Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hope lives

Photo courtesy of 
I have been searching for this book for quite a while. It's been a part of my personal reading list, but getting a copy was kind of hard because it's always either out of stock or the book store doesn't carry it all.

So random ADD moment: are good books really that hard to come by nowadays?

Anyway, so when I finally found a copy of the book, I did not hesitate even if this particular book was not part of the sale list (yes, that is how much I love my books. Other women spend on clothes, shoes, bags, and make-up... I spend on books. Hehe.) and I could not avail of the 20% discount. It was worth it, though.

Hope for the Flowers gives off the impression that it is a children's book. The drawings, the font, and the minimal words on each page all give off the feel that it is a book intended to entertain and educate children. It even reads as fast as a children's book. I was so excited that I finished in 20 minutes (probably because I admired the drawings on each page so much).

But if you take a careful look at what it says on the cover: "A tale -- partly about life, partly about revolution, and lots about hope for adults and others (including caterpillars who can read)", you will realize that this is no ordinary children's book.

I understand now why my friend was bugging me to read this. Hope is an abstract concept understood easily enough, but oftentimes tricky to explain. Admit it, in the world we live in today, hope is not something we can all believe in easily. More often than not, it is despair, destruction, and chaos that rule. Author Trina Paulus, however, did a wonderful job on giving Hope a face through Stripe, Yellow, and that nameless caterpillar who encouraged Yellow as he hung on that branch.

All the basic principles I stand by were all illustrated well in this book. Perhaps one of my favorite moments was when Stripe realized how meaningless and utterly pointless it was to be part of the throng that was relentlessly pushing and working its way to the top. I find it refreshing that the concept of individuality here was subtly expressed and not blatantly glaring. Through the chain of events that happened in Yellow's, and then Stripe's life, they came to the conclusion that just because many people are doing it and going along with it, does not necessarily mean that it is right, nor is it beneficial. It is non-conformity with a purpose, not just wanting to be different because you want to stand out, or you want to be noticed. It is not about the attention. It is making the stand that matters. You dare to be different because you believe in something deeper than you can give actual meaning to, and even if you get ridiculed, ostracized, or persecuted for what you believe in, you will stand firm because you know you believe in something higher than your own wishes and desires, and you know deep down you live for something far greater than the whims and ever-changing approval of people. Just like Stripe and Yellow, they knew that their lives as caterpillars had to mean so much more than pushing their way to the top of the caterpillar pillar. Getting to the top was not all it was cracked up to be, because success and fulfillment lay elsewhere.

I was Stripe once, and I know what Yellow went through, too. Sometimes I still feel the pull of the caterpillar pillar, and I am inexorably drawn back, the way Stripe was, but God is good... He always directs me back to where exactly I should be. And He always reminds me that I have so much more to do with my life than drown myself in that throng and lose all sense of who I am in Him.

I have nothing but good words for this book. If you find yourself stuck in a rut and losing faith, I suggest you read this. Read it with an open heart and the eyes of a child. PDF copies are available online if you can't find a printed copy. I'd lend you mine, but I already gave my copy to my favorite kid. Books, like any other good thing, are meant to be shared. :) and since I can't lend you my copy, I will just post this blog entry.

Happy reading!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Getting back on track

So it's kinda strange how I took a period of hibernation these last few months and stayed uncharacteristically quiet. It's been chaotic, and the trouble is far from over, but whatever. There are better things to do and spend your time on, right?

But since I am trying to get back on track, please do try to bear with the randomness of the thoughts spouting from my disjointed mind. It's been quite a while since I translated my thoughts into written word, and I may be getting rusty.

After 72 days, I find that a lot of things have turned around. It's just funny how people evolve/devolve... what you once thought were absolutes are just as easily washed away by the tides of time and change. I can't deny the fact that I learned so much from you, and I will always be thankful for that. I know now that He used you to start this massive shaking I am experiencing, a shaking that I know will bring about a lot of good. I meant what I said that you will always have a place in my heart. Nothing will change that.

I realized that you will never truly know the limits of your strength until you are faced with something that tests, and ultimately stretches your limit. And when you find yourself at the end of your rope, God will extend that rope a little more, and He will take you even further, until you find yourself out of the tunnel, and you will be amazed at how long your rope has become and just how far you've come.

So this is my song at the moment, because I find that I am re-discovering my world. For the nth time. :)

The World I Know by Collective Soul
"Has our conscience shown?
Has the sweet breeze blown?
Has all kindness gone?
Hope still lingers on.
I drink myself of newfound pity
Sitting alone in New York City
And I don't know why.

Are we listening?
Hymns of offering.
Have we eyes to see?
Love is gathering.
All the words that I've been reading
Have now started the act of bleeding
Into one.

So I walk up on high
And I step to the edge
To see my world below.
And I laugh at myself
While the tears roll down.
'Cause it's the world I know.
It's the world I know."

All I can say is that after all this, I have finally learned what it means to praise You in spite of and despite the circumstances. I will take the good with the bad. :) Despite everything, love still abounds. And that is more than enough to keep me going.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

When blah becomes the point of reference

This week, so far, has been going by in a blur. What day is it already? All I know is that another cycle of day and night has already passed because I spent yet another sleepless night bugging Him for answers (which, I might add, have all been given, but yeah... Stubborn me), and eventually just drifting off to weird and disturbing dreams.

I would probably get flak for being where I am at the moment. Nosy know-it-alls would probably say what an irresponsible person I am being because I have left my charge alone for the moment. Typical kind of mentality in this part of the world... The eldest always gives way. I am not complaining, nor am I resentful. I'm just... trying to breathe. Because no matter how strong we panganays are (or look like we are), we are human, too, and we have limits. Most people seem to forget that, though. 

I don't care about the possible names I will be called, or the insults that will be thrown my way, because I do not answer to any of those hearsayers who know nothing. I don't owe them any explanations. The only One I am accountable to has given me clearance to rest, and His word is the only one that matters to me. I am not forsaking my responsibility, I just need a few days, or maybe a few weeks, to step back and regain perspective, because right now, I really really want to smash stuff in anger. 

I don't know why I even have to ask permission to be not okay. It's like it's been my default setting to be "okay" for so long that people sometimes forget that I have a breaking point, too. I am a very tolerant person, and surprisingly, I have been finding out that I am patient, too, but this does not mean that I am a doormat, nor is it a license for people to take advantage of me. And so even when I am no longer, I have to put on my masks and look like I am okay, because it's expected of me. 

I actually had to ask for time to be not okay. It's tiring to be so darned strong and together all the time. I told God, "Can I take a leave of absence? I'm not going to quit (although I am sorely tempted to). I just need time to be not okay for a while. I am tired, and I need to rest."

"Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's all as it should be
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name"

It's so easy to do that when everything is going well. Try it when your heart is breaking, when the tears won't stop flowing, and you are at your wit's end already and you are this close to throwing in the towel. Try it when you have tried everything possible, when you followed all His instructions, but still, nothing seems to work. You pray consistently and constantly, but the answer you're waiting for is still somewhere beyond the horizon. It seems to work best, I've found, when you are down on your knees already because you are just about ready to give up and you are crying for a way out.

So yes. I am not okay, nor do I want to pretend to be okay. For those who can't deal with that, and who insist on me being "where I should be, doing what I should do" and to do anything otherwise is just plain selfishness, I will plug my ears and sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" because you really have no idea what you're talking about. If it is selfish to think about yourself once in a while, if it is selfish to give time for yourself and attend to your own needs, then so be it. When you have walked in my shoes and know what it is to be here, then tell me that. You may be trying to encourage me, but it is not going to work that way. You'd do better to just stand with me, give me a hug and let me cry (eating ice cream with me would be a good idea, too). If God Himself told His servants to rest, then who are you to argue with that?

So for now, no matter what others may think, I am taking a temporary leave of absence. And despite the hurt piercing my heart right now, this is what I sing:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Shine Your light and let the whole world see

God's arm is never too short to save. Just like the song says, HE IS MIGHTY TO SAVE. If He was able to forgive a thief who was hanging beside Him on the cross at the last minute and that thief was promised paradise; if He was able to forgive David, the man the Bible calls a man after God'd own heart for his transgression; if He was able to forgive Peter for denying Him; if He was able to forgive Paul for persecuting the early church; if He was able to forgive Jacob for being such a deceptive person; if He was able to forgive the prostitute who was about to be stoned to death by the so-called righteous people; if He was able to grant redemption to that woman who went through five husbands; if He was able to call the most unlikely people and unworthy people - the least among us, those who were living a life of blatant sin, those who we used to think were beyond forgiveness or redemption - and use these people and their circumstances in life to advance His kingdom, then who are you to think that you are beyond His reach of forgiveness?

I can hear you arguing, if not loudly, then at least debating with yourself. "But God could not possibly want me. I've done this... and that... and I'm this... and that..." I hear you, brother/sister. I hear you loud and clear, because not too long ago, I was saying those words, too. Grant me a few minutes of your time by reading on, and I pray that God speaks to your heart through my words.

I grew up in a very religious family, but I never had a personal relationship with Him. Growing up, I remember questioning just about every practice in the religion I grew up in. It never really sat well with me why I could never go directly to God and pray to Him. I remember asking when I was young, "Is God's line busy that I have to use operator assistance to get to talk to Him?" I could not understand how an omnipresent and all-knowing God could not listen to a little girl's prayers.

I began to rebel. Not just because of the religion, but because my entire life was, in a word, a very huge MESS. I used the excuse that I came from a broken family, that I never knew my father, that I had every right to go against rules because it was my way of showing the world that I was in control of my own life. Thus began the downward spiral. At 16, I was already smoking a pack a day, drinking until I passed out, cutting myself and experimenting with marijuana. I disrespected my mother - I was willful, insisted on doing things my own way, and then I would blame her when things went wrong. I was mean, dark, and hurtful, especially to the people who loved me the most. I pushed them away and retreated into a world full of darkness, misery, and just about everything negative. I was an angsty teenager, and I thought I was cool. I thought it was cool to do what you wanted, when you wanted. I did not care about consequences because I thought I would live forever and I was invincible.

Fast forward to the year 2003. I was 18, and I was burnt out. I was tired of a life that went nowhere. I was drinking regularly then. I would sneak out every chance I get to drunk. Being drunk numbed me, and I welcomed that. And then I met people who showed me that there was another way to fill that emptiness that compelled me to keep destroying myself, and instead of destruction, I would find life and everlasting satisfaction, the kind that the world could never give. I know now that these people were sent by God, and I cannot stop thanking Him for the day our paths crossed, because it was through their testimonies that I am able to share my own today.

I gave my life back to Him in 2003. It was all smooth sailing at first. I was on fire. I was reading the Word everyday, I was praying, singing His praises, sharing the good news to everyone. And then just as quickly as it came, I burnt out. AGAIN. And so began the very long backsliding incident.

It was not just one thing that made me grow cold. It was many things, but mostly, it was my prideful and rebellious heart, insisting that I knew better, that I could do things better than Him. And so I went my own way. And I broke His heart countless times. I turned to every source of "comfort" I could think of except Him.

FLASH FORWARD TO 2008: That was when I hit rock bottom. I was getting drunk all the time. I was so angry at my mom for leaving. I was so self destructive that I have to wonder why God did not strike me with lightning right then and there. But in His infinite mercy and wisdom, He allowed me go through that darkness and still come out alive. He did not let the darkness and its evil consume me to the point that I could no longer cry out to Him for deliverance. Even when I was resolutely holding on to my own rebellion, He was slowly and patiently setting the stage for my coming home. Once again, He put people in my life who were, and still are, very much instrumental in getting me back on track.

Finally, I had had enough. Or rather, God decided I had had enough. I was on my knees, crying out that I had nowhere else to go. I was this close to slitting my wrists, or drinking an entire bottle of NSAID meds (I'm deathly allergic to those, see, taking one could give me a heart attack) - I was that devoid of hope. And right then and there, He met me. Oh, I wallowed in my depression and hopelessness for a while, but it is very hard to ignore the light and hope of His love when he persistently shows you time and again how much He loves you and how much He wants to give you the best life possible.

And by the best life, I do not mean that in this world's definition of what the best is. The best life according to my God, at least from what I am now beginning to discern, is not one that is free from suffering or persecution. Rather, the best life, I am learning, is one that is lived right there with Him, DESPITE THE SUFFERING AND PERSECUTION (because these are sure things to come when you live for Him). Sitting at His feet, listening to Him, crying in His arms when the world breaks your heart (as it always will), sharing your joys with Him, telling Him how your day went (even if He knows everything that happened already), lifting up the frustrations of being in the battlefield, and sometimes, simply being a kid and ranting to your Father and allowing Him to soothe you... that is what a good life on this earth means to me now.

So you, dearest brother/sister, you are never too lost for God to run to you and save you. John 3:16 said it best: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

If you're feeling tired, and you feel like this world has nothing left to offer you, remember my story, and remember the mercy and love that He showed, and continues to show. If you are feeling too tired and exhausted to stand, kneel, dear friend. Kneel down, ask Jesus to come into your heart. We are all sinners, and not one of us can ever atone for that by anything we do. Acknowledge that you are a sinner, and that the sacrifice He made by dying on the cross and shedding His blood is the only way for you to be free...  Only then will you know peace. I should know... I've been there. That is why I can tell you my story. Even the messiest and darkest circumstances, those intended for our destruction by the enemy, God can and will use for our betterment, and to bless others, too, only if we allow Him to.

I pray that you find what you seek. Whoever you are, I am praying for you.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On silence

In the chaos of today's world, silence is a luxury that most of us cannot afford anymore, or we avoid for reasons I cannot fathom. I don't know if it's just me, but it seems like a lot of people avoid silence. Whether it is silence in the company of other people, or silence when you are alone, most people just don't seem to be comfortable with it. 

Why do most people feel the need to fill the silent gaps with conversation, no matter how inane? What is it about silence that makes us so uncomfortable, anyway? Is it because in silence, we have no other choice except to confront ourselves? Or is it because in silence, everything else you want to ignore becomes more pronounced?

When it comes to friends, I think one of the marks of a strong friendship is when you can be silent with one another and not have to feel like you have to fill the silence. You are as comfortable with the silence as you are with the conversation. The person's presence is enough to assure you. 

Bearing the silence is a challenge in itself already. When we don't hear from the people we love, we worry. When we feel like God is silent, we worry. When a place is silent, we worry. When silence abounds, we worry. We would rather deal with the noise, the frantic sounds of a world in a hurry than to deal with the silence.

I have learned over the years that silence is not always a bad thing. You learn a lot that you just won't learn when you keep trying to fill in the silence with noise. You learn more about people by staying quiet and listening. You learn more by sitting quietly at God's feet than. 

Sometimes silence is deafening, too. But that is another story already. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Through it all

Frustration has a name, and its name is Regina. 

Seriously, when you give up almost everything you have gotten used to for the sake of being there for someone who truly needs you, only to have that person backfire right in your face, that, my friends, would truly suck.

And suck does not even begin to describe it. 

How do you go about helping this person? You are all but a personal nanny already. Everything, and I mean everything, is laid out on a silver platter, ready to be picked up. All that is needed is some effort to actually pick up the stuff, and pick up after yourself. Everything else is taken care of. Does it take so much effort to do that? Would it kill you to reach out and actually try it?

How do you help someone who does not even exert any effort to help himself? Sure, rant about your difficulties. Lament the fact that the whole world is so harsh on you and that you can't help it because you're just wired that way. You know that I will always be here, I will always listen, and in any way that I can, I will always try to make things better for you. But at what cost?

So your present mode of therapy does not help. You do not trust the person who is supposed to be helping you. What do you do? Complain? Of course you do. But should it stop there? Shouldn't you at least try to find someone who can work with you better? Or does that fall to me, too? Does your getting better depend on everyone else except you?

I am at my wit's end. For now, I am. I need a vacation. I need to be somewhere far away where all this responsibility does not have to weigh down on me. I need to go somewhere and recharge, because in all honesty, I am starting to resent the cross that I carry, and I do not like that. If I am going to carry my cross, I want to do it with joy in my heart and have His peace envelope me. I do not want to be dragging on, resentful of this, because that is not how it is supposed to be. 

I think many people are under the mistaken notion that when you walk with God, it is going to be a walk in the park. Many people think that when you belong to God, everything becomes bright and shiny and easy. That's what I thought at first. But then, I came to know, as I walked with Him more, and as my relationship with Him deepened, that the exact opposite is true. Walking with God is not all sunshine and rainbows. The more I walk with Him, the more challenging it gets. The more I walk with Him, the more I am tested. Why? Because everyone who walks with Him has the privilege of being pruned, molded and refined by the Master Himself, until we become more like His Son. 

Only He knows why this particular cross is mine to carry. He gave it to me, and I trust that He will see me through this. And for that reason alone, I do not want to get to the point where I resent my responsibility, or Him, for that matter. That is why I need to vent, and vent to Him. He knows my rants, He knows these things that break me. And He knows how my heart aches, and how tiring it gets. But at the end of the day, He makes me realize that through it all, I have Him. He will never leave me nor forsake me, and He will always be there to comfort me and give me strength. Everyone and everything else may fail, but He won't. That I am sure of. 

So for tonight, and maybe until the rest of the week, let me rant. Let me complain, let me air out the bad vibes of frustration. Because I am giving myself a deadline. I am allowing myself to be frustrated, I am allowing myself to wallow in hurt that this frustration brings with it. But after that, I will let it go, and I will ask Him again to lead me where exactly I should be. Because if this is where He wants me to be, then I am sure He will renew my strength. But if He wants me to be somewhere else, then I know He will make it happen, too, one way or another. Either way, I trust that He will give me the strength I need, and in the end, He will be glorified. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Losing it

I heard that song the other day and it made me go nostalgic. There are just certain songs that when I hear, I am suddenly transported to another time and it's like I am reliving whatever it was that made that song stick to my memory. This song came out when I was in high school (like ten thousand years ago or something like that), and I distinctly remember feeling slightly off (like there was something missing or something I forgot to do or something like that), and just a tiny bit morose. It was quite some time after that that I researched the meaning and history of the song, and when I found out it was about a dad who was parted from his kid, I thought, "Hey, no wonder I could relate to the song and I was feeling that way."

My mother would probably not approve, me being such an emotional basketcase (believe me, it takes very little to set me off -- I cry at movies, when reading books, listening to songs, while praying, when writing... you get the picture), but I do believe there is some merit in wearing my heart on my sleeve. I may be in a constant pendulum state (I never stay steady on one mood long enough), but I think this is a great strength (which, therefore, makes it an ultimate weakness, too. Hahaha, I just contradicted myself there, but whatever!) because it makes me... how should I say... more receptive and somehow more understanding of others (that was the best way I could put it). I am like a sponge in the sense that I very easily absorb the emotions "around" me. I get carried away by other people's emotions, especially those closest to me. When the people I love are in pain, I don't sympathize. It's like I'm wired in such a way that I feel their pain, too. I cry with them, I laugh with them, I am joyful with them. Is that even normal? Oh wait, I don't wanna know the answer to that. :D

Thing is, most people are afraid to feel, especially when emotions become too intense. Loving too much, extreme emotional pain (like the pain of loss), anger, hatred... I think there are many who are afraid to go beyond the "prescribed amount" or dose of emotions. When it becomes "too much" they either run, shut out, ignore, basically anything to not confront what's there. We are so conceited like that... we take the good, but we refuse to deal with the bad and the ugly.

Just my random thought for the day. I don't know how one song made me end up here.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Independence is overrated

And just so we're clear, no, I do not mean a nation's independence. I mean personal independence. 

A decade ago, I thought, hey, being an adult would be the coolest thing ever. I would get to drive, go to places, discover new things, and learn a load of stuff. What they don't tell you, and what they kinda forget to show you on those popular TV series, is how frickin difficult it is to be a responsible adult. Most shows will just portray adults who seem to have unlimited or at least very easy access to funds and other resources. They don't show the reality that making ends meet, supporting your dreams, and still finding a way to live is an incredible feat that requires incredible skill. They also don't show what it means to be a responsible adult. The kind of of shows I see just mostly portray adults as people who can get away with doing what they want. There is no such thing as being responsible for your actions and decisions on TV. 

But whatever. I'm just saying that being an independent adult is not all it's cracked up to be. I mean, yeah, it's nice to finally not have a curfew or to have to answer to your parents for everything, but really, when I'm sick and I still have to do everything, I begin to really miss my mom. I miss the regular temperature taking sessions. I miss the food she would prepare just for me (I become really picky about food when I'm sick 0_o). I miss the regular text messages/phone calls to check up on me and remind me to take my meds. I know I don't need reminding, and I really don't need her to do that for me because I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself, I'm just saying that even the most fiercely independent people like to be cared for once in a while. Looking forward to my mom's cooking and baking is also something I really really miss... Crawling into bed with her when I'm having bad day (I don't care if I'm too old to do that. Hahaha.)... 

Being a kid once in a while? Yeah. I miss that.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blank is the word of the day

I have been blah for quite some time now. Blah is when you are neither here nor there, you just... are? Or you just are because you have to be. Try making sense of that. ^_^

Whatever. So today is no different, see? I feel like one of those pretty old cars that have not been used in ages -- or at least my brain feels that way. My engine coughed up a lot of gunk before being able to produce something of value. @_@ 

Being semi-employed certainly has its drawbacks, if I do say so myself. On the upside, I get to have all the time I want to think and ponder on the meaning of life (which, on some days, gives me a massive headache because I think myself into a migraine attack most of the time).

Speaking of headaches, does it not make your head hurt when your ceiling has leaks?!

Enough for today. Obviously, I have to start training my brain to function within the realm of "responsible adult" again. Good luck with that. I will be in Neverland for the rest of the week!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


*This is not my work, but is way too amusing AND true to be left unshared. Good words of wisdom, Lourd. Keep 'em coming. :)
Q: Bakit kailangan nito sa mga panahon ngayon?

Dahil sa mundong pataas nang pataas ang stress levels, dala ng banta ng climate change, kriminalidad, trapik, polusyon. Wala nang mas nakakakulo ng dugo kesa sa isang taong hindi umaasal nang ayon sa kagandahan.

Q: Ano ba talaga ang ibig sabihin ng pilosopiyang ito?

Ilang gabay, alituntunin, at halimbawa:

• Kung di naman kagandahan ang katawan (at lalo na kung tadtad ng kurikong ang balat), ‘wag mag-post ng mga Boracay pics sa Facebook. Polite lang ang mga kaibigan mo pero pinagtatawanan ka nilang lahat. ‘Yan ang mapait na katotohanan.
• ‘Wag artehan ang pananalita. Wag lagyan ng impit at kulot kung wala rin lang natural na impit at kulot ang dila mo—unless lumaki ka sa US, nag-aral sa mamahaling paaralaan, nakatira sa exclusive subdivision, o nanggaling sa pamilya ng mga panginoong may-lupa.
• ‘Wag magpumilit mag-Ingles kung di ka rin lang naman lumaki sa Forbes Park o nag-aral sa I.S. Mas lalong wag na wag kung mali-mali rin lang naman ang Ingles mo.
• ‘Wag mag-sleeveless kung maitim ang kili-kili. ‘Wag na ‘wag mag-sleeveless kung maitim na nga ang kili-kili, pamalo pa ng dalag ang mga braso mo. Mas na mas na ‘wag—nakikiusap kaming lahat lalo na ang mga tropa ko dito sa Project 2—lalo na’t lumalabas ka pa sa TV. Alam naming karapatan ng bawat tao sa mundong itong magsuot ng sleeveless, pero tandaang karapatan din naming laitin ka nang bonggang-bongga.
• Kung di rin lang naman kagandahan, wag magti-tweet ng “WALANG GUWAPO DITO" dahil masaklap ang tatalbog sa iyo na paghusga. Wag rin magti-tweet tungkol sa kalidad ng wine lalo na’t bisita ka lang. At kahit na may training ka sa oenology, ‘wag manglalait ng wine ng ibang tao—lalo na’t pinapasuweldo ka ng taong bayan.
• Kung ka-edad mo na si Madonna, wag nang labanan ang makinarya ng panahon at isipin na ikaw pa rin ang seksing haliparot noong 1985. Kahit cultural icon ka na. Ang pagsuway dito ay magdudulot lamang ng matinding bangungot sa mga milyong-milyong tao tulad ng sa latest mong music video.
• Kung ‘di rin naman talaga model, huwag tangkaing mag-model—maliban na lang kung ang produkto ay hollow blocks o kaya’y Pigrolac. Sinadya ng Diyos na bigyan ng angkop na tangkad at ganda ang ibang tao para sa trabahong ‘yun.

Q: Ano ang kinaiba nito sa “Kung ‘di rin lang kagandahan, wag mag-inarte?"

Wala masyado—magkamag-anak nga sila, in fact. Pero masyado namang garapal itong nasa itaas. Pero ‘yan ang masakit na katotohanan: marami talagang hindi umaasal nang ayon sa ganda.

“Things that are pure within themselves evoke pleasure, thus beauty," ika nga ni Socrates. Sa Tagalog, naaalibadbaran tayo sa di-kagandahan. Lalo na’t nag-iinarte pa.

Ang di pagsunod sa batas na ito ay nagdudulot ng mga di-kanais-nais na pakiramdam sa mundo. Basic human courtesy lang dapat, di ba? Hindi tayo umuutot at pinapaamoy sa katabi natin. Hindi natin dinuduraan ang pagkain nila. Pag humihikab tayo, tinatakpan natin ang ating bunganga. Ang pag-ebs ay isang pribadong aktibidad at hindi natin ipinagmamalaki sa ibang tao.

Q: Bakit marami pa ring mga taong hindi kagandahan na hindi likas na sumusunod sa pilosopiyang ito?

Hindi ko rin alam. Bakit ba may mga taong nagnanakaw? Bakit may mga taong pumapatay? Bakit may mga mahilig manood ng child pornography o kaya bestiality? Bakit may mga opisyal sa gobyernong nakaw pa rin nang nakaw kahit na sobra-sobra na ang mga pera nila sa Switzerland?

“Good nature will always supply the absence of beauty; but beauty cannot supply the absence of good nature,"ika nga ng Briton na si Joseph Addison. Ang mahirap ay kung pangit ka na nga, maarte ka pa at masama pa ugali mo. Yung mga ganoon ay wala na talagang pag-asang lumigaya sa mundo kahit ilang hamster o pusa pa ang alagaan nila.

Q: Ano ang karaniwang nangyayari kapag hindi umasal nang naayon sa ganda ang isang tao?

Wala naman sigurong direktang koneksyon ang stress at ang mga di-kagandahang billboards sa Edsa, pero tingin ko yung kay Joel Cruz Aficionado ay isang ehemplo ng hindi umaasal nang ayon sa ganda. Ang isa pa ay yung kay Ellen Lising ng Ellen’s Aesthetic Surgical Center (Naaalala ko bigla yung The Crow. O kaya yung Joker ni Heath Ledger sa Dark Knight). Naiintindihan ko na karapatan nila ang ilagay ang mga pagmumukha nila sa mga naglalakihang tarpaulin sa bawat sulok ng Maynila. Pero magkaiba yung pag-promote ng negosyo sa pananakot sa kapwa tao.

Q: Ibig sabihin ba nito: Ang mga pangit ay wala nang karapatan mag-inarte?

Kung magdudulot ng pagtatalo sa magkakaibigan, argumento sa magkaka-opisina, suntukan sa bar dala ng kaartehang ito--- oo, wala silang karapatan.
Pero, nasa demokrasya pa rin naman tayo. Kaya, sorry na lang ako.

Q: Totoo bang pinagpapala o mas sinesuwerte ang mga taong umaastang sapat lamang sa kanilang natural na ganda?

Higit pa sa pagpapala ang ihahain sa iyo ng langit. Kabit-kabit kasi yan. Una, hindi maiismiran ang iyong dangal. Hindi ka pagbubulungan. Hindi ka pagpipyestahan ng kritisismo at tsismis. Kung walang maipipintas, walang papasok na panlalait sa aura mo, walang magnet ng negatibo. Despues, gagaan ang buhay. Tiyak na ang pagpasok ng swerte sa buhay.

Q: Magbigay ng mga halimbawa ng mga taong umaasal lang nang angkop sa kanilang ganda.

A. Buti na lang marami pa sila. Si Lucy Torres Gomez ay isang halimbawa nito. Kung tutuusin ay may karapatan siyang umasta sa anong paraang nais niya—dahil siya naman talaga’y diyosa ng kagandahan. Pero kahit na ganoon ang sitwasyon ay hindi niya kailanman inabuso ang pribelehiyong ito. Alam niya kung anong asta ang bagay sa kanya. Laging nakangiti, mabait ang pakikitungo sa tao. Hindi binabalandra sa madla ang kanyang mga mamahaling damit at pabango.

Shalani Soledad, maganda at sikat pero hindi rin nakitaan ng angas. Simple lang siya. In fact, siya pa rin ay larawan ng lumanay kahit sa gitna ng ingay at gulo ng game show. Masdan at pakinggan kung paano siya magbilang ng “…One… two… three… Goooow!"

Q: Bakit naman ito pa ang napili nating pag-usapan sa pagpasok ng bagong taon at hindi ang mga hula-hula at mga pampasuwerte sa buhay?

A: Dahil wala akong bolang kristal at wala ka ring makikitang turban sa ulo ko. Umaasal lang ako ayon sa aking ganda.

Breaking free*

*This was originally posted in my Facebook account.

This was written way back in November 2010. It was written out of the overflow of my heart, and although months have passed, the words still ring true to me. This is a thank you to the person who broke me out of the prison I was in. I will always and forever be grateful for what you did. I can only pray that I be given the same opportunity to pay it forward and help another the way you did for me. 
Maybe I thought wrong when I said that this, whatever the hell it was, was over. Maybe I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Or maybe I was PMSing. Or probably, I was just having a bad day – apparently, one of the many I had all too often when you were a constant. Or maybe, for the first time in such a long time, I may actually be right, and my misinformed conscience is trying to make one last stand to hold on to a past of murky intentions and misdirected emotions.

See, that was the one thing I could not get. I could not write for the longest time. Sure, I could come up with decent papers for school, and passable editorials for work, and maybe a poem or two when the occasion called for it. I thought for sure that I was unable to write because I was dealing with something bigger than me that I just could not process. The added responsibility I was trying to block out, the complications you brought about, the brother I could not fix, the father I could not find, the mother I was angry at, the drinking that was starting to spin a little out of control because it was my numbing option. I thought for sure my mojo went missing because I was far too torn and broken and down and out.

I thought wrong. You stole my mojo. And you did it so cunningly that I never even knew what you were doing until somebody who knew better bitch-slapped me back to the confines of reality. Point blank, I was told that my writing sucked and lacked the depth it once had. It was writing for the sake of complying. The love that once was its driving force was all but gone. And that was what broke my heart. I was gone, and I was part of the walking dead.

You are the best vampire of them all. Other vampires, at least they have enough decency to present themselves the way they really are. They have no pretenses, just their usual moves of getting close and then sucking the life out of you. But you! You are the best vampire because you are also a master of disguise. You came along, the knight in shining armor that you were in your mighty steed and sword slashing away at MY demons, and you “rescued” me. You picked me up out of my hellhole only to throw me somewhere far worse, because you locked me in a prison of my own fashioning. You were brilliant that way. You were never direct in your attack. You dropped subtle hints – that I was wrong; I was doing things the wrong way; I was not being faithful to God; I was being stubborn; I was being a wayward daughter, sister, and friend; and probably the best hint you ever dropped: I was never enough. You never said it outright, but everything you did pointed and screamed that thought out loud. You were clever, cunning, and downright vicious, because guess what? I started to believe you. Not only did I start to believe you, I started acting the way you were hinting. And before I knew it, I was lost. One day I woke up and I no longer knew the woman staring back at me from the mirror.

And before I knew it, I was wondering why I could not, for the life of me, WRITE. I could not write the way I used to, no matter how hard I tried. It was the longest and most depressing drought I had ever experienced, and it almost killed me. Each and every time I tried, I would end up hitting a wall. Even if I did manage to come up with something, it was never anything I could be proud of because it was all so perfunctory. The sad thing was, I think I also stopped writing because the rare times I did manage to come up with something and I would show you my work, you never even took the time to appreciate the effort I put into it. And that almost killed the spark. And for a time, it did die. Perhaps that was one of the most devastating things I have ever had to experience – the death of my art.

The funny thing is, my knight was never one I even considered. He saved me, in more ways than I can give him credit for. He broke me out of my prison cell, and he showed me how to fight back. He did not fight for me. Instead, he did something so much better – he handed me back my weapon and he told me to fight back and escape the clutches of the vampire who held me prisoner all this time. Because of him, I was able to recover what was rightfully mine to begin with. My lust for life has returned with a vengeance, and I am about to show the world what I missed all these years.

My knight came to me when I had almost nothing of myself left. He came to me at a point in my life when I no longer had the guts to face the world, or even look at myself in the mirror because I was too ashamed to look into the eyes of a woman who had no semblance of identity left. The courage that used to burn for miles on end was all but dying, and the voice that used to ring so loud was now nothing more than a faint whisper choking back desperate cries for help and biting back the retorts because the fight had left her already. The tough warrior who never backed down was reduced to a spectator in the arena, watching from the sidelines as her life ran by. The only sign of life left in the former shell of a person that she was were the tears that flowed when no one was looking, and the half-formed words that were barely coherent to anyone, much less to herself. I don’t know how or why, but my knight understood even the most unintelligible phrases uttered in those dark moments. He could make sense of the things I could not even define. He took my hand and he gently prodded me to stand up, brush myself off, and take back what was always mine. In those times I was too weak to walk, he would walk with me and there were times he had to half-drag, half-carry me just so I would move. And during the times I was too scared to fight, he would give me all the reasons why I should. And he would be there, reassuring, constant, stable, unmoving in his belief that I could.  

I am writing again. I have had to give up certain things, and that part was painful and devastating, to say at the least. I have had to rethink, re-evaluate, and re-define, and I continue to do so. My world is in a state of flux, and I don’t think it is about to end anytime soon. I had to let go of those parts of me that were holding me back, and that included my vampire, who I thought of for the longest time, as my truest and best friend. When I did, the words just seemed to flow and they took on a life of their own. It is like I am trying to make up for all the years I have not been able to write. I was so busy burying myself and trying to be someone else that I turned my back on who I was.

I am nowhere near finished. I am only getting started. I have a lot of lost time to make up for.

As for my knight? I hold him in my heart, the only place I can truly show gratitude for such an act. He did not have to break me out of my prison cell, but he did. He did not have to help me fight my demons, but he did. And he most certainly did not have to help me write again, but he did. And that is something I will treasure for my entire life.  

So was I wrong? Perhaps not. Because the greatest changes always require the biggest sacrifice and the most painful undertakings. So yes. I stand by my decision. 

Rain, rain go away...

It's been raining almost non-stop for three days now. It is no Ondoy scenario, but I can feel the tension everywhere. People are cautious, taking extra steps to make sure that they and their loved ones remain safe and out of harm's way.

The rain has gotten me thinking (when you live in a house with no TV, thinking and exercising your imagination is really pretty much the only past time you have -- not that I'm complaining, hahaha) about how I live my life and what's been happening to the world lately. The rain is just the symbolic means I see representing the tumult the world is experiencing... labor pains? With the freak weather we've been having, plus everything that's been happening on a global scale (the civil unrest in the Arab countries, earthquakes, tsunamis, mass animal deaths, and other natural disasters), people are already wondering what the heck is happening to the world. The doomsday fanatics are crying out, "The end is near!" Well, they may have a point.

Not that I am being fatalistic or whatever, I am just reading the signs of the times. I am no expert, so don't take my word for it. Read up -- you can easily google these things that I write about. The Bible warns us continually to be vigilant because we know not the time when He will come again. Whether or not you believe in the Bible, you have to admit that something big is happening, and it is leading to something explosive. Never before has the world encountered natural disasters on such a massive scale. And the political and economic turmoil in many countries leaves many, especially the rich who have much material wealth to lose, agitated and scared. 

Me? Yeah, it gets scary sometimes, because I fear for my loved ones, but personally, I am at ease because my life is in His hands, and I know I have nothing to worry about. Whatever happens, whatever else may come to pass, I know the rains will not wash me away because He is my anchor, and He is my rock. 

Ah well. The rain has let up. For now. I hope everyone is safe and snug at home. :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Welcome me back to the world of cyber-writing!

So get this. This is my nth attempt at blogging. I have tried this many times before, only to have my laziness slam at my face (I'm sorry, I am just too lazy sometimes to bring out my laptop and wait for it to boot completely before I start writing. There is something immensely satisfying about grabbing a journal from your bag and just writing out furiously anywhere and everywhere, you know?) and I end up just deactivating my blog account. I have taken to posting notes and whatnot on Facebook, and I do enjoy having people read my brain farts. But my dear cousin commented on why I did not have a blog in the first place so that more people could read... and that got me thinking that, hey, maybe it's about time I take advantage of technology to pave the way to my dream of being a published writer!

Since I am a starving artist at the moment with no funds to have my work in print form, I will invade cyberspace in the hopes of testing the waters... again. :D 

Now if there is anyone out there who can teach me how to link this to my Facebook account, that would be perfect! I have loads of stuff there that I wanna share. :)