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Project: Coffee & Flowers Uncategorized

Coffee & Flowers: It Draws A Line

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The thing about loss and grief is that it draws a line: not just between the dead and those left living but also between the living and those around them. Lately, I’ve been thinking about my Dad’s death not just as the death of my father but as the death of my father: something that now belongs to my family and in part, on a more personal level, to me. Inevitably, I think, death brings up (or should bring up) in us ideas of how we would like to live before we are brought to that inevitable line, when we cross it a next time, first-hand.

I can’t help but think of different friendships that I’ve made throughout the years–whether people who I’d known for years or people I’d met in the past year or people I’d only solely interacted with through my stories–and how, when my Dad died, it was such a relief to see familiar faces or to hear people reach out even if they couldn’t be there physically. Maybe as a lover of and active participant (haha) in the making of fiction, I must say that empathy is something that I value. I don’t think I’d loved any of these people as much before as I did in that moment: to know that despite the discomfort of knowing they would never be me, never truly share my pain, they’d decided to subject themselves to being there anyway in whatever way, shape, or form that they could be.

Somehow, it felt like home. I am still resolute in the conclusion that reading prepares us for terrible situations: it highlights the things we may take from these terrible experiences, it helps us in the struggle to construct not just meaning, but meaningfulness.

[Side note: this talk by Andrew Solomon has helped. ]

However, likewise, I can’t help but think about people who could have been there but chose not to be. Everyday is a struggle not to lash out, not to be bitter, not to say where were you? I think of different friendships lost or destroyed in the process of growing up, think of people who I wish well, and who, despite the strain between us, had someone they loved died, I would have reached out to. I can’t help but feel stung by that active absence: maybe in another time, I would have been able to simply assume they had not known about it, that they had not heard because they hadn’t read the obituaries, but in this time of social media tributes and text blasts and 24/7 chatting, of profile-photo changing and Facebook-status eulogies, I know they know and know they had chosen to not just be apathetic but vicious (I don’t want to get into that). I wonder about that and am trying very hard to look underneath my anger and find a way to learn from it. I keep on trying to find a way to forgive people who aren’t sorry, or else forget the pain of it. Life is short, but everyone knows that.

Loss draws a line between those of us left living: conditionals, if-thens, and their converses. If _________ , and _________ does not _________, then __________. And today, as I write this, I find myself at once hopeful and terrified. It terrifies me that I am capable of true hatred: that I can’t find myself to empathize with some people who I once treated as some of my closest friends because the line has been drawn and these are not people I will forgive. These people are no longer the inhabitants of benign, empty shells of friendship: they are malignant and I can’t let them touch me because it will eat me up. But on the other hand, I am hopeful because it gives the loss of my Dad gravity: this is how much I love my father that I cannot forgive people who knew him not giving it importance. I am hopeful because underneath everything, even the absence of forgiveness, there is a kind of love.

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Events Project: Coffee & Flowers

On The Other Side // A Katipunan Adventure

This month (September) has dragged on for what feels like forever. I feel a little bit unnerved because I still have so many things to write, read, and review/film for my channel–this whole month has felt like something’s gotta give and yet nothing has so here I am. A couple of weeks ago, I went to Katipunan with the rest of Plural to attend/panel at a talk hosted by Kritika Kultura. The main speakers were Erika and Carlo (the founding members of the journal), but we went for the Q&A portion as well as the provision of moral support. Being Taft-grown and hardened by the ever-present threat of being run over, heading over to rival territory is always both disorienting and refreshing. All those trees, all that space, all the everything. We made a little trip to the press bookshop (yeah, so that no book buying ban has pretty much been done away with all together) and then headed on over to the Rizal Library for the talk proper.

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I was (very pleasantly) surprised at the turn out: everyone was super participative (not to say that my experience has been otherwise, but you never know with more academic settings), and I was super proud of how Erika and Carlo discussed all of the points re: Plural’s response to the lack of a go-to place for prose in Philippine letters. All-in-all, a great day.

After the talk, I hung out with some friends of mine who attended the talk (hey, Raine and Free) over at UP Town Center. I had Mad Mark’s and Rita’s for the first time. Hot damn, that stuff is delicious–although to be honest, I did find Rita’s to get a little bit overwhelming after a while. The day ended with us all giggly, and worn out, driving down EDSA watching the lights flicker by: not bad at all.

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Fearless Personal

Head First, Fearless Days 5-6: Stop Making Plans, Start Making Sense

Can you have your cake and eat it too?

Even if I still love that song, turns out that you and me—not-so forever young.  As the ins and outs of life progress and I carry myself through work day after work day, I find myself looking back at everything that I’ve done since 2010 and I feel like my main “edge” back then was that I was still a student but I was doing these other things even if really, the fact that I was still a student was kind of sad. It’s funny how life works: if you pair almost any extracurricular thang with at studyante pa siya, it begins to look impressive.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about this whole MoarBooks thing.

Maybe it was a brave thing to set out and do (given my previous experiences with “putting it out there”, this was really an exercise in overcoming trauma) but since then, part of me has become kind of afraid to make plans or to “look ahead” because a lot of the time it can take the piss out of everything and also because you end up disappointed a lot. I’m not good with disappointment: I can handle anger, sadness, stress, anxiety, whatever but disappointment just makes me want to stab someone repeatedly.

Anyway, this fear of disappointment both in myself and in others is what I feel has been holding me back with regard to MoarBooks. I think I went into this whole thing being in denial that I would have to do most of the doing. This is ridiculous because it seems like the kind of thing you should realize as you’re lugging five bags of inflated pillows down Ayala Avenue on a hot, hot summer afternoon in 2012 but hey, if we weren’t kind of naïve at some point, we would never do anything.

While I had previously asked some friends to help me out and they did (do, still) in their own ways (thank you guys!), I think that I had failed to see the limitations that my friends had already let me know they had (however subtly) from the beginning—sometimes with regard to capacity, other times with regard to willingness. Lately I realized that if I want this to work, I have to sort out a way to get it done on my own. I have only recently realized that while my friends are investors, talent, consignees, supporters, fellow-sellers, fellow aspiring writers and artists, ultimately this endeavor is mine. The reluctance to bear that responsibility is also the reason why it is difficult for me to appreciate the good things about it or to properly recognize what it needs to become. I never got what people meant by “own it”—well, I do now.

In the past few days I have begun making plans for my little tsanak business (baby daw eh). I won’t bore you with the details, but I’ve laid down a couple of goals for myself and for MoarBooks to accomplish by the end of June and these were the most difficult bricks to lay out because they include all of the things that I’m terrible with—including having to be stricter with people I like and (even more so) with myself. It’s all still driving me insane.

Categories
Personal Project: Coffee & Flowers

Coffee & Flowers: Make It Better

Nostalgic trike ride through Tropical Avenue in the village where I went to high school.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the concept of family a lot—and how everything that we do is ultimately influenced by what happens to us when we’re young. In that respect, I think that Freud was most definitely correct. While it is true that we continue to develop throughout our lives, I feel like the core of our lives are determined very early on: the way we think, our knee-jerk reactions, the way we feel about most things and about ourselves. I have a lot of friends who go lots of different ways with regard to self-esteem: some who are very confident despite not necessarily possessing “conventional” beauty attributes, some who are extremely beautiful in the most “objective” sense but have absolutely no confidence in their ability to be attractive and some who are in-between and in most instances I find that these things have a lot to do with the way that they were brought up or their experiences as young children.

Categories
Fearless Personal

Head First, Fearless Day 4: Lotsa Birds, One Stone

Oh my f-ing gulay. I did so many things today. I don’t even know where to start!!! I did so many things my brain is having trouble processing this. Error, error. Almost everything I did today terrified me. If it is possible to spend a whole day scared, this was the day!

I completely take back what I said yesterday about me being a sissy.

Let’s start at the very beginning, the very best place to start (at least according to Fraulein Maria):

1. I said Hi to someone I don’t see often.

This might be usual for most people–not for me! Today, this guy that I know from college was on the shuttle with me on the way to Makati and because I’m usually afraid of a) awkwardness and b) rejection, a lot of the time I don’t say hi. Sometimes it’s also just because I’m blind. But today I said hi! And made small talk, too. 😀 Yay!

2. I crossed the street and ate out for lunch!

My street-crossing skills have dulled considerably since leaving Taft. Also, Taft is so congested that most of the cars there don’t go very fast. Either that or they’re buses and you see them coming from a mile away. In Makati, these assholes in Hondas are just all over the place, waiting to ram you down.

My friend, Rain took me out to Yamazaki, this authentic Japanese place for lunch today. SO GOOOOOD. FOOOOOOD! ❤ And also, it wasn’t that expensive for a whole ensemble of food, only P 218! Gyoza, Chahan, unlimited Iced Tea and vegetables. Heller. What. Also me and Rain were able to girlie talk–hihihihi! On the way back, I crossed all the streets by myself, made it back to the office with 10 minutes to spare and almost didn’t even mind the intense, intense heat.

3. I did something platonic but affectionate for a friend.

Before I get into this, let me say that I am very weird when it comes to friendship and affection because on one hand, I’m very affectionate but on the other hand I’m also very guarded when it comes to how I show my affections as a friend. I don’t mean this to be gloat-y or anything but I just noticed or had experiences in the past where friends have misunderstood or misinterpreted my tendencies to go the extra mile and do special or nice things for people I care about. And in those situations, other people have ended up getting hurt or friendships were broken apart and I hate it when that happens. :< This is why I usually just chicken out of situations like this or I analyze the shit out of the situation or text until there is virtually nothing left. However, I find that if you spend enough time with someone, you’ll be able to judge whether you can trust them to know what you mean and to not take what you say the wrong way.

Recently, my seatmate and friend at work has been having thoughts about a certain thing which he may or may not pursue in the near future (bear with me as this is not my info to share). He asked me about why I kept saying he shouldn’t pursue the said thing. I’m not good at explaining things like that verbally because I need time to think things through (I’m always better on paper) and also because if I get riled up about something, I might end up talking too loud or crying (uhh, yeah–not a pretty picture). So I made a list instead and sent it through e-mail! 🙂 I hope that the list was both humorous (I tried, hehe) and helpful–another qualm I have about writing things which aim to explain what I mean is that I feel like they’re biased. Either way, just having sent it was an ordeal for me. So BAM, in your face, fear of being misunderstood!

4. I didn’t go straight home.

I get really anal about a lot of things: what time I get to the shuttle, whether I’m able to beat rush hour, what time I get home, whether or not I’m able to exercise. But today I put that aside and went out with my best friends. We had pizza and dessert (ice cream for them, pretzels and coffee for me). It’s really something else being around people who are dear to you and who’ve been with you growing up. 😀 We hung out until about 9:30 PM, I got home at around 10:20. Not going to exercise. Nope. Sugar belly timez, yo.

Is this good enough for 4 days? Please say yes!