Miyerkules, Setyembre 2

Changing Lanes

Tish Martinez's updated blog can be viewed at www.tishmartinez.wordpress.com

Sabado, Agosto 29

Remembering Dad: One of the Few Constants of my Days

I write belatedly about Dad's last birthday because I was too overwhelmed on the day itself. A poem from ee cummings depicts almost exactly who my dad was to me.

my father moved through dooms of love
ee cummings


my father moved through dooms of love
through sames of am through haves of give,
singing each morning out of each night
my father moved through depths of height

this motionless forgetful where
turned at his glance to shining here;
that if(so timid air is firm)
under his eyes would stir and squirm
---
newly as from unburied which
floats the first who,his april touch
drove sleeping selves to swarm their fates
woke dreamers to their ghostly roots

and should some why completely weep
my father's fingers brought her sleep:
vainly no smallest voice might cry
for he could feel the mountains grow.
---
Lifting the valleys of the sea
my father moved through griefs of joy;
praising a forehead called the moon
singing desire into begin

joy was his song and joy so pure
a heart of star by him could steer
and pure so now and now so yes
the wrists of twilight would rejoice

keen as midsummer's keen beyond
conceiving mind of sun will stand,
so strictly(over utmost him
so hugely)stood my father's dream

his flesh was flesh his blood was blood:
no hungry man but wished him food;
no cripple wouldn't creep one mile
uphill to only see him smile.
---
Scorning the pomp of must and shall
my father moved through dooms of feel;
his anger was as right as rain
his pity was as green as grain

septembering arms of year extend
less humbly wealth to foe and friend
than he to foolish and to wise
offered immeasurable is

proudly and(by octobering flame
beckoned)as earth will downward climb,
so naked for immortal work
his shoulders marched against the dark

his sorrow was as true as bread:
no liar looked him in the head;
if every friend became his foe
he'd laugh and build a world with snow.
---
My father moved through theys of we,
singing each new leaf out of each tree
(and every child was sure that spring
danced when she heard my father sing)

then let men kill which cannot share,
let blood and flesh be mud and mire,
scheming imagine,passion willed,
freedom a drug that's bought and sold

giving to steal and cruel kind,
a heart to fear,to doubt a mind,
to differ a disease of same,
conform the pinnacle of am
---
though dull were all we taste as bright,
bitter all utterly things sweet,
maggoty minus and dumb death
all we inherit,all bequeath

and nothing quite so least as truth
—i say though hate were why men breathe—
because my father lived his soul
love is the whole and more than all

=====

Dad,

They often say: " absence makes the heart grow fonder". But in our case, your absence did not have that effect. Or at least, I cannot imagine being more fond of you than I already am.

If your absence has indeed encouraged fondness, it has encouraged my love for the things you believed in. The "bottom lines of life" that you and mommy stressed when I was growing up were what I took up eventually; though I resisted them in my teens.

You believed in improving the human condition. In compassion and courage. You believed God was a God of justice. You always said: "To be Christian is to be relevant in today's world. Faith will compell you to action, anak. It will push you towards helping the destitute, to fighting for them if need be. Simply because you cannot imagine Jesus doing otherwise."

I am thankful Dad. I am thankful you gave me the support I needed when I decided what I finally wanted to make of myself, the course I wanted to take, the politics I believed in and saw the people I wanted to serve. You and mommy bore the brunt of comments and eyebrow raises from our relatives and friends when I made these choices. But you never took it against me that I became someone who did not fit in our family's perceptions of a good daughter.

I am grateful, Dad. I am grateful you let me be and you trusted me to discover the world on my own.

I am grateful you told me that women should be strong. That the world was full of opportunities for men to dominate. That to face a cruel world, a woman must be prepared and ready to strike. Though I only see the truth of your words today, I am happy to have been forewarned.

You taught me that I must never relent, never back down and never compromise what I believe in for trifles. You taught me to make few enemies and to mark them well. You often said: no matter what happens; I would get past anything life put in my path. If people think I am stubborn, they are welcome to blame you for it.

Dad, I miss you everyday. I miss all your advice. I miss all your jokes. I miss the instances people point out how much we look alike. I miss your text messages and your puttering about the house. I miss having a designated driver, a Dad who let me party but insisted I be picked up lest I roam the streets drunk and alone.

Missing you has become the norm. It is not a choice consciously made. It is something that just is. But though I miss you, I have to prod on. I have to work on the things you set me out to do. I have yet to become the person you encouraged me to be. I have yet prove to you that all your advice was not wasted on me.

Love,
Nams

Sabado, Agosto 22

I Long


I need some peace.

Sabado, Hulyo 25

The Very Personal Top Ten

(Continued)

The last recent peace-making effort was from (again) character c (on full throttle, no doubt). At another social gathering, he called me over while he was talking to Kidney; someone who had betrayed me (and him!). I came over and character c was prompting me to converse with the traitorous bastard. It went like this...

Kidney: "Galit ka pa ba sa akin?" (Are you still mad at me?)
Me: "I have to be honest with you, yes I am still mad.

What followed was an unfeeling conversation about people Kidney and I both knew and a silent ride home with character c.

This is my point: "I like being true to myself and others. I don't like making phony conversations with people I'd rather ignore. Stop trying to make me bury the hatchet. I like my hatchets within reach, thank you."

#6 Drinking One Too Many Slushy Drinks

Due to all of the paper-pushing I've been doing lately, I have been thirstier than usual. 711, McDonalds and Starbucks have all made money from my slush-drink cravings. I think it's a bad sign. I now need paralyzing cold to jump start my brain.

Hurrah for sugar, ice and all things nice.

Drinks of choice:
1. Bumbulbee Slurpee
2. Dunkin' Donuts Coffee Iceblast
3. Mcdo Milk Shakes
4. Starbucks Iced Caramel Mocha

#5 Discovering better places to eat

All that traveling makes me a hungry girl. Though I usually hate eating fast food, I have found great alternatives. One such is PinoyDon at the Podium. Its fusion menu; with both Japanese and Filipino influences is sure to satisfy any one's cravings. Their expansive menu has Bangus in tempura batter with Teriyaki sauce, Tortang Talong Maki, Adobo-inspired Katsudons and more. Top it with a serving of their one of a kind green tea ice cream, you've got one of the best meals in the Ortigas area.

A runner up would be, New Bombay at the Columns, Makati. This Indian resto also has an expansive menu; friendly to vegetarians, meat lovers and dieters alike. Whether you want to carbo load with its meat and potatoes-esque meals or have a light lunch with a serving of nan bread and Yogurt shake; this is a resto that gives you what you need for the day.

#4. Palawan, my long awaited beach trip

Summer came ├╝ber late for me. But late this July, I finally...finally got to the beach. Good thing it was sunny in Palawan even if it was storming in Manila.

#3. Knowing that everything shall pass.

A lot of frustrating things happened during online hiatus. But am glad to say: everything passed, character c and I are alright. We're happier than before, we've survived the many init-ulo moments we had in the last months.

Of course, all this is compounded by the many issues my family also had. Though I cannot elaborate my family's difficulties here, (to do so would be invasive and unfair)... Let's just say that the past few months were turbulent. And that, oftentimes trying to keep my patience has tried my patience.

But all things do pass. I don't think Murphy's Law had anything to do with the last few months. For when my relationship issues were resolved, my familial and financial issues were resolved likewise.

#2. Tough Decisions

It is no secret that I have been living independently. But what never comes to light is the sacrifices it entails. Deciding not to live in lovely suburban homes means living in a bare urban apartment. I have always recognized my good fortune of having 2 suburban homes at my disposal, these are always appreciated. However, deciding to live on my own has prompted me to let go of their comforts.

Letting all that go was hard for me. When I made the decision to break away from my family late last year, I knew I was starting on a perilous path. What I did not know was being relatively absent from my family's affairs would also become a comforting thought. Coming home to an empty apartment does not always give one loneliness. I finally got to rest up, finally had a routine I could rely on.

As I am a closet OC personality; having routine, being able to schedule my days and knowing what to expect when I got home has given me relaxation. This peace of mind was unattainable when I was living at my lola's house; where I had to absorb the constant dramatics of its occupants, where I had to withstand everything said and left unsaid simply because I am the eldest of our brood.

Conversely, I doubt that I will have the same peace if I move into my mom's new house.

I like to think that I just need some space, some kind of distance. I don't think it's a matter of shirking from my responsibilities. It's a matter of letting myself breathe some. I will always be their grand daughter, her daughter, their sister, their niece. But I think it is also time I became just myself.

#1 My private self rediscovered

I have again found this out. The past half decade has not changed me much. I share things about me but withhold my bottom lines. I don't do it on purpose. I feel I withhold my private thoughts because I never really found the need to spell myself out...then and now.

As such, I have been reminded in the past few months that though I have many friends and have had many lovers; very few know the intents of my actions and my private hurts and pains. It may be that I have become a duality of sorts, alternately giving and withholding information at need.

In my short life, I have lost many things. I have lost people I loved. I have lost memories. I have been left many times. I have seen horrible things. I have kept many secrets. But after all that pain, all that loss; I realized all of it has left me steeled for the future. Loosing so many loves has only made me more willing to loose more.

My private thoughts remain undaunted to the many entreaties from friends and family. I still refuse to bear my heart. And though at times I may wear my heart on my sleeve, the heart you see is only a minute reflection of those deeper yearnings.

For that, I am grateful

Martes, Hulyo 14

A Very Personal Top Ten

Things have been spinning round wildly. But that wouldn't be news. So let me rephrase it. The past few weeks have offered me no hope of coherence. My would-be posts became as wily as my grandma's logic. As such, blogging has been on the back burner.

Now that most crap is in order, I have the time to list down ten things that have kept me on the tailspin.

#10. Change of Employment

Not many people know what I actually do for a living. It's mostly because (compared to the average Filipino yuppie) I hate talking shop. All the positions I've held always had to do with words. I am thankful to have had a malleable vocation. Something that adapts to my needs and the jobs I accept. However, my convictions aren't so flexible. The past 2 weeks have been a barrage of pushing papers, considering (and refusing) job offers and making silent concessions with myself.

In an earlier post, I discussed my employment conundrum. I'm glad to say things have progressed since then. On the 20th, I will start working as a business analyst for corporation A. A job that will not ask for creativity and (hopefully) not too much social skills. I have my reasons for taking this on, this "uncreative" job. All of which I won't discuss here.

#9. Falling in Love with the Sidelines

For the past half decade, I have embraced the headlines. I believed I needed to take part in history as it happened. The first quarter of this year has forced me to the sides, to toe the lapping waters of history rather than swim in it. Though I miss being in the middle of things; it hasn't been all bad. Time for reflection can never be bad.

Now that I am well-rested and have had enough reflection; I'm ready to dive into history's depths once more.

#8. Reading Good and Not-so Good Books

Waiting at government offices is great for catching up on your reading. Iris Murdoch forced me into philosophy as I delved in her well-crafted plots. I especially loved:
I also loved "The Principles of Love" by Emily Franklin. Its amusing treatise on pop culture and art coupled with dynamic narration makes it seem like a book within a book. A witty mix of self-exploration, rock & roll, pop psychiatry all told by one off beat voice.

My reading list also included "The Secret Word" by Jennifer Paddock, "The Gift of Acabar" by Og Mandino and (surprisingly) "The Elements of Style" by Strunk and White.




#7 Cornered and Still Standing

I make few enemies. But those I make, I mark for life. I don't like being forced into reconciliation or meaningless small talk by well-meaning common friends.

Perhaps, I have been too polite to make this clear. On three separate occasions, I was conned into conversing with 3 people I didn't even want to acknowledge.

Two of these incidents, character c was to blame. His philosophy of "putting it all behind us" never really did jive well with my "to the death!" philosophy. When he tried to make me talk to Sidney and Kidney on two separate occasions, I gave him a look that could have withered all the plants on Ayala Avenue.

The last and most devastating of all: one mid-June afternoon, character c and I were supposed to meet my friend D for some coffee and dinner. I was raring to see friend D and introduce him to character C; whom he had heard of but never met. Friend D inevitably rolls round with a lady friend in tow.

The said lady friend; was an old friend of mine. Someone who had the gall to call my mother and inform my mother that:

1. I was sleeping around
2. I was living with different men at a time
3. Her strange whack-job, street person type mother disapproves of me.

It was only natural I stopped talking to the manipulative, daughter of a cult-leader and street person; character E. (She was banned from setting foot on our house, my mother was THAT pissed).

But since my good friend D was so full of good peace-making intentions; I decided to put on a plastic mask and keep my seething anger at bay.Our dinner conversation was filled with trivial high school memories. Character E better be thankful that I am not at her level of crass. Else, I would have asked her the following questions over dinner:

1. How is your father and what does he do again for a living?
2. How is your mom and how are her rice cakes faring? Does she still sell them over at EDSA cor Aurora?
3. How are your illegitimate nephews and nieces? Is your sister still sleeping with exotic dancers?

Oh, and: "Kindly recount the night you called my mother up..."

But I did tell friend D that he had my support. That I was still rooting for them. What I meant to say was: "This is your grave you're digging. I fully support that. It's the only way you'll learn."

To be continued.

Linggo, Hunyo 28

Answers from the Great Beyond...

"I'm pushing an elephant up the stairs
I'm tossing up punch lines that were never there
Over my shoulder a piano falls
Crashing to the ground
I'm breaking through
I'm bending spoons
I'm keeping flowers in full bloom
I'm looking for answers from the great beyond"

-REM, The Great Beyond

A lot of things have been happening, lately. In fact, things have been happening too fast. There are changes in our life (mine and character c's) which we would rather not have. However, the bulk of the choices have had to be made on my part.

We all know that eventually, we'll arrive at a crossroad. Whether it's in our professional or personal lives, dilemmas are sure to appear. My dilemma of late has been of the professional kind. But not strictly so. It's also intertwined with my ideology and how I have planned to live the rest of my life.

Last February, I left my corporate job to go back to activism. Since then, character c and I have been waiting for that one call. The one call which would assure us our former circle would like to have us back.

The past months have been very hard on us financially; specifically because I turned down a lot of corporate jobs. I turned these down because I wanted to keep my schedule (and options) open; just in case our activist colleagues called us back to duty.

It has been four months. Four dire months.

Yesterday, I received a call from a really good company (let's call it company 55). Their salary was great and so were the add-ons and the benefits. Their offer was hard to ignore. They invited me to sign on. The appointment was made for Monday.

And as if I was being played for a fool by fate; the call I've been waiting for came in after company 55's call. I was asked by colleague R to report for duty on Monday.

Thus, I am in a major dilemma. Should I sacrifice my family's security for unstable employment? It's not just about the financial aspect. It's about the amount of waiting character c and I had to go through for this certain unstable job. An unstable job that I would love.

In my heart of hearts, I know that I'd like to drop everything for colleague R's proposal. But recent life-changes has forced pragmatism on me. And in my pragmatism, I've learned that not all things we love will love us back. Not everything we wait for comes at opportune time.

If it's true that when we want something, the universe conspires to give it to us; I have a message for the universe.

Dear Universe,

You're late. You're proposal will be given much thought and discussion. I cannot guarantee my approval. Don't do be late again.

Tish

Miyerkules, Mayo 27

Backlog: Maybe you're Gone

"Won't be the first heart that you break
Won't be the last beautiful...
One that you wrecked, won't take you back
If you were the last beautiful..."


I was once told by a close personal friend, that when someone falls out of love; it is usually because of falling in love with someone else. At that point of our alcohol-induced conversation, I did not believe a word my friend said. I have always believed that love is a conscious decision you make, not something you just tumble into. In the many relationships I have gone through in my life, I have seen my philosophy about love to be true. And I have applied this to all areas of my life. I keep on telling myself that the decisions I make are mine; that I am never to tell myself that I have no choice but to go through with things. It is also true that while we cannot always choose our circumstances, we can choose how to respond. Now that I am at the ripe old age of 22, I can say that I have made choices that weren't exactly what one would call wise. I have wrecked my life numerous times and in the process, I have wrecked others' lives as well. But despite all these, I still do not have the shadow of regret on my persona. Why? It's because I just let everything go. No matter how painful (and sometimes humilating) circumtsances are, I recover because I know that even if I may feel like dying; I really won't.

Today was a case in point. After more than two years of emotional investment and efforts, another relationship has ended. Even though we have not really been smooth sailing for a while, I really did not expect this. For countless times, I chose to work things out. I chose to painstakingly make compromises that hurt my pride. I chose him, over and over again. And while I have been doing this for the past two years of my life, he chose a different route. I need not expound further for you to be able to understand that he did not choose me.

I have always been a fighter, but over time; I have learned to pick my fights. When someone tells you straight to you face that he wants to leave you, it's useless to swallow your pride and beg him not to leave. Especially if you have done everything humanly possible not to get to this point. It simply isn't worth the energy and the self-doubt. And while I would have liked to counter his statements with sentences such as: "How dare you, you filthy lowlife!" or "I never really loved you anyway."; all these are also not worth the trouble. When he told me he wanted out, I simply gave in. Mind you, it was not a rare show of weakness. Au contraire, it took all the restraint left in me not to retaliate. I just felt that if he cannot even give our relationship a chance, if he can just let it go after investing so much; he is simply not worth my time or words.

What bothers me is that we did not even have an easy start. Even the most turbulent of relationships are given at least that.From the very beginning, I could see that we did not have much in common. You could say that we were bonded by two things: proximity and ideology. When I met him, we were both part of a political group. He was part of my immediate circle. What drew me to him was his energy, his vivacity and his drive to further the cause of our group. I have always been drawn to people with those qualities. I saw in him someone who would share my commitment to the movement. I thought that I had finally met someone who would support me. Well, I guess that most people are optimistic at the blossoming of love. That he and I came frome different backgrounds is an understatement. We were polar opposites. I was an undergraduate student at a prestigious university then, he didn't even give college a shot. I don't blame him for not going to college though. He chose upholding human rights and freedom over getting a college degree. I admired him for that then and I still admire him now.

But sometimes, these are not enough to make the spark last. You can admire a person from afar. You need not have a relationship with that person. The trouble started when I began to see that aside from our commitments to the struggle, we had nothing else to talk about. We did not have the same friends. We did not have the same interests. We didn't even agree with what we did on dates. Given that reading is one of my primary habits, I felt fairly disappointed that he did not have any favorite books. In fact, he barely read for leisure at all. To his credit, he did try to read the books that I gave him. Though I don't recall him finishing any of it. But at that point in time, I didn't see it as a fatal incompatibility. I thought that our differences would make our relationship richer. I thought that because we were so different, we would learn and grow from each other.

I was never so wrong in my life.

Over time, I grew to discover that our differences were more than skin deep. It was not a matter of preferences. We simply did not agree on anything. To be able to hurdle our differences, we did not talk about them anymore. And slowly, we came to a time when silence engulfed us. At first, that silence was thought to be the comfortable kind. Personally, I thought that we had finally become so stable that we did not need words. Of course I was wrong. The worse part of it was I knew that something bad was happening. I watched our relationship slowly whither away. I was a spectator to our deaths. I stood there, paralyzed; my eyes fixed on the destruction of what we worked so hard to have. I was loosing him and I had never felt so disempowered in my life. For me, that would easily be the lowest point of life. I have never felt powerless before.

But why was that

I felt that I could do nothing to salvage our relationship. I felt like that because he did not do anything to show me otherwise. And for the life of me, I could never figure it out. I did not understand then, I do not understand now. The months that preceded our break up were quiet at best. And when we fought, I was usually the first to concede.

He began belittling everything I did. He told me that I was not contributing anything to our cause. He began criticizing my style of work. His criticisms were riddled with broken glass. What he said were painful. He even went to the length of telling me that my college degree was useless and my family was nothing more than a bunch of apathetic bourgeoisie people, living off the blood of the poor around them. Did I leave him when he said those things? Of course not. I am not a woman who gives in easily.

All the hurtful things he said, I chalked up to us growing up differently. In retrospect, I could have been as hurtful. I could have said that he made politics his excuse for his laziness. That he had no aptitude to make a name for himself, that he had no capacity to be able to give me a decent life. But love can make us get over ourselves. I did not say these things because I loved him. I did not want things to take a turn for the worst. Those things were hurtful, they hurt my pride. Strangely enough, even with my pride being pulverized right before my eyes; I did not even flinch. Despite all these attacks, separation was not even an option for me. Through all the troubles we had, I believed that everything was just a chapter in our story. I believed that we would go through the other chapters together.

I had no idea that the bloody end was near.

Maybe, I did not think that he had enough balls to leave me. I under estimated him. I over appraised myself. Sure, I was wrong to just stand there as he was slowly walking away from me. I am not a passive person. But when I dealt with him, I chose to be passive. And therein lies the fault. I wonder what would have happened if I had asserted myself. If he wouldn't have left if I told him how bruised I was with his words. I would silence my words because I was so afraid to loose him. In skirting all those "danger subjects", I had failed to save what was left of our relationship. I cannot say that I did all these things because I loved him so much. Rather, I did not try so hard because I did not love him enough. I did not love him enough to call out his short comings.

Love is many things, but it is never blind obedience. I feel as if I deluded myself into thinking that all our hardships would pass if we refused to talk about it. I would like to have stayed in love with him. I would like to have loved him more. But after all has been said and done, wanting cannot heal a pulverized heart. Broken self-respect cannot be fixed by an apology.

I do not regret getting into a relationship with someone like him. I cannot say that I would like to turn back the clock. We were unequally matched, that much is true. But our problems were deeper than that. We had both refused to recognize our problems. We had both stood back as everything fell apart. I have been hurt, I have been humiliated and I have been walked out on. But I have no monopoly of pain. I know that somewhere within the deep belly of Metro Manila, he is there; also wallowing in pain. We have both lost two years of our lives we can never get back. We have both lost our unborn children. Most especially, we have both lost the future we have planned for ourselves. In the aftermath of it all, we are both derelict and alone.

But all these thoughts are moot and academic. There is no longer an "us".

Sabado, Mayo 9

One, two, 23!

"Time makes you bolder..."
-Landslide


OMG.

Of all the things to say on the very minute I turned 23, OMG just had to be it. On many occasions, I suspect that I am not as smart as I should be. Reasons for this mainly stem from my personal brand of word vomit. I tend to say or think the ditziest remarks on crucial moments.

It's a great, great thing I know better to edit myself in social situations. It's partly due to the fact that I have been embarrassed a lot in the past.

But since I was alone in my apartment waiting for the clock to strike twelve, I had nothing to worry about.

Anyways, after the said Elle Woods-inspired remark, I stealthily began my way back into sanity. I did some retrospection, watched some news, took note of the major changes in my life and watched a little Rachel Zoe Project.

Scratch that last bit.

23 is but a number. But it's a good number.

One the best (and worst) things about being in this age is independence. And since I have talked about this before, I won't anymore.

I'm still not at that point where I resent getting older. And I hope I will never arrive at that juncture. I believe in growing old gracefully...and looking like Jackie O. or Audrey Hepburn when I'm 70.

Cheers. :)

Biyernes, Pebrero 20

Child Rearing in these Precariuous Times

“They get what they want,
But they never want it again
Go on take everything,
Take everything you want to...
You should learn to say no.”
-Violet, Hole


I was a crazy kid in high school.

Reminiscing high school life fills me with alternating dread and relief. I was so “socially adept”, it was horrible. At that juncture of my life; I didn’t have much respect for authority. Generally, I lacked respect for anyone. Irreverent, would be a nice-sounding description for it.Thankfully, I did eventually grow out of that phase.

And while I am as irreverent as ever, I have learned to channel my energies better. Call it maturity, call it getting older, call it getting tired…basta napagod ako sa pagiging pasaway.

When those “open party” stories circulated through the blogosphere some time back, I was left reminiscing times past. After sifting through epic proportions of reposts and replies, I now have the basic facts:

A high school kid went to an open party. He danced with a girl. They cam whored. And some time later, the same kid got beat up.

End of facts.

When I look at the incident through my wild child high powered lenses (also known as I thought about it for five minutes…while taking a dump), my reactions were the following (in order of thought process):

-Whut?! OMAYGAD. That’s so appaling. How could these people do this?

-I am never letting my (future) kids parteeeey

-Meh. It’s so epic. And so high school.

-Must get to the bottom of this.

So I made an effort. I sifted through more blogs. I even wrote to the people involved. It was a helluvalot of clicking and googling. Such a Herculean task. But I didn’t want to just repost stuff. I mean, so many people have reposted the beat up kid’s mom’s letter. I didn’t want to join in, repost without verifying.

In short, ang arte ko kasi kaya nag hirap akong magresearch.

After all that investigative journalism, I came up with these conclusions:

  • The kid was beat up at an open party, that much is true. But when it comes to determining which party he went to, confusion abounds. There were two open parties that night.
  • Some people and groups have become whipping boys. Other kids have taken (undeserved) heat for this. Just because they were mentioned in the beat up kid’s mom’s letter.
  • So many people have posted,reposted and reacted to this issue; it has become a case of mass paranoia.
  • People seem to have forgotten that high school kids tend to do stupid things, it’s what they’re supposed to be doing at that point. We “grown ups” should hold ourselves morally accountable to them. And accountability as elders includes being mature enough to keep oneself in check before lashing out on kids. This means that: GROWN UPS SHOULDN’T JUST REPOST WITHOUT CHECKING OUT THE FACTS.
  • And lastly, though justice must and should be served; let us not blow things out of proportion. I will say this again: these are high school kids.

When you think about it, it is not their morality that we should question.It is our own morality that we should question. We should ask ourselves how could we have let this happen? And how could we call ourselves adults if we refuse to see beyond the blame game?

This incident should serve as a wake up call for all of us. It is not a reason for vendetta or prohibition campaigns. It is a call for tolerance and maturity. It is a call for self-examination.

Raising children will be difficult, no matter what decade you happen to be in. When our children get hurt, we naturally want to retaliate. We want to strike back at once. We suffer with our children. We have all the reason to be mad.

But you know what?

When we strike back at those other kids who have hurt our own; WE FORGET THAT THOSE KIDS HAVE LOVING PARENTS TOO. And that these parents can and will be equally hurt by our actions.

Who shall cast the first stone, then? Cast it you may, but remember to look at the dirt on your palms.

Martes, Pebrero 10

The Real World vs. the Realistic World and Other Anomalies

When I was in college, I used to be told by my parents that I would get my shot at independence when I moved out and got a job. Then I would know the hardships of the real world and appreciate how much they sacrificed to give me a good education and stuff.

Luckily (or unfortunately...it depends), I had my shot at independence long before I finished college. I did not have to wait to finish my degree to get pushed into the real world. I didn’t need a diploma to know what it was to starve. I made a deal with my parents: let me do my activist stuff and will not ask for money.

Now that I’m working, I’ve moved out and have generally steered clear of my family’s precarious finances; I would like to commemorate this event by listing down the top ten things that set “Icanmakeitonmyown” from “Buymestuffmommeh”.

10. The consequences of waking up late.

Waking up late in college meant two things: not showing up at class and sleeping the day off or two, spending your day’s allowance drinking, lamierdizing (bwahahahaha) or going to random places.

Yuppie stage: waking up late can mean a number of things. It can mean a salary deduction, it can me you were too drunk the night before to remember you had work the next day, it could mean staying late at the office to finish stuff you could have finished if you’d arrived on time or it could me you take a day off and drink more beer.

Being a yuppie will force you to wake up on time. When you are faced with HR personnel from hell, administrators that make hell seem like a peachy place to be and demanding bosses who can make Hitler cry; you have no choice.

Actually you do: you can quit your job.

9. The consequences of being pissed drunk at 6AM.

Being one of the cool kids in college; I had my share of drunken 6AM, 10AM, 3PM and what am pm (?!) moments. As much as I would like to say that I paid dearly for these drunken festivities, in all brutal honesty; I didn’t. And if I did, I may have been too hung over to remember.

When you’re earning your keep, one of the major consequences of being pissed drunk at 6 AM is no. 10’s consequences. That, and you can’t make heads or tails of anything at the office when you come in (if you do).

8. When you want something, you…

Ask your parents to buy it. Whine till they buy it. Or skip lunch for a whole week so you can buy it. Pretty simple, right?

In the real world, you learn that saving money isn’t a suggestion, it’s a must. Especially if you’ve moved away from you parents, saving up and controlling your expenses can be a real challenge. And by challenging, I mean practicing practical consumerism can drive you to tears. No matter how much or little you make, you will always have to save for a rainy day. Corollary to that; this also means that you can’t just splurge on impulse buys, conditioners in pretty containers, sleek gadgets and foodstuff that strike your fancy.

You have no mummy or daddy to “borrow” extra money for “stuffineedpleaseohplease” You will have to bite the bullet and admit that you may be a little too poor for some things.

7. There will always be food when I get home.

One of the most ignored facts of college life: your parents’ pantry. Getting that degree may throw so much shite at you, you’d wish you stayed in high school. But no matter what happens at school you can be sure you’ll be able to wolf down something when you get home.

Not so when you move out.

6. Your college self uses all the household utilities till kingdom come.

You pay the bills now. Enough said.

5. Explaining why you crawled in at 7AM the next day when your class ended at 3PM.

Moving out and being on your own does have its perks. If you’re like me and you live alone in an apartment, you can crawl in at any time of day or night. You have no one to answer to and conversely, no one to be stressed about.

Living alone means that you have to learn to take care of yourself. This also means you will have to know how to get home by yourself.

A lot of college kids take this for granted. Independence entails getting to places on your own. It also means figuring out how to get home when you’re wasted in a place which seems like another country.

End point: no explanations means no stressing. But it also means keeping up with the wide world out there by yourself.

4. Clean up your own mess.

Robert Fulghum one said: “being grown up means scooping the gunk out of the kitchen sink"

Let me tell you this: grown ups should not flinch at the sight of icky stuff. Or at least, should control their flinching. A big part of growing up is having sufficient gag reflex/strength to clean up your own mess.

We shouldn’t expect the following.

-that mommy will do your laundry

-that daddy will help you get a new job

-that you can run home when you run out of food

-that you can hide behind your parents’ influence/money/glamour/fame/personality when you fuck things up.

Growing up is like acknowledging poop. It’s disgusting, it’s hard to ignore but you can be mature and clean up.

3. Buying Furniture

When you move out, don’t bring all your teenage furniture with you. Leave your baggage at your parents’ house. Similarly, leave parental baggage behind. Just like pushing an old, bulky sofa up a flight of stairs: it is simply not worth it.

Buy new furniture. It will teach you the value of not spilling stuff on the upholstery. Something that your mother tried in vain to teach you when you were young.

2. Balance your life.

Balancing your schedule was hard enough in college (with all the parties, tests, parties and more tests). It becomes doubly harder to sort out your professional and personal schedule when you don’t live at home.

Make sure to call mom every week. Moving out isn’t about pushing your parents away. It is giving you and your parents room to grow.

Kung baga, tapos na paghihirap nila sa iyo. Mwahahahaha.

And lastly, independence means having two things: wisdom and freedom.

You are not supposed to be a wild child at this time of your life. You will just have to accept it. Embrace your freedom with some maturity. Make yo momma proud.

Biyernes, Enero 30

Love Letter

Sylvia Plath

Not easy to state the change you made.
If I'm alive now, then I was dead,
Though, like a stone, unbothered by it,
Staying put according to habit.
You didn't just toe me an inch, no--
Nor leave me to set my small bald eye
Skyward again, without hope, of course,
Of apprehending blueness, or stars.

That wasn't it. I slept, say: a snake
Masked among black rocks as a black rock
In the white hiatus of winter--
Like my neighbors, taking no pleasure
In the million perfectly-chiseled
Cheeks alighting each moment to melt
My cheek of basalt. They turned to tears,
Angels weeping over dull natures,
But didn't convince me. Those tears froze.
Each dead head had a visor of ice.

And I slept on like a bent finger.
The first thing I saw was sheer air
And the locked drops rising in a dew
Limpid as spirits. Many stones lay
Dense and expressionless round about.
I didn't know what to make of it.
I shone, mica-scaled, and unfolded
To pour myself out like a fluid
Among bird feet and the stems of plants.
I wasn't fooled. I knew you at once.

Tree and stone glittered, without shadows.
My finger-length grew lucent as glass.
I started to bud like a March twig:
An arm and a leg, an arm, a leg.
From stone to cloud, so I ascended.
Now I resemble a sort of god
Floating through the air in my soul-shift
Pure as a pane of ice. It's a gift.

Biyernes, Enero 23

The Choices We Make

“Too many walls have been built in between us
Too many dreams have been shattered around us
If I seem to give up they'll still never win
Deep in my heart I know the strength is within”
-Too Many Walls, Cathy Dennis


Sometimes I wonder why I even bothered to be idealistic. I spent most of my college life marching around Metro Manila whilst shouting for the downfall of the government. I spent the better part of my so-called youth learning about poverty (other’s and my own) and the lack of empathy my fellow students had.

So many hours have been spent fuming at spineless student body presidents, ranting relentlessly and even falling apart from sheer exhaustion. All these have made my college experience in Ateneo two things: academically suicidal and borderline non-existent.

Again I ask myself; “Why did I even bother?”

I’m thinking about these things as I’m sitting here on my cushy chair in an air conditioned office in Ortigas. The irony of ironies never fails to present itself when I report for work each day. Why did I go against the corporate flow all my college life only to sell out and become a corporate whore thereafter?

The answer is frustratingly simple: I did this because I could.

After almost half a decade of being active in cause-oriented groups I have met astounding people who have lived out their life’s calling. These were not twenty somethings assuring you of their lifetime commitment. These were people who were jailed and tortured during Martial law, people who gave the prime of their lives to serving the people. These people, despite all their hardships are the lucky ones. They have purpose, their lives are meaningful.

A good friend once told me: “You’re lucky to have something to die for. The rest of us are just ambling along aimlessly.”


A few years after those fateful words were spoken, I found myself at a job interview. Apparently, I had enough qualifications to become a copywriter for a lingerie retail company. At the time, I was still very much active in the movement and I was a bit hesitant to try anything else. But I was also a firm believer in stretching my wings, trying out things I had never considered before. Needless to say, I accepted the offer.

And here I am now. Staring at underwire bras, soft cup bras, push up bras, Wonderbras, girdles, thongs, boy shorts and whatnot for eight hours a day while trying to amuse myself with more cerebral activities. Though I am far from being a jaded employee, I am still bothered that I am even employed at a corporation; albeit a small one.

After countless recounts of my college activist days, certain thoughts have come into play. I realize that all I needed was a change of scenery to be able to tell myself that I cannot turn my back on activism. I guess you could say that a step back is all you need to realize that you have indeed found your life’s calling. And that your calling doesn’t involve staring at breasts for hours on end.

Every time I am reminded of the sordid situation this country is in, I am appalled by the lack of response from my fellow yuppies. I cannot believe that people can just go about their business and not notice that our country is submerged in a political, moral and economic cesspool. Coming to terms with the growing apathy among young professionals is disheartening.

It is so disturbing to hear those Americanized twangs in Starbucks, talking about their iPods while the rest of our nation is in turmoil. I wish people would learn to be more proactive. Moreover, I wish yuppies would see that no matter how much you make; no matter how accented your speech is and no matter where you go: you will always be Filipino.

We should stop heaping thick unnatural accents on our heritage in an effort to hide it. We should stop playing the apathetic dunces who make money. We should stop because in truth, caring about the society we live in is what sets us apart from the other members of the animal kingdom.

Youth enables one to do so many things. Being young means having enough energy and gall to try and change the status quo. A young professional actually has more reason for rage when taxpayer’s money is pocketed by individuals. You actually pay income tax now. By virtue of shelling out money for the government every month, one should naturally be concerned where it goes.

Which all boils down to my daily question; why did I even bother to become a yuppie if I despise corporations and paying tax so much?


I entered the corporate world because I could. I am employed in an American corporation despite all my political convictions because I can be employed and also, because I am afraid. I am afraid to pass up a chance. I’m afraid that if all I do is march down streets, shout political slogans and discuss ideologies I will never ever learn anything else.

The dissipation of my lifetime learning curve is something that I cannot stomach. But now that I can say: I tried working in a cushy corporate job and it sucks, I can go back to my former life.

Now no one can say I never tried anything else but activism. No one can say that I never experienced a hard day’s labor or that I never paid taxes. I’ve been overworked for measly pay.

One needs options in order to choose. And now that I’ve tried both corporate whore and militant activist, I can determine where I am called to be.

And you know what?

I’ve decided to turn in my resignation and return to the streets.

Martes, Enero 13

Breaking Point

I don't think a lot of people have seen me stark raving mad. That's because I don't like being stark, raving mad. I often think that being angry zaps me of energy and wastes my time. However there are times when being stark raving mad is the only way to make things right.

Today is such a day.

I hate it when people think that they can abuse my kindness and generosity. I simply hate it when people I work with get this impression that I always let things slide. It's not that I'm a pushover. I just find most confrontations (or persons for that matter); a waste of my bloody time. Some spats, albeit some people are not worth my attention. Thus I have this veneer of acceptance, of blind charity.

I would have let this pass. It's been some months since I last had news of your dreary, pathetic and bug-like existence. But alas, you come back. And you come back in the slimiest form possible. You come back as a memory, a memory of someone spreading slanderous stories about me amongst my closest friends. Serves you just right that they told me straight off what you were saying about me.

My dear barnacle faced girl, did you think my friends; whom I have known for years would automatically believe you? We don't even know who you really are. In fact, if it weren't for the constraints of work, I wouldn't be caught dead within a 10 mile radius of you.

Why?

It's because I despise people like you. People who feel that by virtue of certain circumstances, they are entitled to some things. The world owes you nothing, remember that. I don't care if you have issues, I don't care if you're insecure and I don't care that you look like a mongoose. Those things are your problems. Don't drag the rest of us into your quagmire of a life. We don't owe it to you. We don't need to help you out.

After virtually making my house your personal credit/debit-free grocery store and coffee shop, after making my boyfriend your loading station and after making my close friend a virtual cash cow, you have the gall to come up with this shite. You have the gall to go around, spreading rumors. You have the gall to call me names. Most especially, you have the gall to act as if you have the moral upper hand.

Let me keep this simple: ANG KAPAL NG MUKHA MO.

Here are my wishes for you:
1. May you never get your vagina fixed (I refuse to help you out with your Vagoo issues)
2. May you never get proper fashion sense
3. May your stupid ass of a boyfriend cheat on you over and over again while you cling on to him in all your martyred glory.
4. May you never be able have a decent life.

Why do I wish you ill?
I wish you ill and I'm being merciful my dear barnacle faced girl. I am being merciful because if I did not value you as a person I WOULD HAVE WISHED YOU DEAD.

Be forewarned: never ever set foot in my house again, bitch.

Lunes, Enero 5

Of Making Lists and Being Listless

I usually find myself listless at the beginning of each year. Sometimes I think that this is due to the fact that I have a "year in review" habit. At the start and end of every year, I become a news junkie. I tend to relive each news worthy moment of the year that was. Be it current events, fashion, showbiz or even obscure events; I like looking back at the year that was. All of which bring me to the question:

"So, what's next?"

That, my friends is when the listlessness starts. I start to wonder. I start to imagine. At this point of the year, I cannot be functional at all. My mind wanders. I usually get up to speed by the 11th of January. Till then, I'm in lalaland.

My state of mind is so not working for me now. I have things to finish up at the office, and other things to finish up on the side. In fact, I have so much work that I shouldn't be wasting my time blogging.

But alas, HERE I AM.

Anyways, one of the best strategies I have against my wandering thoughts is making lists. It makes me feel efficient. Making lists makes me feel that the things I want to do are actually feasible. And I like ticking off things on my list when I am done with them.

The downside: I also tend to make lists of things to buy. Though this shopping list habit is not entirely a bad thing, it does tend to side track me a lot. I like shopping for things I want. But I don't want to go for broke.

With this in mind, I came up with another strategy. I will make a shopping list but put it where I don't see it all the time. This way, when I have extra money; I do know where I put my shopping list and I'm not blindly shopping. Also, when I should be saving up, I'm not yearning for things I can't have at the moment.

While my system for doing things isn't entirely efficient, it does save me a lot of grief.

Now back to work.

Biyernes, Enero 2

year in review

It's high time I made my 2008 in retrospect entry. I think it's high time because am back at the office and kinda bored. Since the holidays are pretty much over, it's time to make a run down of the major things that happened in 2008. Since things have a way of happening all at the same time, I decided to give one or two highlights for each month of 2008. Let's start.

2008 was a year of changes for me. Some of these changes, I accepted readily. Though most of it happened without me realizing; 2008 brought changes that turned my life upside down.

January 2008
Spent the first days of 2008 in Sagada. This was a great start. My first new year's day away from my family. The best thing about this was I had time to reflect and rethink my life; something that I didn't do much in 2007. I made decisions and a list of short term goals for 2008.

These were:
1. Finish college
2. Move out
3. Get a job in journalism or creative writing
4. Go to part time law school
5. Don't let activism slip away.

Of my 5 goals, I accomplished 4. This is pretty good in my book.

February 2008
I spent the better half of this month problematizing valentine's day. Not because I didn't have a boyfriend but because I had a boyfriend who didn't want to do anything. The continuous shooting down of mt v-day ideas gave some perspective to out relationship. I realized that unless the dynamics of our relationship changed soon, I would be stuck with someone who was very insecure. I also realized his under appreciation of my worth was mainly because of his pea-sized ego which couldn't cope with how "ambitious" I was.

Needless to day, the month of love left me yearning for a better kind of love.

I also landed my first "real" job this month at writers.ph.

March 2008
This month was a mix of rallies, realizing that there are more things to life and lots of mixed up priorities. This picture says it all:


That's me on a bout of ADHD at a rally in Plaza Miranda.

Pivotal entry for March:
hindi ko alam kung dapat ko ba iniisip ito. unang una, maraming trabaho. as in maraming trabaho ngayon. pangalawa, parang masisira naman buhay ko pag ginawa/inisip ko pa ito. pero...may maliit na boses sa puso kong nagsasabing hindi kami ang dapat magkasama.

nahihirapan na ako. lalo na ngayong parang may ibang hinahabol ang puso ko.
April 2008
This month was dedicated to my thesis, or the lack thereof. This month also assured my that my brain was still functional enough to do academic things. The great thing about this month is that I finished my thesis in record time. Another great thing?


Rediscovering that giddy feeling.

May 2008
All hell broke loose. Character a and I finally called it quits. Though I saw it coming, I was very very hurt with what happened.


It was inevitable. Picture taken during less turbulent times.

June 2008
Character c and I were busy dodging bullets this month. We were also holding on to each other.

Pivotal Conversation:

kristel dahlin: well... if you can leave him just like that, he might not be that special to YOU
tish: it's not that. it's just that i'm no martyr.
tish: i want him in my life, but if he gives me shite in exchange for my heart, ima do him in. :D
July 2008
By far, the most trying time of my relationship with character c. Also, the most stressful month of my professional life. July is SONA month. Any political activist knows that this can lead to major headaches. Fortunately, it didn't show on my face.

I also went to Hong Kong this month.
August 2008
Am living in a pressure cooker, with all these other people. I can call this month my short fuse month. I was forced to work with people I absolutely detested. I was even forced to defend them. This month was very exhausting, physically and emotionally. It forced to recognize three truths:
1. Even if I don't like a person, I will never be willing to trash their reputations just for the sake of it.
2. I should learn my lessons well; stop trusting people who have failed you at each turn.
3. Cut ties, cut your losses when you should. A relationship that's more damaging than good can and will destroy you.

September 2008


The start of many many adventures.

October 2008
Landed another job. Met amazing people.

November 2008
Finally moved out.

December 2008
Had the best holiday ever.

===
2008 was full of challenges. I can say that it was full of emotionally crippling moments. Thankfully, I chose not to focus on falling down. 2008 taught me that there are some things that matter more than appearances. It was a year that left me steadfast in my personal convictions and political beliefs. It was also a year that tested my morals and how far I was willing to go to defend myself.

2008 was a year of travelling: emotionally and physically. I learned to cut ties with people who were doing more harm to me than good. I also reconnected with old friends.

It was also an eye-opening year: I realized that no matter what life throws at me; everything is a matter of perspective. I can't forsee or prevent every bad thing that comes my way. However, I can control how I react to life's catastrophes.

2008: I got pissed. I got raging mad. I got hurt. I fell out of love. I fell in love. I disconnected. I reconnected. I set on a path, I chose another highway.

It was great.