Tuesday, March 18, 2008


"I've found myself in a new place, and I'm excited to explore it!," were the words I found myself gushing when my sister surprised me with a call on my mobile. Caught in the middle of the walkway connecting LRT 1 and LRT 2 (Recto Station), I decided to take a different route on my way home. Sweaty and feeling quite icky from the arduous commute and the day's annoyingly sweltering heat (it was about 3 P.M.), seeing my sister's name pop in my mobile was a great respite from it all.

Aside from our usual pleasantries, she caught me off guard when she suavely inserted in our conversation that she was pregnant! There was a five-second pause. I couldn't believe it! I was ecstatic for her! It was one of the things that I've always wanted not only for her, not for my parents (who've been cradling the dogs at home in longing for a grandchild), but for myself as well. I've always loved babies, and the idea of taking care of one--holding it in my arms, being anxious at having someone's life in my hands, not bothering about my own self-- was simply, beautiful.

In jest, I've often told my friends that I'd love having a baby because I felt that I had so much love to give. I was even surprised when I told my sister that I didn't have to look for a boyfriend anymore, now that the baby was on its way. Ironic that it still is about me! Haha! But really, loving beyond yourself is always a good thing!

Interesting enough, those words I had blurted out when my sister called were the same sentiments she shared, figuratively of course. It wasn't a surprise to me but a confirmation that me and my sister were indeed siblings; people deeply connected not only by skin and blood, but by thought and soul.

Being in the long and boring commute, my i pod being a stubborn bitch again, hiding from the sun's torture: all these melted away after the call. With a smile on my face, I went on my way exploring one corner of busy Recto. First, I stopped by a mall housing kiosks reminiscent of Greenhills and St. Francis Square, only lesser in number. After making the rounds, ogling at the merchandise, I ended up buying fake perfume (a rip-off of Lacoste's "Style in Play" and 2 RnB CDs for Php 30). I stepped outside to take a quick drag and to soak up the charming chaos of Recto.

This place is so different from what I'm used to (i.e. Quezon City and Makati). Faces still looked tired and uptight, but they seem to give off a more "grounded" and deliberate aura vis-a-vis Quezon City and Makati's predominantly pretentious and guarded sort. Amid all the traffic and the mess of cheap and fake merchandise, the late afternoon's sun lit the area with an almost-sepia tone. Decrepit buildings and cinemas standing side by side with gaudily painted malls all added to the hybrid charisma of the area. I felt caught somewhere in time, in some drowned world where the past and present mixed.

But let's backtrack a little bit. Earlier in the day, I joined a friend to visit a massive Nike sale in one of Makati's high rises. The place, small as it was, was packed with all sorts of people: families, blue and white collared workers making the most of their lunch break. I wasn't really in the mood to shop at all. One, I was still groggy from sleep; two, I wish I had the audacity to shove and yell at people to get out of my way; three, I didn't feel like rummaging through boxes and boxes of sneakers and sports apparel; and four, I wasn't really a Nike (i.e. the sporty look) fan. But why did I go? Same as everyone in that damn cramped room: to find a bargain. I didn't find one, so instead I projected my frustration at my friend, holding his just-in-case-they-fit choices and goading him to buy a nice pair of sneakers.

That wasn't all that was interesting that time. The idea of going out with my ex-boyfriend (whom I broke up with after only one week of being together!... Actually, I'm not even sure if we were really a couple) was a curious thing. He invited me to the Nike sale, and being with him after that whirlwind romance kept me wondering what I was doing there with him.

During lunch, he was sharing with me stories about his new fling. Before, if I was who I was then, I would have felt terribly bitter and awkward with the conversation. Over cigarettes, a really oily Chinese fast food meal, and Coke zero, I couldn't help but listen. I couldn't help but pacify his ego with phrases like 'Good for you' and 'I'm so happy for you'. Indeed I was happy for him. I was glad that the emotionally turbulent time I had spent with him was over, that he had somebody else to be bothered with, and that we ended up as friends. But I must admit that while he was talking, I couldn't help but bitch (but only a little) in my head that this guy was simply trying to make me jealous or envious at his newfound happiness. It also sort of annoyed me that he admitted to lying about going out of town with friends (after our "break up"), when in reality he was alone with the new boy. It was annoying to confirm how much of a player and a liar (several aspects that complicated our relationship further) he was. I guess I still have feelings for him.

Later in the evening, he'd share through SMS that him and his new boy toy had a fight. I ended up giving him advice. I couldn't help it. All the more, I now feel that breaking up with him was a good choice. Indeed, he's simply too young for me, and too emotionally volatile. I am those things too; and if we stayed in the relationship longer, we would have been at each other's throats like petulant children. It seems better this way. I get to keep that distance between friends, where emotional investment is easily kept at a minimum.

Still full from the pricey dinner me and some friends from another choir had at a deli, I remember one topic of conversation we had. The issue of finding a "sense of fulfillment" in our lives crept up when he was curious to know why I didn't want to teach in the next semester. Let me share, in bullet points, the ideas I told him:
  • having a "sense of fulfillment" is actually a choice one makes
  • the choice must come from a place of "nothing" for it to work
  • expectations and disappointment would be eradicated by this frame of thought because you've started from nothing. There's no point of comparison, there's no anticipation to base results from
  • the idea of choice comes with integrity, being true to your word
It's funny how I remember being so glib and confident about these things to him. I somehow felt like a hypocrite in promoting such views (which I learned from a forum I attended before) when I myself am unable to follow through with them. But it's always a struggle, and that is what should matter. Right?

This is my first ever post. I've been putting off blogging for quite some time (my friends goading me to do so in the past). It has often been a constant in my life to keep a journal, but being busy with teaching has rendered me to stop writing temporarily. Moreover, the idea of having someone read my thoughts, the idea of being able to edit my thoughts were considerations in the past. Now I realize: don't these actually point to the same premise of journal writing? The idea that someone, somewhere somehow, would manage to witness another's life through writing?

I'm excited where this activity may bring me.


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