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!

Categories
Personal Project: Coffee & Flowers Writing

Coffee & Flowers: Open Letters & Instax Photos

This year I made the resolution not to keep a journal because I’d kept a journal for every year of my life since 1998 and it just seemed like too much: too many memories stacking themselves higher, growing more voluminous than yourself. It’s weird. But at the same time, I can’t quite accept the non-existence of some sort of documentation of what’s going on. It is important to remember, I think: it’s important to keep track—to know where you’re going, when you’re going, how.

As a result, I’ve decided that I’m going to begin taking photos and maybe writing things down again: writing open letters, maybe. Some of it will be kept here, other things will be kept on a notebook. With this month’s pay, I’m going to buy Instax film because for the past few months my camera has just been sitting at home, hanging out with my piggy bank (which is actually a jar). I can’t help but feel bad about these past few months which I’ve missed out on documenting through something concrete, something offline, something I can keep—although the point of not journal keeping was that exactly: to lessen the boxes I go through when I am feeling sentimental.

In high school, when YM and LiveJournal were the best ways to go (none of that fancy Facebook shiznit, harhar) I used to write a lot of open letters. This had to do with the fact that ye ole internet life was way more private in those days (seriously, back then the thought of sharing your blog was preposterous—like why would you upload your own scandal?) in as much as it had to do with my angst-filled 19-year-old brain. (2009 was 5 years ago—again, dafuqqq!). At the same time, though I feel like they were a really good way to be able to deal with stuff, regardless of whether or not they are seen by the person who sees them.

So. Here are some open letters:

Categories
Personal Project: Coffee & Flowers Uncategorized

Coffee & Flowers: Laughter

Of all the pleasures that are available to people on this planet, I think laughter has got to be one of the most intoxicating. When I was younger, one of the things that I liked to do the most was make people laugh—for instance, I remember doing endless impersonations of our school bus conductor (mang Angel, pronounced ang-hel) in fourth grade and then proceeding to chase after the school bus, flaring my nostrils; this went on for far longer than it should have.

In high school, I remember long lunch breaks when I wouldn’t be able to finish my food because my friends and I were so busy sitting in a circle, clutching our stomachs and laughing at ridiculous things like throwing candy at upperclassmen or showering unfortunate (or maybe fortunate—it’s hard to tell) strangers with chips and corn bits from the third floor balcony.

As I’ve grown up, I’ve come to discover that laughter can also be a kind of darkness. When you’re a kid, it feels like laughter is carefree—a kind of release. At 23, I think I can say that laughter is viscous: it’s profound, thick. If you’re not careful, you can drown in it.

I have this theory (I’m sure I am not the first to “theorize” this but I will say it anyway) that the thing which allows (the loss of) something to be sad or the thing which gives something weight is its ability to make you laugh.

I used to be an avid Lizzie McGuire fan. Those jokes really made me laugh—the digs at her kid brother, Ethan with his rinse, lather, repeat joke; that show cracked me up. Years and years later, it tore my heart apart to realize that despite the weird romance of the let’s-cut-Miranda-out-of-it movie, she and Gourdo didn’t end up together because the movie takes place mid-series, not at the end. Meaning the romance stuff happened before the end of the series, meaning Lizzie and Gourdo just stay friends minus the you rock, don’t ever change bit.

This also reminds me of the guy who I used to watch Lizze McGuire with when I was 11—that year (2002) I moved to a different school and this guy was one of the first people who I met there. We were fast friends: of course that began with him mocking me which lead to really hilarious things like him taking my books and hiding them in his locker while commissioning his friend to steal some of the things I needed for clearance and hiding them away, complete with a ransom note left in my bag—this sparked an odd “hate” triangle between me, him and his friend whom I nicknamed Dalmatian because of the inordinate number of moles on his face (children can be cruel, we already know that haha) where we would take each other’s stuff and do our best to insult each other based on our physical attributes that were deemed unattractive at the time (e.g. kulotsky for me, Dalmatian for the friend, Buddha for the guy). I think, despite the fact that my 11-year-old self would never admit it, the promise of laughter was one of the reasons why I really looked forward to going to school that year. In the mornings, I would wait for Buddha to get to school just so I could make fun of him if he was late and then we would spend our subjects comparing notes, stepping on each other’s feet under the table (no shoes, and not competitively, even—just kind of resting our feet on top of one another) and then at night we would text each other while watching re-runs of Lizzie McGuire (the show aired new episodes at 4:30 pm, which made it impossible for us to catch the actual screening since we were dismissed at 3:30 pm). Sixth grade flew by, to be honest—until I realized that we hadn’t moved seats even if it we were well into the second quarter. With that realization, other hints began to creep up on me like that our class adviser would always make us sit together even if everyone else was constantly shuffled around. By the time I realized the unnameable it, I’d already formed a strategy against it: something that ripples through my life, even now. I made up a crush on this upperclassman I didn’t know (he was gorgeous, though) just so I wouldn’t have to face the humiliation of possibly liking this person who I used to spend all this time with. We didn’t talk for 8 years.

See? Laughter can break your heart.

We did end up talking in our second or third year in college, though. I ran into him outside school and we chatted for a while. We talked about food and cutting class (which we were both doing at the time) and our majors and remember when? And it was all pleasant but 19 isn’t 11—you can’t run into someone almost a decade later and suddenly say hey what’s up wanna step on my feet? It would be nice, but things change and people change and they should.

I realized today that most of the people and the things that I miss are people and things that made me laugh. Also, they are things that are lost in time: like the mosquito in Jurassic Park, it’s sealed up into its own old sphere. To force that preserved thing to come out of the past gives birth to monstrosity. There is a time limit for everything. I still think Einstein was wrong about that. Relative is as relative as relativity gets.

Five years ago, there was another boy—there always is, isn’t there; while some people argue that talking about men is un-feminist, I beg to differ (but that’s a whole other post)—and I remember laughing a lot: it was like being a kid again. Play-fighting, yelling, giddiness, jokes, routines, bus rides, friendship. That was also when Ondoy happened. The night before the storm, I was partying it up at a club with my friends. I cut class the day the city drowned. Has it recovered? Have I? Has he? Have any of us?

Filipinos laugh at everything. That’s a very true cliché. That’s why it’s so difficult to turn on the TV, to listen to the news—that’s why it makes me cringe to hear people talk on public transport, to hear canned laughter, to be faced with the harshness of hilarity so deafening it’s impossible not to hear the despair behind it. My parents laugh a lot.

I’ve been laughing a lot recently: with my friends, with my boyfriend, at work, at home. And in that moment right before the funny moment ends, you see everyone coming out of the state of laughter and there it is—the knowing that the moment is over.

So why is this a coffee and flowers entry? Because I don’t think I would trade laughter for any other pleasure in the world—not even booze (harhar). I’m not a very religious person but when I think of the end of life, I think that we can only judge our lives by how much we’ve laughed. I think that is the only accurate measure of how much we’ve lived and loved and how much pain we’ve felt; how much we’ve truly cared about something. I’m not sure about what that has to do with anything in the “greater scheme” of things, but having had those things is the closest to a dinosaur that our mosquito-amber memories are going to get.

Categories
Personal Project: Coffee & Flowers

Into the Trap

I’ve never been good at waiting. It’s something that I have been terrible at since age 0. But I’m (slightly regretfully) now 23 and while I know that isn’t very long, I’m hoping two decades does count for something. While I am still partly a 2-year-old stomping my tiny feet in agitation at the prospect of waiting a few more days for a hint of something or for the breaking of this silence, I know it’ll be alright to wait or that I’ll survive the wait. Hay. Life is crazy sometimes. How is it that a day can seem so long and also seem so short once you realize you might not have it for long?

Like I said, I am a deeply illogical creature. I had a good day today, though. I laughed a lot.

In other news, my officemate (Hi, Joco) found my blog today. For some reason he decided to search my name on YouTube and kapoof, supposedly extinct videos–kapoof remnants of my somewhat failed past as a person who takes photos of herself every morning (oh, wait). Hahaha One key word and–awwwww, shit. I was just talking about how weird it is when the different parallel dimensions of your life collide and well, hello. It was weird but it really made me laugh. In a way, I’m kind of glad that he found it. I am curious as to how a person’s selves can come together. So strange! I also added my work friend Rain (another Rain, not Raine hahaha) on Facebook. So this is a step for me, putting my different worlds together.

I am somewhat reminded of the first time I ate ketchup with fries. Like it was weird but I felt like–so this is what normal people do. Somehow I feel that (based off of how many of my friends go out of town with “work friends” or whose high school barkadas somehow end up melding with their childhood friends or whatever) this kind of synergy is easier for most people to achieve. Meh. Speaking of self, though–I do really like the arbitrary selfie that follows.

Anyway, tonight and tomorrow morning I’m going to be working on a project for EM’s fifth issue which is going to be edited by FFY. All of this was already the torture I knew I’d subjected myself to when I began writing but I must admit, it has all been made even all the more fucking challenging by this goddamn heat.

Categories
Personal Project: Coffee & Flowers

Coffee & Flowers: Talkin’ Talk

There was this old D’Sound song that I was oh-so-fond of. It went a little bit like talkin’ talk is not just talk, getting’ there is half the walk or something. Hah. Let’s pretend I don’t remember. Today, I had a really good lunch break. I was able to sit around by myself for about fifteen minutes and was able to contemplate the following things: what is it about the pantry that is so comforting? What is it about reading that makes you feel okay? And moreover, why is it that there are so many aspects of a person’s life that run parallel to each other? Why is my office self different from my “writing” self? Or different from my family self? My student self? My music self? My girly self? My friend Raine said something interesting to me a few months ago: where have I hiding all my friends? She said that it was so curious that all the time she’s known me (around six years), she only met a huge lot of my friends this year. It was like I lived in a parallel world. It isn’t on purpose though, these parallel lives or parallel type of scenarios. Why do I feel like these things coming together is so odd? Why do I feel odd for them not coming together? Furthermore, is fiction the attempt at putting all these things together? Is it possible? Moreover, does it matter? Ah, all the pretentious kind of shit that I thumb through—which is just fine, I guess. All fiction is a kind of pretension anyway. Like all good literature or art, I guess what matters is that it’s believable.

And then some of my office mates decided to go on their lunch breaks as well and suddenly, there was a whole lot of talkin’ to be done. That was really nice. To put things in context: it isn’t often that I get to have lunch with other people because a) our office is a small but busy one and b) our lunch times are adjustable, according to our shifts and positions so that the office is never empty. Not that I mind this, either. I like productivity. It’s comforting to hear the clacking of keys. Today was one of those rare days when I got to spend my break actually talking to people. It’s very interesting, the number of things you can learn from people around you—or about the people around you.

There was talk about rice cookers: what you can make in them (noodles, soup, fried chicken) and how you can place them on the floor near the socket and accidentally step on them. There was talk about coffee and how cheap beans are and then the surreptitious look of disdain at the instant coffee maker. Someone said something about melons and how good they are with milk. Someone bit into preserved ham. I cut into my chicken nuggets. Someone mentions vegetables and someone else heads back to their desk.

I forgot my coffee at home today—that’s a first and possibly my karma for both drinking too much of it and trying to cut down on it rapidly. I’m still on the fence about whether or not karma operates so directly. I get the feeling that the minute that karma becomes reasonable or logical, I will no longer believe in it. I wonder if I believe in it. I wonder about logic, in general. I am an illogical person, underneath all the science-ing of this, or science-ing of that—I think that this is where my desire to outline or to enumerate or to force cohesion into things comes from: the actual lack of the belief that it can be achieved. And so I am superstitious: I do believe that somehow, not having the coffee may propel something bad to happen.

And nothing bad happened. I had dinner with my friend Trizha, I met my sister’s friend/teacher from her Creative Writing class. I talked a lot. And now I’m ready for bed. And maybe things will be okay, yes?