CENTRUM, indeed), to have a relationship and share love and be loved back. but interesting enough, and though i have to admit it was fun to have someone during those moments wherein we would connect, though my heart went pitter-patter with kilig, my brain on the other hand, was not all too amused.

it was my brain, in the end, that stepped on the brakes for all three of them. well, technically, just two since the last one... well... basta na.

so why am i babbling about all of this by chance. i really don't know. maybe it had something to do with the fact that i am now communicating with all three of them again, all contact re-established within a span of just two weeks. fate has a weird way of moving things for me.

i wonder where im headed off to now?

Friday, October 9, 2009

an elementary rhyme

i noticed it without trying,

five fingers flared out to me.

to a brilliant note, corralling,

“oh my god!” “come look!” “come see!”

this news that’s very important,

a great story? It must be!

my full attention, I gave it

as I listened intently.

it was a tale full of “oh my!”s

of “uh-huh...”s and of “hee-hee”s.

i’d tell you more about it, but

i just have a bad mem’ry.

Friday, October 2, 2009

bone picking

i would have been pacing the room, freaking out ballistic, if it weren't for the fact that i was sitting down. my brain tried it's best to wrap around the words i was reading, while a greater part of me was keeping my temper at bay, but the sharps words kept coming.

years of struggle seemed to have been reduced to mere whining and great efforts to keep the peace, discredited to a petty display of inaction. i wondered to myself why was i feeling so attacked? i have had people judge me before, criticize me before, hell, i even had one falsely accuse me of something i didn't do in public before, and yet in all those times, i did not react nor felt anything against the persons involved. yet here i was, seething, feeling mocked.

maybe it was because i didn't know those people. more so, because i knew they didn't know me. i pick on whatever wisdom there is to gain from the experience, then brush off the dust and move on. there's nothing really much more to expect from strangers acting blind. but to the people whom i thought knew me better, whom i expected more from...

i rarely take offense. i really rarely do. but i am offended now.

never, ever presume. you tread a dark and uncharted road if you do. wiser people would only linger around the path where light can still reach it, and even then still exercise caution. to go deeper is not brave but reckless and downright foolish.

never try to shed light on something you don't fully understand. you might just disturb something you are not ready to handle.

never be over confident. the small piece you hold may not be part of the whole you think you have. blanket judgments have cost people dearly. not all symptoms are by the same malady. wiser people take time to be sure before they act.

never underestimate silence. a lot of times, the quiet is more productive than senseless discourse. if words are indeed necessary, chose wisely, else, you just might regret the things you say.

pardon me now then, i hope you don't mind but, i will be quiet now.